The candidate-driven talent market has been a reality for some years now, but many TA professionals never could have anticipated the rise of a new and disturbing trend. “Ghosting” is the term covering a phenomenon that includes candidates skipping interviews with no warning, new hires going radio silent before their first day, and new employees simply not showing up to work.
While some ghosting happens for reasons beyond your control, like a better job offer that comes along, there are some actions you can take to flip the script from ghost to a highly productive and engaged new hire. Research cited in Harvard Business Review indicates that when leaders fail in their transition into new organizations, two of their primary struggles are learning the culture and building relationships. Who doesn’t have these pain points when they start a new job? Here’s how you can enhance your onboarding program to ease the transition between offer and first week on the job to get the most from your new hires.
Before new hires start
Despite your new hires’ excitement about their fresh start with your organization, the period between offer acceptance and first week is especially risky for you. That’s the time when their current employer could up the ante with a salary increase, or another offer they thought was a long shot could come through. Try some of these proactive steps to get new hires learning your culture:
Invite them into your social networks. When you’ve confirmed your new hire has given official notice and started posting about coming to work for you, invite them to join your social networks so they can see what’s happening in your organization.
Reinforce your values. Chances are good your new hires accepted your offer in part because their values align with those of your organization. Reinforce that choice by reaching out to new hires with videos of employees talking authentically about company culture and values in action. Also, be sure these values are stated clearly and are easy to find on your website.
Give them a workplace preview. If you haven’t already shown off your work environment, give new hires a chance to see where they’ll be working, how people dress and what to expect through a virtual walkthrough. Having details like these in advance can ease their first day jitters.
Ask them to make an About Me video. Using your interviewing platform, request new hires make a video to introduce themselves which you can share with the team and even companywide. This way, your new hire will be more of a familiar face on the first day.
On their first day
The first day is make-or-break for the start of strong employee engagement. Give thought to how your new hires’ first-day experience will go, and put plans in place with your hiring manager around these strategies:
Don’t make he or she feel like an afterthought. There may be some paperwork to take care of and/or training videos to watch, but don’t let your new hire sit by himself while everyone else around him is working. Make sure the hiring manager has time set aside from everyday responsibilities to spend onboarding the new hire. Ask if one or more team members can take responsibility for training and answering questions. Better yet, see if new hires can shadow colleagues for a part of the day (and be sure to give that colleague advance notice!)
Assign a lunch buddy. Ask if one or several members of the team could make a point of having lunch with your new hire the first day and during the first week. Informal lunches are a great opportunity for new hires to start building relationships in their new organization.
Get them set up on your group communication platform. If your organization uses a tool like Slack or Spark, be sure to get new hires access to it on their first day. That way they can join the conversation when they have a free moment, introduce themselves and start connecting.
In their first week
Partner with your hiring manager to help make these strategies happen:
Make introductions with key contacts. Who else will your new hires need to know and collaborate with outside their immediate work group in order to do their job well? Make a list and set up short introductions so new hires can build their key relationships. This could include someone who will act as a mentor.
Support them in achieving short-term goals. Ask the hiring manager to help new hires set some quick, achievable goals and stay in touch as they work toward them. Some early wins will help new hires feel like they’re contributing and build confidence as they start to take on more responsibility.
These strategies, integrated with your onboarding program, can ensure new hires feel engaged and get up to speed quickly. They show you care about their success on the job and are invested in their future with your organization.
If ghosting is an issue for your TA team, get some further insight into the candidate’s perspective by downloading this Modern Hire resource, 5 Things Your Job Candidates Won’t Tell You.