The first article of this three-part series discussed using marketing strategies for recruiting. This second article explores marketing strategies that can enhance a company’s ability to onboard candidates. The last article will explore how to use marketing activities to engage employees. Together, these strategies can help create a stronger and more competitive workforce.
The critical onboarding period
Recruiting is hard these days. And once the right candidate has accepted the offer, companies need to do all they can to make onboarding as seamless and positive as possible. But in many companies, onboarding primarily consists of the new employee filling out paperwork, getting the necessary equipment, and taking required systems training.
While those components are necessary, onboarding should encompass so much more. It should continue to market to the employee, helping the employee quickly feel part of the organization, its people, and mission.
Remember, in those first days, weeks, and months of employment, the organization may be assessing the employee, but the reverse is also true. Retaining employees is just as critical as attracting them. Even in 2015, research found that a great onboarding experience improved employee retention 82% and productivity 70%.¹ But, as important as that onboarding has always been, companies still don’t do it well. A Gallup poll shows that 88% of employees say there is still a lot of room for improvement.²
One of the problems is that companies don’t usually onboard long enough, with most companies focusing on a new employee’s first week.³ In contrast, SHRM (the Society for Human Resource Management) recommends that the onboarding process last a year. This long-term view recognizes onboarding as an investment in the employee’s career and in their lifetime value with the organization.
How to market to employees — even after they are hired
Just as brands know they should keep marketing to their current consumers, employers should keep marketing to their new employees.
First, research your new employees’ satisfaction with their onboarding. A survey might give insights on critical areas that were missed or areas that were covered well. Did new employees feel they met with their supervisors frequently enough? Were they introduced to co-workers and invited to meetings right away? Did they have mentors or a source for finding answers to questions? How well — and how soon — did new employees understand how their job responsibilities tied with the overall company mission?
Create a structured onboarding program. If onboarding doesn’t include those necessary long-term components, it may be time to make improvements. Especially with employees interviewing and being hired remotely, an onboarding program that quickly makes employees feel at home is vital. Determine what actions need to happen at all stages of onboarding. For example, from the moment an employee accepts through their one-year anniversary, what materials and processes do employees need to acclimate to their jobs quickly? Consider any additional needs for onboarding remote or hybrid employees.
Look at new ways to connect with employees using onboarding materials. Many onboarding processes are done digitally, but consider offering additional choices, such as print material. Studies show that people may absorb information better when reading print versus digital material.² One way that companies can onboard better is to recognize these differences in preference and offer options that resonate to a variety of audiences. What’s more, information presented on paper is often easier to access when it’s time for a second look.
Share the swag. Onboarding means helping new employees feel they belong in the organization. Besides including them in groups and activities, sharing company “swag” can increase a sense of pride and belonging. Company-branded merchandise, such as insulated lunch bags, reusable water bottles, workout apparel, and tech and office supplies, creates useful, relevant, and fun ties to the organization, which can build engagement.
Onboarding can be a make-or-break time for many new employees. Thorough onboarding can help employees feel confident they made the right employment decision and helps them get up to speed quicker so they can be productive faster.
As companies try to keep the new hires they’ve worked so hard to obtain, adding marketing strategies builds connections that may increase the likelihood employees will want to stick around long-term.
FedEx Office is experienced in working with businesses to develop their marketing and recruiting material. Its strength is helping develop tailored solutions that help solve our customers’ business needs.
1. Lauren, Madeline. “The True Cost of a Bad Hire.” Glassdoor.Com, 2015, b2b-assets.glassdoor.com/the-true-cost-of-a-bad-hire.pdf.
2. Gallup. “Why the Onboarding Experience Is Key for Retention.” Gallup.Com, 20 Nov. 2021, www.gallup.com/workplace/235121/why-onboarding-experience-key-retention.aspx.
3. “10 Employee Onboarding Statistics You Must Know in 2021 | SaplingHR.” Saplinghr.Com, 2021, www.saplinghr.com/10-employee-onboarding-statistics-you-must-know-in-2021.
4. Lang, James. “Why We Need to Rethink Digital Reading.” Www.Chronicle.Com, 2021, www.chronicle.com/article/why-we-need-to-rethink-digital-reading?bc_nonce=s1r4gno42mpakqive654&cid=reg_wall_signup&cid2=gen_login_refresh.