In 2023, the HR industry saw everything from companies settling on a hybrid work model to HR teams testing the waters with Generative AI. It’s safe to say the industry has experienced countless transformations this year alone. But how will these changes impact the future of work and onboarding?
The experts have weighed in! Read on to see what employee onboarding trends you should watch for in 2024.
1. Here's to more personalized onboarding experiences
If you’ve onboarded new hires recently, you know it can feel impersonal, especially for remote hires. This can make even the most enthusiastic employees feel like just another face in the crowd (or on a Zoom call).
Impersonal experiences can create unrealistic job and culture expectations and alienate top talent, resulting in turnover. In fact, a study found that 30% of employees leave their jobs within 90 days (Employ).
Only some companies are implementing a personalized onboarding experience currently. However, more companies will follow suit in 2024, according to experts like Mitch Chailland, President of Canal HR, and Maksym Lushpenko, CEO of Brokee.
Chailland says, “In 2024, I expect a significant shift in onboarding strategies, emphasizing personalization and overall employee engagement and experience. One key trend will be the integration of AI and machine learning in onboarding processes, enabling companies to cater to the unique learning styles, career backgrounds, and preferences of new hires to enhance engagement and effectiveness.”
Lushpenko echoes this sentiment and believes that “AI will be leveraged to personalize onboarding experiences for employees.”
He predicts that AI-driven assessment tools can analyze employees’ performance and identify their strengths, weaknesses, and areas of improvement. Then, HR teams can create personalized learning pathways from this insight.
2. Intentionally forming connections with new hires
Forming connections with new employees in the past was, dare we say, easy. Employees could stop by a new hire’s desk or chat for a few minutes in the break room. Creating those same connections with employees in hybrid or remote work models isn’t as effortless. But they’re still necessary.
A study found that 41% of HR leaders believe hybrid work compromises employees’ connection to culture (Gartner). Well, at least in the traditional sense of connecting.
An onboarding trend we’ll see in 2024 is companies forming more intentional connections with new hires. While traditional connections don’t work for hybrid and remote onboarding, intentional ones like virtual welcome ceremonies and digital introductions will become more popular.
3. Using AI to streamline onboarding tasks
If you’ve requested an e-signature before, you know the advantages of a well-oiled onboarding machine. In her article, Lindsey Savarino, Senior Director of HR at Aware, says;
Using AI is generally considered standard practice for onboarding. However, Rodrigo Vázquez Mellado at SelectSoftware Reviews, a company that tests and evaluates HR software, says, “My take on the trends we’ll see in 2024 is that more and more companies will automate as much of the process as possible, especially those with hybrid and remote models—since these are way more likely to have software systems in place to help with most HR functions.”
While he believes a self-service approach will keep gaining momentum, he also says, “At the same time, I think sensible HR teams will notice that the need for human interaction will always be there, and hence will make an effort towards keeping rites like intro meetings with the direct manager and other key team members.”
4. Growing emphasis on inclusion from the beginning
Most companies have a section on DEIB in their employee handbook and somewhere on their site. But when it comes to helping new hires feel like they belong on day one? 🤔
Few companies have succeeded.
A study found that only 38% of employees who’ve been with a company for less than 6 months intend to stay (Qualtrics). The report mentions that employees don’t feel included or like they belong.
A trend for employee onboarding in 2024 is helping new hires feel a genuine sense of belonging from day one. Chailland mentioned that pre-onboarding can also help “foster a sense of belonging before starting the official role.”
5. More in-person activities
Remote, hybrid, and in-person work models are all here to stay. Most teams are missing that human connection, which is a vital part of the 5 C’s of onboarding.
Jo Taylor, the Managing Director at Let’s Talk Talent, says a trend she sees in the new year is an increase in onboarding activities. “With our clients, we’re seeing a move to more in-person onboarding activities. It’s vital to build that connection in a person’s early [employee] experience.”
Taylor also mentions that this may be easier for local teams, but onboarding activities are still important for global teams.
6. Increased VR usage for job training
Virtual reality? For employee onboarding?
VR has seen some serious improvements in the last few years, so it’s no surprise that we’ll see an uptick in its use for onboarding new hires. Specifically for employee onboarding and on-the-job training.
A University of Maryland study found that VR learners demonstrated an 8.8% higher recall accuracy compared to those using a more traditional two-dimensional way of learning.
Savarino mentions one of its uses will be to “recreate otherwise dangerous work situations in risky industries like oil and gas, manufacturing, healthcare, and aviation.”
7. Automation is key
According to Glassdoor, a reliable employee onboarding process improves new employees’ retention by 82 % and productivity by over 70 %.
That’s substantial enough to pay attention to.
Automated employee onboarding offers numerous benefits, foremost among them being efficiency and consistency. By automating the onboarding process, a business can ensure a standardized and streamlined experience for new hires, reducing the likelihood of errors and oversights.
Automated employee onboarding not only accelerates the time it takes for employees to become fully productive but also enhances overall satisfaction and engagement for new hires.
Jaquelyn Gernaey states “From company policies and training modules to safety protocols and legal requirements, automation ensures that essential information is effectively communicated. By prioritizing compliance, you mitigate risks and build trust and confidence in your organization.”
Moving into the new year, automating tasks that can be automated — like using Whale’s automation to help feed assignments to new hires — without eliminating that human touch will be essential.
Employee onboarding trends...The Bottom Line?
Onboarding is the cornerstone of the relationship between new hires and your company. 🤝
Our predictions for 2024 point to companies creating a more positive, lasting experience for employees during onboarding. If you want to capitalize on these trends and start automating your onboarding process in a centralized place, sign up for Whale’s free trial today.