The 'People' Principle: The 'Who' is just as Important as the 'What'

Posted by Amy Bybee on June 30, 2016
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Onboarding with Business Acumen

On paper, there has never been a better time than now for organizations looking to attract and retain “the best of the best.” The pool of applicants seemingly grows larger every day, so there is every reason for today’s business leaders to smile confidently at their prospects of hiring top-tier candidates. Then, it’s only a matter of getting out of their way and letting them do what they do best, right?

Of course that’s how it plays out in print. In practice is a different story altogether.

According to one widely accepted industry statistic, 35 percent of companies fail to invest in onboarding programs. That figure translates into a disproportionally inflated turnover rate for new employees—a full one-third of which are job hunting again within their first six months on the job.

Short of drawing a collective frown at the prospect, the principle involved in creating “the right fit” for both sides is deceptively simple. Yes, it comes down to people, but not just identifying talent from a dry, analytic perspective. Rather, it’s about aligning the interests of employees with the core purpose of the organization in ways that make the actions of each individual more productive, relevant and alive.

Here are three things to keep in mind:

  • Finding the right personnel is personal. Skilled professionals are in high demand and they know it, so how an organization goes about recruiting them has a lot of bearing on who fits and who doesn’t. Talented candidates can be reluctant if they sense a lack of commitment from an employer. It may mean assuring them greater latitude upfront, but it may be worth it—however you deliberate the professional, the hiring decision is always personal.
  • Sustaining an open environment might be a new direction. Organizations accustomed to a “if you don’t like the deal, there’s the door” mentality are likely to have setbacks in achieving the necessary buy-in from new staff members. Saying things louder and with great conviction only plays so well to a point, particularly in companies where cash flow is inconsistent. In particular, new IT grads are trained to tell you like it is; not schooled to agree with the way you think it should be.
  • Employees who walk out the door take proprietary information with them. This doesn’t mean non-disclosure agreements and other legal documents aren’t worth the paper they are printed on, but what it does mean is that organizations are susceptible to losing data. In many cases, an uncharacteristic bit of “give and take” may be necessary to prevent key staff members from walking out the door stocked with proprietary knowledge that can make or break the bottom line.

Of course, effective onboarding isn’t the only concern for companies going forward. It may not even be the biggest concern on the table. Yet, there is obviously great equity to be gained in selecting the best people for the job, and transforming their initial experiences from adequate to outstanding.

In principle, there’s no better practice.

Learn more about effective new hire orientation.

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Topics: Onboarding, Human Resources