How HR Can Boost Talent Retention, According to New Research

Recruiting and hiring is the number one area of concern for HR professionals today, though it’s significantly less burdensome for organisations with high employee retention rates. Unfortunately, retention is described as “extremely challenging” by almost a third of organisations, a number that’s nearly doubled since 2017. Australia, New Zealand, and UK organisations really have it bad based on their recent tie for the highest attrition risk of 17 global geographies studied.

Source: XpertHR

New research suggests that a specific part of the hiring process directly impacts retention: employee onboarding, the way employees are introduced, documented, trained, and assimilated into an organisation. A positive onboarding experience actually improves the chances of an employee sticking around.

The most compelling evidence we found was published last year in the Journal of Systems and Software. Researchers looked at software professional onboarding and found that a successful onboarding experience correlated with lower turnover intention. They came to that conclusion by testing a model that predicted “onboarding success” would influence job satisfaction and workplace relationship quality, both of which were predicted to influence turnover intention. The first link was confirmed in both cases, and job satisfaction was also found to significantly affect turnover intention. (There was not a statistically significant correlation between workplace relationship quality and turnover intention.)

Interestingly, the researchers also found that of three onboarding activities––orientation, training, and support––support was the most impactful in onboarding success. They provided the following examples of support from employers:

  1. The availability of help when employees need assistance with a task
  2. Appreciation for a lack of employees’ knowledge (related to the extent to which employees feel weak or embarrassed to ask for help)
  3. Constructive feedback from supervisors
  4. The ability to discuss personal issues that affect their performance

The link between onboarding and retention has also been documented in recent qualitative studies. In one study published a few months ago, administrators reported retention as their number one goal of onboarding, with many citing the high cost of turnover as a motivator. In another, employee participants spoke of onboarding experiences so bad that they directly influenced a decision to quit. This was significant because the participants had not been prompted to comment on retention; the question simply asked about onboarding experiences in general and the retention theme naturally emerged.

What does all of this mean for real-world organisations? If you’re one of the 31% that finds employee retention extremely challenging, take a closer look at your onboarding process. To get you started, we’ve packed specific advice into our newest report, which dives deep into retention and five other themes in the latest onboarding research. (And there’s a lot of it––more onboarding studies were published in 2019 and 2020 than in any previous year!)

Download now to learn how your peers are doing onboarding, what research shows is effective, and how you can translate the findings into actionable plans for your organisation.

Cognology Onboarding streamlines and automates the employee onboarding and induction process with every HR form, background checks, contracts manager, eLearning, social networking, and more. It’s easy to use and easier to get started: we do all the heavy lifting, from customisation and systems integration to content upload and training. Reach out to learn how Cognology can transform onboarding at your organisation.