program development

Employee Onboarding

Client: US-based, 1,000-2,000 employees

Date: Spring 2018

Category: UX research, program development

Using Empathy to Build a Better Onboarding Process

Challenge:  In a period of rapid growth, new hires were inconsistently put through an outdated onboarding program and those that attended did not retain information presented. The retention rate of people hired in the last 5 years at a particular experience level was significantly low. The knowledge gap among recent hires meant lost productivity in bringing them up to speed.


How might we welcome and educate new hires to establish loyalty and confidence in their new roles?

We began with research that included observation of existing processes and empathetic interviews of recent hires, gathering data to establish a baseline for our work. Since onboarding touches every department, we gathered leaders from each and held a problem discovery workshop.
Once we identified a few opportunities that could be tested, we designed an experiment and validated with a “mini onboarding”—a low-stakes proving ground that would get leadership buy-in to relaunch the entire program. We gathered data during the test and were able to prove an uptick in retention as well as an overall improvement in satisfaction ratings from previous onboarding structures. 
Six months following the implementation of our new program, employee retention in the challenge areas increased by 40%, emails with benefits questions to human resources were down 33%, benefits enrollment increased by 15% and reports from managers in departments who had acquired new personnel were positive.