04. Onboarding

Winning the war for talent

It’s no exaggeration to say that there is a war for talent. Every organisation advertises vacant positions hoping to attract the best and most talented applicants. But they do not win the war by appointing a candidate to a role. They win it by also using onboarding technology to engage new employees in the time leading up to their first day - and beyond.

Job applicants, millennials and Generation Z’s in particular, are avid users of technology and consumers of data. Their employment search is done online, on devices, via alerts, social media and other emerging platforms for recruitment. So, to assume that a newly appointed candidate is not still connected or reviewing new opportunities and alerts would be naïve. Why? Because of something that marketers used to call “post-purchase dissonance”, or today better known as buyer’s remorse. When making important decisions of any kind, humans review their final decision and look for confirmation that it was the right one. That means we are predisposed to consume messages that confirm our choice, but your competitors are still casting the net and a new hire may still take the bait. So, how do you ensure that a new hire stays excited and committed to the role and your company in the time leading up to their start date and beyond? Onboarding might be the answer. Especially when you consider that new hire turnover is greatest within the first 90 days of employment. Great onboarding helps engage and keep the talent you fought so hard to get. Done right, it means your investment in recruitment will pay off with an excited and engaged new employee. Poorly done and you may be investing yet again in the time and effort to recruit.

What are the benefits of onboarding programmes?  

1. Savings and Compliance:  Effective onboarding delivers operational efficiencies; using onboarding software removes paper based processes and the need to re-key data. It is a repeatable process, removing the reliance on internal resources each time you make a new hire and streamlines your admin.

2. Organisational Gains:  Employees taken through a formal process of induction and training learn faster, and shorter learning curves lead to productivity gains. Employees are more able and equipped to meet employer expectations. Employee retention is a universal organisational goal as turnover is expensive.

3. Individual Gains:  When new hires are provided a mentor or buddy, they build vital social networks that enable their productivity and embed their sense of belonging. Buddies and mentors can also provide feedback about a new hire’s experience so that onboarding programmes can be adapted to improve individual experiences. Employees that have been onboarded well experience higher levels of job satisfaction. The associated gains in productivity, retention and advocacy benefit both employee and employer alike.

Candidates are operating in a market where employers are vying to impress them with cultural and benefit-driven offerings. Candidates expect to be enticed and have a greater appreciation of their value than ever before. Make no mistake, candidates expect potential employers to have an onboarding process and software. Perfecting the process means finding the balance between information exchanges and enabling the employee to have social connectedness. Well-planned onboarding programmes create compressed timelines for employee competence and productivity. Capable, resourced employees remain engaged and will reduce your turnover figures. Employees who think well of your onboarding programme become advocates for your company and brand, which attracts more talent to your organisation.

By using onboarding software, the administrative, box-ticking tasks take care of themselves, freeing you to focus on welcoming and engaging new employees.

Article originally published on HR Grapevine September 2021.