Recruitment and Selection

Our last Delfi column explored some the reasons why “perfect” recruits sometimes disappoint after hiring. In the spirit of the end of winter and the arrival of daylight saving time, today’s Delfi column adopts a more positive lens as we explore ways to ensure that new recruits do not disappoint – how to ensure that they can quickly come up to speed in their role and be a positive force in your organization.

Onboarding is the new business terminology for what used to be known as New Employee Orientation. Do you remember sitting around with nothing to do for the first few days on one of your new jobs – people too busy to spend time with you – long boring days waiting to become productive ? If you believe that your early experiences of first days on the job are still the standard to aim for, then you will be doing a lot of repeat hiring. The new generation of recruits expect a lot more.

Onboarding is a process, not a half-day seminar. Onboarding is the process of integrating new hires into a company. Orientation is the process of introducing a new employee to the job. There is a vast difference. The onboarding process is the first taste that a new employee (read financial investment) gets of your organization, and that flavor will stick with them throughout their time with you. A new hire will make many judgements about an organization based on their first few days. New employees are always asked by family and friends about their new job – so give them something to brag about and be proud of. It is all valuable currency in the reputation bank of your business. It is also a great recruitment tool because people strive to work for winning organizations that know how to be “smart” with people.

Employees are the building blocks of your organization – and new employees can be a breath of fresh air and a tremendous sources of energy – if they are onboarded effectively with an early sense of direction. Research tells us that employees who were involved in a well-structured onboarding program are almost 70% more likely to stay at a company for three years or more. Well- structured onboarding leads to higher job satisfaction, decreased turnover, better organizational commitment and lower stress. Yet, although it typically costs >$10,000 to hire someone today,   more than 1/3 of companies spend absolutely nothing on onboarding. Data shows that the lack of onboarding means that your new recruits are much more likely to leave within 3 months.

  1. Onboarding starts with the recruitment process – by ensuring that there is an accurate and clear job description available for candidates to review. The more detail-oriented your job descriptions are, the clearer the early message that yours is a structured workplace that has its act together when it comes to new employees and expectations.
  2. Early goal setting is critical. Goals should be in place for the first week of employment, and established by the manager even before the new hires start. If your new employees know what is expected even during this first week (reasonable, attainable, meaningful), they will get two important messages right up front: this is a place that expects me to contribute to the broader success of this business; and this is a place where I can experience success, even in my first days on the job.
  3. Set clear milestones and benchmarks. Employees need to understand how they will be measured and how they can measure themselves. It is analogous to the scoreboard in sports, or the stop watch for a long distance runner. New employees need to be able to get an easy sense of how they are doing – and to feel a sense of achievement for meeting early expectations. Your leadership goal is to empower new employees to track their own development and output so they can feel great about their progress, and adjust and adapt quickly and painlessly when required.
  4. Make training a priority.

Employees join organizations to both work – and learn. Employees that are learning and growing in an organization are motivated, engaged and well on their way to becoming valued long-term assets. New employees are near their peak of receptivity for new ideas – they want to learn – and they want to succeed. There is no better time to train and create application opportunities for their new learning on the job. This requires establishing a training plan for your new employees before they enter your workplace – and then sharing and delivering on that plan early in their time with you. The most effective training is “just-in-time” rather than “trial by fire” – so plan your scheduled work activities for them to provide an early opportunity to put the new training into practice.

  1. Become Involved as a Leader

Someone in your business can handle some of the logistical aspects of getting a new employee onto the payroll system, onto benefits plans, signing the documents pertaining to the new employee file. Please note – it is seldom critical that it happens on the first day. When a business leader takes the time welcome a new employee into their organization on day one and plays a role during the onboarding process over the next few weeks, it sends clear messages to the new recruit – “I am wanted here – I am valued – I am recognized – People expect me to succeed”.   The hiring manager needs to be the quarterback of the onboarding process to ensure successful integration over time. So your work leaders need to be ready and committed to playing this role.

Onboarding –a process aimed at taking the energy and enthusiasm of a new recruit and starting to embed the habits and attitudes that will keep this initial momentum going long into the first year of a new hire’s work life. Congratulations for landing the right new recruit. Now complete the process by ensuring that they become a committed long-term productive employee through a well-thought-out onboarding and engagement process.