Onboarding

Attract and retain employees within retail & FMCG? This is how you do it!

Customers expect that soon they’ll be able to try on new clothes via virtual changing rooms and won’t have to leave their home. With many retail and restaurants, it is already possible to order from the menu via an iPad or tablet. New colleagues expect a special first week of work. Therefore, provide a good onboarding to your own employees and thus deliver your organization's’ culture and feeling to your customers! ❤️

Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first – Simon Sinek

Customers notice when colleagues “breathe your brand” and put in a little extra in their work. Therefore, provide employees with the same VIP experience as you give your customers. For example, use a virtual tour or a video to present a new collection. Only when employees can identify with the vision and organizational objectives, will they give their own interpretation to this. This is especially important within the retail sector.

Recent research by sector organization Koninklijke Horeca Nederland (Dutch) shows that the number of catering staff in the Netherlands will increase by 15 percent between 2016 and 2021 from 407,000 catering staff in 2016 to 467,000 in 2021. The sector will, therefore, have to recruit more than 90,000 people a year.

For customers there is the loyalty program and/or loyalty point system, for your employees there is the onboarding app. Treat employees as your best customers.

Keep employees involved and reduce turnover

In the war for talent, good onboarding is crucial. It guarantees a smooth integration process for new employees. As a (retail) company you want to have well-trained and loyal staff, which really contributes to your company mission. Recently the article ‘Why restaurants should rethink their training programs’ was published. This shows that the turnover in 2017 increased by 70% compared to 2016. Employee turnover has a big impact on the operation, continuity and keeping up a high level of work/service. Costs to replace an employee in hospitality can easily be € 5005 per employee.

Do you have to deal with several (worldwide) locations? More and more shops, supermarkets, hospitality, FMCG and hospitality businesses are putting the employee at the center and have more focus on recruitment, retention and development. 

How focusing on development can help you

Traditional training and work-in programs are often outdated and do not match the needs of employees who do not have a fixed desk to work on. Let go paper, send colleagues to deliver messages, make sure that information is always and easily available and that personal development is not dependent on the manager. Ask yourself these seven questions to find out if your onboarding program is successful and follow in the footsteps of organizations such as Ahold, Bugaboo, Miss EtamHunkemöllerHeinekenPepsicoRituals and Nutricia!

Onboard large numbers of employees in an interactive way. Thanks to the scalability of the Appical platform, it is also possible to onboard colleagues in different countries! Is there a lot of turnover within a certain period? Guarantee valuable feedback from former colleagues. Request a demo.

Try Appical 'the onboarding app'

Ideally, onboarding new hires at an organization should be a strategic process and should last at least one year to ensure high retention, say staffing and HR experts. However many companies approach onboarding as something that stops “when all paperwork is signed and the employee’s first day is complete”.

Newly hired employees are 58 percent more likely to still be at the company three years later if they had completed a structured onboarding process.

Aberdeen Group's study found:

  • 66 percent of companies with onboarding programs claimed a higher rate of successful assimilation of new hires into the company culture

  • 62 percent had higher time-to-productivity ratios

  • 54 percent reported higher employee engagement

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6 reasons why offboarding is important

Most companies realise the value of onboarding new employees. They focus on getting individuals more settled in their roles and productive earlier. They know the costs of employee attrition and of having underperforming teams should positions remain open for too long or are filled with a bad hire. And they are only too aware of the importance of a positive external reputation - showing them as a great place to work - so make sure that everyone joining has a positive experience. But what about when an employee wants to leave? The offboarding stage..

Do we show them the exit quickly, giving them a negative impression of the type of business we are? Are we too concerned that their dissatisfaction may influence otherwise settled employees and try to move them on too fast? And what about the important recommendations and referrals we rely on to find the talent for those hard-to-fill jobs? Leaving ex-employees with a bad memory can cost us in the long run.

More businesses now realise the value in keeping a strong relationship with ex-employees, which is why the process known as off-boarding – literally the reverse of on-boarding, where we give people leaving a positive experience and smooth transition out of the business – has been gaining importance on the corporate agenda. Maybe slowly at first, with 2015 research from Aberdeen Consulting showing only 29% of organisations having an offboarding programme, but more recently the need for a smooth exit has gained traction.

And there are strong business reasons why we need effective offboarding…

1. Ex-employees are ambassadors and advocates 

Their experience of working for us will appear in online review sites and be shared amongst their networks. They are our ambassadors for employer branding. A positive review from someone who has left can be a powerful tool when attracting new people to join. Ex-employees can recommend people to work for us – or dissuade them if we give them a poor experience. When we are struggling to fill key positions their networks are important and can give us exposure to a wider talent pool.

2. Ex-employees are customers too

We don’t only want to retain their loyalty as an employer – we need their custom also! If our products and/or services are customer facing we want ex-employees to remain as customers, and to keep recommending us to other potential customers.

3. Power of an alumni network

People who have worked for us are part of a wider community of those with connections to the business. We need to think of their potential as conduits of business messaging and make sure they still receive company and product information, positive trading updates and employer brand content. We need to keep them informed and encourage them to be part of our sharing network.

4. They are part of our knowledge network

It’s easy to forget that those leaving the business have knowledge of our market and industry that we want to keep in touch with. New employees may not have the necessary experience to step fully into the roles that have been vacated, so alumni who do not move straight to another role can play an important part as mentors, trainers and coaches.

5. They can work for us again

In a business climate where we find ourselves constantly hiring for new roles that have no precedent, and require skills we haven’t recruited before, our alumni network can help connect us with people we might not otherwise be able to reach, and can come back and work for us again if they have moved on and developed new skills. The concept of ‘boomerang hires’ – where we re-hire people who have worked for us before – is buoyant in the US but less popular in Europe. That is set to change and maintaining good alumni relations will be crucial.

6. The growing gig economy

Not everyone who leaves us will go on to another permanent job. Some will become freelancers, consultants and gig-workers. As the need for a contingent workforce grows, with people able to work on a contract or project basis providing much needed skill enhancement, it will be the alumni network that can provide access to talent who can join and seamlessly integrate.

The Employee Journey is the common denominator. Do you want to know more about the other 3 stages within the employee journey as well? You can read this in the blog: a good employee journey contributes to employer branding.

Open lines of communication

With so many business positives arising from maintaining strong relationships with ex-employees, it is vital that offboarding is done well. This means creating a positive experience – focusing on what has gone well rather than what hasn’t – making sure the exit paperwork and contractual formalities are all dealt with efficiently, and having open lines of communication to be able to share information and receive recommendations.

The people who truly understand a company – particularly its values, culture and the way it goes about its business – are the people who have already worked there. When this understanding is shared positively and readily, it can only enhance business success.

Employee Experience more important than ever!

You can't avoid the topic: employee experience and trends like employer branding, employee journey, candidate experience and employee centric. It is clear that the employee is central in 2018.

- The first blog in a diptych about Employee Experience & the Employee Journey -

The year of the employee. This means that we as an organization must take good care of our own employees. As an Employer Branding Specialist, I am therefore regularly present at events with these themes. For example, I was present at the event Inspiration for Employee Experience on January 23rd, the first event in the Netherlands focusing on the so-called ‘EX’. That is why I would like to share my expectations for the future with you. At the start of next month, we will also map out the most important trends for 2018 in the area of the entire employee journey.

‘For years, marketing has been about the Customer Experience, the brand and the product of the company. 2018 is the year of the Employee Experience.’

Challenges for HR

Employee Experience is the new challenge for HR. 88% of HR managers worldwide see Employee Experience grow in importance in the coming years (survey KennedyFitch, 2017) via Happy People Better Business. And that makes sense, because happy employees ensure happy customers.

When I received a LinkedIn invitation from Heleen Mes to become a member of the Employee Experience Netherlands / Belgium group during the middle of last year, I found it cool to see that more and more attention is being paid to the journey that every new employee has to make and what is important to facilitate as an employer. Upcoming time I am going to talk with Appical colleagues and customers to map their employee journey and I will look for best practices for their biggest challenges in this area.

7 reasons to start with employee experience

  • Our organization has difficulty attracting talent.
  • We spend a lot of time onboarding new employees and would like to use an interactive platform to make this more fun and easy for both the new hire and the manager.
  • We are working on our ambassadorship internally, but this is difficult because we do not have a specific story. Each department does this in its own way. Often the responsibility for onboarding lies with the supervisor, but we want everyone to get the same ‘generic’ part (see organizational story).
  • We want to put the employee more central and encourage us to provide useful feedback from the first day or even before that.
  • We want to connect more and more online and offline. We see an increasing need here, both for young professionals and for all our other employees.
  • Certain training courses come back annually. We also want to bring this in a more interactive way than through the intranet, from static to dynamic.
  • As an organization you always have to deal with turnover. That is not bad, but we would like to secure knowledge and ensure that someone leaves us ‘happy’ and would recommend us.

Event – Inspiration for Employee Experience

Personally, I was very curious about the challenges and trends that exist among colleagues in the HR field. ABN Amro, a Dutch Banking company, talked about how employees experienced their career at the bank and how they are distinctive in this. Mars (known from many chocolate brands) talked about the integration of values as a condition to make a difference for employees and how they recognize internally, initiatives and contributions. Oracle talked about the latest technologies that can contribute in this process and JvH Gaming was named Best Managed Company 2017 and told how successful onboarding contributes to internal and external success when it comes to the employee journey. JvH Gaming has been using the Appical platform (pre- and onboarding) since July 2017 and we were therefore pleased to see that they wanted to share their experiences on their own initiative. We are very curious about what the entire employee journey looks like and how they will further professionalize this in 2018. The event ended with a ‘compliments session’ and I was happy to see how giving compliments strengthens the motivation in daily practice. The event honored its name. It was an inspiring event where sharing knowledge about the main topic employee experience was central and where you as HR manager, recruiter or marketing manager can immediately get started with!

Tips from Appical

The employee experience and what it delivers to put your employees first, have been longer under scrutiny. In case you were wondering if it was the umpteenth HR hype .. No! Companies that ignore the ‘hype’ will have difficulty getting their growth targets.

In my next blog I will tell you how good pre-, on-, and offboading contribute to your Employer Brand.

You will receive answers to the question of how you can shape your employee journey in order to recruit and retain talent. For example, asking yourself the following questions:

  • Why should I pay attention to the employee experience?
  • Why are a fair organization story and transferring your corporate culture so important?
  • What do I need to think about when I reach my target group?
  • What pain does a good pre- and onboarding process take away for HR and managers?
  • How does an onboarding process work exactly?
  • Why is it so important to organize offboarding properly?