The candidate journey has become more important than ever before. In the war for talent, all organizations want to attract the most talented candidates. Once those talents have been won over, the employee experience goes a long way in determining how that scarce talent is retained. This blog post explains how pre-hiring, pre-boarding, onboarding, and offboarding can help you achieve and maintain your growth objectives. After all, happy employees mean happy clients and happy clients mean growth!
– The second in a two-part blog series on the employee experience and the employee journey –
The previous blog post, Employee experience more important than ever!, introduced seven reasons to start focusing on the employee experience. You could say that the employee experience serves as the overarching theme in the entire employee journey. We also urged you to reflect on your organizational story, your corporate culture, how to reach your target group, the impact of a good pre-boarding and onboarding process, and why good offboarding is so important. Now we’ll share the answers! You can read more about culture and how to set up the employee journey in four phases.
Culture & connection
Culture is the unifying factor in both recruitment and retention. Culture is often described as a ‘feeling’ or ‘something you see in people’. Being able to define this more clearly can be invaluable to an organization. Why do your employees come to work every day with a smile? What makes their work enjoyable? What is the culture of the organization and what values does it uphold? Our company was founded in 2012, which makes us relatively young. We employ a lot of millennials, with an average age of 28. A dynamic environment like this is subject to change. Taking the time to reflect on our company, our employees, and what defines Appical both now and in the future lays the foundation for our employer brand and determines whether it’s something you can identify with. In the process of choosing and being chosen, it’s important to show your true colours.
‘They say you can choose your friends but not your family. Personally, I like to think of a new employer as a family member you can choose!’
With this in mind, and given the fact that we hope to double our staff this year, we entered into a partnership with Culture Builders. The project kick-off was held last Monday at our office in Amsterdam-Noord. We plan to conduct an anonymous survey among our employees to determine which cultural vibes are perceived as positive, what our future ambitions are, and how we can achieve these together. We’d love to tell you more about this project at a later stage.
‘Your competitors can copy everything but your culture.’
Bij Appical delen wij de employee journey op binnen de volgende fasen. Ons uiteindelijke doel:
Turn talent into Heroes!
- Pre-hiring – vanaf eerste contactmoment tot tekenen contract
- Pre-boarding – vanaf tekenen contract tot eerste werkdag
- Onboarding – vanaf eerste werkdag tot productief zijn medewerker
- Offboarding – laatste maand tot uitdiensttreding
Attract – magnetism
The pre-hiring phase starts the moment a potential candidate discovers your company to the moment the contract is signed. Employer branding is a crucial element in attracting talent. A good candidate experience is an important prerequisite for the employer brand and employer impact. If this is missing, there’s no point in topping the ‘best employer’ charts. Employees in 2018 are doing their own online research, checking rating sites like Glassdoor, and choosing companies that are committed to impact. A pre-hire widget can give you a sneak peek into your own company.
- Tell your own organizational story and have your culture speak for itself.
- Share the experiences of your employees.
- Share your vision and explain the impact of your employees, their role in the bigger picture, and their development process.
- Develop a clear and honest corporate page and vacancy page.
- Share relevant content and offer a behind-the-scenes glimpse at your company on social media.
- Explore the channels visited by your target group and post actively.
Employee experience also involves meeting the expectations of current and prospective employees. In short: hire for a cultural fit and create a work environment that leads to happy employees!
‘If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood, sweat and tears.’ Simon Sinek.
Adopt – ‘the handshake’
The pre-boarding phase starts the moment the employee signs the contract and lasts until the first day of work. Don’t wait until the first work day. The time of paperwork and intakes is long gone. You should treat new hires – and candidates who quit the application process or didn’t make the cut – like you’d want to be treated. A lot of new employees quit before they’ve even settled into their new jobs. Good pre-boarding can prevent this.
- Start with onboarding the new hire for the first day of work. Failing to contact a new employee or only contacting him or her for practical issues is not exactly a good experience.
- Involve your new employee in team plans and the company’s vision of the future at an early stage. Make it interactive!
- Invite the new employee to a team meeting or team dinner before his or her first work day.
- Give the employee as much relevant information as possible to help him or her become familiar with colleagues, the workplace, and the work method.
- Give new employees the opportunity to provide feedback and give them a small thank-you gift that will come in handy during their first work week.
‘The candidate has now become your new employee, treat him or her the same as a new customer.’
Accelerate – ‘the rocket’
The onboarding phase starts on the first day of work and lasts until the new employee is comfortable in his or her new role. Remember: the onboarding process never really ends. It’s important to keep the employee on board, even after the first few months. This involves corporate onboarding and functional onboarding. Advancement to a similar position within the same company is no longer a given. Roles and soft skills are becoming increasingly important. You can expect the corporate and functional onboarding process to take at least three months, although this depends on the available training courses as well. Ongoing onboarding involves the following:
- Give the new employee a warm welcome and plan a few coffee dates with colleagues.
- Go beyond the primary and secondary employment conditions to welcome the new hire. Introduce him or her to other colleagues on the company monitor and prepare a welcome package.
- Link the new employee to a buddy who can answer questions and offer support if needed.
- Share and celebrate each other’s successes.
- Maintain open channels of communication! While performance and appraisal interviews are certainly important, biweekly heads-up meetings and employee engagement surveys are even more important in my eyes.
- Make sure your content stays up to date.
‘Employee engagement is a cocktail of teamwork, management and company culture.’
Ambassadors – out of sight but not out of mind
The offboarding phase starts the moment the employee announces his or her resignation and lasts until the final work day. The old adage ‘out of sight, out of mind’ does not apply here. Try to maintain a relationship with your ambassadors after they leave. The employee turnover process has changed in recent years. People want to keep growing, work on a variety of projects, see a variety of clients, and do what makes them happy. Some say millennials (Generation Y) differ considerably from other employees, while others don’t see much of a difference at all. Read more about it in Unravelling millennial myths. The following tips are generation-independent:
- Stay in touch, even after the employee leaves the company.
- Set up an alumni group.
- Make the exit interview more interactive and give the employee more time to share feedback when he or she leaves the organization.
- Acknowledge achievements, even upon termination of employment, and thank the employee for his or her efforts (whether they were with the company for two years or ten). Former employees don’t want to feel abandoned.
- Save the information you collect during exit interviews, so you can make real changes if needed.
‘Marketing sells us emotions during onboarding. It’s important we unravel those emotions during offboarding.’ by Joe Macleod.
This is about stories from the heart of the organization that current and potential clients and colleagues can identify with. Stay true to yourself and to the core values of your organization. This attitude should be adopted by the entire company, not just the HR and marketing departments. The employee journey and the employee experience should be in place when you start working on the four phases. This will bring you a lot of benefits, such as a cultural fit from day one, faster start-up, more employment engagement, and a departing colleague who will serve as a true ambassador. Being there at the right time: that’s what it’s all about.
Tips from Appical
- Think big but start small.
- Make sure you have the right content for the right person at the right time.
- Start by collecting information and go from there.
- Experience doesn’t always have to be big and expensive.
- Involve stakeholders at an early stage.
- Define your ideal situation, but start with a general programme before you develop it in more detail for different positions.
- Ask your current and new employees for feedback during the entire employee journey.
Would you like to discuss your employee journey with us or would you like more information about the possibilities at each phase in our employee retention platform? If so, request a demo.