Onboarding and the bottom line

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An excellent onboarding process has a real, positive impact on a business’s bottom line, according to new research commissioned by SilkRoad. The latter commissioned a report by Aberdeen that examined the use, experiences, and intentions of enterprises using strategic onboarding initiatives. The research was conducted in January and February of this year, and involved 230 organisations of diverse size in North America, predominantly, but also in the Asia-Pacific region.

The report defined those enterprises that constituted the top 20% of aggregate performance scorers as ‘best-in-class’. They were defined by key performance criteria:


  • Those companies where 91% of employees were retained, compared with 70% industry average
  • Those companies where 62% of employees hired in the previous year met first performance milestones on time, compared with 29% industry average
  • Those companies that registered a 33% year-on-year improvement in hiring manager satisfaction, compared with 11% industry average

The benefits experienced by these companies with superior onboarding processes included, a 16% year-on-year improvement in customer retention (compared with a 12% industry average), and a 17% improvement in revenue per full-time employee (compared with 9% industry average).

The report also considered those key elements of the onboarding processes of ‘best-in-class’ performers. It concluded that those factors contributing to success included:


  • A process to ensure clear accountability given to all stakeholders involved in ensuring that the employee is set up and ready to go day one
  • Onboarding is centralized – one dedicated resource has oversight and decision authority over the organization’s entire onboarding process
  • Localization of onboarding practices, forms, and technologies
  • Integration and enrolment of new hires in learning programmes
  • Metrics to measure effectiveness of onboarding have been agreed to all by relevant stakeholders

Key HR takeaways:

  • Define metrics and ensure agreement from key stakeholders
  • Consider innovative technology options such as gamification
  • Balance both the tactical and strategic elements of onboarding

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