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Why False Promises Are a False Economy and the Onboarding Solution

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​When the work’s mounting up, it can be tempting to get someone in role and working as quickly as possible. This pressure can lead even the best managers to embellish the truth about the job or organisation. And then rush an individual from candidate to new hire to delivering as soon as possible.

This approach is a disaster waiting to happen as it can result in new hires leaving before they can contribute to the business. Which makes false promises a false economy. One that’s best mitigated with a serving of truth and a healthy dollop of onboarding.

Don’t Be Tempted to Embellish the Truth

In the heat of the job interview, it’s easy to fall into the trap of telling a candidate what you think they want to hear. Whether you paint your organisation as the perfect cultural fit or make the job role sound bigger than it actually is: false promises will come back to bite you.

The desire to stretch the truth might be strong but you need to resist. Otherwise your candidate will become a new hire only to find out that you’ve not been completely straight with them. At best this will leave a bad taste in their mouth and a sense of mistrust between them, the person who recruited them (possibly you) and your organisation. At worst, the employee might decide the role and your enterprise isn’t for them and leave, with or without giving notice.

This is a terrible outcome for your business, because when anyone leaves with a short length of service they won’t generate sufficient output to cover the cost of hiring and training them. And you’ll be back at square one trying to cover the work the individual should be doing and recruiting the same role. Again.

According to slightly dated but incredibly insightful research, new hires who leave your business within the first 90 days of joining cost on average £30,000. That figure covers recruitment fees, time spent getting them up to speed, training and more recruitment fees and training to cover their replacement.

Being honest at every stage of the recruitment process is clearly crucial. But there’s another, often overlooked step that also sets expectations about what it’s like to work for your business. And that’s the onboarding process.

Making the First Few Months Work For Everyone

Yvonne Saxon, Head of HR, Diversity and Inclusion at Vista Employer Services says: “So much focus is given to getting new employees up and running to be productive that the crucial part of making them feel included and being part of the organisation’s culture can sometimes get lost.”

Before you start to list the work and projects your new hire is responsible for, making your new team member feel welcome and comfortable is key. This should be the first stage of any onboarding programme and can include introducing your new hire to the rest of the team, showing them round and sitting down for a ‘getting to know you’ chat over a cuppa. This will help calm first-day nerves and create a positive, caring impression.

That’s something that Olga Crosse, Managing Director of Crosse HR, places a lot of importance on:

“There’s nothing as nerve racking as starting a new job. A simple, planned induction is an excellent and invaluable way to introduce a new hire to the company. You need to show them the ropes (or at the very least where the loos are), sit them at their desk, tell them when they’ll get paid, talk them through your company’s handbook and do’s and don’t, log them onto their computer and, if you’re really nice, take them for lunch.”

The purpose of an induction is to support new employees during this difficult initial period and to help them become fully integrated into the company as quickly and as easily as possible.

Andrea Law, Managing Director of internal communications agency Enthuse advises: “Don’t throw them straight into work, no matter how desperate you are for an extra pair of hands. They may be an expert in the technical aspects of the role, having done it before, but they’re not an expert in your company, so use the onboarding process as an opportunity to immerse them in the organisation’s culture and to start building relationships.”

Of course, it can’t all be warm and fuzzy so you’ll also need to cover off the other information that any new hire needs like:

●Health and safety information like fire exits and policies

●Organisational mission, vision and values

●The job role and performance expectations

●Career paths and progression

●The individual’s total reward package including how to join and use benefits

●Administrative processes like booking holiday or claiming expenses

During the first few weeks and months, you should also provide regular feedback to keep your new employee on track. If you have a probationary period, any evaluation you provide at this stage should not come as a surprise.

Revisit Your Onboarding Process to Ensure It’s Effective

As with any process, you need to keep your onboarding operation up to date. It’s a great idea to ensure your process is continually improved so it stays relevant, as Yvonne notes: “ Look for ways to overcome what previous hires have found difficult when settling in and put together explanations of any jargon that may need to be understood.

“A buddy can be really helpful with navigating the formal and informal stuff. But most importantly,” says Yvonne, “tailor everything around the individual to get the best experience and engagement.” This doesn’t mean flexing what you tell new hires about your organisation to match what you think they want. Instead, find ways to engage them with what they need to know in a way that makes sense for them.

Andrea summarises the importance of keeping the communication going throughout the first six months: “As a manager, set time aside every day to talk to them face-to-face, or on the phone, to answer their questions and make it clear that no question is a silly question – this is the time for learning the basics. Once the colleague does get into their work, make sure there is a regular drumbeat of communication between the manager and the colleague:

· Weekly

o A minimum of 15 minutes of attention, to talk about work as well as non-work topics

· Monthly

o A 121, which may need to be weekly at first, to allow them to discuss their day-to-day tasks and ask for support

o Participation in regular team meetings

· Quarterly

o Progress reviews about what they have achieved over the last 12 weeks and what needs to be accomplished in the next 12 weeks

· Six-monthly

o Personal development and career discussions

· Continually

o Feedback on what’s going well and what tweaks in their behaviour would help them to perform better”

By getting to know your new hires during the interview process and beyond, you’ll understand the best way to onboard them which will help you manage them effectively too. Inductions aren’t just beneficial for employees, they also help your organisation, as Olga notes: “Induction has benefits for all involved in the process. Employees who settle quickly into the company will become productive and efficient at an early stage and in turn will experience feelings of worth and satisfaction. It’s generally recognised that new employees are highly motivated and an effective induction process will ensure that this motivation is reinforced. This shows you value and respect them and more importantly it clearly demonstrates good practice and good company manners.”

Andrea’s final takeaway? “Remember, you started on day one with a colleague who was 100% engaged – ask them if you still have that 365 days later.”

At We Are Adam, we couldn’t agree more. Our recruitment expertise tells us that, when it comes to hiring, honesty is the best policy followed by an outstanding onboarding process.

To work with a recruitment partner who puts trust and relationships above all else, get in touch with We Are Adam Get in touch on 0161 359 3789 or at