In the current employment market, job candidates interview you!
These days, many prospective employees aren’t just looking for any job, but the ideal job—one that is fun, pays well, offers plenty of benefits and perks, and aligns with their personal goals and values. That’s according to Sandy Zannino, founder and CEO of Innovative Auto HR, who recently joined us as a featured speaker in Compli’s Employee Experience Best Practices webinar.
Sandy told our audience that in a strong job market, employers need to go above and beyond to attract top talent:
“Candidates are accepting multiple job offers, and they are making a final decision about where they want to work at the last minute. It leaves an employer sometimes in the lurch thinking that they filled the position, they’ve closed the ad, and then somebody doesn’t show up. So, it’s important for employers to understand that candidates are going to be interviewing you, at least the best ones will be.”
To ace an interview with a candidate, a hiring manager needs to explain as much about the job as possible. However, said Sandy, many still haven’t learned how to communicate the basics—including, for instance, what the person can expect to be paid.
“I have always coached hiring managers to be aware of and be able to explain the basics that candidates are going to be interested in—the benefits offered, the wait periods for those benefits, clear pay plans. I have actually onboarded hourly employees who don’t know what their rate of pay is. There are so many things that can happen in the interview process, and employers need to remember the value proposition for the candidate.”
Certainly, most employers understand that they need to make a good impression with prospective employees. But in an industry such as automotive, where turnover is high, there’s a constant scramble to fill roles quickly, and little details like hourly pay rate can get lost. To make sure your organization doesn’t repeat the same mistake in the anecdote above, you’ll need to systematize your onboarding process in a way that ensures alignment between the organization and a new employee.
The first step is to communicate workplace expectations. Before any employee gets started, hiring managers should ask themselves if they’ve covered the basic things that the individual will need to do their job successfully. Consider questions like the following:
- Do they know where and when they’ll be working?
- Have they been introduced to managers and colleagues?
- Do they have access to the equipment they need? Are they prepared to use it safely and effectively?
- Do they have all the necessary login information?
This initial conversation is also the ideal moment to have a clarifying discussion about overall employment benefits and expectations, and ultimately, employee accountability. What you communicate (and document) at the outset shapes issues down the line. It’s up to the hiring manager to preclude an employee from saying, “well, I had no idea I was supposed to do that” during a disciplinary meeting or termination event.
A systematized onboarding and hiring process is also essential for communicating organizational culture. When candidates have the upper hand in the job market, it’s more important than ever that an employer demonstrates that employees enjoy positive cultures; that people feel good about coming into work every day and don’t dread when the alarm clock goes off. This not only enhances your employment brand but directly impacts your bottom line. From Sandy’s vantage point, it’s a business opportunity.
“I don’t think we can stress the importance of culture enough,” said Sandy. “I’ve heard it said that culture can be described simply as: ‘What is it like to work around here?’ To find that out, you begin with the employees. Onboarding is the opportunity for the organization to communicate what it’s like to work around here and make the alignment of core values really clear.”
To take advantage of this opportunity, look toward your employee handbook. Your handbook can include elements of compliance and clarify aspects of specific roles, but it’s also a great avenue to highlight what your company’s unique story, mission, and principles. Beyond explaining what you do, it should communicate why you do it. It’s a roadmap for interacting with your business.
That said, for better or worse, businesses aren’t just run from person-to-computer or person-to-paper. People-to-people interactions are essential, especially in a dealership setting. Making sure your new team member feels connected to their team, as well as to other people in your business and the industry at large, can go a long way in terms of boosting retention and reducing turnover.
Connection is everything you do to set a new hire up for success on the first day. In addition to conveying the practical details of the job (e.g. the location of their workstation and parking space), consider what other means you have for helping a new employee feel welcome and valued. Some employers create personalized introductory messages from executive team members. Others will take a team member out to lunch on their first day. These moments should happen on day one and periodically throughout the first 90 days on the job.
Some employers assign “buddies” that provide new hires with quick, personal access to the people, resources, and answers they need. This approach can serve multiple purposes, said Sandy:
“The ‘New Hire Buddy’ could be the person who is delivering part of the onboarding process. And you can choose a cheerleader for your organization—somebody who is very excited to work for you and will impart that enthusiasm on your new hire.”
If you’d like to catch up with our Employment Experience Best Practices webinar, watch the entire presentation on demand and for free.
But because the onboarding experience extends far beyond day one, I’d like to recommend a checklist to you: once you’re done with Employment Experience Best Practices, make sure to download our Employee Handbooks Checklist, wherein we discuss the critical policies your handbook should include and how to harness your handbook’s power to its fullest.