19 September 2022

​You have spent time attracting and interviewing candidates. You have made a great job offer, and this has been accepted by your favourite candidate. They have signed the contract, handed in their notice and you have agreed upon the start date.

You are excited for their first day as a new employee. Nothing can go wrong now, right?

Unfortunately, candidates do withdraw from jobs between the time that they sign the contract and the day that they have promised to start. There is a multitude of reasons why candidates withdraw from job offers, but there are ways to limit the likelihood of this happening to you.

Don’t let just the prospect of a candidate withdrawing be your only motivation. Delivering great engagement between the job offer and start date has many benefits and we will discuss this in more detail in this guide.

This guide is broken down into the following:

Why it is important to keep new employees engaged

It can be easy to believe that the hard work has been done once the start date has been agreed but it is not. You now have a period where your new employee is still working for another employer. This could be anything from one week to several months.

These are the top reasons why you should keep your new employee engaged from the job offer acceptance until the day they arrive for their first day:

Lack of communication can create doubts

If a candidate has not heard from you since you agreed on a start date, it might create some doubts about whether you care about them joining the business.

You don’t want to create any doubts in their mind and so communication is key to showing your commitment to them.

Their current employer might make an additional counteroffer

In the time between accepting the job offer and starting, your new employee could receive an additional counteroffer. If you have not kept them engaged with you and the business, they will be more vulnerable to considering this. If they are engaged and mentally already committed to you, there is less chance they will entertain the counteroffer.

Another employer might make them a job offer

Just like their current employer, great candidates are often in demand from several different employers. A new offer might be made to them. Again, if you keep them engaged with you, they are less likely to even respond to additional offers or speak to a hiring manager or recruitment professional.

Their personal circumstances have changed

If you haven’t kept a new employee engaged and kept the relationship going, if someone’s personal circumstances have changed, they may feel unable to discuss with you any changes they might require.

If you have been communicating regularly and ensured they know they can speak to you directly before their start date, they are more likely to speak to you about any changes in their personal circumstances changes.

People can lose confidence

You have probably heard of the term imposter syndrome, and it can cause some candidates to withdraw from jobs, particularly when they are moving into a more senior position.

By keeping a new employee engaged you can help someone feel prepared, valued and more confident about their new job.

People who are prone to losing confidence are often the ones who benefit the most from engagement. They can work even harder to prepare for their first day, utilising all the great things you have shared with them before their start date.

We now know some of the reasons it is important to keep employees engaged, but how are you going to make sure this happens?

How to keep new employees engaged

With a little time and thought, you can create a toolkit to manage new employee engagement. You can use this as part of your onboarding process long-term. This will help to make the new employee feel engaged and confident and join on the agreed start date.

So, what should you do?

Communicate regularly

We are not advocating calling or emailing new employees every day but reaching out for a conversation, and sending emails will get them excited.

You do not want the last communication they had with you before their first day to be when you agreed on the start date.

Create a schedule for all new starters

Creating communication plans for all new starters with when and what you will communicate will save you time in the long run. Asking for feedback from people who have joined recently on what you did well before they started and what would have been useful will help develop this plan further and ensure it improves continuously.

Consider what you can automate and what needs a human

You can take your communications schedule further by adding some automated communications and/or creation of tasks. Automation has the added benefit of covering annual leave, sickness and simply for being a human - sometimes we forget to complete a task or communication.

You can decide what needs to be automated and what needs a person involved.

Check in, have a conversation and reinforce your excitement

At least one call before a new employee joins you can mean a lot to someone. Checking in and reinforcing how much you are looking forward to them joining can help counteract any doubts a new employee may have.

After all, it is always nice to feel wanted and valued.

Invite them to engage

In your communications and conversations, encourage them to follow the business on social media, check out the website, and show them where you publish news and insights about the business. This means they can start engaging and get a better sense of who you are as an employer, including your values, your culture, and your purpose.

Send a welcome pack

It might sound a bit cheesy but sending a welcome pack with some corporate merchandise can help new employees identify with their new employer. Even having a branded pen, a water bottle, or a sweatshirt develops a connection and belonging to you as an employer.

Empower them to start upskilling now

This might be sharing roadmaps or projects they will be involved with. It might be sharing some training materials early.

Give them the opportunity to start upskilling and preparing themselves for their new role now. Many people want to start getting prepared in their own time so that they can start working and bringing value to their role as quickly as possible.

Keep them in the loop

People feel they belong when they are kept up to date with what is happening in the business. Whilst some things might be confidential, for the things that you can share, share these with new employees too.

This can be anything from the latest news, future social events, other new employees or any personnel changes they need to be aware of.

Be on hand to answer questions

One of the most important things you can do to keep a new employee engaged is to make sure they know you are there to answer questions. If they email you with a question, don’t leave them waiting for an answer for ages. If you don’t know the answer, respond that you need to clarify or seek more information so they know that you are trying.

Making new employees know that their questions are important to you, and simply just being there is going to do a lot to make them feel engaged and special and that they belong.

Final thoughts

Keeping a new employee engaged is an important part of the recruitment process, and is as easy to get wrong as it is to get right. This is your chance to make sure all the hard work through the process does not get wasted and you get more new employees started and onboarded as planned.

If you need further advice on creating engagement plans between a job offer and a start date, then please do reach out.

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How to keep your new employee engaged - from job offer to start date - Faststream Recruitment

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