Successful onboarding gives new employees the best possible start in their new job. At the same time the hiring company can save substantial costs. Onboarding is a structured process for receiving and integrating new employees. Regardless of whether the business is small or large, it is smart to have concrete plans for the phase directly after the selected candidate has signed the employment contract.
The battle for heads
For some new employees the period before starting a new job can seem like a vacuum. If contact to the new employer or responsible recruitment company is poor, the candidate may “disappear” to another position, especially if temptation becomes too great. Good follow-up in this phase is particularly critical in today's labour market where several companies may be battling for the same heads. Experience has shown that candidates often continue their search for a new position even after signing their contract with a new employer!
Terminating before starting
The Nordic insurance group Gjensidige has come up with a systematic onboarding process. The direct payoff is that fewer new employees search for, and find an alternative job, before they start - or shortly after. Previously, every fourth newcomer left the company within two years of starting, and some never even started at all. According to the company's recruitment director, a significant reason for this was the “dead time” between signing the contract and the first working day. Savings achieved by retaining new employees are estimated at more than NOK 12 million.
Recruiters’ contribution is critical
Recruitment and onboarding are closely linked. The responsibility rests on recruiters too. Here at AWN we aim to contribute to a successful onboarding experience, and assure that the candidate is best prepared for the new job. We want to avoid a situation where, due to unfulfilled expectations, a new employee or the hiring company might begin to doubt whether their choice was right. When recruiting top managers we always follow up on both the candidate and the company with reference to several waypoints after contract signing. AWN has now implemented this process as a permanent practice for all recruitment assignments. The battle for heads means that we need to be more proactive than before.
What needs to be done?
Successful onboarding should involve one or more follow-up conversations by phone or in a physical meeting. It should contain essential information about the immediate situation the chosen candidate will face upon joining the new employer’s company. Having expansive knowledge of the company's values, goals and strategy will ensure that the new employee is well prepared. Attendance at seminars and courses at an early stage, for instance, will provide valuable background information. There will also be numerous practical questions that need answering: When and where should I show up? Will I have a mentor? Who can I ask about practical issues such as PC, mobile phone, etc.? The first working day should be structured with meetings, discussions and information on who the best go-to people are.
Successful onboarding results in more productivity more quickly on the part of the new employee. This is good economics. At the same time, a well-organized process has a positive impact on the hiring company’s reputation. As a consequence, several of the best job seekers will target the organization. A good start for new employees is thus a profitable investment for the company, in the long term as well. Successful onboarding boosts profit!
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