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Why Learning at the Front-End of the Employee Life Cycle is Key to Recruitment

At the Spring CLO Conference this week, a good deal of the focus was on learning at the beginning of the employee life cycle to improve quality of hire, increase employee retention, and reduce costs. Xerox presented on the theme of ‘Breaking Out of the Box: Engaging Your Pipeline Candidates Through Learning’, while Raytheon Professional Services (RPS) and K4 Consulting jointly presented on the theme of ‘Why CLOs Should Care About Their Pre-Employment Upskilling Process’.

Xerox focused on the importance of ensuring the right job fit for candidates. Aside from reducing recruiting time and improving retention, ensuring the right job fit is important from a cost perspective. Data revealed that the cost of a bad hire can be ~30% of an employee’s first year salary, and to replace an employee can cost ~150% of salary.

Ideally, companies should be using assessments to determine both job fit and cultural fit. However, only 30% of organizations use cultural fit questions when assessing candidates, which is surprising, as poor cultural fit is one of the top reasons why employees leave. It is important for candidates to know about the values of their prospective employer, their views on work-life balance, and so on.

An increasing number of companies have contracted to evaluate candidates prior to onboarding using Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and ~75% of organizations using MOOCS say they have had a positive impact on hiring and recruiting. However, the downside of MOOCs is that completion rates are very low. Also popular are Small Private Online Courses (SPOCs), but whether companies use MOOCs, SPOCs, or other forms of candidate evaluation, the fact remains that companies can’t afford to make wrong hiring decisions. Allowing candidates to self-opt out of the application process during assessment is an effective way of enabling hiring managers to focus their time on more suitable candidates and improve quality of hire.

RPS and K4 presented data to further support the case that organizations need to hire the right talent the first time. The global workforce is aging, and more people are retiring: the median age of the workforce increased from 39.4 years in 2000 to 42.3 years in 2012. However, at the same time, tenure has decreased from 4.6 years in 2000 to 3.5 years in 2012, with millennial tenure at only 2.3 years.

While there were ~5.6 million unfilled American jobs at year-end 2015, 41% of organizations report that the labor pool does not meet their hiring needs. So, in addition to needing to hire the right talent, it is imperative to ensure an effective onboarding process to retain talent at the start. However, 30% of organizations rate their onboarding process as ineffective, and 54% rate onboarding as only somewhat effective. But for those organizations who rate onboarding as effective, 84% say best practices include instructor-led training, shadowing, and short-form content. In summary, effective learning starts at the very beginning of the employee life cycle with pre-employment, then progresses to onboarding, knowledge capture, and knowledge transfer.

Given the skill set shortages faced by many companies, there will need to be tighter linkage between recruiting and learning to ensure that any new hire skill gaps are addressed by immediate learning plans. I will look more closely at the connection between recruiting and learning in an upcoming blog.

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