4 Shortcuts to Having a Productive New Hire in No Time

July 20, 2016

Just four years ago, for most companies the average time to hire was 13 days. Now it's over 23 days. Not only does that negatively affect the candidate experience - which is key to recruiting the best - it means that it takes longer for a new hire to become a productive employee. Lose-lose.

This was the issue facing my own company, Red Branch Media. So, I went back to the drawing board to see how I could improve and speed up our hiring process. Here’s the game plan I came up with and what I’d recommend to any company struggling with a lengthy hiring and onboarding processes. Not only will it make you're life easier, it will positvely impact your candidate experience. 

1. Look at your employee referrals first

If I want a fast, reliable hire, the best sourcing tool I have is my own team. Hiring involves several factors. One of the biggest and baddest of them all being the cost. With a new hire costing $20,000-30,000, I want to make sure this investment is a quality one, a great fit for the culture we’ve built, reliable and loyal. If you trust your team, which I’d hope you do, you should welcome referrals.

This is a hire you can (almost) trust immediately since it was a quality lead from a trusted employee and you can safely assume the cultural fit will have a natural feel.

Of course, not every new hire can be a referral, so I also source local colleges and universities for grads who have the background I want and the desire to build their agency portfolio.

2. Craft workflows to speed up onboarding

At The Branch, we are firm believers in workflows. We craft workflows, or processes, for jobs we’ve done over and over and will continue to do time and time again. These processes are the ‘final drafts’ of what gave us the best results each time we did it. We kick them off at the start of every large and small project, from creating an email, to welcoming our clients and even onboarding new hires.

Building a workflow for repeatable processes keeps the team from running around like a flock of headless chickens. We can go through the motions of a well-structured, step-by-step process of everything that needs to happen on an employee’s first day.

To start your own workflow, think of all the information you wish you had on your first day. Think about what tools you need to survive the first week, who you would love to be introduced to, what facilities/parts of the building you’re allowed to explore and which are off-limits, times of weekly meetings, best practices, company expectations/guidelines, the whole works.

Think of which team members can tackle each task, what order these tasks need to go in and you’re there. The workflow is set. Follow it, memorize it, perfect it. We use a tool called Bitrix24, but systems like Slack, Basecamp, Asana and even a supercharged email tool like Gmail or Outlook can all have similar results.

Some tasks our onboarding workflow includes:

  • Set up computer and workspace
  • Hour increments for new hires to learn about what each department does
  • Social onboarding (which accounts we use, the tools we use to manage them and what is expected from a social standpoint)
  • Content and Editorial Process Overview
  •  New Hire Quiz and Blog Post
  •  Lunch with the CEO

3. Enable new hires to bond with employees faster by conducting personality tests

Since we have a smaller team, we have the luxury of introducing new hires to each department so they know who to go to if they hit bumps during their first months on the job. The head of every department is tasked to sit down with the newbie, introduce themselves and present them with a short demo on what their daily tasks and responsibilities look like. No brancher left behind!

Of course we want new hires to grow relationships and grow into their departments organically, but an easy way to test employee’s personality is by assessing each one through a personality assessment platform; Red Branch uses Vitru. This helps us see where new hires can start off by identifying what personality types in the office they’d collaborate with best.

Not only does this provide new hires with the opportunity to make new friends, but it gives them more insight to how each department works, in case they want to move around the company later in their tenure if their initial department isn’t quite fit for them.

Another reason to invest in the time it takes to do onboarding right is that we have a lot of entry-level hires and interns. If we let them develop habits that are counter-intuitive to our business model, we’re wasting our time and theirs.

4. Organize group activities that will make new hires feel welcome

At the end of the week at our famous Eatin’ Meetin’ we have “New Hire Trivia” where the new hires are placed center stage and the current employees have to answer trivia questions about the new hires. (i.e. favorites, hobbies, history, the whole works). This both establishes a culture, while seamlessly integrating a fast “getting to know you” icebreaker that’s fun for everyone. And the sooner new hires feel comfortable, the sooner they will jump into their new role and collaborate with others.

With this hiring and onboarding process, there’s zero time between the referrals, workflows, onboarding and games for slacking on a quick time to hire goal. Once our hires come through the door, they already see three familiar faces, are immediately introduced to the team, the culture, the company and company values.

Implement this process and you'll find you not only save a lot of time, but also blow new hires out of the water. Candidate experience, here you come.

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