Report: "Onboarding" helps retain employees

A process called “onboarding” is one of the best ways for federal agencies to retain new employees once they start work, according to a new report from the Partnership for Public and Booz Allen Hamilton.

In “Getting on Board: A Model for Integrating and Engaging New Employees,” issued May 13, researchers concluded that successfully integrating new employees into the workplace, or onboarding, during their first year increases retention by up to 25 percent.

“What agencies do or don’t do has a large impact on a new worker’s view of government service,” said Max Stier, president of the Partnership for Public Service. “And ultimately that will impact how effective agencies are at getting the job done.”

First impressions have effects; 90 percent of new employees decide in the first six months on the job whether they will stay or go, according to the study. It cites one case of unsuccessful onboarding in which a federal employee spent his first day at work counting the change left in his desk drawer because he had no computer and nothing to do.

The researchers found there is no consistent approach to onboarding in the federal government and that when onboarding initiatives are deployed, they often lack focus on the agency’s mission, vision and culture.

The study recommended that agencies implement a four-part onboarding model to help new employees.



  • Defining principles to ensure the onboarding process is aligned to an agency's mission.



  • Identifying specific onboarding roles for agency personnel and new employees.



  • Implementing specific phases and activities to integrate new employees.



  • Measuring and reporting on onboarding outcomes.



Researchers developed the model from best practices in the private sector and lessons learned from focus groups with federal employees and interviews with agency managers.

Featured

  • Cybersecurity

    DHS floats 'collective defense' model for cybersecurity

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wants her department to have a more direct role in defending the private sector and critical infrastructure entities from cyberthreats.

  • Defense
    Defense Secretary James Mattis testifies at an April 12 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.

    Mattis: Cloud deal not tailored for Amazon

    On Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought to quell "rumors" that the Pentagon's planned single-award cloud acquisition was designed with Amazon Web Services in mind.

  • Census
    shutterstock image

    2020 Census to include citizenship question

    The Department of Commerce is breaking with recent practice and restoring a question about respondent citizenship last used in 1950, despite being urged not to by former Census directors and outside experts.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.