As a seasoned learning & development professional, I’m often asked what it takes to develop and retain good people. With the economy picking up, many growing companies are using more and more sophisticated attraction techniques to attract top talent. This means that there are continually lots of first days and lots of time and money spent (and lost) while new hires get up to speed.
Time and cost efficiencies will always be high on the agenda, so this raises another question. What difference would it make to your business if it took less time to help new hires reach their full potential?
This is why on-boarding is quickly becoming an increasingly popular strategy that moves the needle on induction and goes beyond the simple, traditional process.
On-boarding plans are there to support new hires integrate into the business to achieve productivity and success as quickly as possible. But why are companies starting to invest all of this time, effort and money up front? It goes against the traditional ‘sink or swim’ mentality by which so many companies have had success – is it all just getting a little bit … fluffy?
“It’s about the long-term investment – calculating the cost of the new hires into the business, reducing turnover and encouraging top talent to stay in the business for longer,” says Peter Bates, Managing Director of Scantec.
So if you are serious about shortening the learning curves for new hires. How do you set up processes to unlock a bigger payoff?
It starts before it starts
Once you’ve decided that ‘they’re the one’ – it’s time to show them that they’ve made the right choice in you. On-boarding doesn’t start from day one; it starts way, way before that! A successful on-boarding process begins during the phases of recruitment and starts with the brand personality of a business, attracting the right people for the right roles. “The Scantec brand is all about ‘we can’ – we can deliver excellence, we can achieve together, we can achieve our goals. This is such a positive reflection of our culture and ethos.” Bates says. “But if on a new hire’s first day we seem completely unprepared for their arrival, the brand message has just died!”
Here is a checklist of things you should have ready by the time your new hires walk in the door:
- Have enough on-brand information on your website about your workplace and culture so by the time the candidate comes for interview, they already know a lot about the company. This way you’re far more likely to hire individuals that are much more aligned and engaged with your company’s goals and values.
- Help them understand your selection process as much as possible. “It’s important that companies remember that top talent is highly sought after” says Adele Nicol. “If a candidate is ‘on the market’ it is highly likely that you won’t be the only potential employer that will be interested in them. This said, the more informed and engaged they are in your interview process, the more likely they’ll be drawn to you as an employer of choice.”
- So, set their expectations – will there be one stage or two? Who will be involved? Will they need to prepare? Will the interview be biographical or competency based?
- Send as much of the ‘admin’ before they begin – offer letters, forms to complete, paperwork … the more you can send before they arrive, the less overwhelmed they’ll be on day one
At Scantec, we send our new hires a welcome module on our very own E-Learning platform telling the new hire what to expect:
- Company policies and benefits
- Information about departments – who is who and what do they do?
- Who should they ask for one day one
- Who the new hire should call if they have any questions before they start
Make them feel at home
The prospect of being the new person can often be a scary experience. New hires are keen to impress, so if you haven’t told them where the scanner is or how to use the chances are they are less likely to ask and could waste valuable time and energy figuring out these small details themselves. On the other hand, if you bombard them with reams of information, it’s likely that they’ll only retain a small percentage!
At Scantec, all new hires have their own tailored induction plan which aims to present the relevant information to them in an easy-to-digest manner, leaving the individual enough energy to address the more demanding aspects of their new role. Consider these things to give them less to worry about:
- Make sure they have a security badge or key fob if they need one
- Make sure their office space, computer, E-Mail accounts or other technology is ready for use
- Make training, guides, checklists, etc. easily accessible and provided at the right time in the right fashion
- Even if the new hire will be in training, make sure that their manager or team are around for their first few days – “One of the worst basic errors a company can make is having a new hire turn up when their manager isn’t around or hasn’t cleared time to spend with them” says Richard Sutton, Executives Search and Selection Manager at Scantec with 14 years experience.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking all of this engagement stuff is just more buzzwords– but in honesty, we all just want to know where we stand! One of the biggest bug bearers with any new hire is a lack of clarity. Help you new hire by setting clear objectives:
- What plans are in place to help them get them competent in their new role?
- How will their productivity and success be measured? When and by whom?
- Who will support them if things aren’t going to plan?
- If they need to give feedback, how do they go about doing this?
- What are the lines of reporting, decision makers, progression routes?
- Get to know them – how do they like to be managed?
If you’re reading this article, chances are you care about the experience new hires are having in your business – so collect some feedback! One of the quickest, easiest things you could do, right now is go and speak to your people and ask them what they would do to improve the on-boarding experience from their point of view.