You want to attract the best talent. People want to work for the best companies. The definition of "best" will of course vary for everyone, but that's the beauty of a brand - it doesn't have to be one size fits all. A good talent brand is the one that successfully attracts the kind of talent that helps your business grow. A strong talent brand is a business imperative and the facts support it. In addition, this thinking reflects the new workplace paradigm of a two-way relationship with your people - a paradigm where it's not just about an employer deciding whether to hire you or not, but companies being researched and considered by people much they way they do consumer products.
So that being said, I would like to challenge you to think about your own talent brand now. 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. Yes, you may already be investing significant money and effort into many of the important pieces of a successful talent brand. Congrats to you if you are. But if you're like most companies, there is one particular piece that you're probably neglecting, and it has a bigger affect on your employer brand that you might think.
When is your company's talent brand really put to the test? Well, what happens at your company once a candidate accepts an offer?
Some call this pre-boarding, but in my experience the "transition" between accepting an offer and starting a new job is better thought of as part of the larger onboarding process. It makes handing off ownership of the candidate from recruitment to HR or a direct manager clearer. I've seen so many companies struggle with just this. The ambiguity too often leads to an awkward pause in the process, even at some of the best companies. And this is a shame, because you're unlikely to have a more enthusiastic and engaged person than one that has just accepted an offer. So why would you let that excitement fade?
On top of the ambiguity, the transition into a new company (and even just into a new role at your current organization), is too often a cumbersome and uncoordinated process of forms, out-dated intranet systems and endless introductory meetings, trainings and presentations.
The research backs it up with some pretty compelling arguments. An awesome onboarding experience can improve employee performance by 11.5%, and a longer and more consistent employee onboarding program allows new hires to gain full proficiency 34% faster than those in shorter programs.
And while any onboarding process is better than nothing, I'd ask you to reflect on this question. Does your onboarding program excite and actively support your talent brand?
When a company really does an awesome job at onboarding their people it stands out. Going that extra mile, reaching out to them early and starting to build the company-talent relationship before they start their new job makes a huge positive impact. Think of it as HR and management's low hanging fruit. Maybe it's because most people still really don't expect it.
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 to really make a positive impact on your talent brand through onboarding, it needs to feel personal. Everyone wants to feel important and part of the team, especially when they're the new guy. That can be time consuming and difficult for a lot of companies to realistically achieve, or is it?
In this exciting era of connectivity it doesn't have to be. I encourage you to get creative and embrace technology as a way to bridge the gap, to bring your future talent into the fold early, and to get a jump start on integrating into their new role and team. They might just be pleasantly surprised and just that more successful because of it. That sounds like good business to me.
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