One of the hot topics at our latest directors boardroom session on September 8th was on-boarding … a vital, but often overlooked, component of the recruitment process. Research even suggests it may be the most critical time in an employee’s experience at a company.

So, with directors in the room from ArcelorMittal, BAT, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Hitachi Data Systems, Vitacress, TT Electronics, Vision Cooper and Network Rail … these are just some of the discussion points that came out.

1. Don’t equate onboarding with ‘induction’. It should be more of an ‘assimilation’, in which new employees are brought into ‘the organisational family’ – often over an extended period. At ArcelorMittal, onboarding can last up to nine months. Even that’s not particularly long when it can take a year or more for a new employee to reach their full productivity.

2. Begin the process well before their official first day. This ensures that a new starter is much better equipped to hit the ground running on Day One, with minimum wasted time or effort. That’s important when over 20% of new hires leave before their first anniversary

3. Ensure knowledge sharing is an integral part of the process. Give successful candidates access to practical content about the company and their role — what they will be doing, who will be the ‘new players’ in their lives and where they will be working. This keeps waiting-to-start employees interested and cuts down the potential for ‘buyer's remorse’ as they serve out their notice. Something that could mean they never start at all. After all, when you have invested time and resource in finding and appointing senior personnel, you don't want them to fall off the hook. Yet around 35% of companies don’t spend anything at all on onboarding.

4. Use online resources to the full. For example, don’t just send out emails, create an information-rich online platform that new starters can access at any time. This enables them to absorb company culture through ‘osmosis’. Putting the core material together may take a little time, but once it’s done it’s a reusable resource you can then personalise for the individual.

What do you think?  Overkill? Too much effort for too little return? Something you’re already doing, or should be?


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