Effective onboarding often makes the difference between a successful hire and an early quit. To better understand the causes of attrition among recently hired employees, Microsoft created a survey that was given to new employees after their first week and again after 90 days to find out about their experiences and first impressions of the company. The tech giant’s workplace analytics team also compared anonymous calendar and email metadata with engagement survey data from around 3,000 new hires.
At the Harvard Business Review last week, Dawn Klinghoffer, Candice Young, and Xue Liu revealed what this investigation uncovered and how it shaped Microsoft’s decisions about how to improve new hires’ experience. One thing the survey revealed was that having a working computer and access to the building, email, and intranet on day one was important for new hires to be productive and engaged from the very beginning, making an important first impression that colored their overall experience. Their more complex analysis produced another insight: New employees who had a one-on-one meeting with their manager in week one were more successful than those who didn’t:
First, they tended to have a 12% larger internal network and double network centrality (the influence that people in an employee’s network have) within 90 days. This is important because employees who grow their internal network feel that they belong and may stay at the company longer. For example, employees who engage internally intend to stay at a rate that’s 8% higher on our intent-to-stay measure. They also report a stronger sense of belonging on their team while maintaining their authentic self.
Roy Maurer at SHRM flags a new report from Entelo finding that about half of organizations plan to spend more on their employer branding in the near future in an effort to improve the quality of their inbound applicants:
About half of the 741 talent acquisition professionals surveyed by Entelo, a social sourcing and talent analytics software company based in San Francisco, said that employers’ inbound recruiting channels need a strategic upgrade. … Respondents to the survey said that 50 percent of inbound applicants do not meet even the basic requirements for the roles they apply for. “High volumes of inbound candidates mean it’s harder to qualify candidates quickly and connect with top applicants ahead of the competition,” [Entelo CEO Jon Bischke] added. Using employer branding techniques is one way to remedy that distressing metric.
The challenge of applicant quality has been apparent for some time. In CEB’s 2014 study “Branding for Influence,” we found that this type of employer branding, focused on helping applicants make better decisions about whether to apply rather than just promoting the organization as a great place to work, can increase the quality of the applicant pool by 54 percent and quality of hire by 9 percent. Organizations can attract higher-quality applicants by focusing on critical talent segments, creating consultative brand messages, building networks of brand influencers, and monitoring brand influence.
(CEB Recruiting Leadership Council members can read the full study here.)
Hiring for “culture fit” can be problematic, inviting unconscious bias into the recruiting process and unintentionally hurting diversity and inclusion. In the latest episode of LinkedIn’s new “Talent on Tap” video series, LinkedIn CHRO Pat Wadors and VP of global talent acquisition Brendan Browne discuss why the concept of culture fit is outmoded and suggest a way for organizations to factor “fit” into hiring without discouraging diversity:
Without officially assessing for “culture fit,” there is another way recruiters can achieve the same results: break culture fit down into more tangible, assessable pieces. An employee’s impact on culture is threefold: stylistic fit, skillset fit, and expectation fit. The stylistic fit is the way an individual communicates, debates, gives/receives gratitude, and builds relationships. The skillset fit is more obvious and the easiest to assess during the hiring process.
Expectation fit can be defined by how well a candidate’s career preferences and aspirations intersect with the current and future operations of the company. Setting clear expectations around your company culture and how it’s lived out on a day-to-day basis can help candidates understand if this is a place where they will reach their full potential — ultimately lowering the risk for the future attrition of that candidate.
In our research at CEB, we’ve uncovered a similar alternative to culture fit, which we call “network fit.” Organizations that hire for network fit, we’ve found, can see a 30 percent difference in quality of hire as opposed to just 12 percent for those who hire for cultural fit, while reducing new hire turnover by 6 percent and saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in recruiting costs.
In a recent Medium post discussing the challenges of recruiting tech talent, Eric Elliott writes that one successful technique is to assign candidates a sample project and pay them a fair market rate to complete it. At ERE, developer Amir Yasin seconds that opinion. In fact, Yasin claims to have virtually eliminated bad tech hires by paying them to complete small sample assignments, then bringing them in to explain their work afterward:
Paying candidates to work on a simple project and then discuss it with our team has almost single handedly eliminated any bad hiring decisions. Paying a candidate who gives you a terrible solution (or no solution) is far cheaper (both financially and emotionally) than hiring the wrong person, going through a three-month performance improvement plan to try to make them the right person, and eventually firing them.
We have gone from “This candidate is exactly what we need” to “I have serious doubts about working with this candidate long term” and we’ve had candidates change our bad perception of them using this technique. It’s very easy for someone to embellish (to put it generously) their resume, and coding trivia can be memorized, but it’s really hard for someone to fake actual skill.
This sounds great, especially considering the extent to which recruiting is about mitigating or avoiding loss due to bad hiring.
Roy Maurer at SHRM highlights LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends 2016 survey, which finds that quality of hire is still considered the most valuable metric linked to performance, even though most organizations don’t have a good way to measure it:
About four in 10 (39 percent) of nearly 4,000 corporate talent acquisition managers from 40 countries agreed that quality of hire is the most valuable metric for performance, although that is a dip from the 44 percent who said so in 2014. Other notable findings from the report include employers’ continued use of employee referral programs, increased investment in employer branding, and the disconnect between employee retention emerging as a top priority in the year ahead while internal mobility is overlooked. …
But few employers are satisfied with how they measure this elusive metric. Only 33 percent of respondents globally felt that their methodologies are strong, and just 5 percent rated theirs “best in class.” Broken out by country, 54 percent of Indian companies rated their methodology high, whereas in the United States, only 32 percent did so, and in China just 20 percent rated themselves highly in measuring quality of hire.