Recruitment in Focus: On Boarding – First Impressions Last (Part 1)

Recruitment in Focus: On Boarding – First Impressions Last (Part 1)

Having started at Globe 24-7 made me think about my experience over the years recruiting people for a large multinational and then on boarding them.

The on-boarding process is so critical. In my view this is the final stage of the recruitment process – it is the hand over point. This is the point where the new starter (let’s give this person a name – Joe) experience the company first hand. Up until this stage Joe has been going through an emotional roller-coaster. Joe might have been happy in the previous job when this new exciting opportunity presented itself. Joe might have been looking for this opportunity for a very long time or Joe might have been out of work and needed this role to get back into the job market. At this stage of the recruitment process Joe feels excited, enthusiastic, energized and ready to go, but Joe also feels nervous, insecure, unsure, etc ……. Yeah – I am talking about feelings.

Up to this point the new employer / recruiter sold a good deal, whether it is that next level job, a better career prospect, a new challenge, a better remuneration package, a better work-life balance, better terms and conditions. Whatever it was – Joe bought into it and here we are. Accepted the new role, resigned from the previous place and ready to start a new chapter.

This brings me back to the final stage of the recruitment process – the on-boarding.

In my view the on-boarding process sets the stage. It is comparable to that first date. If it does not go well – there will be a lot of damage control required. On-boarding sends a message to the new hire. What is that message? I am sure we all would like it to be:

“Joe welcome – congratulations and thank you for deciding to join our team – we know who you are and we are ready to see what you can do”.

Many companies and hiring managers get this piece wrong. If this stage is neglected – Joe might be disappointed, disillusioned and start re-evaluating the decision to start with this company. This feeling will carry for a long time and will take time to bring around. It is even re-enforced when Joe gets home (or phones home) and everybody ask what the new employer is like.

What is that discussion? What should this discussion be?

If we look for one moment at Joe as a brand new piece of equipment we’ve spend weeks to source – we researched what it can do, what make & model it is and made sure it is the right size, etc. When it is delivered – do you ask someone else to pick it up and process it via the normal procurement process, asking them to deliver the item to your office once they are done with it?

Makes you think – doesn’t it. If people are our biggest asset – why then do we get an Administrator (a bus driver or security person) to meet Joe at the front desk or airport. Who in turn takes the new hire to an automated video induction, ensuring all paperwork are completed and then get delivered to your office?

My point. New hires need special attention in order to integrate easily, adjust to the new employer culture, structure and become a productive member of the team quickly. The on-boarding stage is the vital first step. The new hire needs assurance, needs structure and personal attention.

In the next section (Part 2) I will deep-dive into the individual stages of on-boarding.

Ben Swarts, Regional Manager – Africa, Europe & the Middle East

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