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Why is “how your Organization recruits and on-boards a new hire” such a big deal? 12.01.2015

Fairfield, NJ, December 1, 2015 – I am often on my "soapbox stand" advising clients that effective interviewing and on-boarding programs are some of the single most important factors in assuring success of not only the new hire, but the organization. Conversely, these are the very factors most organizations do not focus on given business demands and harried work schedules. I observe clients scramble to fill positions and assume much of the on-boarding will happen "in due course". For example, management greets candidates hurriedly, placing them in a conference room where they undergo a serious of often repetitive interviews as multiple interviewers repeat questions asked by other interviewers. At some point an offer may be made, and the candidate starts with a flurry of paperwork to complete and co-workers to meet. Somehow through the busyness of the organization, the new hire fills out all the paperwork, gets to his/her desk, is introduced to people and starts their journey in the new organization. Sadly, according to a 2012 Allied Workforce Mobility Survey, it takes a year or longer for most new hires to get up and running in 30% of companies.

"Why should this be different?"

The expectations an organization has for performance are conveyed during the recruitment and on-boarding process. Perhaps, not always in the manner which the organization realizes and wishes…

Recruitment that is disorganized and ill prepared (with some interviewers repeating questions asked by other interviewers) not only sends a poor message about the organization, but about the performance standards in the organization. Candidates may not fully understand the requirements of the position and/or may be put off by the poor impression of the organization. Most importantly, valuable information may be unassessed.

Conversely, an organized recruitment process, with well-prepared interviewers each focusing on different critical success factors, denotes an impressive organization with high standards. The advantages in obtaining important candidate information are not only obvious for the selection process, but the message conveyed about the organization is clear. Candidates leave the interview process very clear on the benefits of the organization, requirements and high expectations for performance in this organization.

The same is true with on-boarding a new hire. The expression "you never get a second chance to make a good first impression" is certainly applicable to a new hire’s first day. It is imperative to make a good impression on a new hire’s first day, as it will directly impact the new hire’s assimilation and productivity timetable. In short, you want the new hire to go home at the end of the first day feeling that they made the right decision to join your organization!

Most importantly, according to the Aberdeen Group’s 2011 report, "Onboarding: The Path to Productivity", organizations with a standard onboarding process experience 54 percent greater new hire productivity and 50 percent greater new hire retention and two-times the level of new hire engagement as compared to those that did not.

Here are some guidelines for a success on-boarding program:

• Establish a new hire kit and make sure it contains all the items a new hire will need to be not only successful, but quickly integrate into the culture. Consider including an organizational chart with pictures of key individuals.

• Prepare an agenda so the new staff member will know how the first day (or even the first week) will proceed.

• Ensure any relevant staff "free up" their schedule to spend at least one hour with the new hire and schedule key meetings for the new hire to attend.

• Assign a "Buddy" to help new staff members feel comfortable for the first 2 weeks to month. This Buddy should include the person in lunch plans and department socialization, and answer any questions about the day-to-day workings of the department. Note: the Buddy is usually someone on the same team as the new hire, or at least within the same function. A Buddy must be a strong performer, a good communicator, someone who demonstrates the organization’s values, and someone whom you want to develop.

• Create a "welcome letter" signed by the CEO or head of the organization and place on new hires desk, ready for their arrival.

• Call the New Hire prior to his/her first day to welcome him/her to the organization and give overview of on-boarding process.

• During the first day/week:

• Familiarize the staff member with the department and introduce him/her to key staff members outside the department.

• Describe the staff member’s job function from a management perspective (focusing on what success in this role looks like) review goals and responsibilities and share initial expectations.

• Be available – make sure you are available to check in with the new staff member during the first day and week.

• Follow up at the 2 week, 30, 60, 90 day intervals.  

Of all the important factors that an organization undertakes don’t let recruitment and on-boarding be the least important. Remember when an organization recruits and on-boards employees correctly, it leads to higher job satisfaction, organizational commitment, decreased turnover, and better employee performance levels, which means better organizational performance!

This article was written by Vivian Yost, HR Solutions Practice Leader at Chadler Solutions.

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