How To Use Social Media for Employee Onboarding

new-employee-onboarding-first-dayRecruiters always talk about finding “top talent,” but the truth is, most of the time, it’s damn near impossible just to find even minimally qualified ones, no matter how mediocre that ‘talent’ actually is. A full 54% of employers recently reported that they currently had open positions for which they have been unable to fill due to their inability to find qualified candidates, according to a recent Harris Poll conducted for CareerBuilder.

This surprising statistic underscores just how difficult finding the short supply of in demand talent has become, and the increasingly critical role talent acquisition plays in a company’s bigger business picture, not to mention recruiting’s growing impact on bottom line results.

Unfilled positions, of course, cost a company money – every day that goes by without a butt in a seat costs an estimated $1400-$2300 for experienced or highly skilled roles.

This number doesn’t even factor in the added workload other employees must absorb, but obviously, the price tag is just as steep for indirect costs for unfilled requisitions, such as team and individual employee productivity, satisfaction and engagement. Nor does it factor in recruiting costs like recruitment advertising or agency fees, which add an additional 11 grand or so, on average, to the cost of backfilling an exempt employee.

Of course, that for some reason still doesn’t stop employers from losing candidates because they won’t open their coffers for compensation, which seems stupid when considering the aggregate costs of the alternative; this skills gap is one HR professionals almost unanimously describe as their biggest recruitment challenge.

Here are a few of the easiest, but most overlooked, solutions. These aren’t innovative, these aren’t new, but if every employer were doing just the basics of online recruiting, no way would more than half of them still be having a hard time finding candidates. Now, getting them through the process and closing an offer is another story – and challenge – entirely.

Social Media and Employee Onboarding: 3 Keys for Success

Let’s start at the very beginning. It is, after all, a very good place to start, particularly since so many companies seem not yet to have started doing even the simple stuff when it comes to leveraging social media for onboarding. Start employees off on the right foot with these fundamental (but easy) steps towards ensuring that recruiting does not, in fact, end with an accepted offer.

Because you’ve got to make sure that excitement they have when they officially send sign on the dotted line doesn’t go away when their new job becomes, well, their job. If you’re a recruiter, these should be part of yours, too.

1. Employee Onboarding: Your Career Site Counts.

c014ffa7-e3e5-49a1-b5c1-05ebfc72126dWhile it’s pretty obvious when talking about getting applicants into the front end of the funnel, your career site must not only help speak to potential candidates currently in the hiring process, but also those new hires who actually made it successfully through to the other side.

Whether it’s the standard two weeks of winding down a previous job to some global markets, like Germany, where courtesy dictates giving your current employer a full year to find your replacement, chances are that they’re going to be checking that career site frequently when thinking of what’s next, what to expect and reinforce that they made the right decision joining your team (this also applies to current employees, as a matter of course).

While you probably provide candidates with an information packet and probably some literature, think about adding a portal just for employees joining the company, whether that’s before orientation or in the weeks or months after they officially onboard.

Instead of relying on your company intranet or attachments, consider putting things like your new hire manual, a checklist for what to bring on the first day or even things like employees sharing their stories of how they successfully segued into their roles and any inside tips or tricks they’d give new workers. This is obviously effective as recruiting collateral in addition to being an HR document, and also provides a potentially powerful tool for employer branding and conveying company culture.

One company that does a great job with this is Deloitte, who augment what social marketing agency LinkHumans calls one of the world’s best corporate recruiting websites with relevant information for orientation and onboarding for employees, called “Working at Deloitte,” which doubles as a case study in good employer branding.

With a huge workforce that’s decentralized both in terms of geography and business units (not to mention more traditional segmentation like career level and function), Deloitte has more or less built microsites to describe what to expect from orientation, onboarding and on the job itself specifically targeting graduate recruiting, emerging and newer professionals and experienced hires.

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These sites are further broken down through market localization, as evidenced by their Dutch careers portal, which is a distinct domain from their counterparts in other markets as well as distinct from the centralized Deloitte global career site. The Dutch site, as well as the dozens of other subdomains representing Deloitte’s online career presence, reflects and augments the firm’s overarching employer brand, messaging, company vision and corporate values.

But instead of just translating that careers content into the local language, the Dutch arm of Deloitte, for example, actually makes this a social experience, featuring market-specific information such as employee and recruiting blog content written in Dutch, testimonials for existing Deloitte employees based in the Netherlands and live chat capabilities, allowing potential applicants and new hires to only interact with talent acquisition professionals in their market and who quite literally speak their language – which beats a big global brand for both engagement and experience.

Now, not every company needs to create a totally different domain for this strategy to work. Instead, you can always consider creating this as a subdomain that’s a section of your primary careers page and let new hires know how to find this information.

Chances are, though, they already looked before deciding to accept that offer – most of Deloitte’s new Dutch hires, for instance (about 80%) report having reviewed new employee information before actually becoming new employees; an even higher amount, or around 9 in 10, new workers reported that they utilized this public site as a resource while onboarding internally.

Of course, these sites are also great places to show internal training, professional development and new career opportunities to those employees when they’re ready to make their next move in the company – and putting it online instead of on a firewalled intranet sends a subtle, but powerful message to candidates that this isn’t only a job they’re applying to – it’s the first step to a long career with a company who treats their “greatest assets” as, you know, assets.

2. Content Marketing Is King For Employee Onboarding, Too.

contentmarketing (1)As Deloitte and many other firms have figured out, relevant blog content segmented by industry and featuring real employees talking about their real jobs using their real voices is really effective at adding value to both current candidates and new hires alike.

For new hires, knowing a little more about a coworker or getting insights into how a function really functions within a company is just as valuable as when they were still in the recruiting process.

Good news is, most blog content can easily speak to both audiences simultaneously, so adding new employees to your target audience doesn’t require tons more work to achieve the same end result.

In some cases, like Samsung, this employee generated blog content is actually used for consumer marketing purposes, as the company mixes in personal perspectives from employees on the consumer electronics industry and how their work helps drive the cutting edge of the technology industry.

In short, Samsung sells products by selling the people behind the product – which, as it just so happens, has been an extremely effective vehicle for recruiting new talent into the organization, given the significant readership from tech buffs and industry insiders who come to the blog as consumers, but just might end up as candidates, too.  New employees are encouraged to get involved as contributors as part of their orientation process, and are given training on how to share, source and get involved with these initiatives even if they’re not creating the actual content.

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That whole brand ambassador thing works – and is a big reason why Samsung has seen a huge spike in qualified referrals since starting these programs, most coming directly from contributors whose content actually is compelling enough to entice their professional colleagues and personal contacts to ultimately become candidates, too.

If you can’t control your marketing content (and chances are, most recruiters can’t), this approach still works just for talent acquisition initiatives and should be a part of any employer branding and talent attraction strategy. Some great examples of this include Microsoft’s Employee Blog, which features a variety of voices and perspectives that effectively act as a microcosm for the company’s highly diverse, highly skilled and highly passionate global workforce – and provide a great way for new hires to get introduced to future colleagues and coworkers who are being presented (and empowered) as the public face of life at Microsoft.

It also features articles and posts highlighting employee accomplishments, team success stories and individual achievements, providing a very visible (and valuable) place for recognizing and rewarding employees while inspiring and incentivizing new hires by showing who’s making work work best. Which is pretty smart, frankly.

Similarly, for some great employee generated content about hot trends in tech, such as 3D printing or wearable devices, mixed in with company and career news,check out Apple Rubber’s blog to see an example of how this kind of content can be compelling to candidates with the right skills or vertical expertise while still effectively capturing consumers and customers, too.

3. Yeah, OK. LinkedIn Isn’t All Bad.

2015-04-27_11-59-31I’m not going to bore you by talking about how to use these publishing capabilities for recruiting new candidates (hint: don’t bother, statistically speaking).

Instead, though, look at LinkedIn’s publishing feature as an extension of the efforts described above, using the same type of careers related content that you’re already generating but with the added advantage that new hires are already actively using LinkedIn to research their future counterparts, so this is a no-brainer if you’re already doing any of the efforts outlined above.

LinkedIn can also – and I can’t believe I’m saying this – offer a great way for new hires to become an active, engaged member of your online workforce even before they start working just through the same kind of profile mining recruiters take for granted (and why so many have so much love for LinkedIn, for that matter).

By suggesting other coworkers to connect with (generally new hires will be connected with at least one member of the hiring team or, at least, a recruiter), seeing which groups other employees belong to, what discussions they participate in, who they might know in common outside the office (always a good icebreaker) and even which co-workers they want to connect with personally, such as an alumnus of the same college they went to or grew up in their hometown (among other things).

It’s scary being the new face around the office, but in that awkward period before a coworker becomes Facebook friend worthy, LinkedIn goes a long way to helping new hires feel like they at least know a little bit about all those unfamiliar faces they’re suddenly faced with at work.

This sort of due diligence, as a caveat, is really smart when you’re a new hire looking to learn the ropes and get some more insight and information into the people and organization they’ll be working with. If you’re a recruiter, though, and you’re using LinkedIn profile mining as a talent attraction tactic, you’re clearly still figuring out your job, too – which only reinforces why, for once, I think there’s some merit in using this platform as intended.

Because when it’s used as a professional network and not a job board posing behind some basic social functionalities, turns out LinkedIn is actually not half bad. So, if you’re not onboard with social recruiting, that’s cool. But it’s pretty good for onboarding.




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