SilkRoad Survey Finds Strategic Onboarding an Increasing Business Priority, But Most Programs Too Abbreviated to Drive Business Results

Published On: September 11, 2018

Seventy percent anticipate greater onboarding emphasis from leadership, while nearly 80 percent of programs remain three months or less

Chicago – (September 11, 2018) – SilkRoad (, a global leader in strategic enterprise onboarding and talent activation to drive business outcomes, today released results of a new global survey of worldwide Human Resources (HR) leaders, “The Awakening: Onboarding Emerges as a Strategic Driver.”  The survey report findings detail how organizational leadership increasingly sees improved onboarding as a strategic imperative to support the success of the business.

SilkRoad released the findings at the opening of the HR Technology Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, Sept. 11-14.  Conducted by SilkRoad between April and May 2018, the survey gathers the thoughts of over 400 HR leaders in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. The key findings include:

  • Emphasis on strategic onboarding continues to rise, with corporate leaders increasingly recognizing the value of increasing employee engagement and reducing turnover, particularly in tight labor markets. Onboarding will be a greater point of emphasis for most organizations surveyed. Seventy percent of North American HR leaders said they anticipate increased focus on onboarding in the next three years. The numbers were even higher among HR leaders in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific (APAC), where 84 and 75 percent, respectively, anticipated greater emphasis.
  • HR leaders are increasingly evolving from transactional improvements to higher level engagement goals. North American leaders surveyed said their key measurements of onboarding program success were “New Hire Engagement” (80 percent) and “New Hire Retention” (68 percent).  Of the options given, “Onboarding Administration Costs,” or merely improving the processing of forms for the new hire, received the least responses (24 percent).
  • Even though engagement and retention are primary goals, onboarding programs tend to end far too soon. Leading experts recommend new employee onboarding programs last a year, stitching employees into the fabric of an organization. Still, 77 percent of North American HR leaders reported their onboarding lasts three months or less. Nearly four in 10 (38 percent) report their programs are a week or less.
  • The promise of big data and technology, including its ability to identify “at risk” employees, is seen as the biggest driver of change among most leaders worldwide. HR Leaders from EMEA (76 percent) and APAC (74 percent) cited tech as a major driver significantly more than their North American counterparts (52 percent).

“While most companies told us they believe their employee onboarding programs are ‘maturing’ or ‘mature,’ deeper analysis of their answers suggest they may not be as evolved as they think,” said Lilith Christiansen, Vice President of Onboarding Solutions for SilkRoad. “Successful companies build and continually refine their onboarding programs, focusing on four key pillars: providing early career support, creating networks, providing strategy immersion and direction, and enabling cultural mastery.”

“An onboarding program that merely focuses on the basics in the first week or so misses the opportunity to actively engage employees over a longer term,” Christiansen said. “For greater engagement and retention, create an intentional onboarding program that breaks up content into learning phases, with each stage supporting the employee journey and including structured management check-ins along the way.”

About SilkRoad

SilkRoad is the world’s leader in strategic onboarding for talent activation, helping organizations win the war for retention by engaging people with personalized world-class onboarding to keep talent engaged and connected to business goals throughout their employment journeys. SilkRoad has helped thousands of companies around the world create highly scalable personalized experiences that activate and retain people.


For more information, visit, follow on Twitter @SilkRoadTweets or call 866–329–3363 (U.S. toll free) or +1–312–574–3700.


Kathleen Porter