Good onboarding can ease the effects of the Great Resignation. Our CSO, Colin Sloman, explains why and how Cognician can help.


The pandemic has necessitated a shift in the ways we work. Employees are no longer exclusively working in the office and leadership styles and strategies have evolved. After two long years, beliefs around what constitutes a 'good job' have changed. It isn't enough for people to receive a paycheck and standard benefits. In addition to accommodating their personal lives, employees want a job that satisfies their sense of purpose and feeling of belonging. Many workers in the US – about 4.5 million in November 2021 alone – have decided their jobs don't fit the bill and have joined The Great Resignation.

While on the surface The Great Resignation might seem like the worst possible outcome for leadership in any organization, it is, in my opinion, an opportunity for organizations to rethink their employee value proposition and ask why so many are voting with their feet. We understand that employee retention is a complex topic and there is rarely one simple answer to why people are leaving your organization. However, we know one lever has a disproportionate impact on retention – the onboarding process. And with so many resignations, we will be busy with onboarding as we seek to replace key workers. Consider the numbers: research by Glassdoor found that a great onboarding process can improve employee retention by 82%. And yet, according to a Gallup poll, just 12% of employees strongly agree that their company does a great job of onboarding. 

Great onboarding is the key to retaining new hires. It provides employees with the knowledge and skills they need to function and, more importantly, feel like they belong in their new organization. Your efforts to engage new hires, develop new skills, show them what they need to know, and teach them how to be effective in the culture will have a huge impact on their time with your organization. 

Organizations often squander this crucial moment with a variant of 'death by PowerPoint'. Instead of connecting emotionally and engaging and inspiring your new employees, many organizations overwhelm new hires with endless information and paperwork delivered in generic slide decks – or worse the Employee Handbook – which focus on policy, compliance, and form filling. As a result, new hires form an immediate impression about the culture and the employee experience and make assumptions about what their future career might feel like. Are they leaving your onboarding primed, skilled, and inspired to bring their best to work, or are they planning their escape? 

Help New Hires Hit the Ground Running 

Improve your employee retention rates by overhauling your onboarding program so that your new hires can hit the ground running. Cognician's award-winning onboarding programs can help you achieve this. A few years ago, a client of ours found that new hires weren't as productive or engaged as they needed to be after induction and orientation. Our client believed there was a better way to improve time to competence and productivity using a Cognician 30-day challenge.  The multi-day challenge proved very successful at activating new employee behaviors. Hiring managers reported that new employees were more capable and ready to deliver effective project work. Key skills such as networking, collaborating and self-directed learning were proven to make all the difference, including a 5% improvement in productivity.  

Each challenge provided new hires with the opportunity to practice new behaviors and reflect on their progress to reinforce learning. Participants were encouraged to share insights and comment on their insights to increase cohesion and belonging. Compared to employees who completed onboarding the traditional way, new hires had a measurable improvement in productivity and job readiness. Furthermore, new hires using the program made over 1,100 new connections within the organization to boost feelings of belonging. This program has been so successful it is now in its sixth year of deployment. 

Is your company ready to transform the Great Resignation into the great onboarding?
Contact Cognican today to find out how our customized employee activation experiences can help you delight and retain new hires.