Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Jaida Mercurio with Wellable. Her opinions are her own.
Workforce engagement is fundamental to the success of any organization, as it increases productivity, reduces turnover and improves the overall culture of a company. As such, engagement strategies have become the staple of a desirable workplace, putting companies under increasing competitive pressure to continuously improve these efforts.
New hire engagement is a distinct category of employee engagement that is frequently and wrongfully overlooked. For a new employee, a quality onboarding experience sets the foundation for their entire span of employment, influencing their initial impression of the organization and, subsequently, their willingness to perform in the long term.
The benefits of an effective new hire engagement strategy include:
1. Attraction and retention of quality talent
Quality talent is a valuable and somewhat scarce resource for businesses. In fact, it is predicted that organizations are going to experience greater difficulty filling vacant job positions in the near future. A study by the McKinsey Global Institute suggests that companies in North America and Europe could cumulatively face a shortage of up to 18 million college-educated workers by 2020.
Therefore, business leaders must take the initiative to increase the appeal of their organization in the eyes of the workforce, starting with the hiring process.
Because workers recognize and appreciate genuine care from their employers, they will naturally be more attracted to organizations that take their onboarding process into careful consideration.
Hiring managers or supervisors should work intimately with new hires to familiarize them with the organization and instil a sense of loyalty in the company. This practice will boost the morale of employees from the start and increase the likelihood of retention in the future.
2. Long-term engagement
A Gallup report found that a staggering 52% of American workers feel disengaged at work, and an additional 18% report feeling actively disengaged. They also discovered that companies in which employees were actively engaged had 147% higher earnings per share than their competitors.
In order for an organization to thrive, employees must be actively engaged in their efforts over an extended period of time. Long-term engagement is achieved early on, as an engaging onboarding process will set the pace for higher involvement in the future. Simply put, employees are more inclined to engage with an organization that engages with them and makes sure that their requirements are met. Because training is the very first basic need of every employee, it should be provided in a thorough and attentive manner.
3. Increased productivity
Although employee productivity should be considered separately from employee engagement, the two are strongly correlated and equally affected by the onboarding experience. According to Gallup, productivity lost by actively disengaged employees equates to an annual cost of up to $550 billion in the US. Engaging new hires will result in a productive workforce and minimize these losses.
In order to achieve maximum productivity in the workplace, every employee should have a working knowledge of the organization’s values and goals, which is most optimally established during the onboarding process. When employees are properly engaged during their training, they are likely to pay closer attention and retain the necessary information, allowing them to adequately contribute and thrive within the company.
Equipped with a true understanding of their responsibilities, employees are more likely to become invested in their positions and follow procedures more readily, resulting in increased productivity.
4. Increased communication
Many problems faced by businesses are a result of improper communication methods. According to a Salesforce survey, 86% of corporate executives, employees, and educators blame lack of collaboration or poor communication for workplace failures. Effective communication will work to mitigate conflict and build trust amongst employees, and like many other aspects of a thriving workplace, it is advantageous to establish this practice from the beginning of a professional relationship.
For many employees, especially new hires, it can be daunting to address superiors with concerns or feedback about the workplace. An onboarding experience, in which new hires are personally acquainted with their managers or provided with a forum that can answer their questions, can help ease this intimidation. Encouraging new employees to engage and share their ideas from the beginning will initiate a culture of honest and open communication amongst all levels of the workforce.
5. Decreased turnover
Engaging employees from the start can work well to lower turnover. In addition to being a detriment to workplace morale, numerous studies have proven that employee turnover comes at a significant expense to employers. When considering off-boarding, hiring and onboarding, the cumulative cost of replacing an employee is approximated to be 20% of their annual salary for mid-ranged roles and up to 213% for executive roles, according to the Center for American Progress. In addition, it may take a new hire up to two years of involvement to achieve the level of productivity of an experienced employee.
Engaging new hires helps develop their loyalty towards the company and hence decreases turnover. Employees are more likely to stay with a company that acknowledges their value as an individual from the beginning of the relationship. Similarly, when properly trained and given the skills needed to thrive in their position, employees will recognize their own value to the company and are more likely to remain satisfied.
As many businesses struggle to fill their job openings with qualified, reliable individuals, the standards for a desirable workplace continue to increase.
Offering concrete benefits, like higher salaries and insurance, is a palpable way to compete for top talent, however combining these perks with desirable intangible aspects, like positive company culture and attentive management, will help further differentiate an organization, especially when presented to new or potential hires.
Well-trained and engaged employees are more likely to excel in their positions and to act as a valuable asset to their respective organization, and it is the responsibility of the employer to set them up for success.