New Hire Orientation Blog
Improved New Hire Orientation Training Boosts Productivity
Companies that take the time to carefully craft a top-notch onboarding program are the ones who experience better alignment between new employees and the organization’s culture and business goals, as well as better retention. But one of the best benefits of better onboarding comes through on the performance front. In this article, I’ll explain how improved new hire orientation training boosts productivity.
A Study on How Improved New Hire Orientation Training Boosts Productivity
The impact of better orientation on productivity isn’t rocket science, and yet a surprising number of businesses have failed to make this vital connection. It’s a shame, really, because the statistics are compelling. I refer throughout this article to a study by the Aberdeen Group called Onboarding 2011: The Path to Productivity. And it doesn’t matter that the study came out in 2011. I’d be more than willing to bet that conducting a similar survey would produce largely the same results. The benchmark study took a close look at 282 organizations to identify how their onboarding practices and technologies affect their business operations.
The first important learning point is to see how they defined “Best-in-Class” organizations (the top 20% of their sample) relative to the “Laggard” companies (the bottom 30% of their sample). The differences are nothing short of profound:
- Among Best-in-Class organization, 96% of first-year employees were retained, as compared to only 18% of among Laggards.
- For employees hired in the last 12 months at Best-in-Class companies, 82% of them met first performance milestones on time, as compared to 3% at the Laggards.
- Hiring manager satisfaction improved 18% year-over-year among Best-in-Class organizations, as compared to a 1% decrease among the Laggards.
Those statistics show not just a minor gap but a truly gigantic gulf between companies that don’t take onboarding seriously and the ones who experience how improved new hire orientation training boosts productivity
Best-in-Class Features of Improved New Hire Orientation Training Boosts Productivity
Here are some of the common elements found among the Best-in-Class companies with better onboarding:
- “The involvement of wide group of stakeholders, from the individual up through company leadership, taking ownership for their role in ensuring the productivity of new hires.”
- “A standard, efficient onboarding process that addressees both the tactical and strategic elements of onboarding, that also sets the stage for further efficiency gains through automation”
These are pretty basic features, but essential to reaping the benefits of better onboarding. The first could be characterized as “it takes a village” to do orientation training right. I’ve previously mentioned the need to make onboarding a team effort with representation from each major department in a company, and this study confirms that best practice. The second is kind of the no-brainer obvious point – you have to have a formal, well-crafted onboarding program to reap the benefits. I’ve outlined other steps to take in my previous article, [LINK] 10 Best Practices for Better New Hire Orientation Training [/LINK].
Time-to-Productivity is the Key
It’s rare if not impossible for a new hire to be able to immediately hit the ground running and be a peak performer. It takes time to get an employee up-to-speed on company practices and procedures for their day-to-day work. Because of this, when I write about how improved new hire orientation training boosts productivity, what I really mean is the more nuanced version of productivity that applies to newly-hired employees – time-to-productivity. Companies that have good onboarding programs are able to shorten this time-to-productivity metric for new hires.
Interestingly enough, there are all kinds of things that can be incorporated into onboarding to achieve this goal, some of which are surprisingly simple. Case in point: Google. One simple email as part of the onboarding process resulted in a 25% productivity increase (source). But the email wasn’t even sent to the new hires, it was sent to the managers of the new hire. Check it out:
The experiment included an email the team sent managers the Sunday before their new employee’s first day. It included the following checklist:
- Have a role-and-responsibilities discussion.
- Match your Noogler with a peer buddy.
- Help your Noogler build a social network.
- Set up onboarding check-ins once a month for your Noogler’s first six months.
- Encourage open dialogue.
Google found that the Nooglers [new Google employees] whose managers followed this checklist became effective in their roles 25 percent faster than other employees.
Yes, a simple email to managers resulted in a 25% improvement in time-to-productivity. If that doesn’t make you want to improve your onboarding, I can’t imagine what will! The Aberdeen study also recommended making sure to expand your onboarding program to include contractors and contingent workers – wise words back in 2011 considering what has happened since with the rise of the “gig economy” and freelancers making up an increasingly large share of the workforce.
The study also emphasizes that the time to start improving onboarding is right now because there’s a clear “maturity” factor to effective orientation training at Best-in-Class companies, whose formal onboarding programs have been in place for at least three years. Start now, even if it’s just creating a standardized onboarding checklist.
If this article about how improved new hire orientation training boosts productivity has been an eye-opener for you, then you owe it to yourself and your company to read more of the articles on this site. They will guide you to business success through better onboarding!