First impression matters.
After spending months investing resources to find great talent to fill a key role within the company, it is terribly disappointing to have the employee resign within a year. This is the case for many companies, which are not able to meet new hires’ expectations and as a result, lose good people. This happens because while new hires join the company with much motivation and excitement, they somehow end up becoming disillusioned often within the first few days itself. (Also read: Why employees frequently switch jobs and how to retain them)
Unfortunate examples of these employers involve superficial employee onboarding programs, unclear communication to new hires prior to the first day, unstructured training, and neglected information regarding the HR’s and hiring department’s responsibilities.
According to TalentWise
- 91% of new hires stick with a company for at least one year if the organization has efficient onboarding processes
- 69% of those new hires stick with a company for at least three years when it has a well-structured onboarding program
Therefore, to consider the hiring process for a specific position successful, employers need first to make sure that their new hires will not leave the company soon. That said, it is important to show them from day one that you as an employer care about them and respect the fact that these people will be the people who will drive the company’s overall performance in the near future. Thus, you will help them keep alive, and maybe enhance, their excitement and motivation for joining you. (Also read: 7 ways recruiters can increase the offer-to-joining ratio)
When do you make the first impression in employee onboarding?
If you think you will make the first impression the moment the new hire will formally join the company, you have already lost the game!
The first impression will take place at the moment you will contact the candidates. The way you approach them, the tone of your communication, and the overall experience you provide them with are all part of the first impression you are making on candidates you are considering for a key position within the company. Even if you don’t know yet who will be hired in the end, you should know that the “employee onboarding” starts when you approach the candidates. In the end, this is why you approach them because you believe that they could join the company.
There are plenty of examples when candidates were very excited to join a company, but they don’t because of an unstructured and unclear hiring process. They were not impressed with the way company dealt with the hiring process, and them.
How to avoid such a bad impression:
- Set and communicate a clear timeline regarding the hiring process – Let the candidates know how long it will take, what the steps are, and when to expect what.
- Communicate status update to each candidate at each step - It is important for the candidates to be updated about their application status. They need to know if they made it to the next step or not. Should they start applying somewhere else or wait a bit longer for your decision? They need to know.
- Involve gamification in the hiring process – Gamification of the hiring process is a great way to provide candidates with a great experience— an experience which makes them feel that even if they do not get the position, at least they enjoyed the journey.
- Incorporate Talent Assessment Software – TAS has a twofold goal. On one hand, it helps employers to ensure that the person they will hire will be able to perform well in the new role, and, on the other hand, it helps candidates create a positive impression about the dedication of the company to ensure that it will hire only the best. Somehow, it makes them feel special when they succeed. For example, HackerEarth Recruit is a technical recruitment platform that helps companies assess candidate performance via customized online coding tests.
“Before the first day” to-do list?
After considering the aforementioned practices, you can be sure that the new hire is likely to have the same or even increased motivation to join the company. By providing candidates with a positive experience throughout the hiring process, you (hopefully) convinced them that you care about the people you bring onboard; you want the best, and if they made it they have an extra reason to feel proud to join your family.
As soon as the candidate accepts the offer, you are all ready for the next step of the onboarding process.
Create a “Before the First Day” list, and include on this list all the tasks that the employee onboarding team needs to complete:
- Make sure you provide the new hire with some practical and clear information about the first day. Consider the question: “What should they expect on the first day of employment?”
- Make sure all the paperwork has been finished before he/she joins the company. Enter him/her in your HR systems, have the laptop/desktop ready, and create for him/her all the necessary accounts. Show them you are structured and proactive.
- Remind the hiring managers about the new hire a few days in advance, and make sure he/she has scheduled some time in their calendar to introduce the new hire to the rest of the team, and give a contact list.
On the First Day – the “Official Employee Onboarding”:
Supposing that you managed to ensure the entire “Before the First Day” list has been checked, now, you need to think of the structure of the “Official Employee Onboarding.” This is the moment when you officially introduce the new hires to the company and make sure they will find the working environment you promised during the hiring process.
That said, consider the following practices, inspired by companies such as Google and Netflix:
- Present your company’s policies and values; while doing so, try to reference specific examples. If you reference a story or a real example, they’ll be more likely to relate and understand.
- Encourage open dialogue.
- Discuss their responsibilities and be prepared to answer any questions.
- Introduce them to the rest of the team.
- Assign a dedicated mentor to each new hire.
- Provide them with a schedule and timeline regarding their training.
- Google employee onboarding program suggests that when training new hires, define success for each. Put together a roadmap to success based on the way you perceive it and expect it to be. Present them with as many KPIs as possible. Thus, you will help them have a clear image of what is expected from them.
- Netflix onboarding program suggests you let new hires tackle huge projects from the beginning. It makes them feel like you trust them and believe in their knowledge, skills, and abilities.
Successfully ending the employee onboarding process
For some organizations, the official employee onboarding program, including the training, ends within three weeks, and for other companies after 2 or 3 months. There is no standard timeline on this. It always depends on the company culture, size, structure, and goals. What is important to make sure that you successfully end the employee onboarding process is that you (HR, IT, Facilities, and the Hiring Team) ensured that the new hire received well-structured training which will help him/her feel part of the team, perform as expected, and align personal goals with the overall company’s goals. The hiring manager should hold several feedback meetings with the new hire. In these meetings, the purpose should be to make sure that the new hire is ready to perform “independently.” If you are already there, then kudos on your well-structured onboarding program. If not, then it is time to review and adjust it according to your company’s needs and resources. (Also read: How to write an employee handbook)