Research Shows Employee Onboarding Can Be Eased with Technology

Employee Onboarding Can Be Eased with Technology

The Cost of Employee Onboarding

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Foundation found that employee turnover involves around 25 percent of the U.S. workforce every year. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ last Job Openings and Labor Turnover report showed there were 5.5 million job openings in October 2016 and the number of new hires was 5.1 million. If you’re in HR, you know what all of this means. Onboarding headaches.

Employee onboarding isn’t easy or cheap. There isn’t a concrete number on just how much onboarding costs a company, but the entire process of recruiting, interviewing, hiring, onboarding and training of a single employee has been cited as being anywhere from 16 percent of annual salary to up to 213 percent, depending on the type of position. Companies are investing tens of thousands of dollars into every employee they hire, banking on the fact that the new hire will be worth the investment. In essence, each employee has a certain ROI the company hopes to gain.

If companies want to improve their employee ROI, they must do everything they can to ensure that employee stays. After employee onboarding, employee retention is the name of the game. So how do you increase your odds of retaining top talent you worked so hard for and spent all that money to get up to speed? It starts with a successful onboarding experience that:

  1. Gives the new hire every opportunity to succeed as quickly as possible
  2. Gives the new hire a good first impression so morale stays high
  3. Helps the new hire integrate with the existing culture rapidly

Increase your chances of getting this first impression right with this onboarding checklist.

Onboarding Checklist

Related: 5 Ways to Help New Hires Feel Part of the Team


The Value of a Positive Onboarding Experience

In an Academy of Management Journal study, researchers found that early support may lay a foundation for later work outcomes. It found that the first 90 days of employment is critical to establishing good vibes between the new hire and the rest of the company. Those three months can be the difference between significant ROI or a loss.

Onboarding is not the end all; it’s just the first step in the process. Oh, but what an important first step it is. It is essentially the first impression and we all know how valuable that first impression can be. Psychology Today has a few things to say about first impressions:
“Research collectively indicates that you may only get a few seconds to make a first impression that is tied to the future of your relationships.”


“Humans are uncomfortable with uncertainty, or, simply not knowing things. Such certainly is particularly present during initial interactions with strangers…A common thing that individuals look for during this uncertainty reduction process is similarity…years of research document that similarities, not differences, produce feelings of attraction.”
This puts HR on the front lines, responsible for helping the company make a positive first impression with every new hire that is onboarded. Screw it up and you may find your new hire is out the door before they contributed a single penny towards the investment put into them.

The fact that we, as humans, dislike uncertainty should be enough for everyone to understand the value in making the onboarding process smooth, pleasant and rapid. No one likes to be the new kid on the block, where everyone else seems to have a history and relationships and you’re left on the outside looking in. We don’t like to not know anyone’s name or what they do, where everyone goes to eat lunch, or simply how things are done around the office. This process of getting to know the system and the people makes us uncomfortable. Give a new hire a desk, a computer and some sticky notes, but for goodness sake, give them some help.

No Surprise: Technology Is the Answer

So what can HR do to help speed this process up and make it less painful? An article by Workforce Magazine suggests onboarding app can be the solution. “Software can effectively support the onboarding process, and apps can aid what SHRM calls its ‘4 levers of successful onboarding’: role clarity, self-efficacy, social integration and knowledge of culture.”

It doesn’t suggest there is one piece of software to do it all, but that different tools can be integrated into a comprehensive solution to address all of these “levers.” The article references Deloitte’s research which shows that “mobile apps increase employee engagement, real-time response as well as workforce satisfaction.” Sadly, up to half of HR professionals aren’t taking advantage of mobile technology when it comes to onboarding, failing to integrate these type of apps into their existing HRM processes and software.

This all brings me to the value of org chart software. Modern business organizational chart software is precisely the type of mobile technology to which Deloitte is referring. It isn’t just for illustrating a company’s structure. Today’s software includes employee directories, employee vacation calendars, personal profiles and much more. All of this information is presented via a mobile app that can be accessed 24/7 to help new hires get up to speed quickly.

First Impressions

Let’s envision a new hire on his or her first day. Without any mobile app or onboarding software, they are introduced to immediate team members, given a badge and ushered to their desk. It’s up to them to learn the names of their coworkers, try to build rapport, and not come across as annoying or stupid with all of their questions about who is who, who does what, and where something is. The new hire likely feels overwhelmed, uncertain and frustrated. Not exactly the day they had in mind or how they want to remember their first day on the job.

Now, let’s put organizational chart software on their mobile device and the night before their first day on the job, they can look up where they sit in the org chart. They can see who their teammates and manager will be. They can drill into those profiles to learn a little about each person, such as where they went to school, what projects they have worked on, their areas of expertise, and their favorite pastime.

Remember what Psychology Today said about the importance of finding similarities with others to reduce discomfort or uncertainty? The organizational chart technology provides the new hire with all of the information they need for at least one of the four “levers,” namely social integration. By learning their way around the office, even virtually, they are already several steps ahead of the poor new hire who is left to his own devices. They have found similarities between themselves and coworkers before they even meet them, giving the new hire more confidence on their first days on the job. Those first 90 days that are so important to establishing rapport? Nailed it on day one.

No matter if your organization is fast growing and hiring lots of employees on a regular basis, or you just want to make a first great impre with every new hire, you owe it to yourself and your company to look into org chart software. The investment in the software easily pays for itself over and over again with every successful onboard. The best part? The software is a valuable resource for every employee, not only new hires. There isn’t a single employee who can’t benefit from knowing more about their company, how it is structured, and their coworkers.

When attempting to address the four levers of successful onboarding (role clarity, self-efficacy, social integration, and knowledge of culture), research what organizational chart software can do to get you there. You might be surprised how fast it can be implemented and how easy it is to use on day one. You can check this one off your list.

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Cameron Nouri
by Cameron Nouri
I am the Director of Growth at Pingboard. I consider myself an entrepreneur at heart. I love trying new things and taking educated risks on new ventures, both professionally and in my personal life. I bring that passion to work everyday where I enjoy helping others discover the power that Pingboard can unlock.
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