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Best Practices for Onboarding New Talent

Starting a new job is exciting, but it can also be stressful and challenging. Without a formal onboarding process, the toughest parts of the first days, weeks, and months at work are amplified—which isn’t good for the employee, or for your business. Turnover is expensive for companies and often new employees make the choice to leave early on. According to a 2009 Aberdeen Group study, executives believe 90 percent of new hires decide within the first six months whether they’ll commit to a company for the long term.

The benefits of a strong, formal onboarding process go beyond retention. Effective onboarding gets the worker up to speed faster and minimizes the time managers and other workers are taken away from their projects to help the new hire. According to a 2017 survey by CareerBuilder, employers believe effective onboarding results in greater employee engagement, confidence, productivity, and morale, among other things.

Here are the do’s (and a few don’ts) for establishing an onboarding process that warmly welcomes new workers and sets them up for success:

Formalize the Process

Don’t leave it to chance that a manager will properly acclimate a newcomer to the office. A 2007 survey by the Wynhurst Group found that employees were 58 percent more likely to be with a company after three years when they went through formal onboarding. Without a thought-out plan in place, it’s too easy for new hires to be forgotten at a bustling start-up, or when their first day happens during a busy week, or in the midst of a production crisis. An established onboarding process that is repeated with each hire ensures new employees have the information they need and a proper introduction to the workplace, no matter what is happening on any given day. Many companies establish onboarding checklists to keep the process moving and make sure nothing slips through the cracks.

Start Onboarding Before the First Day of Work

If possible, take care of the bulk of paperwork before a new employee comes in for the first day. Send along all forms and information about health coverage and other benefits for the employee to read and complete in advance. This helps to avoid the communication breakdown that often happens between job acceptance and the first day of work, and prevents the new employee from sitting in the HR office for an hour or two rather than getting to know the new manager and coworkers.

Foster Relationships

Being a new employee is a bit like approaching a circle of people who know each other well at a cocktail party and trying to join the conversation in progress. You can ease this difficult phase by setting aside an hour to welcome the new hire with a breakfast or lunch in the conference room. Time for introductions and chit-chat can help people get past their first-day jitters.

Additionally, assign new workers experienced mentors whom they can consult with questions about day-to-day operations and to discuss any challenges they are facing.

Check-In with Your New Hire Often

Mentors and managers should schedule frequent drop-bys with all new hires. Ask how they are adjusting and whether they have questions. Schedule department meetings early on. Speaking, brainstorming, and sharing ideas are often stressful the first few times for new hires, so it is best to jump in right away. Encourage co-workers to take a minute to say hello as well. Supporting them from the start helps newcomers establish confidence and sense that people genuinely care how they are adjusting to their new role.

Don’t Leave It to HR

While someone from Human Resources can help ease a new employee through their first week, the baton should be passed quickly to a manager and others within the department who will be working side by side with the new employee on a daily basis.

Don’t Confuse Onboarding with Training

Too often, managers believe training covers onboarding. They think that getting the employee up to speed on the programs they need to do their job is all that matters. While training is critical, onboarding is broader. It encompasses sharing how your employer brand aligns with reality and highlighting how a new employee’s career can grow. Successful onboarding is like a road map that helps new hires envision their future with the company and look forward to the journey.

What Comes After Onboarding?

At the end of six months or a year, hopefully your new employee feels up to speed and an integral part of the team. But the need for training, and a sense of connection with coworkers and the company’s mission never goes away. This is where your employee engagement strategies and career development plans take over to ensure your workers feel supported throughout their tenure.

Need hiring support? Contact Hudson.


Job Interview Red Flags

You’ve gotten your toe in the door for an interview with a company you’re excited about. You’ve done your research and visited their careers site, LinkedIn and Glassdoor pages. The job and the company seem like a great match for your skills and goals. But there’s one more important thing to remember—just before the interview, raise your antenna for warning signs this position or company is not right for you. It’s easy to forget amid the nerves and excitement, but it’s crucial to keep your eyes and ears open, and to ask questions, so you get a feel for how the business really runs. Here’s what to watch out for:

The Interviewer Is Not Prepared

You spent a lot of time getting ready to put your best foot forward in your interview only to find the people interviewing you seem to be scanning your resumé for the first time and don’t have questions at the ready. This is unprofessional and disrespectful of your time and energy. It’s possible it’s a one-off caused by an unexpected situation at the office, in which case you deserve an explanation and an apology. If these aren’t forthcoming, be wary of moving forward.

Interviewing candidates is an ongoing part of any successful business, no matter the size. How a company handles the process shows a lot about its day-to-day workings. You want to get a sense that your recruiter is engaged in the interview and truly interested in learning about you. If you feel as though they are only half paying attention, chances are this is how they will approach your work and your career.

They Offer You a Job During the Interview

A quick offer may very well mean you are an obvious fit for the job and outshined the competition. However, it can also mean the company has a tendency for slapdash decisions or is desperate to fill the role. Thank them for the offer and tell them you need a day to think it over and you will let them know. Then go home and do a deep dive into Glassdoor to see if the negative reviews reveal any consistent complaints. Also, reach out to LinkedIn contacts who may have a connection with the company to see if they have any insights.

Don’t worry that you may lose the role because you took a day to decide. Any organization that is impatient with a person who takes time to think before they act is not worth working for.

The Role Doesn’t Match the Job Description

Be wary if the hiring manager starts mentioning job responsibilities that weren’t included in the job description. This means they are not completely clear on what your position looks like, which can be a difficult starting point. If this is a startup that’s in a period of rapid change, however, this could be an opportunity to help craft a dream role. If so, that should be clarified during the discussion. It’s reasonable to mention the discrepancy and discuss whether the added competencies are in your wheelhouse. It’s also a good idea to ask for an updated job description that includes all of the expectations for the role. This ensures everyone is on the same page.

Lack of Growth Opportunities

While an interview should focus primarily on what you bring to the table, it’s important also to tease out whether the company will support your career growth, and how they’ll do so. Ask if they have a formal career development strategy, and if they offer mentorships and training programs. You can also ask about where the people in your department were before, and if former team members moved on within the company. In smaller organizations without many opportunities for promotion, career development may involve upskilling employees who show initiative. That’s fair, and good to know. Vague answers to these questions indicate employee growth isn’t a priority—which is also good to know.

The Office Doesn’t Meet Expectations

There shouldn’t be a glaring discrepancy between how the company describes itself on its careers page, or in employer brand videos, and what you see when you walk through the door. Of course, it won’t be a perfect match, but something’s off if a company draws attention to a collaborative, team culture and you observe everyone working quietly in their cubicles in the office. Or, an organization says they believe in transparency and open-door leadership, yet you have trouble getting thoughtful, straightforward answers from your would-be manager.

Frequent Turnover of the Position

High turnover in a role could indicate a dysfunctional or toxic workplace, a job that is not clearly defined within the company, or a lack of opportunities to grow. It could also simply mean the previous two people in the role loved the job but had to move on for personal reasons. It’s always wise to ask why the person you would replace left the role and how long they were in the position. If possible, ask about the tenure of other people in your department, including the person who would be your boss.

You Get a Bad Vibe

Finally, check in with your gut when you walk through the office and meet people. Do they seem grim and put-upon when taken away from their work for introductions? Is everyone harried and skittish? Listen for laughter and conversation if that’s important to you. Pay attention to how people behave when the boss is in the department. It may be a quiet office due to the culture or the type of work, but even in such an environment, people should seem glad to be there and, above all, at ease.


How Employer Brand Videos Draw Talent

The best employer brand videos pull back the curtain on your workplace and give would-be employees a brief glimpse into your company’s mission, expectations, workplace culture, and day-to-day operations. That’s a lot to fit into a video that will likely last between one and four minutes.

So how do you create employer brand videos that are informative and engaging? Though big companies like Apple, Twitter, and GE are known for their employee brand videos, creating valuable videos that share the spirit and ethos of your organization doesn't require a huge budget. Here are some of the things effective employer recruiting videos have in common:

They’re Authentic

When creating an employer brand video, you should ask ‘Is this us?’ throughout the process. Of course you are going to put your best employer foot forward, but you want to paint an accurate picture of working at your company. Don’t film a break room brimming with snacks and beverages, if workers are responsible for their own lunches. Instead, highlight genuine elements of your company culture that might appeal to potential recruits. If your workplace tends to hold small group brainstorming sessions, for example, be sure to show that.

The recruiting video for e-commerce company, owned by Walmart, shares that the company’s offices are an unusual reverse commute just outside of New York City. The video features fun team-building activities, as well as one-on-one interviews with a handful of employees that highlight a fast-paced, startup environment with opportunities to expand skills.

They Focus on Strengths

While it’s wonderful to have an open, skylit office with a game room and an outdoor café, not all companies can offer that. But every organization has something appealing to offer their employees. For example, companies can share how they have an established mentoring program that nurtures careers, that they are creating cutting-edge technologies, or that they offer paid time off for volunteer work.

Supermarket chain Wegman's emphasizes its second place spot on Fortune’s Best Places to Work list in its employer brand video. The company highlights how many employees stick with the organization long term and enjoy opportunities to work their way up. The video features employees telling their own stories about advancing, or deciding to commit to a career at the company.

They Focus on Employees

When developing ideas for the video, reach out to your employees to discuss what they like best about the job. Ask them to share how they would describe a day in the life at the company to a good friend who was looking for work. Or ask them to share the single word that best describes the job. This can help you pinpoint the most important things to share in the video.

When it comes time to shoot, don’t use actors and don’t give your employees scripts to memorize. Let them be themselves. It’s great if they think about what they’d like to say in advance, but when they talk about the job it should be unrehearsed and genuine. People looking at these videos want to get to know who they are working with and what it’s really like to work there.  

They Use Creativity and Humor

People aren’t going to stick around to watch a video of a group of employees sitting at a conference room table talking about their company. At least not for very long. Employer branding videos should be authentic, but also dynamic. To figure out how that looks for your company, ask employees to brainstorm and share possible ideas for the video. Whatever approach you take, however, the end product should feel organic to your organization. For example, the tech company, GoPro, used one of their action cameras on an employee to introduce viewers to the office while he kicked a soccer ball between desks. The file sharing company, Dropbox, used adorable puppets as stand-ins for the employees who were recorded talking about what they loved about their job.

They Make More Than One

Unless your organization is very small, chances are you have multiple departments with roles that vary significantly. These different departments and positions will draw talent with different workplace expectations, so consider creating multiple targeted videos with that in mind. Apple, for example has separate employer brand videos for corporate jobs, store positions, and work-at-home roles.

They Keep It Short

Attention spans are short and people looking for jobs are busy. Most employer brand videos should run between one and two minutes.  

They Boost Them

Once you’ve created your employer brand videos, don’t let them sit waiting for views on your careers page. Add them to your company pages on Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and Facebook, and share them on Twitter. If you work with recruiters, make them aware of videos targeted to the types of roles they are hiring for. Finally, many companies are creating careers pages on YouTube where they upload employer brand videos, as well as videos that share in-depth looks at specific jobs, departments, or employees.

Need help with your employer branding? Contact Hudson.





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Hudson RPO

Hudson RPO (recruitment process outsourcing) manages the people, process and technology associated with recruitment on a full service (outsourced), hybrid (co-sourced) or project basis. A global force in talent acquisition solutions, Hudson RPO designs, implements and manages custom RPO programs for mid- to large-cap, multi-national companies.