February 25 2007 - A study of human resources practices at 50 large US companies by Watson Wyatt Worldwide, a leading global consulting firm, has found that the importance of hiring and orientation programs is often neglected in the achievement of corporate goals and employee motivation.
Ilene Gochman, an organization effectiveness expert with Watson Wyatt Worldwide said:
"Few things are more important to a company's long-term performance than choosing the right employees and ensuring they have the proper outlook from Day One. As a result, employers should view the recruitment and orientation process as an opportunity, not as a burden. Preparing employees for their new roles and communicating how they can help the firm meet its goals can go a long way toward determining whether new employees ultimately succeed."
The study found significantly better financial performance and employee engagement in companies that focused on the hiring and orientation process. For example, 65 per cent with a highly engaged workforce provided interview training for managers compared with 33 per cent with a less engaged workforce. They also spent more time preparing workers for new jobs - an average of 35 weeks compared to 15 weeks for those with low engagement.
Other Watson Wyatt studies have shown that building employee engagement and establishing efficient recruitment processes are linked to financial performance. The 2006/2007 WorkUSA(R) survey of more than 12 000 employees from all levels and major sectors showed that organizational financial performance is strongly related to employee engagement. In a typical S&P 500 organization a significant improvement in employee engagement is associated with a US$95 million increase in revenue. The 2005 Human Capital Index® study of 147 employers showed that companies that filled vacancies within about one month financially outperformed those who took longer by 48 percentage points over three years.
Ilene Gochman commented:
"Implementing effective recruiting and orientation programs is generally very cost effective. In addition, it is not terribly difficult to make change in this area. The main requirement is to focus on improving communication, both to managers who do the hiring and to new employees themselves."
The study found that explaining to new employees why they were hired is an effective technique for driving worker engagement. Over half of high financial performers (52 per cent) provided such an explanation compared to 29 per cent of low performers.
Ilene Gochman added:
"Sharing with new hires the attributes that drew the company to them is an easy and meaningful way to begin a productive relationship. It gives new employees an immediate tie to the company and a clear understanding of how their skills can be used productively at their new place of employment."