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The Applicant Manager Blog

Making a Case for Employee Onboarding with your Applicant Management System

February 1, 2016

feb 1 2016

It may appear that your new employee has made the final decision to join your organization the moment they accept your offer, when in reality, the majority of the time, an employee is still making that decision up to six months after they’ve begun working for your company.

This study, sponsored by The Society for Human Resources Management Foundation (SHRM Foundation), found that half of all hourly workers leave within 120 days, citing issues with onboarding and training as one of their largest reasons for job dissatisfaction. Replacing employees is not only time consuming, it’s costly, and causes lost productivity. Additionally, high turnover can do long-term damage to company morale.

Companies seeking to be an employer of choice recognize the value in creating an engaging company culture. A large part of that engagement is a high-quality onboarding process. Onboarding is no longer doing paperwork for a few hours on a Monday morning. Employers of choice understand that onboarding is an ongoing part of an effective recruitment and retention strategy.  For true engagement, employees both new and seasoned, need to be a part of the Plan.  They need to feel like they understand organizational goals, how sales affects the overall success, and how their role contributes to the organization's success.

The moment your new associate walks through the door on their first day, Human Resources can make a difference by helping make them feel like they are a part of your team. A simple, clean candidate recruiting experience, should transition into a positive onboarding experience, helping to confirm your new employees’ decision to join your organization.

Rather than asking your new employee to spend their first day with your organization filling out a pile of forms, consider triggering the process through your Applicant Tracking System (ATS) so onboarding starts as soon as they say "yes". Providing paperless new hire forms with electronic signatures not only helps your new associate feel like part of the team as soon as possible, it also ensures that the proper paperwork is completed timely, and without error.  With the right system, you’ll be able to complete all standard forms such as W-4s, I-9s, and state required forms and produce these forms in the case of an audit or legal review. You can also provide custom forms such as a welcome letter, employee handbook, insurance forms, direct deposit, emergency contact forms and job description. You may also want to consider including information that may seem minor, but is still important to your new associate, like where to park, what door to enter through on their first day, who to ask for, and what the dress code is.

Prior to your new employee joining you, make sure you are prepared to welcome them. Have their desk, phone, computer and passwords ready ahead of time. Also, be sure that the receptionist is aware of their arrival, so that he/she can be expecting them, or consider having the hiring manager greet them at the door.  The manner in which your new employee is welcomed will greatly influence their perception of your culture and values.

A New Kind of First Day

Imagine a welcoming experience that focuses on your organization's culture with specifics about the business instead of spending the day in the traditional way asking new employees to fill out a packet of mandatory forms right after you greet them.  You can start off on the right foot that first day by continuing to build the rapport you’d begun during the recruitment process and establishing expectations. They will see the value of HR as a business partner rather than as a bureaucratic department focused on what they are likely to consider as "administrivia".

Your new employee has made the decision to leave their former employer to join your organization because they feel that they have something of value to offer you in exchange for your continued development of their talents and skills. Your first day should be spent providing clarity surrounding their new responsibilities and job duties, as well as acclimating them to your culture.   Make sure that they know more about the values and vision of your company, and how you see their role fitting into that vision, growth and continued success.

Checking-In, 1 Month

The key to continued success as it relates to your onboarding program, is keeping in mind that it isn’t over after that first day. In order to gauge the engagement and satisfaction of your new associate, check in with them after one month. They have received an incredible amount of information during this training period, and checking in gives them the opportunity to communicate how they’re feeling about the quality of their training, their new environment, how well they feel they’re doing and frankly, how well your organization is doing.  You also need to assess your own onboarding and training program to ensure that your new associates are productive quickly, yet not overwhelmed at the speed of the training. At one month, it's not too late to intervene if things aren't going as well as expected for either you or your new employee.  If your organization doesn’t have a formal mentor program wherein each new employee is assigned a mentor within their first 30 days, consider assigning an informal mentor; someone a new associate can go to when they have questions.

Checking-In, 3 Months

Most organizations have a three month introductory period.  The reality is that sometimes the fit just isn't there.  If the organization has done everything that it can to help create a successful relationship, it is allot easier to know when a situation is just not right.   However, if you haven't done your part to onboard the employee because you're spending too much time on manual recruiting/on-boarding processes, perhaps it's time to make a change.

Checking-In, 6 Months

Keeping in mind that roughly half of all associates decide to leave an organization after six months, it’s critical to continue checking in. At the six-month point, your new employee should be starting to feel comfortable in their new role, and feel like a part of the team. If not, this is an important time to make sure you capture any issues or concerns they have, before they make the decision to move on. Knowing you care about their success and happiness can sometimes be the difference between staying or leaving.  Today's job market is one where, great candidates can find new options quickly.  Your organization has spent time and energy selecting the person, it's important to nurture the investment.

If you'd like to learn more about how an automated on-boarding process will give you the time to create great first impressions, give us a call. 

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