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Improving Effectiveness With Onboarding, Engagement, and Development Programs


Thu Aug 03 2017

Improving Effectiveness With Onboarding, Engagement, and Development Programs

The top pain points for those in HR are often employee turnover and engagement, according to one study. Nearly a quarter of new hires quit after only 45 days on the job. Worse still, the average cost of losing an employee during the first year is about three times their salary. These statistics highlight the importance of onboarding and engagement programs, in particular. 

To address these challenges, ATD Research recently conducted a study of three key programs that have the ability, when done well, to retain employees and develop them into even better ones. The resulting report, Onboard, Engage, and Develop: How Organizations Improve Effectiveness, sponsored by Paradigm Learning, examines the role that the talent development function plays in each of the three program areas of focus: onboarding, engagement, and development. 



The talent development function is most likely to be the owner or co-owner of executive and leadership development programs (78 percent), general organization onboarding (76 percent), and career development (73 percent). 

The research also looked at the effectiveness of organizations and whether talent development’s ownership of programs made a difference. In fact, results indicated that when organizations were considered highly effective, the talent development function was significantly more likely to be an owner or co-owner of each of the key programs.  


The report outlines several recommendations to make onboarding, engagement, and development programs more effective. To learn more about what practitioners and organizations are doing to better their programs, read the full report.  

Make sure the talent development function is a decision maker. Highly effective organizations were significantly more likely than organizations low in effectiveness to include the talent development function as an owner or co-owner in each of the programs. Therefore, be sure to include talent development in the ownership of these programs, even when such programs seem less suited for them, such as onboarding or engagement. 

Onboarding programs should move beyond “one and done.” Onboarding programs should start before an employee’s first day, and should last more than just their first few days or weeks. To improve effectiveness of onboarding programs—and lessen the chance of losing new employees—create onboarding programs that last anywhere from the first three months up to the end of their first full year.  


Avoid one-size-fits-all development and engagement strategies. Have conversations with employees about the future of their career and development goals. It will engage them and can even reduce turnover. Remember that employees often leave companies when they feel like they are disengaged and aren’t being developed. Engaging them in the process and following up after training, for example, are easy ways to show employees that their managers are invested in them and their future. 

Learn More 

The full report is available for purchase for a member price of $199 ($499 for nonmembers) at www.td.org/developtalent. There will also be a whitepaper, which is complimentary for ATD members and $19.99 for nonmembers. ATD will also host a free webcast about this report on August 23 at 2 p.m. ET; you can register online now. 

Visit the ATD Research page to learn more.

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