Imagine that your company’s CEO demands that you, the CHRO, need to grow headcount by 20%, or be prepared to replace that proportion of your workforce, every year. Doable, and not overly daunting if you’re a company of 50 employees. Not so easy if you’re a company of 90,000.
Nonetheless, that’s the challenge the big companies in Canada are facing. Some of them are hiring upwards of 15,000 people per year. Getting that many bums on seats is a logistical headache on its own, but how on earth do you figure out, on such a mass scale, if those hires are actually any good?
Attracting talented workers and keeping hold of them on a scale of thousands at a time is one the toughest asks of major enterprises today. That’s why recruiting and onboarding as practices have evolved so much in recent years. Businesses cannot efficiently find and hire that many good people without the help of the digital technology they are so lucky to have access to today.
Not so long ago, corporate recruiting was all done on paper. A good recruiter relied on print advertising and a huge network of contacts to track down and build rapport with promising candidates. The rise of the Internet saw us move to a model where companies were spending a lot of money manually posting job adverts on online boards, such as Workopolis. That undoubtedly sped up the process and was rightly seen as a success, helping recruiters be more selective and efficient. But like newspaper ads before it, that way of working now sits firmly in the last generation of recruiting technology.
That’s because we have reached a point where corporations can now carry out large-scale recruiting and onboarding processes on in-house software that far outperforms anything third parties can offer them. Where traditional online job-board advertising demands that HR teams comb through masses of data, with standout resumes inevitably getting lost in the mix, recruiting software automatically analyzes the data to sniff out the most suitable candidates from a database of thousands. From there, the social and mobile aspects of the technology allow recruiters and candidates to remain in constant communication with each other in ways we that would have been impossible in the last generation.
With some presets and what equates to a click of the mouse to set things in motion, candidates with matching locations, experience, and skills are reached. Recruiters then use an interface to see how things are going, and it’s from here that virtually everything is done – matching skills, viewing resumes, communicating with the candidate, drawing up the job offer, and so on. If a business hires 15,000 people over the course of a year, the number of hours this saves on manual processing runs into the thousands.
So let’s assume this wonder of digital recruiting software has helped you get those 15,000 carefully selected people into your workforce. Now imagine the cost to the business if, say, 3,000 of those have decided it’s not for them within 2 weeks of their first day. The cost of ensuring a proper onboarding for every single person coming in far outweighs the potential cost of losing them before they even get going on the job.
Those first two weeks have a big say on whether a new employee is going to feel engaged or disengaged from your business. First, there are the tactical things, like making sure they have a computer, setting them up on email straight away so they can actually make a start on the work. You might be surprised by how often that doesn’t happen.
Then there is the challenge of making employees feel like they are part of the business. With workplaces becoming increasingly virtual, helping new hires build connections with other people in the company is getting harder. In both cases, today’s cloud-enabled onboarding technology is a huge facilitator.
In my discussions with leadership executives at Canada’s largest companies, the battle to find and keep hold of talent is almost always cited as one of their key challenges. On December 4 I will have the pleasure of spending time with Canada’s top 150 HR executives at Evanta’s CHRO Leadership Summit in Toronto, and am looking forward to hearing about their own ambitions and struggles in this area and others. Hope to see you there.