All aboard: onboarding in the employee lifecycle
The employee lifecycle is an ongoing process; after attracting candidates to apply and then interviewing and selecting, the onboarding process can be stressful for the new recruit and the existing team that they are to be integrated with, if not arranged correctly. New employees can provide a fresh perspective on the company, so use this insight to improve the customer journey.
Here’s what to expect…
When you have completed the selection process and are confident that you have found the right person for your role, contracts and start dates need to be finalised for completion and signature by the successful candidate.
Contracts can either be sent by post or by email – postal contracts will occur more of a delay. If recruitment software is used by your organisation, contracts can be automatically formatted by mail merge to ensure the correct information has been used; manual keying in of information can incur human error, including typos on salary offers, so should be used with caution as this may delay the process further if errors are found.
The contract should also include a job description for clarity with a clear list of roles and responsibilities that the new recruit is expected to undertake, so that this is confirmed in writing prior to their start date. This can also be pulled in with the use of a recruitment software, such as an Applicant Tracking System (ATS).
It can be helpful to continue communications prior to the new recruit’s start date – this can provide reassurance during their notice period, and can be particularly helpful to your organisation if their current employer counter-offers. By providing frequent communications, you can reassure the successful candidate that your organisation takes the time to onboard them fully, promising an engaging career with yourselves.
Communications can be automated in an ATS and could include media-rich features such as videos of the team they will be joining, or image libraries of past social events. Such content will improve engagement and welcome the candidate to the company prior to their first day. This provides a better candidate experience and a hospitable candidate environment.
Ensure that your internal communications are all-encompassing – oftentimes, new recruits arrive on their first day and their team is completely unaware of their due arrival. This can provide an uncomfortable atmosphere and put your new recruit at unease, giving a poor first impression. Streamline internal communications using an ATS to remove unnecessary discomfort.
Take your pre-first day processes to the next level by automating reminders to successful candidates that have not returned references or contracts by the due date. A recruitment software will have the functionality to do so, reducing the administrative reminder tasks required by your recruitment team.
A smile is the universal welcome
Inductions should not be treated as merely a ‘tick box’ exercise, but as a great opportunity to introduce new employees to the culture of ways of working within the business .
New hires will require the opportunity and time to adjust to the attitudes, knowledge, skills and behaviour of the current team, and if compliance is required within your organisation, ensure that your new recruit has ample time to complete this during their first week.
New recruits may also be required to download company information or upload personal information for compliance, such as utility bills for proof of address, or passports. Make the most of a recruitment software to enable this, making the employee lifecycle slicker. One of the benefits of an online system is that all information is saved electronically and securely, providing an audit trail alongside the right to delete for General Data Protection Regulation purposes.
During their first few weeks, ensure that your new recruit’s line manager is organising frequent catch ups and follow ups, with a formal one-to-one after their first month. By this point, they should feel comfortable within the team and begin to be able to apply themselves with working processes.
Don’t lose them as quickly as you gain them
If onboarding and inductions are treated as a ‘tick box’ exercise, there are many risks which could affect the success of your new recruit. If poorly integrated into the team, the team may face low morale – which will affect the new employee in particular. This will lead to a loss of productivity within the team, and the new employee will fail to work to their highest potential .
In extreme cases, the new employee may leave. This may be through resignation because they feel your organisation is a poor culture fit to themselves, or through dismissal if their work proves to be unsatisfactory during the probation period.
If the new employee leaves this can lead to:
- additional cost for recruiting a replacement
- wasted time for the inductor
- lowering of morale for the remaining staff
- detriment to the leaver's employment record
- having to repeat the unproductive learning curve of the leaver
- damage to the company's reputation. 
Secure your recruitment plan
Onboarding and inductions are critical to the employee lifecycle. Some organisations become complacent at this stage of the cycle, feeling assured that they have acquired a new, talented member of staff. However, new recruits are not secured within your company due to the threat of counter-offers, or poor induction processes.
By making the most of recruitment software, processes can be automated to improve the candidate experience and environmental, reduce turnover rates, reduce administrative tasks and improve future succession planning. CIPD research has found that 40% of organisations are making efforts to improve their induction process to address staff retention ; onboarding is evidently a point of contention in regard to staff turnover, but this is an issue that can be address easily with improved communications, enhanced by automatic functionality.
 CIPD ‘Induction factsheet’, 2016
 CIPD ‘Resourcing and talent planning survey’, 2017