Listen To The Latest Episode of The Recruitment and Beyond Podcast

Hear from Hayley Raeper, People Lead at xDesign, on maintaining your company culture as you grow.  

Onboarding and Workaholics

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New employees are the future of your company. But welcoming them smoothly can be tricky. Tune into The Recruitment and Beyond Podcast to help you build a great onboarding program that sets new hires up for success.

Why Onboarding Makes a Difference:

  • Less Turnover: A good onboarding program helps keep valuable employees by giving them the skills and knowledge they need to do well.
  • Happier Employees: Feeling welcome and supported from the start makes people feel like they belong, which leads to happier and more productive workers.
  • Faster Results: Onboarding helps everyone understand expectations from the beginning. This means new hires can start contributing to the team sooner.

Learn from the Pros:

The Recruitment and Beyond Podcast talks all about effective onboarding. Hosts Ewan and Natalie, experts in hiring and HR, share practical tips on:
  • Making onboarding personal: Tailor the experience to each new hire's needs and role.
  • Building a clear plan: Cover important areas like company culture, policies, and how to develop skills.
  • Staying connected: Give regular feedback and check-ins to keep new hires feeling supported.
  • Empower New Hires, Build a Stronger Team:
Listen to the podcast to learn more about optimising your onboarding process.

Episode Transcript

Ewan (00:06):
Hi, welcome back to Recruitment and Beyond Podcast. We're back again. How's your week been, Natalie?

Natalie (00:11):
Yes, very good. Yourself?

Ewan (00:13):
Pretty good. Yeah, pretty good. Although I have been catching up on some of my reading and I noticed a couple of weeks ago, was it last week or this week, a bit of content around Workaholics Anonymous, which is, yeah, it's a bit of a challenge. I can understand. I know myself, you find yourself getting caught up. I'll just answer that email. I'll just answer that question. I, I'll go back on that or I'll go back on this. And now that you're working from home as well, flexible working, really it brings it to bear, doesn't it? To really say you need to say to stop, it's time to stop, have a break. We could actually be more effective if you do have a break. But reading about this, there are so many more people nowadays that are actually sending themselves into these workaholics anonymous sessions to say, I just can't

Natalie (01:01):
Get myself away from work. So it's like, I'm mean, and I'm a workaholic. Yeah,

Ewan (01:06):
Yeah. Interestingly, and it's interesting with other obsessions, it comes from, apparently it comes from that issue around personal insecurities. If I'm not doing that and if I'm not delivering my job, then actually I don't have worth, I don't add value. I need to be able to, yeah, quite. I would imagine that, I don't know, but I would imagine that's where a lot of other addictions come from is that I need to have some kind of personal worth here. And I think that's where a lot of people

Natalie (01:34):
Are talking to know the psychology behind it all, wouldn't it? Like what?

Ewan (01:38):

Fascinating. And actually being mindful of that at work I guess as well. And so it was quite an interesting read to see that as people who run organizations and HR teams and even just general managers need to be mindful of the fact that I'm getting an email response at one in the morning or three in the morning or somebody is not being able to engage with their family because they're finishing messages or they're doing whatever they need to do. It's a challenge I guess, for a lot of people. And as I say, more so now that we're all working remotely or flexibly. So yeah, a bit of a challenge wasn't a term I'd come across before workaholics Anonymous, but I suppose now we've all known people who have really worked hard and probably gone above and beyond. And I suppose now there's a term for it. Yeah, interesting.

Natalie (02:26):
And that whole culture as well, as long as the organization's not putting any kind of undue pressure on most people in their job, let's be honest, the work is how many times you go home at night and everything on your list is done, no things adding to, but if you certain perfectionist, then that could cause you more anxiety, then maybe just spending an extra half an hour at nighttime or whatever, getting it through. And then that might then allow you to have your nice time with your family and going out for dinner, doing all the kids stuff, whatever, at nighttime. So on the flip, yeah, but there's a balance.

Ewan (03:00):
I think you're absolutely right. I think it's interesting when there's so much going on and there's so much work going on. I think really defining what it was you were going to achieve that day and being positive about it and saying, I got to two or three things and that was the main things I had to do today. Brilliant. Tick a box. And then it does give you the comfort to be able to sit down with the family and say, right, well, I've done what I needed to do today, now I can move on. Appreciate the fact that other things do come onto your table and say, can I manage that? Well, no, I can't. And just being honest with yourself, isn't it? It's trying to be mindful of the fact you cannot do everything for everybody all the time.

Natalie (03:36):
Absolutely. And you're less at the beginning of the day. I must get through all of this, but as the day progresses, there are things that you think, well, maybe that could actually, because something else comes slipping in and it's not, it has to get done, isn't it? So? Well, yeah, absolutely. People just, if particularly startup business owners, it's their baby, it's their life. If you've got global customers, how do you then switch off from there? Or if you're going through a hard time and you're not feel that you're given everything and there are performance issues, then those people might end up having to graft to bee bit more. Or some people maybe don't have, sadly maybe a life outside of work, limited social contact and they just love what they do. But that's not healthy. That's obviously not healthy. No. And they choose to do as long as there's no culture where people feel if they're doing it at night, it's optional or they're being a workaholic. It's optional rather than a culture of feeling total perfection, everything has to get done every day. You must do X, Y, and Z. So we could speak about that for the next four hours. We could

Ewan (04:40):
Be talking about workaholics for a while

Today actually, we were going to chat about that onboarding process. And actually I suppose it ties into this, is being able to help people come on board, make sure they feel part of the organization, but also outlining things like expectations, workloads, that sort of thing. And really getting that right. I know we've talked about this in the past, the high percentage of people who if they have a poor onboarding experience, will leave within the first six months and companies can't afford to have a high turnover staff. You cannot afford to have people in and then back out the door. So this onboarding process, well, I think personally sometimes it's seen as a tick box. We'll do our onboarding process and here's an introduction leaflet. And then on your way, I think a lot of people are not using that properly and they're not using that time properly. And I know having spoken to Haley to X design, they take it really seriously. They've got an onboarding team and not everybody can afford that. But I think that onboarding process is really important, isn't it?

Natalie (05:48):
Nobody forgets their first day, whether it was good, whether it was bad. Mainly people will remember what happened when you first started, what went well, what if it didn't go particularly simple things that you just take for granted, like the IT equipment, not being able to get that is a massive impact on people. Nobody forgets their first day. If it's a tick box to you, you need to go away and think of that in another way. To you it might be tick box, but to others it's the introduction to their new life. It's a whole, nobody forgets that first day. That's the most important thing. From the professionalism to the culture to how you represent yourself. If it doesn't go swimmingly, people are thinking, I've actually done the right thing or this company's not ready for me to the amount of stories we've heard to people turning up and nobody knew that they were,

Ewan (06:45):
Is that right?

Natalie (06:47):
How bad is that? And I know certain people I have worked in the past who were really good at it. They would at least give the person a call no matter this person was high up in the tree, but they would phone every single new starter in the business. They couldn't see them all over. They would phone, they would introduce theirselves, they would want a picture. HR had to send them a picture so that they all look like when they opt up, they would go and make time to speak to that. And that's powerful.

Ewan (07:13):
Brilliant. Yeah, that is excellent. Actually, actually, just to go one step back, that pre-boarding and communication is vital as well, isn't it? So even before you've started, you need to make sure that communication before they come into the organization is key because I think people need to know what they're walking into. I think you're right, and you touched on this, it's like a whole new life. If you take a new job, this is huge. Your job is a massive part of life of who

Natalie (07:38):
You're, what you do.

Ewan (07:40):
And whether you're a workaholic or not, it's still a big part of your life. And if you're walking somewhere and you don't feel part of it or you're not kind of prepared or you don't know what you're walking into, I think that's a massive thing. So that pre-boarding communication is really vital, isn't it?

Natalie (07:54):
Yeah. Let's think of induction as soon as they're offered the job, really let's not think about it when like you said there, let's not think about it the first day when they rock up. Let's think of it from the offer, even from the recruitment, from everything you are portraying who you are, what you stand for, that whole process to that person and making them feel dead, special and loved. And we really want you to come on board and join us. So onboarding, but let's think of it from the first point of contact we have with them the way through some organizations as well, they'll set up their email address and they'll start sending, not work to do, but they'll just start getting them involved in the comms, adding them into the teams. Now it's a balance, isn't there? Particularly if somebody's maybe still working elsewhere and just period, or maybe they're still working from a competitor who knows and you open up the world to them, but we, small things. Have we think about these things? Would it make a difference? Should we invite them into teams right now? Should we invite them into WhatsApp right now? Because actually before they come in the door, they've had quick call with their line manager, they don't feel as scared. It's horrible. Let's be honest, I don't know anybody that's not had that horrible belly maybe been in the toilet before their first day having that nervous time alone. Everybody's maybe had that. So the more that you can do before they actually join

Is good. And it's a tick box to you. It's not a tick box to anybody else.

Ewan (09:20):
Oh no, absolutely. And I do remember that nervous feeling, but actually I worked for a company and there was a really good experience, got to meet the whole organization. But actually right from the start it was, what do you think about this? We're thinking about this is a new project you'll be part of. You want to get involved in it. Give us your thoughts. And like you say, you're not trying to give away the crown jewels. You don't want to make sure, you don't want to let people into trade secrets, but they'll be part of your team and they want to hit the ground running. And if you turn up in your tech doesn't work or there's no laptop for you.

Natalie (09:53):
No, it's not there. It's not.

Ewan (09:57):
Yeah. Or absolutely. If nobody knew you were starting and they didn't know who you were, that's not great. We

Natalie (10:05):
Laughing. It happens everywhere.

Ewan (10:07):
I know. And

Natalie (10:09):
It's bad.

Ewan (10:10):
It's not funny, is it? Absolutely. But it just seems nowadays, how is it that people are getting to that stage? But you're absolutely right, it still does happen. And then once they come in that door, personalizing that experience as well is really important, isn't it? So I think you just touched on that, A CEO or a boss or whoever it might be, just taking that time to really take time to come and meet that person. I appreciate if you've got a global organization, you're not meeting everybody, but personalized that experience. So when they come in, everything's set up for them, their technology's there, their phones there, whatever they need, and really making them feel 100%, you're part of this organization, it's so important, isn't it?

Natalie (10:51):
And then we're onto the remote. We like if you're a fully remote business or what does induction look like? Should that sell be remote or should, should you at least come in and meet the team first of all before you go off in your remote journey? Just think carefully about that. Yes, the job is remote, but what does the induction look like? Because you just have to think a wee bit more cleverly and you maybe need to do some of that induction remotely as well, but try and get maybe some face-to-face in at some point as well.

Ewan (11:21):
Yeah, I mean I was a fully remote in one organization that I worked for, but that first week was in the office and it was probably half the country away in terms of destination. So they would put me up in a hotel, you're here for the week, you need to meet the whole team in the organization in the central office, and then you can go off and do your job remotely. But you're absolutely right. I think that it is quite critical because you get a feel for the culture, you get a feel for the organization, you get a feel for how things work because if you're remote, you still need to how the central hub of the business works, I guess

Natalie (11:57):
Fed up hearing, fed up hearing, oh, they're remote do you can do. It's just in different ways. You can do, there's nothing that you cannot do. It might be harder, it might be difficult, it might be different methods, but what's stopping you meeting in a cost of coffee or whatever, plug Costa there, Starbucks, what's stopping you meeting in a hotel or meeting, whatever and just spending a couple of hours and then letting them go off. Yeah, let's stop this remote thing of being a battle of excuse because it's no longer an excuse. A judge is not going to listen to the fact that you were remote for anything, whether it's onboarding performance conversations, feedback, comms, it's a thing of the past. Remote is now here and here to stay in various way forms, whether it be fully hybrid or whatever. Lets an onboarding needs to be part of that. But I would come from face-to-face in there as well.

Ewan (12:56):
Absolutely, absolutely. And you're right. I mean it's not easy sometimes. I totally, no, it's, but actually the value of that time is so important, isn't it? I think sometimes we get caught up in, well, we've just talked about a whole list of things that we need to do. I've got to get that done. But that time you spend with a new person coming in the door is so vital because it means that you've got another person coming to work for your organization who's fully committed, who's fully involved from the very start. There's no six months, two months, three months, just trying to get 'em in the door and make them feel part of it. You're doing that right from the very start and it's so important. And then I guess having the training and the development plans, these sort of things, I think a lot of these organizations now are looking at training and development plans because it's such a vital part of why people want to move and why they want to join organizations. We've done some research on that and it's actually the number one reason that people are choosing to change jobs is actually there's an opportunity for me to develop here. There's a training plan. Having that ready at the start is so important, isn't it?

Natalie (13:59):
Yeah, you need to be careful. Obviously you're not bombarding people at the start either. This is always the balance, isn't it? So have the training plan and here's what we will cover, but not bombarding because then people can then feel a bit overwhelmed as well, not, oh my God, what have I done? But having that clear pathway for people, and that's going to be more important. We keep going back to Gen Zs, the new gens. They want to see that. They probably want that in their interview, but they want to see, and the question, certainly question on that, but they want to see. But having some kinds of plan so that it doesn't just look like you've dropped up, they've started, and we'll just do this, we'll just wing this, know that we want to see a proper plan in place. And that plan obviously can be adaptable, person might not. We need to span it out. Maybe we had a six months plan that the person's not ready for it, or maybe the person should be keen, we're going to fly through it three months. Just be reminder timescales. But having some clear goal posts would be even better as well.

Ewan (15:03):
Yeah, yeah. I think because they'll probably, that would hopefully been part of the interview process to say, look, there's opportunities for training development, but having that mapped out and ready, it's a very good point actually. You don't want people to be overwhelmed. But I suppose having an overview of that and making sure it's ready, that people feel like, as you say, you come in and you feel like you're part of that organization, you feel like you've already, people have already thought about you. It's not in the back of a napkin or something like that in terms of training development, because it should be part of the ongoing part of the organization, shouldn't it?

Natalie (15:35):
And I'd say, what's stopping you right now from, so say you've got somebody starting in two weeks time, right? What's stopping you from blocking time out your calendar right now with every couple of weeks or whatever that looks like, and booking the time with them so that when they start, they see stuff all in their diary already. How good does that look? How good does that show that you're resting them as well? So topic number one, we're going to do this. You're going to meet this person on this day and it's all booked in. They start open their calendar and they'll think one of two things, oh my god, or relevant, this is, they know what they're doing. These guys actually know what they're doing and they're investing in me and I know what I'm going to be doing over the next few weeks and it's all booked in. It might be scary, get the balance out. Obviously it might be scary, but even just a couple of things booked in it on the weeks leading up would be fabulous.

Ewan (16:29):
Would be good, wouldn't it? Yeah, absolutely. And I guess then that leads you on to setting in place things like mentoring and support systems. So it's not always going to be your direct line manager really understanding who in the organization can I pick up the phone to? Can I go and speak to when I've got an issue or when things are going well and I want to share that, who do I speak to? How do I go about it? And then building in mentorship as well, because mentoring is really important for people in their development. There's training and development obviously, but mentoring can really make a big difference as well. So having a plan or a program of mentoring, would that really help in that onboarding process?

Natalie (17:05):
Absolutely. And who are you not going to put someone with as well? And I don't mean that in the wrong way, but somebody that's maybe too overwhelmed that's got too much workload that's not going to spend the proper time with the individual. So making and make sure they're going to click as well. Nice. Similar personalities, because again, that could be another factor of putting someone off. I don't really like the guy that I'm shadowing with all the time, or that's mentoring me. It's all about the relationship as well. So the relationship, the time that they're able to give that process to do it properly as well. And what does that look like? So that's a bit more to think about, but you can do it informally as well.

Ewan (17:44):
That's a good point actually, the cultural fit, not only the cultural fit of the person coming in to the organization, but if you're going to put somebody, align somebody in terms of support or mentoring, there's got to be a good fit there. It can't just be because that person does it for somebody else who's going to do it here. Because you're right, the personal connection needs to be right, doesn't it? So you need to put a bit of thought into that. Who in the organization is at that level can give them advice and support and can help them, but also can relate to the person. That's really important.

And then I guess just lastly on this, if you're building up your whole onboarding process, you're looking at your joining chat, you're looking at your training development, you're looking at mentoring that regular feedback and check-in will make a massive difference as well, won't it? Just having a wee bit of time to not set 'em on their way. Maybe you've done your week in the office and they've come to the office and then off they go in the remote and then that's it. That ongoing process of how's it going, having regular meetings with them to try and get them past that, maybe that first tricky three or six month period, it's important. These things, they

Natalie (18:50):
Absolutely, non-negotiables need to, if you're not doing it, you're not really doing it right and people will fail. So give them the support, get regular check-ins, get their traditionary stuff all done at the same time as well. Get their mentor, start the process from the very beginning. All of these things will give you better state for people staying. You get people that go through, have a three day induction, think what the hell have a done the place is whatever things just haven't aligned the way that they maybe should have. And actually you've taken all that time and investment to get someone on board and they say, not for me, and they don't come back. How sad is that? And actually, maybe you could have fixed that, so just take some time. I know it's hard. People are all busy and you're normally recruiting because there's a shortage or you're growing or whatever it is. Absolutely. But just take or engage an expert that can help you if you don't have the time, resource or even interested in it in the nicest possible way. And then get someone that is interested in it and wants to make it work for you as well.

Ewan (19:56):
Yeah. Yeah. I think just finally to touch on that, I think people recognize, and again, going back to what we said at the start, this is a really important process. Now, it might not seem, it's not like you're delivering a customer or delivering a product to a customer straight away. This is what I do. It is about taking the time to engage with your staff because they're ultimately how your company's going to grow. And if you don't bring people on and recognize the value of say, an impromptu review or an impromptu catch up and check in with somebody just to say, how's it going? It could be five minutes or it could be half an hour, but that five minutes or half an hour is really valuable. And I think recognizing the value of these things, and as you rightly point out, everybody is busy, but the value of them has probably outweighs not doing it and not taking the time to get that done because it'll make a massive difference in terms of your staff retention and then obviously the brand and the ability to attract new staff, which is crucial for your growth as well.

So yeah, good stuff. Good discussion,

Natalie (21:00):
Much. No, no worries. The next part on it as well is that what we're getting asked a lot is how do we digitalize that so the human touch, the good, and then the digitalization or having that kind of audit trail behind of what has actually taken place as well,

Ewan (21:19):
Really, right. Okay. So that's interesting because that, while that's vitally important, a big part of this is about personal relationships, isn't it? It's about making personal connections, but you need to have that audit trail behind to say, we did X, Y, and Z. We ticked those boxes.

Natalie (21:34):
Absolutely. So all good. So that's a lot of what we're getting asked at the moment.

Ewan (21:39):
Excellent. Thank you very much, Natalie. That was great. Really interesting topic and thank you for listening and we will catch you next week.

Natalie (21:45):
See you soon.

Ewan (21:51):
Thanks everyone for listening today. Please get in touch if you want to find out more on today's subject.

Natalie (21:57):
And if you enjoyed the podcast, please subscribe and leave us a five star review.


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