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Jo Macdonald | 21 June 2022

Onboarding – it starts sooner than you think!

In this blog I want to share a couple of ideas on how to make the most of the four week notice period.

Back in the golden "olden" days of recruitment (aka pre covid!), onboarding usually started the day your new employee walked into your workplace. This was generally day one and all the stops were pulled out to help them feel included and to upskill them into the organisation as quickly as possible.

As we all know, the landscape in the world of recruitment has dramatically shifted in the last two and half years. We have 3% unemployment, the great resignation, the overseas exodus, and a talent shortage like we've never experienced before. All these things have prompted a change to the way we recruit and onboard. In previous blogs we've talked about strengthening your recruitment processes, moving at pace while still being thorough, and the importance of EVP; all these things are still super relevant.

In this blog I want to share a couple of ideas on how to make the most of the four week notice period, that very long gap between a candidate's resignation and their first day with you in their new role. I think it's time we changed our mindset a little. Day one of your new employee's onboarding experience actually starts the day they say "I do" and sign on the dotted line, not the day they begin their new role with you.

Let’s say you’ve run an incredible recruitment process. You and your preferred candidate have wooed one another and there is general excitement about joining together for what everyone hopes will be a happy ever after.

But then what?

It can be easy to file away that signed employment agreement, go back to business as usual and leave your very excited new team member to work through their notice period. They hear crickets for four weeks………….chirp chirp chirp………….which can often feel weird after such an intense period of wooing.

Unfortunately, what we've been seeing a bit lately (and what used to be a rare occurrence) is a candidate being counter offered during that notice period by their current employer or engaging in another recruitment process which then turns their head. While this behaviour is a bit shabby, we are seeing more of it in this market than we’ve ever seen before.

This four week notice period presents an incredible opportunity for you to keep your new employee engaged, inspired and excited about their next steps with you. By staying close to them, they’ll remain steadfast in their decision that joining your organisation is the best decision they've ever made.

Here are a few tips I've learnt along that way that candidates have loved:

Comms!

Keep in touch. Each week drop them a line, perhaps talk about what's going on within your organisation or team in the next few weeks. Or just simply check in, see if they have any unanswered questions, ask them how they are, and whether they need anything from you. Remind them how excited you are about them joining your team.

Snail mail / merch

If your budget allows and it's your company's jam, send them a welcome package with your merch, and a personally written card. The personal touch can go a very long way to making them feel like a valued part of your team.

Recharge time

As part of their EVP, an awesome client of ours offers their new hire a week's paid leave in-between leaving their old role and starting their new role to recharge and re-energise. Candidate feedback to this has been incredibly positive.

What's on

If you have team events happening during that four week period, invite your new hire along, it's a fab way for them to meet people in a more relaxed setting while they don't have the pressure of learning as well. Is someone having a birthday, or do you have a team workshop, or strategy session during their notice period – look for reasons to connect before their ‘official’ first day.

Read up

Share with them any reading you think might support their onboarding, without overwhelming them. Would it help for them to know what your systems are, who your clients are, or who’s who in your zoo?

VR

Perhaps take the fear of the unknown away for your newbie. At Kin, we have a new starter due to join our team in August. Because she’s coming to Wellington from out of town, her whole recruitment process has been remote, so she hasn't stepped foot into our office. I've sent her a video tour of our space with a hello from our team, shown her where she may be sitting and more importantly where the chocolate bikkies live!

Micro site

We have another amazing client who has a four week online onboarding programme. It's a beautifully designed microsite that their new starter can sign into and gradually build their connection to the team and the business in small ways each week. It includes personalised videos from the leadership team, their direct people leader, and opportunities to get the boring admin out of the way. It's amazing and all bespoke to that new starter!

We'd love to hear what you do to ensure your newbies are onboarded in the best way for your organisation.