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Thought Leadership

Onboarding: The Forgotten Phase of Recruitment

Two businesspeople talking across desk in a business meeting.

To include a whole chapter about onboarding in a book on assessing and selecting top talent is precisely the point Laura Butcher and Don Lang are making in their new release, Hire the Best. “Onboarding is the last stage of recruitment,” says Butcher. “It’s about the beginning but it is also about the keeping.”

After all, why invest all the time and effort it takes to bring in top talent if you are going to release these new employees alone into your organizational wilderness on their first day? This is your chance to deliver on everything you promised during the recruitment process.

Quote from authors Laura Butcher and Don Lang: “Onboarding is a golden opportunity for hiring managers to create much-needed long-term stickiness.”

Research points to a particular urgency around retention of millennial workers. A recent Gallup report shows that 21% of millennials have changed jobs within the past year – three times more than any other generation. The same report estimates that millennial turnover costs the U.S. economy $30.5 billion a year. Onboarding is a golden opportunity for hiring managers to create much-needed long-term stickiness.

Effective onboarding also has short-term commercial wins: full productivity within the first 90 days. And that is not only about getting new hires up to speed and contributing right away but also about keeping up the performance of the colleagues around them. If you have ever managed or mentored a new recruit, you know how time-consuming it is to do it properly.

In Hire the Best, the authors talk about the multiplier effect of great onboarding and suggest a structured approach to the first week, the first 30, 60, 90 days, and beyond.

  • Week one: complete organizational and role-specific orientation activities, compliance, and technology-related training
  • First 30 days: initiate relationships with stakeholders, peers, senior managers, direct reports, and peer-to-peer buddy
  • 30-60 days: debrief stakeholder meetings, review early impressions, and tackle perceived obstacles
  • 60-90 days: define near-term priorities and plans for achieving performance goals
  • 90 days and beyond: gather stakeholder feedback and help prepare a personal development plan for the year ahead

Read Hire the Best, by Laura Butcher and Don Lang for more practical techniques for the talent-minded leader, including tools and templates for creating job and candidate specs, planning and conducting interviews, and selecting and supporting new hires.