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As we reach the final step of our series on how to build a standard, stable recruiting function, I encourage you to read parts one through five before continuing.

Part One: Build a Standard, Stable Recruiting Function from the Inside Out
Part Two: Build a Standard, Stable Recruiting Function: Step 2 – Post, Source, and Screen
Part Three: Build a Standard, Stable Recruiting Function: Step 3 – Interview and Select
Part Four: Build a Standard, Stable Recruiting Function: Step 4 – Create and Approve Offer
Part Five: Build a Standard, Stable Recruiting Function: –Step 5 – Preboarding

Throughout this series, we’ve discussed the effort required to attract, recruit, select, and hire the right candidate. During the preboarding step, the candidate is handed off to HR for a background check and other new-hire administrative tasks. This preboarding activity happens before the new hire’s first day. The final step of the process is onboarding. Onboarding a new hire is as critical as every step you’ve taken to find the right person – what you do now sets the tone for the employee experience.

Start Well

If you’ve been following our recommendations up to this point, your employee will already have been introduced to his or her new boss, team, and department. All of the necessary work should have been done ahead of time to provide the new hire with network access to the extent possible, and they should be able to hit the ground running. You’ve hired this person for their talent; the worst thing to do is waste that talent with excessive paperwork or an inability to access the network and be a functional team member. Of any step in the entire hiring process, onboarding requires the highest human touch.

Pair the New Hire with a Mentor

Even if you have training materials or a prescribed orientation that the new hire must complete, provide them with a mentor – an experienced person in the department who can be the go-to person for all of their questions, from strategic to tactical.

Make the First Day Matter

 Long gone are the days of bringing in a new employee for their first day, handing them a 400-page new-employee manual, and sitting them alone in a room to learn the job. New hires should be celebrated, warmly greeted by the team the morning of their start date (preferably with coffee), and personally welcomed by the top leadership. Take your new hires to lunch!

Beyond the first day, it’s good for your new hire to have scheduled introductory meetings with various stakeholders over the first few weeks.  They don’t know what they don’t know, so plan ahead for this.

Start Slow – but Start

There’s nothing more frustrating to a new employee than feeling they can’t contribute, so be sure you have work for them. Even as they are learning your systems and finalizing any outstanding paperwork, set some initial 30-, 60-, and 90-day goals to help them integrate into their role. Make sure your new employee has access to all the training they need to succeed and check in with them regularly throughout the first days and weeks. Provide feedback, support, and guidance. Also, take the time as an organization to define what onboarding means to you internally.

Typically, onboarding starts on day one. For some organizations, the onboarding process runs through the first three months, while others consider it to be the first year. Whatever you decide, make the process enterprise wide. Create a standard onboarding process that works for all new hires. It should be scalable without the risk of losing impact.

Strategic Onboarding

As you are developing your onboarding strategy, it helps to look at it from two sides: the experience and the transactional. The new-hire experience comes down to continuously reaffirming the employee’s decision to join your organization. You want them to feel just as good about joining your organization at month six as they did on day one. Best-in-class onboarding will help achieve that. You also want to be sure that the transactional tasks don’t overwhelm them and are manageable.

Your onboarding strategy must include metrics. A good way to measure the impact is via milestone surveys for both the new hire and the hiring manager, such as at the 30-, 90- and 180-day marks. You will also want to track first-year turnover. Keep in mind that when you lose a mid-level manager in their first year, it costs the organization three to four times that person’s compensation to replace them. That is a hefty price to pay for something that most likely could have been avoided. At a minimum, there is something to learn from these events, so be sure to get a baseline of where you are now and then set goals for the next three years to help you achieve your desired level.  Tracking and reporting on these metrics are critical!

Onboarding May End, but Engagement Should Not

Attracting and hiring candidates is one thing – keeping them is another. A Gallup poll showed that employee engagement of a new hire is 100% vs. 33% of overall engagement for US employees and 15% for employees globally. We are dropping the ball once employees get in the door. The best way to retain employees is to make sure they continue to feel valued; so, as your new hire becomes comfortable in their new role, take on more responsibilities, and become more independent, don’t stop checking in on them. People want to feel valued. Part of that must come from within, but the other part comes from the organization and more specifically, the manager.

A very simple yet impactful way for you to quickly capture the state of your Talent Acquisition (TA) function is by taking our TA Operational Health Assessment. The assessment was created so that HR leaders like you could pause for 10 minutes to see how your recruiting functions stack up. Take the assessment now.

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