In the modern business world, onboarding is the term for the process by which new hires at a company are brought on board with company objectives and culture. Also called organizational socialization, orientation, or new hire training and orientation, the onboarding process folds new employees into the company and attempts to make them effective managers or contributing members of a team. Some common orientation techniques include videos, printed training materials, seminars and lectures, as well as computer software. More than just an orientation program, organization socialization is a contributing factor to job satisfaction, increased performance and higher employee retention.
What does this have to do with recruiting?
Many recruiters may feel like their job is over once a candidate becomes an employee. While this may be somewhat true for headhunters and contract recruiters, human resources professionals and recruiters who work closely with their companies are also responsible for training and orienting new employees. Even headhunters should help prepare their candidates for the first few days at their new job. All recruiters should become experts in onboarding techniques. As they were the primary contact through the pre-hire process, recruiters know (or at least should know) the candidates better than anyone. Modern talent acquisition departments involve corporate recruiters deeply in all aspects of bringing candidates onboard to a company.
Onboarding Best Practices
- Networking: Take the time to assist the new employee with meeting people in their department.
- Personal: Your relationship as a recruiter has ended – but now you’re colleagues. Be sure to offer one-on-one time – a lunch or coffee is nice if possible.
- Company Culture: Don’t assume that the candidate understands the company culture and implicit corporate rules. If everyone drinks together after work or wears orange on Thursday, be sure you let the new hire know.
- Long Term: Make sure that your company has a detailed description of the career path and what employees can expect long term. Don’t make the job about only short term, immediate tasks. Ensure the new hire understands the path and potential of their new career with your company.
- Continuity: During the recruitment and interview process, you most likely described the job to the candidate. Promises or expectations were likely made – make sure that there is clear continuity between pre-hire and post-hire. When the new hire starts working, they shouldn’t have any surprises.
- Expectation: Ensure that the hiring manager is very clear in their expectations for the new hire and provides written documentation.
- Efficiency: It’s easy for weeks to go by before a candidate starts “really” working and becoming a real contributor. Identify all the areas that an employee needs to have satisfied before becoming effective at their job. This might include hardware, software training, passwords and corporate access, knowledge of systems, etc… Don’t make them hunt people down to get answers – having everything they need from day one will boost both morale and efficiency.
On-Boarding Tips for Agency Recruiters
Onboarding should be a component of any recruiter’s skill set because it makes both clients and candidates more confident about the recruiter, and some recruiters even offer on-boarding as another service to their clients. Human resources professionals should familiarize themselves with common on-boarding practices like training videos and orientation seminars. When starting with a new client, contract recruiters should always ask for a copy of the training materials they will have for new hires to familiarize themselves with the company’s on-boarding process.
The first tactic for recruiters to help candidates with the on-boarding process is to prepare them ahead of time for the expectations they will face in their new company. Recruiters have to do their research about the company and get to know their corporate culture so that they can effectively communicate that to new hires. As a recruiter, you have to know things like dress code, lunch policies, parking and any other day to day things a new employee should know.
Recruiters should always check back with the new hire and the client a few weeks into the job to make sure that the employee is settling in and that the client was happy with their service. When doing check-ins, recruiters should also ask how the onboarding process went for both the employee and the client. Good feedback can help the recruiter improve their on-boarding services in the future.
Onboarding processes are an often overlooked and undervalued aspect of the recruitment life-cycle. The reality is that first impressions count – creating an immediately positive environment of efficiency, engagement, and productivity will increase long term job satisfaction, retention, and effectiveness. It is everyone’s job to make new hires feel welcome and inspired. If you don’t have a formal process for onboarding, consider adopting a formal methodology and crafting a corporate policy. Additionally, certain recruitment software platforms integrate onboarding into their offering – be sure to look into the value and role that technology could play in the new hire process.