Making your candidate feel at home in their new job will help them deliver on your client’s expectations, in turn boosting your reputation, according to Employerbility’s Kate Boorer. “Battling to backfill roles, while incorporating interviews into an already packed schedule, leaves most hiring managers exhausted and relieved when that right person finally accepts the role,” she says. “For many organisations, this is where the process ends.” But the candidate you’ve searched for, interviewed, tested and placed has expectations around their new position, she says. The promise of the employer brand and the experience created during the selection process “must be reinforced by actions immediately”.
During their first few days and weeks in the new job, the employee is sizing up their employer and making comparisons against previous companies to determine whether they made the right decision, she says. Nearly half of all newly-hired employees fail within 18 months (according to Leadership IQ research), and the reasons are rarely related to their technical skills and ability. Employees who don’t last in the job tarnish a recruiter’s reputation and, at worst, create extra workload (for no return) when they need replacing during a guarantee period. It’s in every recruiter’s interests to help make their candidates’ initial experience a positive one, and they can do so by sharing with clients and hiring managers a checklist of actions to take once a placement is made:
Connect early – Encourage hiring managers to initiate contact by phone and email in the weeks before they start. “An information pack explaining what to expect on their first day, who’s who in the company and a few insider facts about cultural norms will create excitement about the change and ease what for most is an extremely emotional experience.”
Facilitate contact continuity – Providing new hires with their email address before they join will ensure a smooth transition and a more productive first day.
Prepare the workspace – Ensure desks, phones, system access and functionality are operational so that unnecessary frustrations are avoided.
Newbie networking – Facilitate introductions externally, for example with customers or key suppliers, and internally with employees across functions, to help form relationships vital for the success of the new hire. “New hires that create a strong support network early will settle in quickly and leverage the knowledge sharing opportunity of colleagues.”
Coaching and mentoring – “Whether sourced externally or from within the organisation, a coach or mentor will provide a trusted environment for the new hire to work through challenges and develop action plans for immediate resolution.”
Establish expectations – “Line managers must document and communicate clear parameters about performance expectations throughout the induction period. Identifying specific actions and behaviours that are expected at the one-, two- and three-month mark will help the new hire self-assess performance and address any road blocks early.”
Get buy in – All communication should reflect the organisation’s vision, values and goals and connect the employee with its strategic direction.
Buddy up – “During their first week, connect the new hire with another employee at a similar level in the organisation so they have someone to provide insider info.”
Give feedback – “Develop a process and proactively encourage new hires to provide feedback throughout the onboarding lifecycle to ensure you leverage their fresh-eyed insights through the continuous improvement process.”
Introduce the referral program – Induct new hires into the employee referral program. Train them in what it means to be an effective employee ambassador and provide examples of behaviours which are a positive reflection of your employer brand. “Much emotion surrounds the first few days and weeks in any role,” Boorer says. “It can be the fear of the unknown – the people, the process, the system and their own performance. Any certainty you can provide around these areas will help a new hire feel at home’ as quickly as possible and help them deliver on expectation and performance.”