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New hire a no-show? Onboarding is everything

Think the hunt for talent is won when they sign on the dotted line? Wrong...
New hire a no-show? Onboarding is everything

Most organisations put a lot of effort into showcasing their employee benefits, value-added extras and salary packages during the interview process. The company ethos, the working environment, the flexible approaches to office hours – these spotlights are designed to shine brightly on the business, showcasing how perfect a fit it is for that talented individual. It’s all rosy until, a month after the offer is made and accepted, the person doesn’t pitch. They’ve decided to go somewhere else. According to Angus Young, director at Prime Reason, this is a phenomenon known as ‘joined, not hired’ and it’s on the rise.

Capture the Candidate: Recruitment 2021
Capture the Candidate: Recruitment 2021

Issued by Prime Reason 17 May 2021


“In some instances, the ‘joined not hired’ problem is in excess of one in three people,” he explains. “You hire someone and they don’t show up on the day because someone else snagged them in the interim. This trend is being driven by several factors. The first is the lack of communication and engagement between new company and new hire during the resignation period, up to this point the candidate felt ‘courted’ and as soon as they accepted the offer that all changed. Other companies swoop in and nab the skilled individual you spent months, and money, courting. The second is that the talent now has the security of a new role in the wings and can confidently look at other opportunities while they wait.”

The person has already resigned, the waiting time is already reduced and they clearly have the right skills if they’re so sought after. In addition to feeling wooed by another company, the person may have been left feeling lost after the final offer with your company was signed. One minute they’re showered with attention, next they’re in an echo chamber, waiting for leadership and guidance.

“This is a very common problem, and one that many companies don’t realise until it’s too late – don’t leave the person hanging in a void,” says Young. “It can affect employee retention as people leave after only a few months because they don’t feel connected. Considering that the average attrition rate is around 20% per annum, this is a very significant risk and cost to the business.

“This is not an HR problem, it’s one that’s stemming from the company as a whole. It needs to be addressed by HR, operations and IT, among other departments,” says Young. “Every one of these issues can be easily avoided with a well thought-out onboarding process that starts from the moment a person verbally accepts an offer, and only ends once they’re fully integrated into the company or three to nine months later,” says Young. “Make them feel loved, wanted and supported with a set of tools that take them through the company culture, preparing for their first day and using the company systems in simple, bite-sized chunks. And start right away, when they are still weeks away from putting their foot in the front door.”

Onboarding software is designed to carry the weight of this process, and can be customised to provide relevant support to employees across different levels of the organisation. This is particularly of value to organisations with agile reporting structures or that operate in multiple locations. These organisations and HR departments potentially have to juggle multiple unique processes, including different offer templates, onboarding paperwork, cultural requirements, visa requirements and so much more. Onboarding technology has evolved to the point where a seamless and user-friendly approach can make sure that all the boxes are ticked, on a platform that highlights the company culture and makes new joiners feel valued.

“The system has to provide an onboarding process that leaves nothing to chance,” says Young. “For example, 30 days before the person joins, they receive a welcome message; 20 days before they arrive, they’re introduced to their work buddy, the person who will meet them at the door and help them get to know the company; facilities, marketing and IT all know of the new hire and prepare work spaces, equipment and system access, saving valuable time when the employee joins. Three days before it’s a map to the office and an outline of what to expect on day one. All pre-joining paperwork, like policies, medical aid documentation is completed before the employee joins. Each step is carefully curated to keep the new joiner engaged.”

The onboarding process should follow a clear journey through multiple programmes, steps and approaches that nurture the employee and the company alike. This includes managing retirement programmes, employee transition planning and even candidate experience training. This journey is all about the workflows and end-to-end experiences that connect the business and employee dots.

“When people feel seen, heard and wanted, they are far less likely to jump at another offer while they wait to join your business,” concludes Young. “And this isn’t hard to achieve. It’s as simple as keeping every part of the onboarding process as transparent and engaging as possible, while limiting culture shock and overwhelm and creating a sense of community and excitement. This is the way to ensure that employees experience the culture and have a positive image of their new company from the very beginning. This not only reduces the risk of losing talent to the competition. It turns new employees into ambassadors and research shows a far greater level of employee referrals when companies get onboarding right.”

About Prime Reason

Prime Reason helps companies unlock potential – intelligently. We provide you with a blend of market-leading talent acquisition and management expertise with next-generation platforms and toolkits to provide a boutique talent and HR solution that meets changing market needs.

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22 Jun 2021 07:26

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