Over 40% of Canadian employers are struggling to fill key jobs. With the average cost per hire for a job that requires a minimal skill set estimated at more than $2,000, is it time to work a little harder to ensure that your most important and expensive asset sticks around?


“It just didn’t work out.” “He wasn’t a good fit.” “She didn’t really ‘get’ what our organization is all about.” Explanations for hiring fails are often described in the vaguest of terms.

Take, for instance, the example of a stellar new employee who takes the decision to jump ship after a few months and whose departure is described as “one of those things”. Sometimes it’s easier to reach for a glib excuse to explain it away – rather than attempt to figure out the reasons for what actually happened.

Think about the level of investment and sheer hard work you put into finding new talent. Now compare this to the effort that goes into the introduction phase for successful candidates. Is there a disconnect? If your response to this is simply to ask, “What’s an introduction phase?”, it’s a sign that you’re at risk of putting your investment in jeopardy.

Can you afford not to care?

It isn’t about leaving new employees with a warm glow just for the sake of it. The logic behind a good employee orientation program is to ensure that new employees will hit the ground running: delivering better results, faster. In Canada, the average price/cost to hire someone – in other words, the costs linked directly to the recruitment process, is estimated at over $2,000 per hire. But there’s much more to the true cost of recruitment than things like advertising costs.

While you’re busy trying to hire someone and you’re operating at less than full strength, what’s happening to the work that is required by this job? How is customer/client care being affected? What’s happening to staff morale?

On top of the time spent sourcing that new employee, it takes an estimated 28 weeks for a new employee to reach optimum productivity. That’s a long time for your organization not to be firing on all cylinders. And if the hire fails, it’s a case of back to the drawing board as the whole costly cycle starts up all over again.

You promised the sun and moon at the interview. So what next?

Step into the shoes of a promising new employee. You’ve captured their imagination with a carefully crafted job description. Throughout the selection process, you’ve wowed them by invoking a real sense of what your organization is all about; where you hope to go and why they should join you on that journey. So far, so good.

If you were to follow that very same employee on their first day at work, a different picture might emerge. Left alone to languish at their desk to plough through office policies, that “dynamic environment” that was promised in the interview may seem like a distant memory.

This is the day they’ve been waiting for – but it’s hard to summon up much passion if you’ve forgotten everyone’s names, you’re not quite sure how long you have for lunch or that the coffee in the kitchen isn’t free – there is a coffee fund.

An example of how to do things can be seen at Netflix. “Which laptop do you want? How do you like it configured?” For an employee, on-boarding starts before day one with a phone call to get a feel for how the new employee likes to work. Come the start date, their desired computer set-up is all ready and waiting for them. A dedicated mentor is also on hand to help with the in’s and out’s of working at Netflix.

Two things are happening with this orientation: they’re getting to grips with the Netflix way of working and Netflix’s future aspirations. He’s submitting work within a matter of days. The new employee ‘gets’ what the company’s about and where they fit in.

Giving new employees a thorough sense of “Who we are” and “What we stand for” is as much a priority as explaining “What we do”.

This is us…..are you in?

Organizations with successful on-boarding programs, develop committed relationships that are mutually beneficial. The on-boarding program is more than a one day (or less at times) quick tour and introduction. It’s about putting together a plan that ensures that the new team member is set up for success – taking time to show them your way of doing things, your vision and your story.

An intense, on-boarding ‘bootcamp’ for instance, might be just as off putting to a new employee as having no introduction plan at all – especially if that program isn’t what your organization stands for.

Putting your cards on the table from day one – telling them your values and how you operate – allows them and you to decide if there is a good fit. Being transparent and having a stellar orientation plan will pay off.

Going, going, gone??

The clock is ticking. 40% of employees who move on from a company do so within the first six months. The fact that almost half of them leave for positions with the same pay or less, shows that this isn’t always about cash.

Leave an employee with a sense of alienation, lack of direction and a mismatch between what was promised during the recruitment process compared to their perception of reality within your organization, and you’re all set up for a hiring fail.

Research suggests that if you take on-boarding seriously you’re 65% more likely to have that employee as part of your team three years down the line!

In other words, putting in the work at the beginning off pays off!