If there’s one resolution HR departments should make this new year, it should be to transform the onboarding experience for new hires, writes Michelle Seko, talent acquisition manager at Sage Africa & Middle East.
The importance of a good candidate experience cannot be underestimated. Research has shown that 88% of job applicants are more likely to buy from a company if they’ve had a positive experience when applying for work there.
Research has also shown that candidates talk about their experiences with a company, regardless of whether they got the job. Some candidates would even refer a friend to the company and others will re-apply for a future role, if the experience was a good one.
Research also found that:
* 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboarding;
* 33% of new hires leave before their first anniversary, yet companies with an engaging onboarding programme retained 91% of their first-year workers; and
* Onboarding programmes can improve employee performance by 11.5%.
Businesses enter into a relationship with a new hire the moment they sign on the dotted line. And, as with any relationship, it will only flourish if built on trust, respect and a commitment to self-improvement.
When you set new hires up for personal success, the outcomes naturally feed into your business’ success, which means you both win.
Here are a few ideas to get the most out of your new hires:
* Make them feel welcome. Introduce them to the people they’ll be working with as soon as possible so that they immediately feel part of a team. At Sage, we partner new hires with a buddy, or Sage Ambassador, who helps them settle in and meet new people, contributing to the positive on-boarding experience.
* Focus on the benefits. Compelling benefits not only attract the best candidates but also boost loyalty and job satisfaction. People are motivated by different things: one person might value flexi-time while another could place more importance on growth opportunities or bonuses. Focus on the benefits that align with the individual’s values when onboarding.
* Set goals early and outline a plan to achieve them. This keeps your team focused, especially if they will be rewarded for achieving their goals.
* Assess performance. Monthly, at least. Adjust goals and plans where necessary, reward good performance, introduce new challenges and deal with issues promptly.
* Show genuine interest. Regular catch-ups and remembering children’s names, for instance, makes people feel appreciated.
* Empower them. Let your new hires apply their knowledge to business challenges and offer training opportunities outside of their comfort zones. Reward ideas that help you do things better and faster.
* Encourage collaboration. People thrive when they can learn from others and when they can share their knowledge. Involve experienced team members in the new hire’s training. This is a great way to recognise and appreciate their loyalty and skills.
* Be transparent. Do you have difficult clients? Will the new hire have to work overtime? What are the business’s goals? New hires should know what they’re getting into.
* Provide solid training on everything from company culture and benefits, to opportunities for growth. The biggest cost associated with training people is the time it takes for them to become productive. But rushing through on-the-job training could lead to a host of other problems, including repeated mistakes and a lack of confidence.
* Openly communicate any changes in the business. Manage your team’s expectations and be clear about yours. Allow new hires to question and understand how you do things and to point out errors — their past experience probably gave them new ideas and ways of working that could boost your team’s efficiency and productivity.
* Be upbeat. Your mood sets the tone for everyone else. You can have the best product in the world but unless your team is passionate and enthusiastic about that product, you won’t get the results you’re hoping for.
Keeping people motivated and productive is hard work. But if you provide them with the tools, knowledge and support to do their best work and to contribute their best ideas, motivation and productivity will come naturally.