Who’s the new guy? Helping new employees quickly fit in

Has this ever happened to you? A company spends time, energy and resources securing a suitable candidate for a position. The person is eager to begin, and the organization initiates the onboarding process. As the newly hired candidate goes through it, though, something happens. The next thing you know, the new-hire isn’t “working out,” according to their supervisor. There’s a struggle to fix the issue, but within a short amount of time, the new-hire leaves the company.

What happened? We’ll follow through an example in this post, and by the end you’ll have a better understanding of the challenges in the processes.

Poor communication is the enemy of onboarding process

All too often, the issue centres on poor communication and lack of support during the onboarding process. Poor communication between candidates and recruiters, or between business partners (e.g., recruiters and hiring managers), can impact the selection of qualified staff. Lack of support, whether administrative, technical or cultural, can derail efforts to get new employees to quickly connect with a new organization.

Let’s follow an imaginary scenario: Vincent, an HR recruiter, receives an email from Janet about recruiting a new employee. Thankfully, they have a Human Resources Information System (HRIS) to aid them in their candidate selection. Janet starts by filling in the required basic information for the job posting. Vincent sets up a meeting to clarify any gaps and publishes the new posting. Then, hundreds of resumes begin to pour in. The clock starts ticking.

Step 1: Reaching out to candidates

Speed is of the essence: Vincent knows these candidates have likely applied for positions in other companies too, and may have even been in the first round of interviews. Vincent has to prequalify them and contact them ASAP, or risk losing the best talent.

Most resumes come with an email address and a phone number. Some come with a LinkedIn profile or personal website. To get in touch with candidates, Vincent must choose between email, land line phone, mobile or even text. According to a survey from CareerBuilder, there are some generational differences in how candidates prefer to be contacted.

  • 57% of millennials prefer to be contacted by email, not phone call;
  • 47% of Gen Xers have equal preferences towards email and phone calls;
  • 58% of Boomers prefer to be contacted by phone rather than email.

According to a recent Open Market survey, 83% of millennials open text messages within 90 seconds of receiving them, and according to a Yello survey, 86% of millennials reacted positively to receiving a text from a recruiter.

Vincent needs to reach out to them as fast as possible. He calls each candidate and then follows up with a custom email. They all respond within a week. Four of the candidates are in town; the fifth one, Mike, lives in another city.

Step 2: Conducting the interviews

Vincent schedules the interviews with the hiring manager and arranges to interview Mike via video conference.

Janet works in several locations within the building throughout the week, so she asks the candidates to call her on her cell phone when they arrive. The company’s buildings are huge and it’s easy to get lost. This way, she can greet the candidates at the appropriate spot. Doing this, reduces the candidate’s stress as they wait to meet their potential future manage.

Technology can play a huge role in reducing delays at this stage of the process. One method of communication may not be enough to connect with candidates. Vincent has to try different methods. Collaboration tools that include video can play an important role in connecting people. According to a Futurestep survey, more than 50% of companies have used video interviews to narrow the candidate pool. Scheduling software, which allows the candidate and manager to schedule without going through the recruiter, can also speed up the process.

Step 3: Making the offer

While it’s important to choose the best candidate for the role, equally important is choosing the best candidate quickly. According to a recent study from Yello, in 2016, 69% of respondents turned down an opportunity because of the delay in receiving an offer. In 2017, that number jumped up to 74%.

However, depending on the role, it can take several days, weeks or even months before a candidate is selected. It may be a position that requires a lengthy background check process, or perhaps it’s a highly specialized role. If there are specific reasons why the recruitment process may take a long time, this should be communicated to the candidate as early as possible in the recruitment process. This way they can self-select as to whether they feel the opportunity is worth pursuing.

A human touch, supported by technology, can help ensure a quality candidate experience, no matter the length and depth of the selection process. For example, set up multiple calendar reminders so a recruiter can follow up with candidates and update them on their statuses. This shows them the company wants them to remain interested in the job opportunity. Ask the candidate how they prefer to be contacted (text, email, phone call), and use their preferred method of communication. This also helps to establish a rapport.

Even the most eager job seeker will go elsewhere if the process takes longer than what they believe necessary. Having an HRIS and other collaboration tools, where the recruiter and hiring manager have access to interview notes, candidate assessments and other relevant candidate information can help speed up the selection process. Supporting the technology should be a consistent process so candidates can be assessed and contacted about their application status in a reasonable amount of time. Communication and collaboration tools, especially those that integrate with enterprise systems and HR processes, play key roles in fast tracking the recruitment process because they allow the recruiter to reach out at the click of a button.

Vincent and Janet interview several candidates for the open position. With each one, they outline the recruitment process—how many steps there are, what each one entails, and potential length of time between them—so candidates understand the “why.” As candidates move through the different steps, they keep in contact with the candidates, answering questions and giving them status updates. Janet also has regular video conference calls with Vincent, so they can evaluate and make decisions on the candidates. Fast forward a few weeks; Janet chooses Mike, and Mike accepts the job.

Step 4: Helping the new-hire become part of the team

Now that Mike has accepted the offer, he starts the second phase of the onboarding process. New-hire paperwork is an unavoidable part of corporate life. Components of this stage of onboarding include background checks, tax forms, and security and medical clearances.

When new-hires are left to navigate paperwork on their own, they may become frustrated. Make sure your systems are designed to provide as much support as possible. It’s helpful to break up administrative tasks into small, easily managed parts.

It’s also good to give new-hires access and a quick overview of the collaboration tools and systems for reference. For example, introducing the new-hire to the team in person is good for establishing connections, but it can be overwhelming to recall all the names, so give the new-hire access to the company’s directory so they can reach out to colleagues and resources at the click of a button through email, text, or phone.

Consistent check-ins with a newly-hired employee during the administrative, technical and cultural parts of onboarding can help them acclimatize faster, while also resolving any potential issues. Check-ins can be done face-to-face or virtually (phone or video calls, surveys and so forth). People appreciate the support!

Step 5: Retention!

The work is not done. According to an Allied Workforce Mobility survey, up to 20% of new employees leave within the first 45 days of employment. If the company wants to retain Mike, it needs to ensure that its onboarding process isn’t just “one and done.” There should be multiple touch points by which various organizational members can support a new-hire.

For this company, auto-generated surveys are distributed to new-hires at the 45-day employment mark. Unlike other organizations, the survey is submitted for review to the recruiter, and not the new-hire’s supervisor. This gives the recruiter the opportunity to reconnect with the new-hires and assess how they’re coming along.

Vincent reviews Mike’s survey. While overall, he seems satisfied with his job role, Mike has expressed frustration with his direct supervisor. When Vincent inquires further, he finds out that Mike’s supervisor has been taking personal time, and hasn’t been in the office to support Mike. Vincent recommends that Mike partner with a mentor within the department until his supervisor is on site more consistently. This helps Mike to get back on track. Vincent uses this feedback to follow up with Mike’s supervisor as well, coaching him on the importance of supporting a new staff member.

Getting them on board—and keeping them on board!

Hiring the right candidate for a role is an investment that shouldn’t be wasted. Poor communication and lack of support for new-hires damage both the company’s reputation and their bottom line. Communication and Collaboration tools ensure proper communication throughout the recruitment and onboarding process, and aid in fully supporting new-hires through their transition, will help to reverse the potential for such waste.

Victorio Milian

Victorio Milian is a Human Resources consultant, writer, and speaker living in the best place on Earth–New York City! He has spent his 15+ year HR career in the fashion retail, restaurant, and non-profit industries. His thoughts on workplace matters has been quoted in digital and other publications, such as Mashable and The Village Voice.
It's his ongoing mission to help organizations build systems that value people for who they are, along with what they can do.
By | 2018-03-29T14:20:32+00:00 April 2nd, 2018|Tags: , , , |