Washington, D.C. — Feb. 16
Companies often overlook hiring and orientation programs as prime opportunities to reinforce corporate goals and motivate employees, said Ilene Gochman, an organization effectiveness expert with Watson Wyatt Worldwide, a leading global consulting firm.
“Few things are more important to a company’s long-term performance than choosing the right employees and ensuring they have the proper outlook from Day One,” Gochman said. “As a result, employers should view the recruitment and orientation process as an opportunity, not as a burden.
“Preparing employees for their new roles and communicating how they can help the firm meet its goals can go a long way toward determining whether new employees ultimately succeed.”
In a review of human resources practices at 50 large U.S. companies, Watson Wyatt found significant differences in financial performance and employee engagement between companies that focus on the details of the hiring and orientation process and those that don’t.
For instance, 65 percent of companies with a highly engaged workforce provide interview training for managers versus 33 percent of companies with a less engaged workforce.
Those with highly engaged workers also spend more time in preparing workers for their new jobs — they take an average of 35 weeks to bring a new hire up to speed versus 15 weeks for those with low engagement.
Other Watson Wyatt studies have shown building engagement in employees and establishing an efficient recruiting process are tied to financial performance.
The 2006/2007 WorkUSA survey of more than 12,000 U.S. workers across all job levels and in all major sectors shows that financial performance of organizations is strongly related to employee engagement.
For the typical S&P 500 organization a significant improvement in employee engagement is associated with a $95 million increase in revenue.
In addition, Watson Wyatt’s 2005 Human Capital Index study of 147 employers showed that firms that fill vacancies quickly (within about one month) have financially outperformed those who that take longer to fill positions by 48 percentage points over a three year period.
“Implementing effective recruiting and orientation programs is generally very cost effective,” Gochman said. “In addition, it is not terribly difficult to make change in this area. The main requirement is to focus on improving communication, both to managers who do the hiring and to new employees themselves.”
A simple but key technique for driving worker engagement is to explain to new employees why they were hired. Fifty-two percent of high financial performers said they provided such an explanation versus 29 percent of low financial performers.
“Sharing with new hires the attributes that drew the company to them is an easy and meaningful way to begin a productive relationship,” Gochman said. “It gives new employees an immediate tie to the company and a clear understanding of how their skills can be used productively at their new place of employment.”