Startups scout and hire the best of talent, typically a mix of dynamic graduates and professionals from MNCs and younger enterprises. However, it can tend to be a tedious exercise as mushrooming startups and firms which have matured from the startup status face gaping attrition rate and tend to lose out on their employees within the first 30-90 days. While there could be various personal and professional parameters for their exits, most of the new recruits leaving in the initial months can be attributed to their holding multiple job offers, and thus testing the waters; difficulty in acclimatising to the new work culture and expectation mismatch and its effect on their career.
In order to retain talent, it is imperative for the talent acquisition teams to create a lasting impression on prospective candidates and new recruits. The flat and lean organisational structure adopted in most of the startups should enable a fun-filled and less cumbersome on-boarding process.
A decade ago, a typical first day scene at any established IT firm involved filling up a bunch of documents and signing up a bond, which took almost half the day. The next half was all about sessions on the company’s processes, dos and don’ts, and so on. For a month, new employees were left to fend for themselves; until one day, a manager wanted somebody to perform an application testing and couple of them get randomly picked up and assigned to projects. This was the employee initiation scenario in many leading firms but the situation is changing now with new recruits being given extra attention and care with the hope of wooing them.
Millennial-generation-centric firms need to have a well spanned out induction process as they become relevant in understanding the connection between on-boarding and future talent retention. A well-designed and transparent process is mutually beneficial as the employees adapt themselves to the role faster and show productivity. E-retailing majors like Flipkart and Myntra thoroughly invest in nurturing their new employees and initiate them to the company culture with a holistic induction process, blended with fun and knowledgeable elements like visiting the warehouse to understand the whole delivery process, inspirational welcome messages from the senior leadership teams to personalised goodies and hearty lunch-outs to make them feel wanted. Interestingly, each new joinee at Urban Ladder is a part of customer call and door deliveries for at least two days to experience the true essence of the business. With times changing, induction processes cannot be all about lectures and heavy PPTs.
In the effort to attract and retain talent in a fiercely competitive market, there is a need for us to build a feel-good induction model. Here are a few tips that can ensure a relaxed, fun-filled on-boarding that can probably leave a durable and impressive mark.
On-boarding is a continuous process and should not be considered a ‘first day’ or ‘first week’ activity. The new recruits should feel that the company they have joined is really happy to have them.
The recruit should get the feeling that the company is excited about having him or her in their rolls and what better way than a welcome card, a branded souvenir, and a kit personalised to make the new joinees feel like it’s their second home.
A buddy is the go-to person for the new recruit in the initial months to help navigate the myriad labyrinth of the corporate systems, jargon and teams. A buddy can be a peer who assists the new hire to overcome social jitters associated with a new workplace.
In order to ensure that the recruit is familiar with the teams he or she has to work with, it’s advisable to have weekly meeting with the leads and team members. Sessions with cross-functional teams would help in understanding the various functions and familiarising with people responsible for them.
Another important aspect is to ensure that there are regular meetings with the HR manager and the team lead so that a 360-degree feedback can be given and taken.
Just as assigning a buddy who is the go-to person, it’s important that there is a mentor who can guide the new recruits in understanding the work environment, the industry, in appreciating the nitty-gritty of the work, and in focussing on the short-and long-term career goals. Sessions with a mentor is most likely to help the employee with his or her career graph, interests and not just restricting to the job description. Healthy conversations like these motivate productivity.
Providing a platform for the new employees to showcase their hobbies goes a long way in helping other team members appreciate new entrants and facilitates their faster acceptability and assimilation into the organisation.
A well-designed on-boarding strategy plays a major role in retaining talent. One such strategy is the ‘free-look period’, which we have implemented where the talent is a mighty mix of sales, customer support and teams that builds the brand’s IP. Similar to the insurance sector’s free-look policy, newly on-boarded employees are given a 30-day period to immerse in the organisation and focus on understanding the culture and processes. This helps them gauge what they are in for and have the option to leave or stay based on their experience. Whether one decides to leave the organisation within five days of joining or on completing 30 days, all they need to do is to inform their manager and resign without any reasoning or notice. This has enabled new hires be at ease and enjoy this period, while they work towards being successful in their respective roles without worrying about undue expectations like accountability of talks, which in turn, helps the company retain talent.
The preliminary month is the best time when new joinees spend most of their time understanding the work environment.. It’s best to ensure that workload is kept to the minimum, letting the organisation assess whether the employee truly fits into the organisation’s core value system.