The 2020 APAC CandE report finds that candidate experience is the number one focus for global talent acquisition teams in 2021. Rightfully so, given best-in-class CX ultimately translates into higher-quality hires, cheaper and faster.
But there’s something just as important to those exact same outcomes: onboarding. And the stats show recruiters are typically ignoring it.
Keep reading to learn why onboarding shouldn’t just sit with HR, and where recruiters can get involved.
Is onboarding really 102% less important than CX?
“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”.
Jon-Paul Jaramillo, Talent Acquisition Manager at Sundt.
If you’re a recruiter, you know how much the candidate experience matters.
- For example, the 2020 APAC CandE report found candidates feeling their time was disrespected was the second biggest driver of withdrawn applications (beaten only by unmet salary expectations). The recruitment process taking too long was the third.
- And it’s not just losing great candidates you have to worry about. CandE say 79% of candidates in APAC will share a positive recruitment experience – and 47% a negative one. That’s a major employer brand consideration.
- And candidate experience doesn’t only impact recruitment outcomes – it impacts business outcomes. You might’ve read how Virgin Media were losing $6M/year in sales revenue thanks to a poor candidate experience, for example.
A great CX means stronger employer brand, 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.
BUT something else matters just as much. And recruiters are typically much less involved with it. Onboarding.
That CandE report finds 73% of global talent acquisition teams in APAC identified candidate experience as a primary focus for 2021. Only 36% mentioned onboarding. That’s a difference of 102%.
Maybe you feel onboarding is less important than candidate experience – but surely not 102% less important?! Not when you look at the stats:
- Strong onboarding improves new hire retention by 82% and productivity by 70% (Brandon Hall Group via Glassdoor)
- In Australia, 59% of managers have had an employee resign during probation thanks to poor onboarding. (Robert Half via Business Insider)
The fact is, onboarding ladders up to the same benefits as CX: a more engaged, productive employee. Recruiters can’t afford to ignore the impact onboarding has on the outcomes your success hinges on.
"Of course onboarding matters, but it's HR's responsibility"
Look – we know you don’t think onboarding is unimportant. More likely, you just aren’t particularly involved because onboarding sits with HR.
But that’s the problem – because onboarding is a team effort. Onboarding is much less powerful when it’s siloed in HR.
That’s especially true of hiring managers.
(For example, Gallup say when managers take an active role in onboarding, employees are 3.4 times more likely to feel 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 taskforce, 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 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 really be the start of the employee experience.
In practice, that 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 get married!” 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’ mightn’t 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 point is, the candidate experience shouldn’t fade away but continue, seamlessly, into 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.