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A smooth probationary period is critical to retaining staff

Despite the immense time, effort and cost that can go into identifying and landing the right senior level appointment, most employers take very few steps to ensure that these often business critical employees stay the course.

Research for the Hays Journal found just three out of 10 businesses back up appointments with a formal on boarding process (this is the process of helping a new employee make the transition to a new organisation, from the point where an offer has been made to his or her first day in the job).

While firms may mean well, too few make the best use of this key time between offer and arrival. Half of employers said they retained “some” contact throughout a new senior hire’s notice period, more than a fifth admitted to ’little’ contact and a minority – 39 per cent – got full marks for “frequent” contact.

This is a wasted opport- unity to start the transition process to a new company early on.

Induction after day one is often sadly lacking. More than three quarters of those polled for this research said a single day was spent helping people make the transition, with a tenth spending just half a day, one per cent devoting an hour and only 13 per cent recognising the value of making induction a much longer process.

Many organisations seem to forget that the probation period is a two-way process, forgetting that they are also about employees deciding whether they want to stay. It is perhaps not surprising that one in four senior appointments fail due to poor induction. This is an undeniable waste of time and resource.

There are a number of basic things companies should consider to make the on-boarding process more successful:

Offer online “starter packs” for candidates to download during their notice period that help them get to know their new employer and save time on their first day.

Ensure you cover things such as health and safety guidelines and basic company policies in advance so as not to waste time once a candidate arrives, place any company and corporate induction videos online for the same reason.

Give new hires access to employee or team profiles, especially of people they will be working with. Consider giving them access to chat facilities too.

Set them up with a diary for their first fortnight, that they and you can amend and develop.

Maintain regular contact with the new hire throughout the notice period.

Neil Soffe is regional director at Hays Financial Services

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