TA Teams Make Onboarding Their Top Priority for 2023

2022 CandE Report Takeaway #9.

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Mar 13, 2023
This article is part of a series called 2022 CandE Report Takeaways.

What a difference a year makes!

Just a year ago, onboarding was the number five priority of talent acquisition teams in our annual benchmark research. In 2022, it became their number one priority. Why? What caused onboarding to rocket up the priorities list like this?

A number of factors are in play here, but I believe a major reason was the recent rash of “quick quitting.” Record numbers of people bailed on their new jobs last year just weeks or days after starting them, indicating the onboarding process at a lot of companies wasn’t as effective as it should be — i.e., TA teams needed to put more effort into communicating role responsibilities and goals, introducing new hires to key team members, answering questions, and making sure new employees are primed, ready for success, and feeling like a welcome member of the team prior to day one.

Done well, onboarding can be a fantastic motivator and a serious retention booster, especially during a new hire’s first year. When the onboarding experience is positive, for example, candidates’ willingness to increase their relationship with their employer spikes by 92%. Simply getting a call or a text from a hiring manager prior to their start date improves this metric by 87%. In essence, the more TA teams engage candidates prior to their start dates, the better they boost early retention.

Without a doubt, proper onboarding takes time and effort. TA teams can’t just get it done with a few minutes of concentrated effort or using a new piece of recruiting tech. Even companies that deliver the highest-rated candidate experiences in our benchmark research (CandE winners) struggled to some degree last year with onboarding: only 21% of all of the TA professionals in our research said they had ample opportunities to communicate goals, introduce new hires to key team members, answer questions, etc. during onboarding.

Given the problems that employers have had with quick quitting, and with retention in general in 2022, it’s no wonder TA teams put onboarding at the top of their priority list for 2023.

Other Priorities and Trouble Spots

Rounding out TA teams’ top five priorities for 2023 are: the candidate experience, diversity and inclusion, employee referrals, and screening and interviewing.

That’s an amazing list. Every item deserves to be there. Interestingly, screening and interviewing made it to the top five. Personally, I think that poor screening and interviewing is just as responsible for quick quitting as poor onboarding is.

Screening and interviewing are where job seekers, recruiters, and hiring managers should all be learning definitively about fit — whether or not candidates are well suited to the jobs, companies, and workplace cultures they’re applying to. Surveys have shown that one of the biggest reasons people quick quit is because their job wasn’t what they expected it to be. That’s an obvious sign that the screening and interviewing process isn’t working as intended. Candidates should have a pretty clear understanding of a job and what it’s all about by the end of the interviewing process.

Although it didn’t make their priorities list this year, another trouble spot for TA teams in 2022 was the job offer. Too many companies dragged their feet at this critical stage. Talent Board’s 2022 research shows that nearly a quarter of employers took up to two weeks to make job offers and nearly 15% took three weeks to a month—or more.

That’s not nearly efficient enough in today’s talent market, where really desirable candidates are being poached at every stage of the recruiting process. Companies with the highest-rated candidate experiences (CandE winners) typically make job offers in a week or less following final interviews, which, in turn, increases candidates’ willingness to refer others to the company by 76%. That’s a huge benefit in a highly competitive talent market.

TA professionals have put together an admirable list of priorities for 2023, and there will always be plenty of ways they can tweak the recruiting process no matter how well they do their job (and the priorities keep changing per our CandE Pulse Surveys — March update coming this week). That’s just the nature of talent acquisition. But everyone involved in TA can make the most positive overall impact by elevating and promoting a quality candidate experience—from pre-application to onboarding — every chance they get. That should always be a top priority.

You can read more about this year’s TA priorities by downloading our complete 2022 benchmark research report. And be sure to check back here soon for my final 2022 Top 10 Takeaway blog post on candidate referrals.

You can also learn more about and participate in our 2023 benchmark research program here.

Be safe and well.

This article is part of a series called 2022 CandE Report Takeaways.
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