The Long Goodbye
The longer the notice period, the more the risks for the hiring company!
In recruiting, I’m sure we can all agree: time kills deals! Companies are increasingly reticent to part with their staff and three month or longer notice periods are becoming more and more common. Long notice periods are usually buffer time for the organisations to find a replacement. If they are losing a star performer who was at the helm of major assignments or was one of their best assets, replacing him with someone as good as him will definitely be a tedious task and hence, most organisations have long notice periods.
On the other hand, this creates a problem for hiring organisations who do not want to wait for this period of time, for a new member of staff to start. Long notice periods have usually played a major hindrance in the hiring process and have led to many fall-outs.
The causes of the fall-outs are many – delayed counter-offers from the current employer, other jobs they were applying for suddenly come up with an outstanding offer they can’t refuse or family and friends convince them that they’ve made a mistake and they decide they can’t start, etc.
Another factor that compounds the “buyer’s remorse” syndrome for candidates who are working the notice period is – no communication from the new employer’s end. The entire duration can be nerve-racking for someone, especially if that person has been associated with his current company for a long time. The feeling of leaving their comfort zone, colleagues, friends, etc., can sometimes get very difficult to deal with.
I have also come across situations wherein candidates during the notice period started contemplating their decision to leave because every day, the colleagues would remind them of how they will miss working together and make them nostalgic.
How much do these difficulties cost both hiring companies in terms of time, effort and money? What can be done to reduce the frequency and the consequent losses of time and money? The good news is that the hiring organisations can hedge their risks during this period fraught with fear, uncertainty and doubt; and keep the excitement going so that the candidate is not distracted during this period and is kept engaged.
Buyout notice: This is the easiest way out, but comes with a price tag. This option works best when a company wants a candidate to join the organisation immediately. In the process of a buyout, the new company pays the employee the amount that is needed for him to quit his present company and join the new one instantly. However long notice periods also make it difficult for companies to ‘buy out’ an employee due to the cost involved. In a one month or 45 days’ notice period, this becomes an easy way out, however with the new trend of three or sometimes six month notice periods, this option sometimes is not the wisest choice.
Keep them engaged: Send them information they can go over to assist them and familiarise themselves with your company and its values and/or the specialty area they will be involved with in their new role. Give them an assignment to work on, which will keep them engaged while serving their notice period. Invite them over to their new office to discuss the assignment.
Meet them regularly: Introduce the candidate to the team they will work with, show them around the office and introduce them to the office culture. One may want to invite them for an employee engagement programme. They could also be invited for and in-house event or a seminar or expo the company is hosting, participating in or sponsoring. This gives the candidate a feeling of belonging to the organisation and already being part of it. This will also help them familiarise themselves with the company and its values.
Begin the on-boarding process: This is one easy and sensible way to keep your soon to be employee engaged. This process can be started as soon as the candidate accepts your offer. Ask the candidates to fill up some new joinee’s forms, or regularly share corporate videos with them that will familiarise them with company core values and culture. You may also share some training modules with them while they are serving their notice periods. These easy techniques will help keep up the excitement levels as well as keep the candidate engaged. At the same time, joining formalities are getting done like filling some starter forms, etc. By the time the candidate officially joins the company, he is familiar because of the engagement process initiated while he served his notice period.
Candidate experience spans beyond the interview process and spills over to the engagements the hiring company thought about during the notice period as well. This investment of a little time of keeping the candidate thus engaged during the notice period will ensure that the candidate doesn’t get distracted or loses interest in the offer. It will give him a feeling of belonging to the hiring organisation and make him more committed to the offer he accepted.