The employee experience begins at the first point of contact. A good onboarding process can be defined through the 3 top things CX leaders are looking for: timely feedback, simple process, and time invested in preparation of interviews and the onboarding programme. If done right, employee onboarding brings unforeseen benefits and cuts costs

For instance, 64% of employers give counteroffers, 40% of which are to protect client/ customer relationships (CIPD Labour Market Outlook Summer 2023). The stats suggest those in the CX department are likely to receive a counteroffer. Furthermore, 50-60% of counteroffers are accepted. 

Often when candidates accept a counteroffer, hiring managers think that they have used the new offer to leverage a high compensation package in their current organisation. After 10 years in the industry, I can confirm this is a minimal occurrence. 

In this article, I will discuss key considerations to make when running a hiring & onboarding process that will build greater engagement with your organisation to increase the number of offers accepted. 

Keep it simple & attractive 

When hiring great CX professionals you must remember that these individuals are adept at spotting flaws in the customer journey. Therefore, they will immediately see the flaws in your employee journey. 

The good news is, running a great process is simple. It takes a lot of time investment and planning to get it right, but the key is high levels of regular, timely and honest communication. The process should be straightforward with limited friction for the applicant. If you put unnecessary barriers in your process, it will alienate people who could be great for your process. 

For example, a CX Director I know was approached for a role and asked to do numerical and psychometric tests, an interview and presentation with the recruiting partner, followed up with 4 interviews with the business, 1 of those being a presentation.  

For the business with the vacancy, this is just 4 stages, but for the candidate, it is 7 stages, the majority of which are reliant on the candidate’s effort. Others seem hardly relevant, like the numerical test for a CX Director with a proven experience managing large budgets.

For the candidate, this experience offers a window into your business; if you overcomplicate the hiring process, it indicates that you will overcomplicate all key decisions, such as new partners, new web platforms etc. 

The next section will walk through some key questions to consider in your end-to-end process, a simple hiring process that covers a chunk of onboarding, and a timeline of a strong onboarding journey.

Advert 

  • Do you have clear parameters on the job advert, like the must-haves, or the non-negotiable? 
  • Does it clearly demonstrate what you can offer to the individual/your EVP?
  • Being clear about your salary & package will attract more applicants (double the amount, in fact!). CV-Library found that 81.6% of people viewed salary as the most important factor of a job role. In cases when advertising the salary is restricted, applicants should be notified of the comp package pre-interview. 

At Sudale Search & Select, we practice what we preach, and craft our Job Adverts with transparency, clarity, and honesty. We make the adverts easy to understand, whilst still being comprehensive in their description of the roles available. The process of applying is also simple – enter your details and upload your CV. 

View our vacancy page here: Current Vacancies – Sudale Search & Select

Application process 

  • Will you read a cover letter? If not, don’t ask for one.
  • Are you asking for a CV or application form? If you’re asking for both, don’t ask for the candidate to duplicate information. 

An effective hiring process should:  

  • Have clear, effective communication of timelines, ghosting candidates will tank engagement. 
  • Email those who have been unsuccessful at the shortlisting stage; with bonus points for clear reasons so candidates still get something out of the process.
  • Be upfront about what the process entails (keep it simple, 3 stages are the “norm”, but some roles will naturally requiremore, and you may need to introduce more stakeholders if you are an SME, as your people and mission are your selling points, not your brand power.)
  • Offer a phone call with clear feedback for all those who have interviews. Be clear about areas for development, and areas where they performed well (this includes those who have progressed to the next stage).
  • Create a safe space for honesty/ transparency. 
  • Be clear about your EVP and give good, solid examples of how this is brought to life in your organisation. Get to know each candidate and make it specific to them.
  • Show people the environment and introduce them to people from various departments, to give a more 360 perspective of the company. 
  • Discuss the offer with them either on the phone or in person, as an emailed offer doesn’t pack the same punch and you don’t want the value of the offer to be a surprise. 

Onboarding/Pre-onboarding: 

The onboarding phase is often neglected and viewed more as a day 1 exercise. Businesses often use this “pre-onboarding” stage as an administrative exercise (contracts, background checks, etc) when it should be used to build further engagement. 

I would suggest selecting someone to project manage the onboarding process, working with the key stakeholders to ensure the process runs smoothly. Ideally, they should be a familiar face from the hiring process to put the new hire at ease. 

Overview of a great onboarding process:  

  1. A congratulations call from the Hiring Manager as soon as the offer is accepted. This is vital and should ideally be done pre-tendering of the notice. 
  1. A welcome chat from HR, once the paperwork is signed and dates agreed. The process should be outlined with dates/ times that they can expect things like referencing, background checks, IT equipment delivery, etc. Make sure to communicate any delays.
  1. Invite them to a work event/ team meeting/ networking event! This is a great add-in around month 2 of notice (remember counteroffers can be persistent/ varied) 
  1. An overview of what they can expect in their first few weeks in the business. Training itineraries, a pack of the key stakeholders to know, an organisation chart, and any early projects that they will be working on (at least 1 month prior to starting). 
  1. On day 1, they should arrive with a calendar of meetings, socials, training sessions, etc. This will get them fully brought in to key stakeholders, knowing who, when, and where to go when they may need additional support, perhaps a buddy/ mentor within the organisation. 

Whilst this might seem obvious, you may be shocked at how many businesses get it wrong. Recently I was speaking to a Head of CX, who started a role during their director’s 2 weeks of annual leave. When they started there was no sign-off for a security pass, mobile phone, or laptop – they weren’t even allowed to walk around the business unsupervised. How would you feel if that was your onboarding? Especially as this could have been easily avoided by having a designated signature of authority, for example. 

There is limited data on the level of attrition at Manager to Director level. It is often viewed as an embarrassing situation for boththe candidate and employer. Both feel like a failure – one chose the wrong business, and the other chose the wrong candidate. But were either of them wrong at the point of hire? We can draw conclusions from the data that does exist – Contact Centre Agents, where attrition is more widely accepted. 

The graphs below show the direct correlation between robust onboarding and reduced 3-month attrition.

Final thoughts 

Hiring a new employee can cost between 20% to 400% of their basic salary, depending on the role. This is without considering the impact an unsuitable or unsuccessful hire may have on morale within your team, resulting in you potentially losing more people in your operation. 

By investing the extra time, candidates get a good insight into your business. Importantly, first, second, and third impressions count. You get this right and you are set for success. Get it wrong and people are on high alert, and more receptive to proactive approaches. 

People also remember companies that make them feel valued, making successful new hires more likely to stay at your company long-term.

The proof is in the pudding; 100% of the offers I have made at Sudale Search started in the role and are still there. This process works but don’t just take my word for it! Read the testimonials from our customers here: Testimonials – Sudale Search & Select

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