Until recently, onboarding was often thought the last stage in the recruiting cycle. Human resource teams looked at it as an end to a long process, defined almost entirely by administrative tasks of seemingly little real importance. But this approach consistently led to trouble down the road.

Now, both employees and managers recognize how crucial effective onboarding is to retention and performance. It sets a trajectory for a person’s future success from day one. Employers who engage their employees at the outset of their career with a personalized, effective onboarding medium like broadcast video are ones who assure long-term results.

Bringing onboarding up to date

Every business assesses the importance of onboarding differently. A recent study from ADP found that about half of mid-sized business owners and senior executives considered onboarding to be “quite important,” though not as much of a priority as some other methods for promoting and improving employee engagement. ADP’s research found that larger companies (defined as those with between 151 and 999 employees) placed a higher importance on effective onboarding strategies than did companies with 50 to 150 employees.

However, despite the increased attention larger companies tend to give to onboarding, a separate ADP study from 2015 showed that many have yet to institute a properly structured program. Instead, too many big businesses rely on makeshift, ad hoc programs lacking focus and coherence. According to ADP, only 1 in 5 human resource administrators – and less than 1 in 10 managers – would report that their company does an extremely good job with onboarding.

“The first days and weeks on the job for new employees are crucial and make or break a new employee’s impression on whether or not they want to stay. It is both an exciting and stressful time. The last thing a new hire wants to do is sit in isolation, wading through mounds of paperwork,” said Anna Carsen, Vice President of product management at ADP.

Unfortunately, this is precisely the tactic that far too many companies take. New employees are pressed into a room with a pen, a stack of paper and the promise to retrieve them hours later. In the year 2016, organizations can do far better than that – especially when considering the incredible importance of proper onboarding.

“The onboarding process is an important opportunity to drive employee engagement, right from the point of hire,” said R “Ray” Wang, Founder and Chairman of Constellation Research. “Companies seek an onboarding process that welcomes new employees to their organization with an engaging, consumer-driven experience. The goal is to help a new team member meet their colleagues, learn more about the company and get a jump on paperwork so they can quickly get started.”

The value of an approach like the one Wang described cannot be overstated. American workers face increasing strain and volatility as wages remain stagnant and global markets prove unpredictable. With around half of millennials saying they’re ready to change jobs in the near future, talent retention strategies need to be better – and start earlier – than ever before.

Retaining employees through onboarding

If onboarding efforts are to truly evolve for the 21st century, it will require managers, HR teams and even employees to stop equating the process with paperwork. Onboarding is so much more than that, as we’ve already begun to see. Modern onboarding encompasses interpersonal connections, training, orientation and regular check-ins. The process isn’t necessarily a short one – not that many businesses seemed to have noticed.

According to a post on Blogging 4 Jobs, only 15 percent of organizations extend their onboarding program beyond the first six months of a new employee’s career. This can be a big mistake. Why? Well, the post noted that the six month point is where the majority of employees decide to either remain with the company or seek new pastures. If an organization pulls the onboarding rug out from under them at this critical juncture, they unintentionally damage their own retention efforts.

Retention isn’t helped by the fact that only 2 percent of companies are still thinking about onboarding past year one. Like the six month mark, one year is an important turning point in many people’s careers. It typically signals the pivot from completed training to the start of continuous development. Employees may not be new anymore, but they are still learning.

Companies must remember that employee engagement and retention efforts never really end. They are evolving. They are ongoing. To provide the required long-term support, employers can never assume that their onboarding efforts have been 100 percent successful, or that they’ve done all they can. This is where internal onboarding comes into play.

Video and internal onboarding

A company that lets its workers know their growth and development are supported is one invested in its future. By engaging employees with an effective onboarding video strategy, executives allow them to feel connected and prepared for any challenges ahead. Making onboarding synonymous with retention, as the Blogging 4 Jobs post suggested, begins with a video engagement campaign.

According to Recruiting Trends, the vast majority (80 percent) of new employees are still plopped at a desk or conference room to complete onboarding paperwork. That has to stop. Instead, managers need to tap into the advantages offered by broadcast video technology.

Hosted by a cost-effective enterprise content delivery network, broadcast video is an authentic, personable format for reaching out to new employees and providing the human touch that onboarding so often lacks. Not only do employees immediately feel a part of the team, but video addresses one of the major pain points of all HR teams – the time lost to training new employees.

As a visual medium, video is processed and retained much more easily (and effectively) than written material. New employees see so much paperwork it makes them snowblind. Executives can cut down on the dull friction of onboarding by moving at least some of the process to broadcast video. Introduce the organization, its values and mission through video rather than slideshows. Have high-performing employees talk about best practices rather than hand out binders.

Onboarding is too important for long-term retention and engagement to rely on outdated methods. It’s time to upgrade to broadcast video.