Need to know:
- An induction provides an ideal opportunity for an employer to engage new employees from the start of their tenure at the organisation.
- To boost engagement, employers could make benefits available for new starters as soon as they join the business rather than after a set period.
- Communication about an organisation’s values and benefits offering should form part of the recruitment process, and continue from the time the job offer is made and during the on-boarding process.
Engaging new employees early is an essential way of boosting staff retention and ensuring that turnover remains low. So what can employers do to create and maintain engagement among new starters?
1. Use the induction
The employee induction provides an opportunity for employers to showcase exactly what their business is about and to give new starters an understanding of their new working environment.
Employers can also give detailed presentations about the organisation’s reward and benefits strategy during the induction process to further incentivise and motivate new staff.
Providing background about the organisation is initially more important than teaching the nuts and bolts of the job role, says Robert Hicks, group HR director at Reward Gateway. Sharing feedback from staff surveys in a transparent way is also useful for providing insight into how the organisation is viewed by current employees.
2. Promote reward and benefits
Promoting the reward strategy to new starters can be an effective engagement mechanism. This can encompass not only benefits such as a pension, healthcare schemes or voluntary benefits, but also training and development opportunities.
It is often the notion of benefits, rather than the benefit itself, that holds the most value in engagement, says Emma Bridger, director at People Lab. “They symbolically demonstrate the value that [the] organisation places on the individual,” she says. “It sends out a clear message that the [organisation] is investing in and cares about [its] people.”
Reducing the amount of time that an employee has to be at an organisation before they are eligible for certain benefits can also ensure new starters are on the same footing as current staff as soon as they join, bringing an element of fairness to boost engagement levels, says Hicks. “Benefits really help [employers] connect with employees through values and then by doing that, [it] helps drive up employee engagement,” he adds. “The more aligned staff are with what [the organisation] wants to achieve, especially from day one, the better.”
3. Early communication
Communication to the employee should start as soon as the job offer is made, says Hicks. This could include newsletter-style emails detailing the benefits that will be available once an employee joins, or a platform that enables managers to directly communicate with their new hires. A platform such as this could also be used to pass on relevant information about the organisation to help new starters with the joining process.
An employer should keep up communications with a new starter ahead of their first day with the organisation. This will help to build an effective working relationship and to manage the new employee’s expectations about what the organisation will be like to work for.
Although most employers may expect a certain level of hand-holding during a new joiner’s first few weeks, this can actually prove fundamental in how engaged an employee becomes. For example, a buddying system, where an existing employee is paired with a new starter to show them the ropes, can be helpful, says Yves Duhaldeborde, senior consultant at Willis Towers Watson. The buddy can also act as a benefits champion to promote the schemes to the new employee.
4. Promote the organisation’s values
It is important that an organisation’s values are clearly promoted throughout the various stages of the recruitment process. This ensures that from the beginning of the hiring process, potential employees know what to expect from the organisation’s working environment, and therefore will understand how the culture and values of the business align with their own working preferences. For example, some employees may thrive in a fast-paced culture, while others may prefer a more detail-focused environment, or creative culture.
If an organisation’s culture is clear to an employee, they are more likely to engage with the organisation, especially if experienced staff members demonstrate how values are lived on a day-to-day basis within the business, and how a new employee can become involved.
By detailing how staff are heard and listened to, employers can help new joiners feel as if their opinions are valued.