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How Mark Hurd Increased Employee Retention at Oracle by Improving Onboarding Practices

Brittany Lindquist
Director Customer Marketing, Oracle HCM Cloud

Hiring good employees can be expensive. We recently took a look at just how costly it can be, and the numbers should be sobering for any HR professional or finance executive. It can cost between 10 and 30 percent of his or her annual salary to replace a departed employee making less than $75,000 a year, and high-skilled demanding jobs can cost employers up to 200 percent to re-staff after a valuable employee heads for “greener” pastures.

Oracle CEO Mark Hurd understands the importance of low turnover for the bottom line as well as any executive. Oracle has almost 140,000 employees, which means that small changes can have huge impacts when it comes to employee satisfaction, job performance, and retention. It’s very much in his interest to ensure that Oracle’s employees feel like they’re part of something great, and creating that atmosphere has to begin on day one of every new hire’s tenure, no matter where they work or what they’ve been brought on board to do.

Early in his tenure, Hurd discovered something problematic about Oracle’s onboarding processes: they weren’t consistent, they weren’t comprehensive, and they just weren’t working to get most new hires up to speed. At least, that was the opinion of Oracle employees surveyed on previous onboarding practices. Hurd discussed this particular issue at length during his keynote speech at Oracle’s HCM World conference this year:

“We have to do our best to make it easy to assimilate into the company. We had 35 percent favorability, if I remember right... about our onboarding. So it figures I had the easy part of this. I got the data and didn't like it, and I told [Oracle EVP of Human Resources Joyce Westerdahl] to fix it. Somebody on Joyce's team did a lot of work to start to get common website capability, common training capabilities. ‘How do you join a company and get a PC?’ ‘How do you join the company and get a mobile phone?’ ‘How do you get an employee number? How do you get a badge?’

All of this stuff sounds so rudimentary, but it was taking weeks for some of this stuff to get done. And in the meantime, the employee's unmotivated and doesn't understand where the resources are. I think in our last couple of surveys we raised that from 35 percent favorable to around 80 percent favorable, just by the work that was done. That's a really good example for us, to our people. We listened to you, we evaluated what you said, we acted, and we got a better answer.”



Onboarding can be one of the most critical times in an employee’s tenure. Their experience in those first few days sets the tone for how they perceive their new employer and their new coworkers. A smooth and effortless onboarding experience sets both employer and employee up for success, while a rocky start can leave a new hire wondering just what they’ve gotten themselves into. The data shows, time and time again, that a great onboarding process will more than pay for itself over the long run:


  • Up to 20 percent of turnover happens in the first 45 days of employment

  • Standard onboarding processes lead to 54 percent greater productivity in new hires

  • Companies lose up to 2.5 percent of their revenue to new hire learning curves

  • Good onboarding results in 18 percent greater new-hire goal achievement


At Oracle, we’ve done more than improve our onboarding practices — we’ve taken what we’ve learned and used it to build a complete onboarding solution as part of our Human Capital Management (HCM) Cloud. The technology behind this solution works not only with brand-new employees, but with employees moving into a new role in the same organization. It even covers “pre-boarding,” that period of time between accepting a job offer and showing up at the office for the first day of work. Acclimating new hires to the company culture and introducing them to their peers in advance can further speed and streamline the transition from first-day jitters to all-star performance.

Would you like to learn more about how we turned our CEO’s insight into actionable processes, and how we can put those processes to work for you? Click here to get started.

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