Do you have that "honeymoon glow"? A successful on-boarding experience is one that starts the moment a new employee is recruited, moves at pace, and involves not just learning the job but gaining a full view of the organisation they have joined. This includes the big picture, the real culture, who's who, how work gets done, and where the employee fits. It also includes real work, real goals and valuable feedback.

Organisations that ask their employees "What is it like to work here?" are in the best position to "keep it real" with new hires. D-J Williams, senior consultant at Kenexa, an IBM company, says, "Participating organisations in New Zealand's Kenexa Best Workplaces programme often refer to their results in job advertisements, on-boarding materials, across internal communications and see it backed up in social networks the new hire forms from day one."

Known as the "honeymoon period", a new hire's first year is formative to their engagement with the organisation, their level of performance and intent to stay for the long term.

Considering real cost to hire (which can range from 10 to 100 per cent of an annual salary) and the time to full productivity (Michael Watkins in The First 90 Days believes that break-even point is around six months), retaining staff and ensuring any on-boarding is done effectively has tangible returns.


A recent global Kenexa WorkTrends study (surveying more than 33,000 employees) found new hires are among the most likely to consider leaving. Ensuring new hires have the basic tools they need to perform optimally (such as training to do the job, goals to aim for and feedback on how they are doing) is critical to successful on-boarding. When this happens, turnover intentions drop from 34 to 15 per cent.

The study found that new hires are eyeing up career development opportunities from day one, and talking about their future in the organisation is crucial for retaining talent in the early days. It further identified that key decision-makers may be out of touch with new hire training.

Eight out of 10 senior leaders believe their new recruits are getting the training they need; however, only six out of 10 new hires believe this themselves. This disconnect is perhaps due to under-investment in training by many organisations.

The challenge for NZ organisations promoting their real employment brand and complementing this with strong on-boarding practices is how to extend that "honeymoon glow" as the new hire enters their second year and engagement tends to wane.

The Kenexa Best Workplaces Survey runs until August 30 and registrations are open at