Companies want to attract the best talent. People want to work for the best companies. The definition of "best" varies, of course, but that's the beauty of a brand: it doesn't have to be “one size fits all.”
Now a business imperative, a good talent brand successfully attracts the kind of people who help a business grow. A strong talent brand also reflects the new workplace paradigm: a two-way relationship between organizations and talent. Hiring is no longer just a matter of an employer deciding whether to hire someone but now includes candidates researching and considering companies in much the same way they evaluate consumer products..
Think about the features of your own talent brand:
- Beautiful and regularly updated career site? Check!
- Good traction and interest from top graduates at university career fairs? Check!
- Cutting-edge benefits program and great development opportunities? Check!
- Employee engagement and satisfaction survey implemented? Check!
If your organization already puts significant money and effort toward many of the important pieces of a successful talent brand, congratulations! But if your organization is like most, it’s probably neglecting one element that really puts a company’s talent brand to the test: what happens once a candidate accepts an offer.
Some hiring and recruiting experts use the term “preboarding” to describe the transition between accepting an offer and starting a new job. But considering the period as part of the larger onboarding process is not only more accurate but also makes handing off ownership of the candidate from recruitment to HR or a direct manager clearer. Many companies struggle with that handoff, and the resulting ambiguity too often leads to an awkward pause in the process, even at some of the best companies. Additionally, a new hire’s transition into a new company (and even just into a new role at his or her current organization) is too often a cumbersome and uncoordinated process filled with forms, out-dated intranet systems, and endless introductory meetings, trainings, and presentations. A company is unlikely to have a more enthusiastic and engaged person than one who has just accepted an offer, so why let that excitement fade?
A great onboarding experience can dramatically improve employee overall performance, and new hires in longer and more consistent employee-onboarding programs gain full proficiency faster than those in shorter programs. And although any onboarding process is usually better than none at all, companies should take advantage of the opportunity to use onboarding programs to support their talent brands. A company that does an awesome job of onboarding its people–going the extra mile, reaching out to them early, and starting to build the company-talent relationship before they start their new jobs–can really stand out. Every company should implement those steps, which aren’t difficult to take (think of them as HR and management's low-hanging fruit). Those aspects of onboarding can have a huge positive impact, maybe because most people rarely expect them.
An onboarding checklist is a must, an employee handbook of some kind is probably a good idea too, and a welcome activity with the team is helpful and fun. But onboarding needs to feel personal in order to be a positive influence on a company’s talent brand. Everyone wants to feel like an important part of the team, especially when he or she is “the new person.” There’s a false perception that a personal touch can be time consuming and difficult for many companies to achieve. But in this era of connectivity, companies that get creative and embrace technology can bridge the gap between employee and employer, bring future talent into the fold early, and get a jump start on integrating new hires into their new roles and teams–and they might just be pleasantly surprised and just that more successful because of it.
- Attracting Better Talent Can Start with a Simple "Thank You"
- Contingent Talent Strategy: Taking a Page From Finance
- The Pros and Cons of Developing Talent Internally
Stijn de Groef is the CEO and cofounder of Talmundo, an app for employee preboarding and onboarding. Previously, he worked in senior talent management roles at EMEA, Swarovski, and Goodyear. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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