The standard practice of employee onboarding – particularly at larger organizations – has been commonplace since the 1970s. Companies understand the value of having onboarding protocols established; they empower newly hired employees with the necessary knowledge and skills to contribute to the success of the organization.
Before venturing into the onboarding arena, Curtis Marks, CEO of Click Boarding, started Verifications, Inc., one of the largest pre-employment screening companies in the U.S. But as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) became stricter about when individuals could be offered a job, background checks became an integral part of the employee onboarding process. Shortly thereafter, a tangible gap quickly became apparent to Marks. “We felt it was our opportunity to drastically improve the experience of onboarding and make its impact greater. Most companies weren’t doing that.”
A Lack of Tech & Tools
At the time, the technology to manage this type of data flow and overall employee journey experience did not exist. Potential candidates would receive multiple phone calls and emails from various companies asking for additional information so the background check could be processed compliantly. Not only was it confusing for the candidates, but the whole process was disjointed for all parties involved.
In the beginning, candidates navigated through the onboarding workflows themselves. “Unfortunately, the fall-off rate was huge when we measured it; candidates would abandon the site after 30 to 40 seconds. They just didn't know where to go,” Marks recalls. “We knew onboarding was ours to improve. By organizing the flow of information to new employees once they were offered the job, we could transform and dramatically improve the process of onboarding.”
Following a period of transition, the software start-up launched their new digital onboarding experience in 2016. “While our bidirectional platform led candidates through the process, it also allowed employers to provide new hires with the essential resources they needed to perform their job.”
Click Expands into the Employee Journey Space
“Candidates using the Click platform realized they were en route to employment. As such, they demanded user-friendly, intuitive consumer software that was easily accessible from anywhere, at any time,” Marks explained. “In fact, nearly 70% of all candidates navigating our platform were mobile users, which was a clear indicator users wanted a simple, guided onboarding experience.“ He said the foundation of the company’s unique onboarding experience incorporated employee engagement as well.
When newly hired employees don't receive the proper communication, it can be overwhelming, confusing and even frightening. “With our platform, new hires know exactly what's going to happen, what to expect and when...while simultaneously completing mandatory compliance paperwork,” Marks said. In addition, the Click platform could support an extensive variety of HR experiences throughout an employee’s tenure, well beyond simply digital onboarding.
As Click Boarding made a name for itself within the HR space, they soon realized that onboarding was only the beginning of the employee journey lifecycle. Nothing drove this fact home more than COVID-19.
The Digital Transformation Begins
Undoubtedly, the pandemic changed everything in 2020, and employee onboarding was not spared. But it didn’t deter Click Boarding from leaning in to the signals and early success of employee lifecycle experiences. Necessity demanded the company adapt while in process, doubling down to refine and perfect employee experiences across the entire employment journey. “Our customers and prospects expressed considerable frustration with the gap between what they felt that experience should be and what their suite solutions and IT departments were actually able to deliver,” Marks stated.
He said the honest feedback was validation for optimizing the digital employee journeys within the platform to deliver mobile-first, compliant and guided workflows. “Clients depend on our modern onboarding methodology to deliver shortened time to productivity, increased new hire performance and improved employee retention. With the genesis of fully remote work during COVID, our platform became even more invaluable to a company’s bottom line,” Marks noted.
“Click Boarding’s digital process provisions new hires with automated, repeatable workflows, personalized to scale,” Marks detailed. “But our solution goes far beyond just onboarding, because it was engineered for flexibility.” He touts the platform’s ability to engage new hires during pre-boarding – that momentous time of preparation before Day 1 – during employee onboarding and throughout their entire tenure for all HR lifecycle activities.
A Welcome Contrast to Traditional Onboarding
Even more compelling is studies show organizations with a standard onboarding process can improve their new hire retention rates by 50% or more (source). When an onboarding program can retain a new hire for the first 12 months, there’s a much higher probability of them converting to a long-term employee. “When you consider over the past decade that the national turnover rate has increased by an astounding 88%, now is the time for companies to take notice and take action,” Marks cautioned (source). He anticipates employee turnover rates will continue to rise, particularly with the genesis of a new remote workforce.
A byproduct of the pandemic, remote work has been beneficial to employees and employers alike. But it’s had a devastating impact on engagement, communication and productivity. “When employees work from home, they miss out on the fundamental components of being in a physical office: friendships, professional connections, work activities, networking,” Marks explained. “According to the Work Institute, an unbelievable 78% of employee turnover could have been prevented by the employer. And it’s why you must get onboarding right.”
Building the Bridge to Employee Retention
Throughout the pandemic, HR practitioners around the world were forced to not only lean into this drastic change but to embrace it head on. Spending innumerable hours and resources to find viable human capital management solutions in the “new normal” was no small undertaking. Additionally, organizational leaders recognized the urgent need to build connections amongst team members remotely, without the convenience of office proximity. In a matter of months, employee engagement and employee retention became priority one for companies across industries. With 63% of CFOs reporting an increase in employee turnover rates over the past three years, Marks emphasized the need for outstanding onboarding.
“Onboarding is so important, for many reasons,” Marks said. “It’s the chance to set the fundamental tone with new employees, establish a solid connection and assert their decision to join your organization. Onboarding is where retention begins, and the importance cannot be overstated.”
Click’s Weapon in the War on Talent
“Not only did the pandemic’s impact affect onboarding and retention; it also escalated employee expectations to an all-time high,” Marks reported. “That’s why companies can no longer just assume employee loyalty. Now, employers get a very small window of opportunity to be genuinely authentic, intentional and engaged with new employees.”
So how can Click Boarding help organizations deliver ROI on their business while retaining their most valuable assets? “We developed ClickRetain to measure new employee engagement during the first 12 months of tenure.” Marks said. “Consider this scenario: during the first six months of being hired, a new employee is figuratively drinking from the fire hose of the information that’s bombarding them. If they become disengaged or leave the organization altogether, you’ve just wasted all the time, money, training resources, efforts – everything – just to see them leave.” He said scenarios like this could possibly have been preventable with ClickRetain.
But the story gets worse. “If they end up leaving – dependent on their tenure, experience level and potential – you could easily waste six figures of the company’s money each time an employee leaves,” Marks continued. According to Right Management, it can cost up to three times an employees' salary to replace them (source). Whether it’s losing an entry-level employee or an advanced, senior-level executive, it gets quite costly.
Marks went on to say the holistic cost of turnover is considerably more than just the loss of hard dollars. "Losing an employee generates obvious and expensive hard costs like salary, training fees and recruiting fees. ClickRetain provides hard dollar cost savings, but you can’t forget about the soft costs.” He said soft costs include the loss of productivity, an enhanced workload on affected team members, replacement costs plus the time and energy for all impacted parties addressing the departure. “For knowledge workers leaving a company in particular, you must also account for the cost of lost opportunity behind future contributions. That potential impact to the organization walks out the door with them.”
How Proper Onboarding Helps Minimize Employee Turnover
The CEO underscored the challenges of employee turnover, especially right now. “With the serious implications of employee attrition directly tied to a loss in productivity, resource allocation and hard dollars, getting your onboarding right is more critical than ever.” He emphasized employee turnover can be mitigated when an organization is proactive. “With ClickRetain, we believe you can greatly reduce the risk of employee turnover. It enables organizations to more effectively understand how new hires perceive their position and their environment. This purview allows management to take action and help retain the individual before they decide to leave,” Marks expanded.
When an organization leverages ClickRetain to understand employee engagement levels and satisfaction rates, they can watch for key trends to act upon when necessary. Marks reiterated that employers need to listen to what employees are saying and actually take action on the feedback they receive. “With voluntary turnover costs ballooning to over $630 million annually, the time to listen is now,” he advised.
Keeping Retention Rates High & Attrition Rates Low
When you talk to most CEOs today, the number one thing on their mind is how to attract great people and how to retain them. “I think companies are realizing more and more that their most valuable asset is their people. By hiring the right people and retaining them, a company is significantly more valuable,” Marks commented. “Providing employees with an unforgettable onboarding experience and connecting with them throughout their first 12 months enables a much higher retention rate.”