Start as you mean to go on

Suppose you could find out about some simple actions that very few companies do, yet which would significantly boost engagement levels, productivity and invoke a thirst within your people to get involved and contribute from the get go. You’d do it wouldn’t you? So why do so few organisations take the opportunity to engage their people before they join?
OK, so the switched on companies are working hard at engaging their people from the recruitment ad through first point of contact, interview and job offer. And then it all stops until they join. Or at best they might receive conditions of employment and maybe even a handbook in the post.
It’s this gap, between job offer and joining date where the opportunity lies.
It’s so simple to go far beyond the norm; making a real impression and in doing so to get ahead of the game. It doesn’t even require all that much imagination or effort. Here’s a checklist of some of the things any organisation could do to enthuse a new starter at any level:

  • Follow them on Twitter – better still get the CEO or other senior person to follow them. This is very visible and says they’re important; their opinion is worth listening to
  • Invite them to Link(ed) In
  • Encourage people in their new team to send them a welcome message via email by way of introduction
  • Invite your new recruit to any social events or company meetings, even though these fall before their start date. This says “You’re one of us now and we want you to be included and informed”
  • Give them a company email address as soon as the job offer is accepted

Every Friday at the Purple Palace, we all email round our top five achievements for that week and new people are included in this straight away. They can start getting to know their colleagues, start understanding the way people work and feel part of it all.

  • Ask them for their opinion on something (make it real – no one appreciates lip-service). For example review a new part of your website, a new product/service or even the recruitment process; and then implement it before they join and communicate it
  • Give them some research to do eg. your top clients, competitors, products
  • Give them a project – something that will get them ahead when they start or enable them to make an early contribution to the team(make sure they’re OK with this first though as it might not always be appropriate)
  • Ask them to write their action plan for week one, month one or the first quarter
  • Ask them to mystery shop your company and write a report (only if you have an open feedback culture and this won’t alienate anyone though).

Challenging people at this early stage sets the scene for the future; the new joiner will know he/she is expected to make a valid and valuable contribution.
Send information that will help them settle in more quickly. This could include:

  • Organisation chart
  • Some easy to digest notes about the organisation, its values and ‘how things are done around here.’
  • Project plans or other work related information
  • Meeting dates (include the social ones too)
  • Latest issue of your newsletter / annual report / business update
  • Access to your intranet / online induction / elearning
  • Ask them to choose a buddy and connect with that person

And in case you’re not doing it already:

  • Handbook
  • Conditions of employment

Induction should be about exciting stuff – not ploughing through tons of paperwork; sending at least some of it before hand is a good way to get it out of the way. Make sure though that some interesting and stretching pre-joining work balances this, though.
Of course you don’t want to put them off with information overload so keep it sharp and necessary; the above list is not exhaustive, though neither should it be exhausting!
What are your experiences of pre-joining engagement?

2013-04-29T00:00:00+00:00 April 29th, 2013|