On-Boarding Is Not Just About The Salary

On-Boarding Is Not Just About The Salary

The author suggests strategies for companies to connect with a new hire at a psychological and emotional level, which can help form long-term relationships.

Priyanka Kumar


In the very recent times, industry has been witnessing an ever intensifying war over talent. The e-commerce and internet businesses lead the way when it comes to attracting the best talent, by offering lucrative compensation packages. However, what remains to be seen is how much of this talent pool, acquired after fierce competition, is eventually retained by companies.

New recruits’ first impressions of the company are crucial in the process of building their perception that will probably go a long way with them. In the back of their mind, they’re always drawing a subtle comparison with the previous organization. Everything – right from the initial recruitment process, the first day at work, orientation, infrastructure, hardware /software availability, to the welcome from the team members – it all matters! There is practically nothing that goes unnoticed from an observing, fresh employee’s perspective. Therefore, an effective strategy to lock down long-term retention of this newly acquired talent is to mobilize its integration within the organization.

To start with, a strategically designed induction is pivotal in merging the employee within the new workplace. The induction program need not wait till the employee’s first day at work. A connection established between new employees and HR, prior to their joining, can help ease them into the new workplace better. A pre-natal connection such as that could be planned with the help of tenured employees, who may volunteer to familiarize the new joinees with the work culture, policies, key stakeholders, office layout and more. It signals transparency and investment of effort on part of the organization, and therefore can be a great first step to a successful professional relationship.

New recruits’ first impressions of the company are crucial in the process of building their perception that will probably go a long way with them.

The second step in quick succession should be to plan a memorable first day for the new joinees. The agenda should touch upon brief historic timeline of the company, keynote addresses by key leaders in the organization, HR overview on culture, and people policies. To avoid monotony, a HR can always spruce up the first day by organizing icebreakers, trivia quizzes about the company, anecdotes from the lives of founders and flash videos and montages about the culture of the company. The idea should be to share information via interesting formats like stories, anecdotes and gameplay, and at the same time not overwhelm people.

HR can expect a flurry of questions from newbies as they try and navigate their way through the organization during their first few days. Hence, it is imperative that the HR establishes adequate mechanisms to address their queries or concerns and be attentive to their feedback. A dedicated support team which can take care of onboarding end-to-end can prove to be a great idea for organizations that have large scale hiring plans. At the same time, HR must proactively schedule periodic feedback connects with new hires to assess how well they are assimilating in the new environment, and if they need any additional support.

The onus of a comfortable onboarding experience also rests as much with the IT, finance and facilities teams, who must work seamlessly.  Collaboration within various functions will ensure that new joinees have designated seating spaces, with their essential hardware and software requirements met, and timely payout of any reimbursements/bonuses.

As the new hires settle down in an environment, they pick up cues on culture, acceptable ways of interpersonal interactions and demeanor from their colleagues and manager. The responsibility now falls on the immediate managers, who must induct the new joinees by giving them an overview of their role and responsibilities, goals, key stakeholders and general expectations at work. While much of these discussion should happen at the recruitment stage, post joining, a far candid discussion on the “value” they are expected to add will help align their goals and wavelength to the needs of the business. A positive and endearing attitude extended from the manager can help new joinees fine tune their focus, unlearn old ways of working and adapt to the new environs in a shorter span.

Assigning a ‘buddy’ can help answer a lot of questions on how one should approach an assignment or a discussion in line with the cultural context of the organization. The goal must be to provide a new hire a supportive environment that helps unleash their best potential.

Alternately, inviting new hires to networking lunches with the senior managers or team members can be a great ice breaker, and subtly expose them to values and culture of the organization. While there is prestige attached to dining with the top honchos, people also get to foster new relationships over food. In fact, some of these opportunities help people build memories that they would love to share!

All new hiring programs must be designed based on these principles that work dually on psychological and emotional levels. An emotional connect with the new hires is the best way to start off a new journey!

About the author: Priyanka Kumar is the Senior Manager, Corporate HR at Directi. Having worked across leading MNCs earlier, her core capability lies in designing and delivering HR solutions to address strategic needs of the business thereby shaping the future state of the organization through Change Management.

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