New hires are the lifeblood of any organization. As employees begin, whether new to employment or experienced hires, it is an opportunity to set the right tone for their work, and over time, improve the workforce of your company.
Nearly every organization offers some kind of Day One orientation experience - and others begin at day -14 (minus 14, or two weeks prior) and continue for 30, 60, 90 days or more.
The purpose of this blog series is to explore a variety of new hire and onboarding experiences - and provide practical tools to help you lead the way in improving or enhancing your company's approach. Topics we will cover include:
1) The Pre-Hire Experience
2) Day One: How to Set the Right Tone
3) The Hand-Off: Preparing the Line Manager and Department
4) Welcoming Throughout the Organization
5) Post-Orientation Surveys and New Hire Feedback
Today we'll cover the why: the reasons you should re-evaluate your welcoming procedures, and how to gather the data as you start to begin.
Why improve your onboarding experience? Scarcity
First, it's widely recognized that unemployment levels are at record lows. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) levels today are similar to levels more than twenty years ago. In the chart below, at a glance the total unemployment rate is one not seen since the 1990s.
So what does this mean? There are fewer people re-entering the workforce in a given month, or searching for work. With unemployment totals are at record lows, recruiting can be challenging -- all the more reason to kick up your company's game in the recruitment experience -- and especially worth ensuring the new hire and onboarding experience is exceptional.
We'll cover do's and don'ts of recruiting in another series - but suffice to say - once the new hires have accepted the offer, the work of employee retention can begin.
Employees have choices, too
Second, you should periodically evaluate your onboarding experience because employees in many markets (low unemployment or not) have choices. When a candidate seeks a new job, they're almost always sending out multiple lines - applications - to see which company bites.
Chances are, the desirable candidates who accept the employment offer and plan to join your company probably have another opportunity to consider. If something a little more desirable comes along, and if your company isn't working hard to ensure they show up on Day One, you run the risk of the employee ghosting. Make the decision to "ghost" a hard one by setting a tone in recruiting, onboarding and as they begin, says Personnel Today.
Avoid becoming transactional - or at least, limit when you can
Third, the ghosting of new hires and employees is in some ways, a response to the transactional experience employers have given candidates over time. We all work to do more with less, and ATS systems (applicant tracking systems) and AI have shortened our responses when hiring demands are high and the list of applicants are long.
"Transactional workplaces lead to transactional hiring, which leads to ghosting on both sides," writes Peter Capelli in a recent Barron's article. "Everyone’s feelings get hurt, and we are no better off in the end," concludes Cappelli, the George W. Taylor professor of Management and director of the Center for Human Resources at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Bring back the human
One solution? Share as much of the human side of your company's work - through culture transparency in public channels like the company website and social accounts, through connecting work to meaning (showing employees how their contribution makes a difference downline and to the end user), and by investing in your current workforce with recognition programs for top performers and soft benefits.
Though these items might seem outside "onboarding," all such elements come through to applicants and new hires who will be evaluating your employment brand from the first review of a job application - and well through the onboarding experience.
Sound like a lot to consider? That's okay - it is. Whole industries have been created to explore the employment brand. For now, let's tackle what we can. So through this series, we will give you practical advice to help you evaluate how to ensure your own employee onboarding experience is competitive, step by step.
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