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Induction - First Impressions Really Mean Something When You Are Competing

Nov 1, 2007
A recent survey of 478 businesses in the UK by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development in the UK found that 19% of staff turnover occurred in the first six months and a further 28% in less than two years. From these figures it looks like poor choices by employers or candidates is fairly common.

Many businesses still think people should be grateful for a job offer. But times are changing. People, especially the younger ones, have choices, and they want to work somewhere that meets their needs. While it may be difficult to work these out specifically, we can probably guess at some.

People like to think they are joining an organization that is professional, that cares about it's people, is serious about who they select as employees and can provide some interesting work and the opportunity for a career with a future. It also needs to fit with their values. We are reminded of a story shared with us of a candidate that received a job offer by email sent at 11.00pm on a Friday night. He turned it down on the basis that if they worked those sorts of hours he wasn't interested.

The impression given by a potential employer starts very early: the way the phone is answered, the advertisement, the appearance of the building, the reception area. All of these factors will start to shape the expectations of the potential recruit. You may already be losing your best potential employees before you meet them.

If you are serious about attracting and keeping good people, your business should be marketing to potential and existing employees just as seriously as you are to your customers.

For most recruits, they want to feel there is a professional standard to the whole recruitment process - who wants to join a business that lets anybody in?

Starting at the beginning: during recruitment, handle each candidate like you would your best customer. Staying in touch with applicants in a professional and caring way and respecting their time. Make sure you have a rigorous and professional recruitment process and that all line managers are trained in it. Shoddy interviews are a sure fire way to show people you are not professional or serious about hiring the best people.

During the time between the employee accepting the position and starting, stay in touch by inviting the new employee to appropriate Company social functions, sending information about the business such as the employee handbook and product brochures and organising their benefits such as superannuation, car, and any other benefits or equipment required. Their office or work station also needs to be prepared during this time. An internal notice can be distributed advising people of the new arrival complete with photograph so they can recognise them.

When they start, make sure the relevant people are available on day one - their manager, peers and support staff if relevant.

The sequence of events that follow from day one is going to vary between organizations but it is important to have a plan. The following should be included.

1. Occupational Health and Safety issues
2. Showing them the layout of the work location - parking, lunch room, toilets, medical facilities
3. Understanding of key Company policies, especially those relating to employment legislation
4. Completing relevant employment forms if not done before starting
5. Agreeing what expectations the line manager has in the first three to six months (this period may vary depending on the job). This has an affect on a successful completion of the probation period and helps the new recruit settle in and gain a sense of achievement
6. Meeting the relevant people to be able to do their job
7. Meeting the right people to be able to build a social network
8. Being able to start their job and feel like they are contributing
9. Learning about the organization and the industry - visits to customers, suppliers and different Company locations are very useful if appropriate
10. Learn about the products or services provided

With a well developed plan provided to them on day one, or even before, you have a much better chance of an employee feeling they are being well treated by a professional business. They are more likely to be productive earlier, become engaged and stay longer. Overall a good return on your investment.
About the Author
Paul Phillips is a Director of Horizon Management Group; a specialist human resource management consulting firm. He has over 30 years experience in HR and, while based in Australia, has worked in a number of overseas locations. www.horizonmg.com
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