The 2020 CandE reports show that candidate experience is the number one focus for global talent acquisition teams in North America, EMEA, and APAC in 2021. Rightfully so, given best-in-class candidate experience ultimately translates to higher-quality hires.
But there’s something just as important to those same outcomes that shouldn’t be ignored: onboarding.
What some may not realize, is that recruiters are key to onboarding success, and onboarding doesn’t need to sit solely with HR.
Why You Should Invest in Onboarding
“We spend a ton of time, energy, and resources on giving our candidates a great recruiting experience. But once our candidates signed their offer, that experience started to fade away leading up to their first day on the job. We knew immediately we needed to fix that,”shared
Jon-Paul Jaramillo, Talent Acquisition Manager at Sundt.
To learn more about virtual onboarding, watch Enboarder’s webinar on Virtual Onboarding: The 5 Keys to Success
Recruiters know how much the candidate experience matters. For example:
- The CandE reports found that both candidates and employees long for more empathetic communication than ever before.
- 79% of candidates share a positive recruitment experience – and 47% a negative one. That’s a major employer brand consideration.
- Candidate experience doesn’t only impact recruitment outcomes – it impacts business outcomes. As an example, Virgin Media lost $6M/year in sales revenue thanks to a poor candidate experience.
A great candidate experience encompasses strong employer branding, more referrals, fewer withdrawals, faster time-to-hire – and ultimately, creates the best conditions for an engaged, productive employee.
That’s what it’s all about.
We can’t ignore onboarding though – it bridges the gap between the candidate and employee experience. However, recruiters are typically much less involved with it.
The CandE report found 73% of global talent acquisition teams identified candidate experience as a primary focus for 2021. Only 36% mentioned onboarding—that’s a difference of 102%.
Surely, onboarding should not be 102% less important than the candidate experience! When you look at the stats, consider that strong onboarding improves new hire retention by 82% and productivity by 70% (Brandon Hall Group via Glassdoor). In Australia, for example, 59% of managers have had an employee resign during probation thanks to poor onboarding. (Robert Half via Business Insider)
The fact is a positive onboarding experience ladders up to the same benefits as a positive candidate experience: a more engaged, productive employee. Onboarding has a huge impact on the outcomes of success for companies and recruiters, too.
Onboarding is Not Just HR’s Responsibility
Onboarding is a team effort and is much less powerful when it’s siloed in HR.
That’s especially true of hiring managers.
(For example, Gallup says when managers take an active role in onboarding, employees are 3.4x more likely to feel that onboarding was successful.)
But it’s also true of recruiters.
Successful candidates already have an established relationship with you, thanks to all your hard work so far. They’re engaged. They trust you. They almost certainly trust you more than any other person in the business, at this point.
That means recruiters are uniquely placed to guide new hires through this transition period.
Recruiters provide continuity – you’re the thread that connects the candidate experience to the employee experience.
That’s a big deal. Kate Pavlina – HR Business Partner with Amazon – recently wrote a thesis about best-practice onboarding and found cohesion of experience was one of the major success factors.
Upping recruitment’s involvement with onboarding isn’t the only component – but it could be a powerful lever.
Onboarding for recruiters: where to get involved
It’s a good bet the important conversations about onboarding strategy are happening, with or without you. Make sure they’re with.
We often talk about the idea of an onboarding task force, with representatives from key groups across the business. Someone from talent acquisition should be involved, from strategy onwards.
At its best, a mature onboarding function isn’t dictated by HR. Rather, recruitment is involved as a major stakeholder, helping define where you can add the most value. And ensuring you get the input you need from the C-Suite, HR, and hiring managers to add that value.
The end result is a collaborative, cross-functional onboarding team providing a cohesive, seamless experience. Because onboarding doesn’t start when a candidate accepts a job offer.
Onboarding starts from the moment a role is opened because any candidate could become a successful hire. That means any moment during the candidate experience could be the start of the employee experience.
In practice, this looks like:
- Getting comprehensive hiring manager insight into the opportunity and team culture – so the successful candidate has had a consistent, coherent message from their first recruiter contact.
- Debriefing HR and hiring managers fully on interviewing candidates – so the candidate/employee experience feels personal and empathetic. Small things like, “so-and-so mentioned you’re about to go on vacation” let new hires know you care.
- Helping new hires prepare for their first day, just like you’d help candidates prepare for an interview. Being there for any “silly” questions new hires might not want to bother HR with. Welcoming them on their first day – not dropping off after the job offer.
- Remaining a trusted point-of-contact for new hires, recognizing they might confide issues to you they mightn’t with anyone else in the business. Having a coffee after the first month is an easy action that could have a huge impact.
The candidate experience shouldn’t fade away but continue seamlessly throughout the employee experience. That’s when your investment into candidate experience pays back most – by delivering engaged, productive new hires who’ll deliver more value for the business.
Check out our friends, Enboarder. Their experience-driven onboarding platform makes delivering best-in-class onboarding simple, empowering recruiters to bridge the gap between the candidate and employee experience… without increasing your workload. Learn more here.