Onboarding: start by getting the basics right.

Photo by stacey bc

Photo by stacey bc

I’m currently taking a fresh look at how to make our induction / onboarding process more effective. Among the many questions I’m considering, here are three that I keep coming back to:

  1. At what point in the recruitment / onboarding process should our induction programme start?
  2. How should it be delivered? (Like so many others, we need a pragmatic solution that will deliver a consistent experience across a dispersed organisation within reasonable cost parameters.)
  3. How do we want new recruits to feel about the business throughout the programme?

The last one is the easiest to answer with the simple response “More positive than they do now.”

I spent a significant proportion of 2012 working hard to land a new role. And it was hard work. Dozens of job applications, endlessly chasing up headhunters, extensive research and networking. A good friend – more senior than I and in a different and, arguably more Zeitgeist function than my own, being on the technical end of digital,  is currently going through the same soul-destroying process. His recent comments brought back uncomfortable memories:

The last time I was seriously job hunting, some 20 years ago, you applied for a job and you found out fairly quickly if your application was of interest, or not. These days, it seems you shouldn’t expect to hear back and, after 2-3 weeks, you can assume that your application, that seemed to be a 90%+ fit in terms of skills and experience, isn’t enough even to get an acknowledgement.

These companies spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on brand management. Their mantra is often a variation on the theme ‘Our people are our most important asset’ and yet they sacrifice goodwill every time they fail to acknowledge the effort that people make when applying to join their company. This lack of courtesy, respect and basic professionalism must do more to turn people off a brand than almost anything else as it seems so personal. It has certainly left a very poor impression of brands that I would have been proud to work for.

So, the answer to Q1 must be to ensure that our programme needs to consider new recruits from the very earliest stages. Whichever route we take to fulfill our recruitment needs, whether it’s managing the process in-house or via recruitment consultants, we must ensure that we treat all potential new hires with the same respect that we would like to be treated.

It’s undoubtedly a buyer’s market at the moment, so every vacancy is overwhelmed with applicants. Nevertheless, every time we, or our recruitment representative, fails to acknowledge an applicant, we are shedding goodwill and advocacy time and again. And we all know that once goodwill is lost, it’s very hard to regain.


About madeleinekavanagh

Internal comms specialist with a career spanning advertising, car sales and management consulting. My greatest legacy (so far) - my son!
This entry was posted in Corporate Values, Employee Engagement, People management / motivation, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Onboarding: start by getting the basics right.

  1. Great question, Madelaine. My thinking is this: We live in a connected world, so the induction and onboarding process needs to reflect this. What does this mean? You can connect to future colleagues on external networks (few companies allow for this, but many personal accounts exist), and once you joined the organization, you can connect to internal networks. Colleagues can see from your status that you are currently on-boarding and need help. Some will have dedicated roles to support you (both from the business, HR, IT,etc), others will voluneteer and engage with you in informal ways to help you ease the learning curve. There’s an on-going conversation and this type of induction will start building your skillsets, reputation and knowledge from day 1. My 2c.

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