#WorkTrends: Onboarding Is the New Black

It’s your first day at a new job. You’re excited and nervous, but ready to do great work. You show up at your new office and find… chaos. Or worse, no one’s there to greet you. You’re confused and unsure, and then you spend your first day waiting around and filling out HR forms.

There has to be a better way, and this week on #WorkTrends, we’re talking about how to improve the onboarding experience with Jess Von Bank. Jess has been working in the talent space for 15 years, and she’s currently leading the charge for better onboarding through her role at Click Boarding, this year’s UNLEASH America startup competition winner.

You can listen to the full episode below, or keep reading for this week’s topic. Share your thoughts with us using the hashtag #WorkTrends.

Rethinking the First Day

Jess has worked in recruiting departments and for companies focused on the candidate experience. That made her first day at Click Boarding earlier this year even more eye-opening. “It was stunning to me that I’d just had my first great onboarding experience, my best first day ever,” she says. “That’s saying something, when I work in an industry focused on providing great experiences to talent that we work really hard to win. That tells me onboarding is still a massive opportunity.”

At Click Boarding, her onboarding experience actually didn’t start on her first day. It started well before, right after she said “yes” to the job offer. “Immediately after that, I received a branded mobile invitation to a highly personalized onboarding experience that welcomed me to the team,” she says. “It started teasing out all of the information that I would need to hit the ground running. It answered questions for me preemptively. It started preparing me to show up ready to contribute.”

By the time she showed up for her first day, she says she felt “welcomed, anticipated, appreciated, excited, familiar — like I was here to make a difference.”

If you want to tweak your onboarding process, Jess suggests focusing on the little moments that matter. “We’ve all been a new hire. We’ve all had first days at new jobs. Think about the moments that matter. Try to find a consistent way to provide those touchpoints to reduce anxiety and make them feel welcomed and ready to be productive for you. Reach out and talk to your new hires. Tell them what to expect.”

Why Onboarding Matters

“How does great onboarding make an employee show up and feel welcomed, and feel like they’ve made a great first impression? And what does that mean to the business? I think that’s the opportunity for onboarding,” she says.

These little moments matter to the bottom line. When onboarding is done well, it pays for itself — and then some, she says. “All of the investment you make at the top end of the funnel, all of the talent-attraction strategies, the recruitment-marketing methodology, the personalized candidate experience, all of that goes to waste if you don’t bring them into the business well and get them to be an employee who you can retain and drive to productivity.”

“SHRM has published research that says people who aren’t onboarded well will leave sooner,” she says. “That’s a financial hit to the organization. Four percent of new hires won’t even come back after their first day, usually because of a lack of information or a bad experience. Some organizations report a 20 percent attrition rate in the first 45 days. Anything you look at in the early days probably has a lot to do with missing the boat on driving engagement. Sure, there’s wrong-fit hiring. Other things could have happened to lead to that. But usually, it’s something that could’ve been addressed with a better onboarding experience.”

Continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more.