“Era of Strategic HR” Fourth installment: Measures to prevent mismatches after new hires start working and how to deal with mismatches
In previous installments, I discussed how to clarify the purpose of recruitment, how to communicate with candidates, and how to prevent mismatches in the selection process, including applicant screening and interviews. These efforts are important in reducing mismatches. Unfortunately, it is difficult to reduce them to zero.
HR/recruitment personnel need to prepare in order to prevent problems after new hires start working and must keep employee turnover risks in mind to understand how to deal with problems when they occur. Companies that focus on improving employee retention consider why an employee resigned and whether there was anything they could have done to prevent it. Companies where many employees resign within a year of starting cannot improve their situations unless they find the cause through exit interviews and try to prevent recurrence.
Recruitment does not end when new hires start work. Please note that recruiters play an important coordinating role in helping new hires and the company grow and develop by providing support and appropriate training so that they can achieve their career goals in the departments and teams to which they are assigned.
Types of mismatches that may occur after new hires start work
There are several types of mismatches after new hires start work.
ⅰ. Nature of work and work responsibility
Normally, mismatches related to the type of work and work responsibilities are unlikely if a company and the new hires reach a shared understanding through interviews. However, mismatches sometimes inevitably occur when there is a significant change in the external environment, such as the sudden resignation of existing employees, and in the case of foreign capital companies, an organizational change at the request of their headquarters in other countries.
For foreign capital companies, it is relatively common for the recruitment managers or department managers who held interviews or determined whether to accept candidates to quit before mid-career hires start work. If a new system is adopted under the leadership of a new department manager, new hires may have to deal with different areas even if they assume the offered position or the goals or policies related to their jobs may have changed. In this case, new hires will not be able to achieve the career plan that they pictured in the new company and may feel that something is not right. In the case of new hires in managerial positions, if the company narrows the area of responsibility they were supposed to assume, it may lead to a step back on their career ladders.
In this case, it is helpful to meet with the new hire, the department director, and HR immediately. At that time, new hires are asked about their recruitment interviews, what job they were offered, and what results they were expected to achieve. Companies should consider whether they can get everything back on track, and when that is difficult, they must find common ground with the new hires. It is okay to reassign new hires to a more appropriate position but only if they agree. Companies can prevent new hires from resigning if they reduce their level of dissatisfaction through immediate discussions and suggest satisfactory tasks or jobs.
This actually happened in a foreign capital insurance company. At en world, our career consultants stay in touch with workers in their new companies to see how they are doing in the new workplace. One worker told us that he was unhappy because the nature of his work was different from what the company offered before he started. We asked him to describe the details and then contacted HR and told them that the person was likely to resign if they did nothing. As a result, the company discussed what to do and resolved the problem. In this case, the superior was not changed. However, he had prepared a new job for the worker that provided an opportunity to grow. Though the superior did so with good intentions, the worker did not want any changes in his assignment. Though problems are often a lack of communication, it is difficult for new hires to tell superiors everything that is on their minds. If the superior had understood the career plan of the new hire through the job interview and meetings, he might not have gone in the wrong direction.
HR needs to take the lead in organizing meetings and then intervene in discussions between new hires and their superiors to guide them to the appropriate solution. It is important to understand that new hires are likely to resign if the situation does not improve and deal with it carefully.
Previously, companies disliked it when career change support agencies contacted the HR division; they considered it an intervention in HR management that sometimes led to new hires being relegated. However, because of the recruiting difficulties caused by the shortage of human resources and the increase in the number of companies working to improve employee retention, more companies have recently come to value the information provided by career change support agencies to make them aware of issues.
ⅱ. Job performance and skills
Skill mismatch is a discrepancy between the skills a company expects from employees and the actual skills. A company should hold career interviews right after new hires start working to prevent this kind of mismatch. In those interviews, the company should reach agreement on the nature of the work and the career plan with new hires and determine the quantitative and qualitative goals and the deadline. It is important to communicate with new hires on a regular basis for three months after they start work to check on progress and what they are doing well and what they are not doing well. If a company and new hires set milestones and work to achieve them, they will not end up heading in different directions. Even if new hires are not doing well, if the company can determine why they are struggling, it can provide education and resources to solve any problems. Companies must detect and resolve any discrepancies between them and the new hires in how to work at an early stage while the problems are still minor.
If a company continually follows up with new hires and both work towards their goals, no significant mismatch should occur unless the company misjudges them in the job interview. Though it is difficult to judge someone’s abilities, new hires’ skills should not be evaluated based only on subjective judgments after they start work. Whether they achieve the predetermined goals or not should be based on objective criteria. To this end, it is crucial to set goals.
ⅲ. Workplace culture and corporate culture
In Japanese companies where employees separate their real feelings and their public positions, this kind of mismatch is likely to occur. Mismatches occur because the corporate cultures are not what new hires expect. For example, new hires are hesitant to go home earlier than others even though they were told that they would not have to work overtime or they feel they have no choice but to come to work because people in the same department come to work even though the company explicitly recommended that employees work from home.
Recently, companies have become more transparent due to the increase in the number of company review websites and the strengthening of recruitment PR activities. However, it is hard to say that companies convey everything workers need to know through online information. In order to prevent problems after new hires start work, companies should provide opportunities for candidates to learn about them by letting them interact with other employees so that they can hear real opinions before they decide to accept positions or not or by holding job offer interviews in an atmosphere where it is easy for them to ask questions.
ⅳ. Compatibility with superiors
There are different types of superiors from management to leaders and there are various methods of management. Often, new hires do not know how their superiors manage until they actually work with them. If a new hire has a problem with a superior, the only way to solve it is through discussions. HR should be present for the discussions to provide an objective perspective because it may be difficult resolve the problem or the relationship may worsen if they talk one-on-one. HR should follow up regularly to see if the superiors are doing what was decided in the discussion.
Develop an environment where new hires can be heard
There are many reasons why mismatches occur. However, the common reason is that it is difficult for new hires to speak up about a problem. Though it is unique to Japanese people, many people hesitate to say something or hope that someone will understand them even if they do not say anything. Thus, companies in Japan are more likely to need to ask employees for their opinions than those in other countries. If colleagues fail to notice that new hires have a problem, they will remain unhappy for a long time and suddenly announce their intent to resign when they reach a breaking point. Regrettably, problems might have been resolved if colleagues had known about the problems, or sometimes a simple misunderstanding might lead to resignations.
New hires find it very hard to express their feelings to superiors, who are also evaluators. Thus, it is important for HR to hold regular interviews and adopt the tools to systematically obtain feedback from the new hires until they are familiar with the company after being assigned to a department and not leave everything to their superiors. In addition, HR should support new hires until they perform well by remaining in regular contact with them and reaching out to their superiors.
Damage to companies caused by early resignation
If a new hire resigns early, the projects that should have begun may not progress, which may cause a delay in the business plan. In addition, the money spent on recruitment and the time spent on selection are wasted. If it takes the same amount of time to recruit another worker, it means it takes twice as long to recruit that worker.
It cannot be helped if it is hard to improve the situation and you cannot prevent new hires from resigning even if you do all you can. However, I would like companies to realize that they could not provide someone who made a significant change in their life with a chance to shine and that they should handle the situation with sincerity. If a company lacks sincerity, there is a risk that those who are resigning may speak ill of the company and their superiors and make the atmosphere in the company negative and spread negative rumors outside the company after they resign. HR’s job is to minimize damage to the company. When employees resign due to the company’s situation, a few foreign capital companies support the career change.
Mismatches after new hires start work put a strain on HR. Thus, you should develop recruitment strategies and selection steps before new hires start work. You should aim to provide an environment where new hires can focus on performance in a new setting and dedicate themselves to their work.
I would be grateful if the recruitment know-how I have provided in this series helps to improve the accuracy of recruitment.
Author: Takeshi Kitsunezaki, Vice president
After working in overseas sales and other positions, started his recruiting career in a British recruiting firm in 2006. He managed a team specialized in recruitment and career changes for internal IT positions in the financial, pharmaceutical and healthcare, retail/manufacturing/logistics industry, and Internet industry. He joined en world Japan as director of the sales division and specialized in IT companies/human resources in 2018. Assumed the position of executive director of all sales divisions that support foreign capital companies and global Japanese companies in recruiting regular employees in 2019
Posted on IT Media Business Online on May 19, 2021 Click here for the article in Japanese
About en world Japan (https://www.enworld.com/)
en world Japan is a recruiting firm established in 1999 specializing in global human resources with offices in four countries in the Asia-Pacific region. We specialize in supporting Foreign Capital Companies and global Japanese companies in recruiting human resources for middle to high level positions. We help companies with recruitment and job seekers with career changes from every angle by staffing full-time workers, contract professionals, and executive human resources and providing recruitment process outsourcing solutions.