Debbie Kemp shares the keys to a successful onboarding process—and why it matters.
By Debbie Bolla
As a global human resources and operations leader, Debbie Kemp understands the impact a strategic onboarding process can have on the bottom line. Simply put: It takes time and money to hire the right talent so it’s critical that organizations take a few steps not to lose them, she says. Here, the member of the CHRO Today Executive Network (C-TEN) explains who owns onboarding, effective approaches, and their impact on retaining talent.
HRO Today: How can HR be successful in finding and retaining talent in a tight labor market?
Debbie Kemp: Organizations need to ensure they have a solid employment brand message. This can be developed on the principles of who they are, how they differentiate themselves from others, their culture, and their community support. As individuals enter the workforce, they are looking for a broader company message around how they are impacting the business and the community. This employment brand message can be communicated on the company website and social media channels like Built in NYC and its other city affiliates.
Understanding the specifics about the open position is also important. A good place to start is by sitting down with the hiring manager and discussing a walk-through: a day in the life of that role. This will help craft a job description that’s based on skills and responsibilities while also bringing it alive with details that are often forgotten. This will enable HR to identify and hire the right talent for the organization at the right time by having a more impactful applicant pool.
HROT: Why is onboarding key to this success?
Kemp: It takes time and money to hire the right talent so organizations don’t want to lose them. Therefore, there’s a short window to get new hires engaged and involved in the company. New hires need to feel connected right away. I think organizations need to make this a priority and part of the talent acquisition process. Everyone owns onboarding, including human capital and talent acquisition executives, hiring managers, and senior leadership. You want to create a road map that includes defining roles and responsibilities to ensure the new hire understands their role and is empowered during onboarding. Connecting new hires to their workflow networks is also important.
HROT: What can organizations do to elevate their onboarding processes to connect and engage with new hires in order to retain them?
Kemp: I have implemented scalable onboarding processes in the past, and have found that this had a positive impact on both the new hire experience and business objectives. There are definitely technology solutions to assist in the process, and utilizing these solutions makes it much more scalable and engaging.
These are simple yet effective steps that can be incorporated into an onboarding process:
- The hiring manager and others involved in the interview process send notes of congratulations to the new hire.
- A welcome message is delivered from a business leader or the CEO about the company.
- During pre-onboarding, the new hire can begin to complete all the hiring paperwork, including benefit information.
- The new hire can put together a personal info sheet that can be shared with employees within the business or the entire company so that when the new hire starts, others know who they are and introduce themselves. Everyone wants to feel like a part of the company they just joined.
- Assigning the new hire a buddy can help relieve some of the pressure of first day. A tenured employee can walk the new employee around the floor and building, providing insight into simple things like where to grab lunch or some of the company traditions. They can also be responsible for sharing more about the culture, values, and networking.
- During the first week, the hiring manager should be spending time with their new hire and reviewing the position’s objectives and what success will look like for this role. The hiring manager should also make introductions to the team. Above all, the hiring manager needs to get to know their new hire and this can include taking them to lunch that first week.
- Within the first 30 days, the hiring manager should walk the new hire through a career/development plan.