After finding the perfect fit for an open position, too many companies drop the ball by delivering an onboarding experience that leaves new hires looking for new jobs. Thus, they wind up in a risky situation that is neither healthy nor productive.
Consider the companies surveyed in our recent Talent Advisory Survey who say it takes approximately three months to fill highly skilled positions and 1.5 months to hire people for entry-level jobs. Effective onboarding ensures this time investment is not thrown away. Not only does the quality of a company’s onboarding playbook continue to determine the trajectory for a newly hired employee’s retention, but it also directly contributes to recruiting’s ROI.
Despite the obvious benefits of having a formalized onboarding program, the survey reports several disconnects among hiring managers, recruiters, and candidates throughout the onboarding process. For example, hiring managers claim to execute onboarding actions much more consistently than recruiters and candidates agree with. Specifically, 86% of hiring managers claim job expectations of the new hire are always clear, while only 49% of recruiters and 37% of candidates state the same.
Similar disconnects exist around whether job expectations for the new hire are always realistic and aligned to the original job description, and whether new hires are always made to feel truly welcomed by their new team and always met with at the necessary frequency.
Furthermore, many employers fail to show any true commitment to delivering a winning onboarding experience. One in five (21%) employers reports that their organization lacks a formal, documented onboarding process with accountable owners for each stage. Moreover, many employers are deficient in creating a feedback loop that allows them to improve an onboarding experience that may be going off the rails. Fewer than half (45%) of employers ask new hires to complete an onboarding survey within the first two weeks.
This reality is hardly the way to win the recruitment game, yet companies that commit to a formalized onboarding experience can improve candidate satisfaction significantly. The survey finds that candidates who are very satisfied with the recruitment process are much more likely to feel truly welcomed by their new team and agree that job expectations match the originally presented description. Simply put, successful talent acquisition organizations follow a defined onboarding playbook. And with this playbook, new hires will better adjust to their work environment, ensuring that they connect with their coworkers and understand their role in the organization. By committing to the following behaviors, organizations can provide an onboarding experience that delivers the right outcomes.
Be Prepared for a New Hire’s First Day
High-performing recruitment organizations are 1.6 times more likely to say hiring managers are fully prepared for a new hire’s first day, 1.5 times more likely to have a formal onboarding process with accountable owners at each stage, and 1.3 times more likely to have office and IT resources ready.
Making new hires comfortable starting from day one is imperative to employee retention as it helps to build trust and reaffirms their value to the company. Being prepared also indicates that the team was intentional about its hiring decision, thought through the necessary complement of tools and technology a person needs to succeed, and ensured those assets were working and ready to use upon the employee’s arrival. Employers that fail to perform these basic steps send their team members a negative message and risk unnecessary frustration for new hires who simply want to excel at their jobs.
Value Personal Connections
A new hire’s level of engagement at the beginning of a job sets the stage for how happy and productive he or she will be throughout his or her employment. It is, therefore, important that new hires feel truly welcomed. High-performing organizations recognize this truth and are 1.3 times more likely to lay out the welcome mat, knowing that talent satisfaction is impacted when new employees are made to feel welcome by their new team.
Top organizations are also 1.5 times more likely to help new members feel like a part of the team (e.g., coffees, happy hours, lunches, etc.) and 1.6 times more likely to ensure employees who support a new hire’s transition are recognized. While there are some costs associated with these activities, such expenses are minimal compared to the investment of bringing candidates through this entire process only to have them leave dissatisfied because they felt lost.
Set Clear Job Expectations
The clarity of a new hire’s job expectations inevitably impacts productivity. In the spirit of helping translate a job into specific tasks with delivery dates, high-performing recruitment organizations are 2.3 times more likely to have 30-/60-/90-day plans for new hires. Knowing what they should be doing and when helps new hires gain their footing and enjoy a sense of achievement when they deliver on expectations.
Regular communication also assists in ensuring job expectations are clear. Successful talent acquisition organizations are 1.4 times more likely to meet with new hires at the necessary frequency. As a best practice, hiring managers should check in at least once per day for the first two weeks and adjust the rate based on whether the person seems to need more or less coaching. These touchpoints do not have to be overbearing or lost in detail; rather, the goal is to be accessible so the new hire has a point of contact with a visible, vested interest in facilitating their success.
Top recruitment organizations are also 2.6 times more likely to have new hires complete an onboarding survey in the first two weeks. This process enables hiring managers to course-correct before employee concerns begin to fester. It also allows organizations to analyze new hire feedback for trends or themes that can be addressed to holistically elevate process performance and employee satisfaction.
The early time spent training, investing in peer-to-peer relationship building, mentoring, and checking in will pay high dividends in terms of productivity and retention while reducing the common stressors both employers and workers accepting a new role feel. Employers never get a second chance to make a good first impression. Make sure those first two weeks count in order to plan for a winning recruitment season.