Facebook’s chief information officer, Tim Campos, famously claimed all employees joining the business would be up and running in just 45 minutes. His rapid on-boarding process is a far-off fantasy for many but it raises the question: are we wasting time by dragging out our welcome?
Many organisations are creatures of habit when it comes to initiating new employees. There’s a standardised process, usually involving piles of HR paperwork and showing newbies everything from how to log into their PC to the location of the water cooler. For some, it’s a week or two. But step into the larger corporations with established training schemes, and you’re looking at 12 to 18 months-plus before those fledglings leave the nest.
It’s no wonder it takes an average of 6.2 months before companies ‘break even’ on their recruitment investment. Now, I’m not saying we completely throw new recruits in at the deep end: after all, if you don’t get the foundations solid, what happens to the rest of the house? But there’s a case for measuring and mitigating the risk: and speeding up the process.
Truth be told, some on-boarding practices fringe on patronising. On day one, do you really need to talk your shiny new executive through how the printer works and introduce them to Brian the maintenance guy on the fourth floor? Will they remember either at the end of the day? Limiting ‘information overload’ will actually optimise performance.
What is this new recruit’s core role? What will they be doing now, in a week, a month? What tools do they need to accomplish those tasks? What elements of business history, processes or structure do they need to be aware of ‘right now’?
So get the logistics in place ahead of time: pre-send company information and HR paperwork. Get your recruit along to a night out to introduce them to key faces. Set realistic, clear expectations and put in place the tools needed to achieve them. Then put them to it.
Let’s engage our recruits rather than burying them under paperwork and talking at them for weeks. Do so from day one and they will not only add more value, they’ll engage with your business too. Campos’s 45-minute on-boarding may be a touch ambitious, but there’s a case for experiential learning - even at the start line.