The importance of providing a positive candidate experience to job seekers is becoming more commonplace in today's recruiting practices. But that's not the only kind of experience that can make a big impact on retention rates and job satisfaction. The employee experience, or how employees engage with their work and coworkers on a daily basis, matters as well. These two concepts should be easy to link together but often companies stumble on this step. Building a bridge between these types of experiences helps employees transition to their new role more quickly and gives them a better sense of their position within the company. A JobVite survey indicated 43 percent of employees left a new job within 3 months because “their day-to-day role wasn’t what they expected.” Taking the time to think more holistically about the whole talent acquisition process not only helps set employees up for success, it also ensures a new hire's perception of the company during the interview translates into their daily work life once they've come onboard. But how can you best tie candidate and employee experience together to create a stronger talent management program?
The relationship between candidate and employee experience
First, we must acknowledge that while they are related, these two experiences can be vastly different. The candidate experience is one of anticipation of certain things happening. Candidates expect to hear back once they’ve submitted an application. They expect a series of interviews, after which a decision will be made. They expect a job offer if things go well during the interviews. They also expect a generous compensation package and a role that is well-fitted to their skills and interests.
On the employee experience side of things, new hires are looking for an opportunity to learn new things and put their skills to work. They are hoping that they will blend in well with their new team and culture. They want to take on challenging and fun projects and they likely want to move their way up in the ranks. Employees want to be sure that they’ve made the best possible career decision. But unfortunately, nearly 1 in 4 employees leave their job in the first 90-days due to a poor employee experience.
Why should this matter to your talent management program?
First of all, it likely took careful evaluation of each section of your recruitment strategy to design a great candidate experience. Instead of viewing the employee experience as a separate part of talent management, view it as a further extension of how candidates will take in their first few months on the job. This is all part of your organization’s onboarding strategy, which is designed to keep employees happy and productive for the long-term. Common mistakes made by employers that can make employees jump ship in the first few months on the job include:
1) Lack of a structured onboarding program
It’s possible to start onboarding before a new hire’ s first day on the job to get them oriented and learning more about the culture. The mistake that many employers make is not having a structured onboarding program for new hires. This leaves them feeling confused in the first 90 days on the job. Make sure you have an onboarding process that connects to your hiring process in a seamless way.
2) Expectations and reality did not match
Candidates sometimes report that their daily experience is very different from what they expected. This can happen for a variety of reasons. The job requirements can be off, what the recruitment team tells the candidate can be different from what the job can actually offer, or the needs of the company change mid-hire. Thinking more about the end position during the application and interview stage can help hiring managers avoid this pitfall. Using peer interviews can also help demonstrate what the employee experience looks like in real life, from someone who is already a part of it.
3) Lack of support
New hires have a lot to learn and it takes about a year before they are proficient. However, many companies forget this and only focus on offering training during the initial few months of onboarding and then leave the new hire to his own devices. This makes new hires feel unsupported. Right from the interview phase, hiring managers can discuss how the company culture works, how employees are supported or trained, and the team's approach to asking for help so that new hires will know what to expect even before they take the job.
4) Feeling adrift
Interviewing is a very different activity than navigating your first day or week. Often candidates are more extroverted in an interview and introverted when meeting new colleagues. Instead of leaving your new hire hanging, start introducing them to the company culture as soon as possible. This can be through formalized buddy programs, connecting coworkers via social media or email before the new hire starts, having a team lunch during their first day, or any other activity that pulls the new person into the culture of the company. When people have friends and a support system at work, they feel more connected to their peers.
How can you blend the candidate experience into a positive employee experience?
The basic takeaway is time and effort are required to think not just about filling that open role but also about welcoming a new hire into the fabric of your company in a meaningful way. A structured or extended onboarding program can help a new employee start off on the right foot and learn more about their role, team, and company. It might also make sense to have a point of contact in HR, for example, who is focused on making the transition from candidate to employee as smooth as possible. New employees then have someone they can turn to for help if needed or answer any questions that might come up in their first few weeks. And keep your interview strategy in mind as well. Make sure you're not over-promising or skewing what the candidate is likely to experience once they take the role. Define the role and requirements carefully before you even start sourcing candidates and make sure you interview effectively. Connecting the candidate and employee experience helps top talent get up to speed faster and paves the way for a higher level of employee engagement. So next time you hire, take a step back and think about the bigger picture so you can communicate it more effectively to your future employees.