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Are you onboard?

Written by: David Weir is director and founder of Tile Hill
Published on: 22 Aug 2019

Getting onboarding right is one of the most crucial investments employers can make within the overall employee journey. Those embarking on senior level recruitment in areas such as finance or adult and children’s services will recognise that competition for talent continues to grow and understandably might feel a sense of relief and closure when a recruitment campaign concludes with an appointment. Too often though, onboarding is the forgotten part of the recruitment process.

There is a strong business case for investing in effective onboarding. A study by software company BambooHR found that staff who felt they had received an effective onboarding process were 18 times more likely to feel highly committed to their new employers and 30 times more likely to experience high job satisfaction. Those individuals also had a better perception of their organisation, with 89% feeling strongly integrated into the culture and 80% feeling that their new employer’s performance was strong. These statistics, along with the cost of replacing disengaged staff who leave earlier than hoped, demonstrates the impact of getting onboarding right.

Through the recruitment process, both recruitment consultants and hiring managers can have a genuine impact on the way people land on day one. Here are some ways that your organisation can enjoy the benefits of a better approach to onboarding new colleagues.

1. Begin before they do

Onboarding should not be a standalone process that only happens once someone starts in their new role. You will have more success if you have a strategy for onboarding from the moment candidates come into contact with your organisation and continue it long into their employment. Candidates who have a feel for what you’re all about as an organisation and understand your core principles and aims will perform better during the application phase, be better prepared for their time with you, and will learn and develop more quickly throughout their employment.

2. Emphasise your values and culture

It is important for anyone within your organisation to have a strong idea of who they are working for. This requires effective communication – and it is not just about making a positive first impression. Potential employees need to feel certain that they are getting involved with an organisation that respects their needs and reflects who they areas an individual. This means your messaging needs to be clear and authentic from the moment they make contact and remains consistent throughout their time with you. This will also help new recruits to understand what is expected of them and how they can contribute to your vision.

3. Choose the right recruitment partner

Using a partner that understands who you are as an organisation, shares your values and can deliver key messages in the way that you want, is a valuable part of driving engagement with candidates and maintaining positive momentum long into their employment. The conversations that recruiters have can play an essential role in promoting your vision, values and identity and importantly, can establish early on, the standards that you expect. Ensuring recruitment is integrated into your overall onboarding strategy is a vital step in making a positive first impression and establishing what is expected from those that will soon be part of your team.

4. Connect for success

Interview processes can be a whirlwind of meetings, panels, presentations and informal meet and greets. Helping the newly-hired understand the impact they had during the interview process, both positive or not so positive, on a range of stakeholders can help them land successfully. At a senior level relationships are key to delivery, so your new colleague will find it helpful to understand the impact they have had on the various people they have connected with during this phase. Actively helping them to recognise aspects of their performance in the interview and to identify and nurture the most valuable relationships, both internally and with external stakeholders, will help them to land well in their new role.

5. Use assessment beyond the interview room

In most cases, we invest lots of time and energy during the recruitment process in understanding an applicant’s strengths and weaknesses, preferences and personality. Almost as often, assessment reports, including psychometric profiles, will be stuffed in a drawer, file or folder to gather dust and never resurface. This information can be used to better understand your new colleague’s personality, helping them to settle more quickly. It can also be used to nurture their ongoing development, so they stay with you for longer and fulfil their potential. You have invested time and money into your assessment process so use it to its full potential.

Onboarding shouldn’t be seen as a standalone process that happens once a new recruit starts their new job. With proper attention and consistency in approach, your organisation can reap the benefits of a well thought out strategy that will add real value and can shift organisational culture in the right direction.

David Weir is director and founder of Tile Hill

For more about Tile Hill’s approach to executive recruitment visit

David Weir