Officials at Godrej Properties Ltd (GPL) are busy arranging hampers for their new joinees from B-Schools. All of them will be sent offer letters with personalised hampers, which includes books and music in sync with their respective taste and interests. This will be followed by lunch or dinner with senior management and human resources (HR ) personnel to understand the company’s strategy and plans in a better manner and in an informal set-up.
These are activities conducted under the ambit of pre-employment engagement. This concept, an extension of the employee engagement principle, includes building relationships with employees who are about to join the organisation and also attract prospective candidates to the company. HR consultants say companies have relied on these activities to create an opinion about the company brand and make the people feel comfortable at the new organisation.
Explaining the need for this, a Mumbai-based HR consultant, said: “The period between the candidate getting an offer letter and joining a company is most crucial. There is a threat of him/her joining some other company with a better salary, or declining the offer. Here is where the pre-employment engagement activities play an important role. Companies engage in such activities to be on the safer side, instead of losing out on good candidates to competition.”
For lateral hires at GPL, apart from a detailed communication on all aspects of the offer, a joining kit is sent to the candidate's residence so that formalities can be completed at their convenience. Further, a bouquet is also sent to the candidate’s residence to let him/her know that GPL is eager to welcome the person on board.
“These initiatives allow for relationship building prior to actually coming on board,” said Sumit Mitra, executive vice-president (human resources), Godrej Industries. “It is extremely important to build a relationship and express interest before the candidate officially accepts the offer. This also allows a great platform for them to feel like a part of the company,” he added. Mitra said they had received good feedback on how impactful this engagement had been. “It goes a long way towards exciting people and getting them geared up for the job, helping with the integration post joining.”
At HCL Technologies Ltd, an interactive new joiner portal enables the prospective employees to know about the organisation in advance. Informal get-together sessions with the business and the HR leadership are also conducted and periodic follow-up calls to closely monitor the progress at the candidates’ end and be prepared to avoid any last minute surprises (if any).
Naveen Narayanan, global head-talent acquisition at HCL Technologies, said: “Pre-employment engagement plays a significant part in bringing down the renege scores and enable the new joiners to get a 360 view of the company. Prospective employees feel valued and this gives the candidates the impetus and drive to excel post joining.”
Since B-Schools are one of the important reservoir for talent pool, HCL Technologies has a programme Campus Conjoin to to include acquainting the prospective hire with the HCL culture much before they are on board. Students are invited to participate and contribute in various conferences and events at HCL. With a select few colleges, they work to introduce courses relevant to their business needs, Narayanan said.
Having telephonic conversations with the candidates is also a method used to keep in touch with them, said Anubhav Goel, business head at PeopleStrong HR Services. He added companies had regular interactions of minimum 10-minute durations with the new joinees to understand their concerns and provide all kinds of assistance.
Sunil Goel, director of human resource firm GlobalHunt, explained it was important as most candidates did not have proper information about companies they were going to join. “The information that prospective employees have about the companies are very restrictive in nature. If any good opportunity with a higher salary is offered, they are quick to switch to the higher paying company. Pre-employment engagement is a good HR initiative since it allows the companies to share their company's vision and growth plans to the candidate,” he said.
Goel added in sectors like information technology and investment banking, where the offer dropout ratio is high, this initiative could be used as a good tool to get people in. “It will also be a good tool to get in more referral candidates into the organisation,” he said.