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Article First Published in the Sunday Business Post December 2015– Employment Matters

Hays Ireland recently launched its ‘State of Resourcing Report’ which surveyed 150 prominent Irish companies and employers across a number of industry sectors including financial services, technology, construction and life sciences on their resourcing needs for the year ahead, and in particular, the resourcing capabilities required by Irish employers to secure the best talent in an increasingly candidate-driven recruitment market.

One of the key themes to emerge from the report was the increased importance employers now place on on-boarding as a critical means of retaining staff.

The report benchmarked the ability of leading Irish companies to attract, recruit and retain talented employees, and the integral role on-boarding plays in this process.

What is on-boarding?On-boarding and training are often grouped into the same category however, whilst complementary, they are actually quite different functions within human resource management.

Whilst ‘induction’ typically prepares someone for their first day of work and professional ‘training’ is usually focused on one specific aspect of the job, on-boarding is a broader, more holistic and fixed-term process designed to help deliver a smooth introduction to the organisation for new recruits.

On-boarding begins from the moment an organisation makes a job offer to a particular candidate. It then includes key steps such as managing the resignation process with the candidate’s previous employer, the various compliance and credit checks, the issuing and signing of the new contract, and agreeing a start date for that person.

Once this person commences in their new role, the next phase of on-boarding is the process of acclimatising this person into the business and ensuring they have the necessary information, tools and support to become successful and productive in their new role.

Given that approximately 95% of respondents to the Hays ‘State of Resourcing Report’ cited on-boarding as being important or very important to their organisation, employers clearly recognise its benefits. Despite this, only 72% felt they were good or very good in this area.

Why is it important?Effective on-boarding feeds straight into increased retention rates. Conversely, onerous or awkward on-boarding processes often result in the loss of candidates. The more welcome, prepared, informed and supported the candidate feels, the more engaged and productive they will become.

How it works?On-boarding begins as soon as an organisation decides to make a job offer to a successful candidate. From this point, the most comprehensive on-boarding will typically last until the completion of that person’s probationary period in their new role. This can be take anywhere between three and twelve months.

Functional areas involved typically include HR, payroll, finance, governance, training, IT, facilities management, security, procurement, health and safety, operations, and line management.

Having said this, the depth and scope of the on-boarding will often depend on the individual involved. In other words, senior appointments who come with a detailed knowledge of their particular industry will likely require a less detailed on-boarding to someone who may be a recent graduate, or moving from a different industry or country.

For example in the case of new recruits from overseas, many organisations will provide detailed information on the practicalities of working in Ireland, including helpful information such as how to apply for a PPS, set up a bank account and find somewhere to live.

Equally some organisations have adopted the policy of routinely conducting ‘light inductions’, thus supplementing any potential gaps for new employees who commence their employment before or after regular monthly inductions.

The concept of on-boarding extending until the expiration of the probation period is becoming more commonplace. This concept keeps HR departments and line managers alert to the need of conducting regular reviews up to and until that time.

Tips on maximising potential?On-boarding processes should be engaging, carefully considered and should reflect the culture of the company.

Ensure adequate provision is made for new recruits and that they are appropriately engaged during the first weeks of employment. Feeling lost, unsure or ‘in the way’ is a dispiriting experience for new employees.

Adequate investment in administration must be made to enable HR teams to focus on activities that add value. If HR teams are not afforded adequate resources to oversee the on-boarding, there is a danger that the process will be neglected, and by extension, the new employee will feel equally neglected and ignored.

Although effective on-boarding can be a complex process spanning many departments, it is important that ownership of the process is assigned to a senior individual in the organisation. This person must have the necessary authority to ensure that the different work streams free up the required resources and personnel to make for a comprehensive and positive on-boarding experience.


James Milligan
James Milligan
Senior Business Director, Information Technology and Hays Talent Solutions Ireland
James has worked in recruitment for over 15 years and currently runs two divisions: Hays IT across the UK and Hays Talent Solutions in Ireland.

A qualified Prince2 practitioner in May 2014 James put his project management expertise to the test and launched a report: Women – An answer to Ireland’s skills shortage.

At the launch of the report Hays IT announced that they would help drive the creation of a mentoring network in Ireland with other interested parties. As a result MinT was born, a networking platform for IT professionals.

MinT is governed by a steering committee that includes representation from WITS, Coderdojo for Girls, Symantec & the federation of VMWare, EMC and VCE.


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