Creating Hiring and Onboarding Experience That Matter

Creating Hiring and Onboarding Experience That Matter
Candidates now want a faster process, need to hear about the company culture, the experience they get as they interact with someone from the organization, and more importantly regular correspondence and connection

The last 2 years have been what I call years of “Tech HR Advancement with human-centric design”. Most organization and human resources function moved from traditional recruitment and onboarding techniques to new age, high-speed, tech-enabled platforms. Speed, Scale, and Security were fundamental pillars that required this shift to happen.

Candidates are now yearning for that experience from their next employers, they are no longer interested in the traditional fill-and-wait model. With employees now looking at where, how, and what role they want to work as the talent acquisition team you will need to make a shift in your recruitment culture, making it more nimble, approachable, transparent, and digital.

Candidates now want a faster process, need to hear about the company culture, the experience they get as they interact with someone from the organization, and more importantly regular correspondence and connection i.e., after the initial screening or the first round is the organization in touch with the candidate and providing the right set of information on next steps for both hired and not hired candidates.

Technology is creating new and more enhanced experiences for candidates. Video hiring allows you to access candidates anywhere in the world at your fingertips, AI-based hiring helps you to sift through the CV volumes in an instant and identify a good fit, use NLP in document analysis, interview chatbots for first-level screening, and use Virtual Reality (VR) and Xtended Reality (XR) like the Metaverse where you can actually allow the candidate to see themselves in their role and experience how it could be working for you to give enhanced personalized experiences.

The smart use of technology and enhanced experience allows you to build that connect and bond between the candidate and the organization. This is a cue that talent acquisition can take from marketing. Any opportunity — even one that doesn’t yield immediate results — is an opportunity for retention. This is the new and evolving future of talent acquisition. The immediate next impact area is employee onboarding.

Interesting Statistics about Onboarding

The immediate benefits of good onboarding are well-adjusted new employees, but long-term benefits to the company hit the bottom line, including improved retention, reduced time to productivity, and better overall customer satisfaction. And long-term benefits to employees are job satisfaction, higher performance, lower stress, and organizational commitment.

Consider these statistics:

  • 22 percent of staff turnover occurs in the first 45 days of employment (The Wynhurst Group)
  • Many companies leave executive onboarding to chance, and as a result experience failure rate of more than 50 percent when it comes to retaining new executive talent (Egon Zehnder International)
  • New employees who went through a structured onboarding program were 58 percent more likely to be with the organization after three years (The Wynhurst Group)

Shift in Onboarding 

High turnover results in the firm incurring huge costs, from lost productivity, recruiting activities, and lost work because of vacancies. One way to mitigate this is by making new employees feel welcome and prepared for their jobs with a solid onboarding program.

Onboarding has undergone a massive transformation over the last year. Just imagine we have organizations that have recruited people and onboarded people in a completely remote environment. This has now become a trend, however, whether this will sustain and create those positive experiences depends on the organizations ability to design robust onboarding processes that not only include the smart use of digital but also focus on creating that positive employee experience for your new hire which leaves him or her with the required moment of truth.

That is why talent acquisition and onboarding need to be thought through together and not in silos. Together they complete the entire hiring ecosystem in any organization. We are now seeing a strong shift to hybrid work culture and thus virtual and in-person onboarding or hybrid onboarding are actively being pursued. Organizations two years back were not prepared for providing such onboarding experiences. A toggl survey found that 60% of HR managers had to suddenly adapt to this virtual onboarding. The challenge that most organizations face is an amalgamation of 2 to 5 different HR systems while onboarding and this causes the candidate experience to deteriorate.

In fact, new employees who have experienced a structured and thoughtful onboarding experience were 58% more likely to stay within the organization after 3 years. A strong integration experience during the early stages of employment causes a positive domino effect, leading to 62% higher productivity levels and 50% new hire retention says the same survey. We need to ensure the hire to onboarding system and process are seamlessly connected and provide the desired user experience to the candidates.

One of the large technology consulting companies has a year-long onboarding process that has three steps to welcome new hires, prepare a functional workspace, introduce new people to the existing workforce, clarify roles and responsibilities, complete paperwork, and provide ongoing coaching and connecting so employees are fully invested in the company culture, position, and workplace.

The world’s largest software company has a mission to enhance the new employee experience for the thousands of employees hired each year. Onboarding is considered everyone’s job and team members welcome, support, and mentor new employees.

Role of Technology in Onboarding

Clearly, from these leading examples, we can see that while digital systems help you simplify the process and enhance user experience the aspect of human connection once a new hire comes in becomes so critical to ensure successful onboarding.

You need to constantly reimagine your onboarding experiences with the changing dynamics.  Here are some tips to create that engaging employee experience as you reimagine your onboarding journey:

  • Conduct a design thinking session on visioning how your onboarding can become more experience-driven with recently onboarded folks, those that have spent 6-12 months in your organization, and other relevant stakeholders
  • Chart out your employee onboarding experience roadmap, and identify the right systems, automation, BOTs, and tools that will integrate seamlessly. Test and implement
  • Introduce XR (extended reality) as you evolve your tech landscape to enable your remote hires and employees to connect and bond better
  • Start to prepare new employees before the first day on the job, reach out to them immediately after offer, and allow them access to some important learning and informal orientation around company, culture, leadership, jargons, company vocabulary, and other relevant material depending on the level you are hiring
  • Plan to make the first day special, this is his/her first live moment of truth
  • Make onboarding participatory, move out the classroom culture and use technology efficiently and engage more stakeholders in the program
  • Encourage new hires to get their whole selves to work
  • Personalize onboarding with regular check-ins throughout the year
  • Link new hires to internal employee resource groups, forums, and other networks
  • Get them to connect with maximum members in the team and outside the team if possible, not just their buddy, the larger the connection pool the stronger the new hire bond with the company

While we can keep writing a long list of tips as human resource professionals one fundamental principle is never let them (new hires) be isolated or in a silo zone for the first year, always communicate to your new hires that you genuinely care about them and not just by words but through actions as well.

Many organizations hire and then just throw them into the sea and that’s where you easily lose them and /or allow other larger fishes to catch them while they try to swim. HR is not isolated from business, but it’s an enabler to it and hence we need to be mindful of the cost of a new hire or rehire, add to that cost of losing good talent is unfathomable in today’s time when organizations are planning to scale rapidly and need those strong and capable shoulders to carry them forward. 

HRs has a dual role one visible in building the business from within through the talent pool and the other hidden/invisible in building a better and more prosperous working world by instilling the right culture, in creating an organization where employees feel safe, feel belonged, can display courage, are fearless, empowered to collaborate and deliver shared success.

Leaving tip – Focusing on the invisible will lead to visible gains for you and for your organization.


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