Many organizations view a strong employer brand as a means to attract candidates. And it is. But employer branding doesn’t just relate to candidate experience. It also interweaves with employee experience. Too often, however, companies fail to consider their employer brand at two of the most critical parts of the employee journey — onboarding and offboarding.
Employer Branding and Onboarding
Research from Harvard Business School has shown that 1 in 3 recent hires will look for a new job within their first six months at a company. Coupled with productivity challenges and culture issues, it’s clear that the lack of a well-designed onboarding strategy can have a serious impact on the business.
Thankfully, you can use your employer brand to elevate the onboarding process and keep talent happy, motivated, and engaged.
To begin with, when a new hire joins a company, this is the first time they get to experience your employer brand firsthand, so there’s a real opportunity to orient the employee experience correctly. In the same way you use employer brand values to attract talent externally, you should use those same values to engage, excite, and retain talent internally.
Likewise, a successful onboarding journey should be congruent with the philosophy, premise, promise, demands, and expectations of your wider employer brand. Otherwise, new hires will feel as if you’ve done a bait-and-switch.
For an onboarding program to exemplify the complete picture of your employer brand, it’s important to embrace the positives, the harsh realities, and everything in between. Here are a few strategic considerations to keep in mind:
Keep employees accountable. In every strong employer brand, there is a “Give and Get,” a mutual value exchange between what the employee brings to the table in return for what the employer can offer. To bring your “Give and Get” to life, you must find a way to weave this exchange into the onboarding process, perhaps through gamification or recorded content. Doing so keeps employees personally accountable and empowers them to take charge of their own role in the onboarding process. You can then follow through on the behaviors and environment you’ve promised.
Set clear expectations. Onboarding is your company’s first and most important opportunity to highlight what’s important, what’s expected of employees, and how they’re going to be measured. As such, it’s a key time to set clear expectations from the start and be open about the challenges and the opportunities people will encounter. This helps talent acclimatize to the culture more quickly and feel a greater sense of belonging.
Build a sense of purpose. You can do this by making sure that new hires feel invested in their own onboarding. For example, with many people currently working remotely, you could build stronger purpose by giving employees a say in what computer equipment or provisions they need to succeed.
And here are some tactical ways to bring your strategy to life:
Leverage employee generated content. Your people are your greatest asset (it’s a cliché because it’s true), so make sure to leverage your existing employees by turning them into brand ambassadors who can help welcome new talent. For instance, consider asking people to pre-record video clips and other interactive content to convey important information during onboarding. This is a truly thoughtful way to reinforce a welcoming feeling…