Last time we explored the concept of the Employee Experience — what it is, why you should be always be mindful, and why it starts at Hello.
Finding the right employee is like dating. Both parties — the hiring manager and the job seeker — are focused on a specific set of criteria including mutual respect, shared interests, and chemistry. It is those initial telephone calls, emails and interactions that can make or break the relationship. That’s why the way you ‘woo’ your prospective employees is so important. Regardless of whether or not a prospective candidate joins you, how they felt about their experience directly impacts what they tell others about you and your company.
According to MIT Sloan (2015), 40 percent of new employees exit within the first 90 days of employment. And according to Paul Carruci’s research shared within HBR’s 2018 article, To Retain New Hires, Spend More Time Onboarding Them, organizations that consistently followed a structured hiring and onboarding process experienced 50% greater retention and 62% greater productivity in new hires.
Doing your due diligence upfront has a huge payoff. I’ve personally hired 50 plus employees in my career, and have assisted many hiring managers in their quest to find the right talent.
- Plan. Whether you hire one person or 20, you are embarking on a project. Any project manager will tell you that developing the plan is often the most challenging,and investing in that time upfront will prevent major headaches on the back end. A hiring plan consists of: a) setting a realistic start date for your hire(s) and other milestones that will ensure you hit your target, b) defining the job and your recruiting strategy, c) creating your interview guide and, d) starting on your onboarding plan. Here’s a simple hiring plan template to get you started.
- Promotion. Be mindful of your target audience and post your job description where they will find it. Limit yourself to two – five different sources so that you can maximize your time. Why post to a job board where you won’t receive any traffic? For example, whenever I’m looking for a recent college graduate or intern, I usually post via Handshake – a job board most major universities actively promote. LinkedIn, your local paper, signage in your window front are also good options. In the prior step, you will have identified where and what you’ll post, and for how long. This step is simply doing so. Tip: I include both a ‘start’ and ‘end’ date for all my job postings to everyone stay on track.
- Interview & Selection. In step one you will have identified your interview elements — who will be assisting you in screening as well as interviewing, what questions you or others on the interview team will ask, what your target dates are for completing the screening and the interviews and, when you’ll make your decision. Tip: Strive to find two candidates so that if the first one declines your offer; you don’t have to return to step two. And while approaching your top candidate, be sure to ‘keep your second candidate warm’! This simply means reaching out and letting them know that you’re still in the selection phase, that they’re a top candidate and that you’ll be in touch. I learned this lesson the hard way–candidates need to hear back from you. They often won’t wait and/or will become discouraged, leaving them with a bad perception.
- Offer Accepted! So you’ve asked your top candidate to join you and they’ve accepted. Now it’s time to work on the ‘prenuptial’, err, the physical job offer that captures what you’ve verbally agreed. Send it to them with all the particulars – salary, start date, job title – and have them sign it. Tip: Even though they’ve already accepted the offer and you’ve agreed on a start date/time, it’s important to ‘keep them warm’. If they accept the job on Tuesday and start Monday, likely nothing is necessary. I’ve learned that it’s a good idea to send a quick email or make a quick telephone call during the interim beyond one week: “Just checking in to let you know how excited I/we are that you are starting on xxxx! We are ready for you!” Trust me – it makes a difference!
- Prepare for their 1st Day. Now it’s time to put the onboarding plan in action. Develop a schedule, prepare your team and others for their role in that schedule and….schedule it! Being prepared for a new team makes all the difference. Tips: Make their first day special. Meet with them to talk about the ‘strategy’ rather than the tactics of their job. Obviously, you need to train them. Just be sure to connect their job with the team and the company.
So, what about Onboarding? Sign up and/or stay tuned for my next blog in which I’ll dive into it. In the interim, I’d love to hear about your personal best practices in delivering a warm hello to prospective employees. What works for you?