I recently attended a very interesting presentation by Corinna Holder regarding the onboarding process at Homeday. I was particularly impressed with the attention to detail that was undertaken to ensure that candidates who accepted an offer were quickly and painlessly integrated into the business and the culture.
The onboarding process at Homeday
In brief, the company divides the on boarding process into 4 distinct sections:
Between signing and the first day at work
Although this is a relatively standard onboarding layout, the devil is in the details and consistent execution. This was most impressive:
The HR team and company consistently execute exactly the same onboarding process for everyone who joins the business.
Moreover, they do so with passion and include little personal touches (like sweets in the envelope with the contract, so you have something to nibble on while you are reading it).
Why does Homeday focus so much on the onboarding process?
It provides the candidates with an image and representation of the company. Applicants want to see the company cares for them and demand individual support from the recruiter — no matter if internal or external.
In all of this, what surprised me the most is that the recruitment agency, which brought the candidate into the business, was not part of the onboarding process.
What is worse, when I asked the HR leadership present at the meeting if they had ever considered this, I was met with very surprised looks and even horror in one or two cases.
Why are recruitment agencies left out?
The reason for the surprise and horror from many HR professionals at the meeting was simple.
They do not trust recruitment agencies, nor do they believe that they can add value to the business in any other way than providing profiles.
This is a very sad state of affairs, especially as we have written about this so often before, in blogs such as Good Recruiter/Bad Recruiter, The Near Future Of IT Recruiting, What’s The Deal With IT Recruitment Agencies, and many more.
The point is that recruitment agencies are seen as transactional service providers because,
through years of low-skilled transactional service, blind cold-calling, lack of subject matter education and, frankly, no concern for quality, the industry has created an awful name for itself.
Using recruitment partners in the onboarding process
Luckily, clients can demand more and are starting to do so. This, however, begins with choosing the right recruitment partner to work with.
Doing so will enable to not only build a truly consultative working relationship, but will dramatically improve the quality of candidates, your employer branding and your communication with the candidate market.
Choosing an experienced and non-transactional recruitment partner will also enable you to greatly improve the onboarding process, especially in the pre-signing phase and the prior to the first day at work.
Let’s face it, at those stages candidates have had a much closer relationship with the recruitment agency. They will be more likely (and should) to voice concerns, problems, uncertainties to the recruitment company, as they are the “mediator”.
The recruitment company is not the employer or interviewer, but rather the agony aunt who can make things work. There is no one with this type of relationship to the candidate on the side of the employer.
It is for this reason that I believe this special relationship between candidate and recruiter should be utilised in the onboarding process.
If you don’t trust your recruitment partner to represent your business, you should not be working with them.
However, if you choose your recruitment partner well, they are a tremendous asset not only in bringing you the right profiles, but also in ensuring that those people have the right impression about the company, spread the word and join your business with a smile on their face.