When does the recruitment process end? Is it considered done and dusted as soon as an offer of employment has been made and accepted, once the contract has been signed or when the new recruit arrives for their first day of work?
The reality is that the recruitment cycle continues well into the employee’s first 3-6 months of employment whilst they undergo a thorough onboarding process. During this time, they will undertake any necessary training and have regular conversations with their line manager to discuss and review their performance.
The recruitment cycle concludes once the new recruit has successfully completed and passed their probationary period. Therefore, when establishing a stable, long-term working relationship, the first few months are critical.
Embarking on a new career can be an exciting, albeit daunting experience for new joiners. They are motivated, enthusiastic and keen to learn and to perform well.
Induction is the most important part of forming the employee relationship. Welcoming a new joiner and making them feel included, respected and valued reinforces their feeling of wellbeing and alleviates any anxieties or concerns they may have.
In addition, as more organisations are working remotely because of Covid-19, it is especially important to tailor induction programmes so new joiners have a positive experience and additional support to connect with new colleagues.
However, induction can often be overlooked and rushed, leaving the new employee feeling unproductive and demotivated. Statistics show that up to 40% of new recruits leave within the first 6 months of starting a new job and the cost of a replacement, including fees and loss of productivity, can be up to £30,000* per head. After all the time and effort spent sourcing the right candidate, it is disappointing, costly and damaging to the business to have to start the whole process again.
Like the strong foundations of a new high-rise building providing a safe and solid base for construction, a robust, well-planned and thoroughly executed induction will form the basis of a fully engaged and motivated employee who performs well, is highly productive and shows long-term commitment.
Therefore, it is important to take time to carefully plan the induction process, ensuring that all key aspects regarding the business, the office, the role, the teams, the systems and processes are covered, that training is provided and regular feedback encouraged.
By setting a good first impression, new joiners will feel confident in their choice of employer and in their new role.
Start the induction before they come on board by sending a welcome pack with some goodies such as a personalised company mug or t-shirt, creating a positive feeling in connection to your company. Provide an outline of what they can expect on their first day/week/month of employment, so there are no sudden surprises. Include any company literature or media that gives the employee an informative and engaging introduction to the company, the business and its people. Avoid bombarding the employee with too much information and ensure that any information you do provide is relevant to the employee and their employment with the business.
Any pre-employment matters such as the right to work and starter forms should be dealt with before the start date.
Prior to their arrival, ensure their workspace is set up and fully equipped, with all the necessary resources they need to hit the ground running. Where applicable, ensure their PC is connected and working properly, their email is set up and all furniture and equipment are in good condition.
Some new employees have been known to spend their first few days setting up their own workstations, chasing logins and passwords and setting up accounts. This is time-wasting and unproductive. It is also frustrating and demoralising for the new joiner.
Depending on the nature and size of the company, induction can be conducted by HR and the line manager as well as other directors and team members. The induction can be delivered in many ways, via a combination of individual and/or group talks and presentations, social media and/or other media resources.
Some companies prefer to address practical matters as a priority, such as on-site health and safety, workplace compliance, facilities and IT, company benefits and policies. Others prefer to focus on organisation information, culture and values, role-specific information and learning and development in the first instance, as this is the more interesting and engaging part of induction. In any event, avoid treating induction as a tick-box exercise and keep it as informal and engaging as possible.
There are many tools available to facilitate the sharing of information and improve internal communications and interactivity. An intranet app such as Actimo can be uploaded onto smartphones and used as an effective social media and company communication tool, introducing new joiners, sharing knowledge, company news and information.
Implementing a peer buddy system enables new joiners to integrate and settle in more quickly. Introducing new joiners to key employees will also help them to better understand the organisation’s structure and key responsibilities across all teams. Organising regular social events encourages newbies to meet their colleagues and make new friends in a relaxed and informal setting. Some companies like to arrange fun activities specifically aimed at encouraging new recruits to meet the teams, such as inviting them to distribute beers and drinks during Friday night socials.
The induction process should be evaluated to determine whether it is meeting the needs of the new recruits and the organisation. Providing opportunities for feedback at the end of the induction process and inviting ideas and suggestions for improvement is always good practice.
As well as gathering feedback from new employees, it’s important to identify key measures of success of the induction process and evaluate the process against these metrics. Information from turnover statistics or employee feedback can also be used, particularly from those who leave within the first 12 months of employment.
The kind of start they get off to is crucial to shaping their attitude to the company and their job, so planning an induction will be more than worth the effort involved.
*ACAS – Oxford Economics
* Work -force insights arm of credit-reporting agency Equifax 2013