Press release

Survey Reveals Stark Need for Ongoing Preparation, Assessment in Corporate Onboarding Programs to Ready Nation’s Workforce Now and for the Future

91 percent of HR decision-makers say onboarding can drive change and innovation but only 35 percent  ... 0
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91 percent of HR decision-makers say onboarding can drive change and innovation but only 35 percent  ...

, a global leader in strategic onboarding and workforce
transformation solutions, today unveiled results of a survey conducted
online by The
Harris Poll
in March and April 2019 among 203 U.S. human resources
decision-makers. The report, U.S.
Trends and Applications in Employee Onboarding
, showcases the
opportunities that companies, and in particular their HR departments,
have in preparing our nation’s workforce to compete successfully in the
coming decade.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:

91 percent of HR decision-makers say onboarding can drive change and innovation but only 35 percent  ...

91 percent of HR decision-makers say onboarding can drive change and innovation but only 35 percent say it’s a high business priority. (Graphic: Business Wire)

Critical disruptions, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), automation
and international competition, are predicted to fundamentally change how
companies attract, hire, train, reskill and upskill employees. HR
decision-makers claim their companies are prepared for AI and other
disruptions, noting that onboarding, the process that enables an
employee to transition from new hire to productive employee, would be
essential in teaching new skills, addressing insecurities about the
future of work, and ensuring all employees work together to embrace
change and innovation. Yet, when probed further about the mechanisms for
assessing and preparing their people, they were not confident in their
efforts to ensure employees’ competencies or to reduce employee fear and

At issue is the fact that most companies do not measure their onboarding
and employee development programs against metrics that directly align to
their company’s operational and financial goals, whether for new hires
or legacy employees.

“These results paint a picture of a corporate environment that is not
using the full potential of its greatest assets – its people – through
onboarding, learning and performance programs for employee development
and training,” said Robert
, President and CEO of SilkRoad
. “During the next three-to-five years, businesses in
every industry are expected to experience massive disruption and
opportunity through automated, digital, AI and machine learning
advances. Companies must adopt strategies to monitor these changes,
prepare their entire workforce – not just new hires – with the skills
they need, and continually ‘onboard’ them to new roles of business value
and relevance. As legacy job functions are displaced, HR leadership
needs a plan to guide their workforce through these changes and redefine
the roles and costs of labor. SilkRoad believes, and this survey’s
results demonstrate, that CHRO, CFO and CIO leaders can and should work
together to create an elegantly designed and integrated ‘AI and Human’
operating model, if for nothing but the competitive advantage it

Key findings in the survey include:

  • A majority of HR decision-makers say their onboarding focuses
    efforts on new employees despite believing that it is a key part of
    employee development beyond the orientation period.
    Ninety percent
    of HR decision-makers say their current onboarding program includes
    elements designed to address new hires, yet more than three in four HR
    decision-makers (78%) agree onboarding isn’t just for new employees.
    In fact, a clear majority (94%) say onboarding is a key part of
    employee development beyond just the new hire period. However, most
    (77%) note their company’s onboarding program places greater emphasis
    on onboarding new hires than fostering positive transitions for
    existing employees.
  • After an initial orientation, company onboarding programs typically
    stop on a defined date versus ensuring information is understood and
    in use by employees.
    More than two-thirds (68%) say onboarding is
    treated as a static event in their company, not a continuous process.
    Only 11 percent of HR decision-makers with new hire onboarding say
    their onboarding never ends and is continuous, and less than two in
    three (65%) say their company’s onboarding program does a great job of
    upskilling or reskilling existing employees for the next step in their
  • HR decision-makers confirm onboarding has overwhelming positive
    benefits and could drive culture change and business innovation.

    The majority (91%) agree onboarding plays an essential role in
    creating a culture of change and innovation.
  • Most companies do not plan to focus meaningfully on their
    onboarding programs despite views that they could do more with
    onboarding for employee development.
    Around one in three HR
    decision-makers (35%) say understanding and addressing onboarding
    issues are currently a high priority at their company, while 45
    percent say it is a medium priority and 20 percent say low or no
    priority. Similarly, only about one-quarter of HR decision-makers
    (28%) anticipate their company’s emphasis on onboarding to
    significantly increase over the next five years. However, only one in
    five (19%) say they anticipate no change in their company’s emphasis
    on onboarding.
  • HR decision-makers measure ‘soft benefits’ without including the
    ‘hard metrics’ that companies must meet to remain in business.

    While around two-thirds measure employee retention (70%) and employee
    engagement (66%) as key performance indicators (KPIs) in their
    programs, fewer use revenue performance (30%), cost reduction (29%),
    customer retention (23%), and increased market share (21%) as program
  • Companies face significant challenges in adapting their onboarding
    programs to the coming business changes.
    One-third of HR
    decision-makers (33%) say measuring how well their onboarding program
    performs against KPIs is one of the top three biggest onboarding
    challenges they are facing, followed by personalization of the new
    hire experience (31%), improving new hire engagement (30%), and
    implementing changes quickly (29%).
  • HR decision-makers predict upskilling/reskilling will play a
    significant role in the future as technology disrupts the way we work.

    Most HR decision-makers (96%) agree that given the increasing role of
    AI/automation in the workplace, it is important that existing
    employees are upskilled or reskilled through onboarding programs. More
    than two in five think onboarding will be absolutely essential in
    teaching necessary skills to employees (48%), in overall company
    success (43%), reducing employee fear and uncertainty (42%), and
    ensuring all employees work together (41%) as AI/automation is
    introduced in the workplace.
  • Many HR decision-makers feel their company’s onboarding program is
    prepared for AI, yet most aren’t confident about the components of
    their preparations.
    More than four in five HR decision-makers
    (83%) say their current onboarding program is extremely or somewhat
    prepared to address overall company success as AI/automation is
    introduced into the workplace. However, those who say their current
    onboarding program is extremely prepared to address these things are
    much lower, with only around one-third saying their program is
    extremely prepared for teaching necessary skills (37%), addressing
    overall company success (36%), ensuring all employees work together
    (36%), and transitioning employees effectively to new roles (33%).

Full results and accompanying data tables may accessed here.

“Today, people change jobs more frequently than ever. From a new
employee’s perspective, every job change requires learning new
processes, systems and people,” said Josh
, global HR industry analyst. “Once considered a tactical,
first-day initiation, onboarding has now become an essential business
process – one that often continues beyond an employee’s first year. With
today’s focus on productivity and employee engagement, this research
shows the need to rethink onboarding in a broader, more strategic way.”

“Companies have tremendous opportunity to embrace the coming disruption
and strengthen the bonds they have with their employees through
strategic onboarding that’s continuous, intentional and
employee-centric,” said Lilith
, Vice President of Onboarding Solutions at SilkRoad
. “Many companies see onboarding as a finite process with
a beginning and end. At SilkRoad, we have helped companies onboard
nearly 250 million employees through traditional onboarding for new
hires as well as through transfers, promotions and moves. Done properly,
onboarding never ends. It supports employees through their entire
lifecycle with the company. These results show companies have much work
to do – that the C-suite needs to pay closer attention to the issues
surrounding onboarding and development and recognize the business impact
of doing so.”

Research Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll
between March 28 and April 10, 2019, on behalf of SilkRoad among 203
human resource decision-makers age 18 or older who are employed
full-time at a company with more than 500 employees with the title of
manager or above working in HR. All have at least significant
involvement in recruitment, hiring or onboarding decisions (“HR
decision-makers”). Data were weighted where necessary by company size to
bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population.

About The Harris Poll

Harris Poll
is one of the longest running surveys in the U.S.
tracking public opinion, motivations and social sentiment since 1963
that is now part of Harris Insights & Analytics, a global consulting and
market research firm that strives to reveal the authentic values of
modern society to inspire leaders to create a better tomorrow. We work
with clients in three primary areas: building twenty-first-century
corporate reputation, crafting brand strategy and performance tracking,
and earning organic media through public relations research. Our mission
is to provide insights and advisory to help leaders make the best
decisions possible.

About SilkRoad Technology

optimizes human capital with a software and services
platform that helps our clients attract and retain people and align them
to their business. Our solutions start with Global Client Services to
provide strategic HR and business expertise. SilkRoad then designs
secure solutions tailored to your business requirements at scale for
global companies. We deliver personalized experiences for employees to
drive engagement across the employment lifecycle to enable measurable
and better business outcomes.

For more information, visit,
follow on Twitter @SilkRoadTweets or call 866–329–3363 (U.S. toll free)
or +1–312–574–3700.