5 reasons why your onboarding should start when someone accepts the role

Onboarding often means different things to different people. It can be a transactional ‘box ticking’ exercise where bank details and other information are gathered from the new starter. It can mean the learning that happens in the first week. It can mean what happens only on the first day. To us, onboarding is an amazing opportunity to keep engagement high and enthuse your new starters whilst they are waiting to start at your organisation. It’s a huge missed opportunity if candidates are left to their own devices during this time. Here’s why.

Engagement levels need to be kept high

There’s no time other time in the entire recruitment process that candidates are more engaged than when they have just accepted the role. You’ve spent a lot of time screening candidates, arranging interviews, conducting interviews and making offers. All the while you’ve been taking candidates on a journey towards choosing you as their preferred option for their next role. They might have been dreaming about working for you for years, and at the very least they will have built up to the point at which you pop the question and they say yes. It’s easy to see this journey as a process, the recruitment process, but there’s more going on here. Your employer brand, the culture, the office and the people have all made a positive impression on the candidate to get to this point. This is where so many companies fall down by not putting in place an onboarding journey. Keep engagement levels high and you’ll stand a much better chance of welcoming a motivated new starter on day one.

They are at risk of being poached

When a candidate goes out to find a new role, they don’t just apply for one job. Some will apply for 20, some 40 and some over 100 before they find the right one. All this effort generates momentum and this doesn’t stop automatically after they accept an offer. Their CV is still on job databases, their details are still with recruiters and they may well have other offers on the table at this point. Although they have given you a vote of confidence by accepting your role, there’s still a great risk that they’ll be courted by other opportunities and may even go elsewhere. What can you do about this? Giving your candidates a login to your own branded onboarding platform at the point they accept the offer will be an enormous incentive for them to ignore other opportunities and offers should they arise.

Once they start using the platform, learning about the company and meeting their future co-workers, they’ll start to feel a part of the organisation and won’t want to look elsewhere. Keep them occupied and engaged from acceptance to start date and you’ll reap the benefits.

They’ll be better employees in the long run

There has been plenty of research to show that a third of new starters will leave the organisation in the first six months. There’s no doubt that some of these cases will be down to mismatched expectations and low levels of engagement. If you’re seeing more than a handful of these then it’s time to look at your recruitment process and who is involved. After the first day though and into the first few weeks, the focus shifts to an issue inside the organisation and this could well be the way that people are onboarded. The default position in a lot of companies seems to be to dump an enormous amount of information on people in their first couple of weeks and expect them to absorb it all without missing a beat. This is very unlikely to be successful and may end up in a few people throwing in the towel because they feel they’ve made a mistake and they’ll never settle.

The alternative to this is to use onboarding to spread out the information that new starters are exposed to and to support them in their first weeks and months. The onboarding period is a unique time for an employee and it starts from acceptance and continues into their first 100 days. For some professions it can take a year for people to feel fully settled and being able to demonstrate a return on the investment you’ve made in them. This transitionary period can be greatly reduced by onboarding and supporting people.

You need to protect your investment so far

As we’ve mentioned, you have made a significant investment in your recruitment efforts to this point and if that person doesn’t start or walks out after week four, then you’ve lost that money forever. Studies show that it costs around £30,000 to replace an employee when time, recruitment fees and lost opportunity costs are factored in. Can you really afford to let even one person quit early after all that work and investment in hiring them? Let’s imagine that five people quit early, that’s a loss of £150,000 to the business. These are very large numbers but they’re often not tracked because many of the costs are ‘hidden’ such as lost opportunity cost. If you hire a salesperson and they underperform for three months before quitting, how much would that cost your business? Probably more than £30,000.

Onboarding makes sense because it acts as an insurance policy against these losses. The more people you onboard properly, the more likely they are to start in the first place and stick around longer.

They’re more likely to recommend you to others

Happy employees result in recommendations for other candidates to join the organisation. It makes sense to ask for referrals because you’re likely to get a similar grade of candidate to the one you have already hired. This is where onboarding can deliver a double benefit. Not only will you delight your new starters in waiting, but you’re more likely to get referrals from those people. Engagement is so high at the point of acceptance that they’ll be telling all their friends about it. If they’ve just been given a login to your onboarding platform, they’re even more likely to talk about it, which will again result in referrals.

Contact us today and we’ll get your onboarding up and running and keep your new starter engagement high.

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