In today’s economy, it is common for employers to receive applications from qualified individuals who have been unemployed for a long duration of time.
There are numerous reasons for employment gaps: mass layoffs, a hostile job market upon completing military service, personal reasons, and more. Whatever the reason, hiring managers should keep in mind that many long-term unemployed applicants possess exceptional knowledge, skills, and abilities, as well as valuable experience.
Ultimately, employers can benefit by hiring an applicant with a recent history of long-term unemployment.
With that being said, there are certain steps that can be taken during the on-boarding process to help these employees transition smoothly into the workplace. Employers want to minimize the chance of turnover while also decreasing the amount of time it takes for a new employee to assimilate into a new job. There are a variety of procedures that can easily be implemented starting on day one.
Set Up an Initial Consultation
First, employers can implement a thorough HR consultation that takes place during onboarding. During this consultation, a human resources staff member can work with the employee to familiarize the employee with the foundation of their new job such as benefits, policies, and procedures. This step is important, as many long-term unemployed individuals may have become unfamiliar with how health insurance benefits now function. Taking on the task of enrolling in health benefits — among other paperwork-heavy processes like completing tax forms and signing up for retirement programs — may be overwhelming for someone who has not encountered such things for a lengthy period of time. Staff can help reduce undue stress by offering assistance with this overwhelming amount of paperwork required for new hires.
Aside from making it clear that policy- and paperwork-related assistance is available, the consultation should also reassure the candidate that other forms of assistance are available as well. Starting a new job can be anxiety-inducing for anyone; being out of an office setting for months or years can greatly heighten a new employee’s feelings of anxiety. Let your new hire know that there is a support system in place and that he or she is welcome to contact HR (or another designated person, such as a designated mentor) with questions.
Encourage Interaction With Colleagues
Next, managers should make a concerted effort to expose the new employee to fellow colleagues within her department as well as throughout the entire organization. This can take place through focus groups, networking events, cross-training, project teams, and the like. Increasing the new employee’s contact base can provide him or her with a sense of belonging and a purpose. It will also boost her performance and learning curve, as a foundation of teamwork and collaboration will be built from the start. An important thing to note here is that you do not want to alienate or embarrass your new employee. Do not announce to the organization that you’re having team get-togethers because the new hire was unemployed for a few years, and don’t assume that your new hire is socially or professionally stunted. You’re not dong these things to hold her hand; you’re doing them to offer assistance in case she needs it.
Provide Necessary Training
By the time you hire an employee you should be aware of his skill levels and aptitudes. But even if a person is proficient in a given software program, he does not necessarily know how it’s implemented or best used at your company. Consider offering software training courses to enrich your new employee’s technical skills and to help refresh the skills that may not have been utilized recently. As with before, the most important point here is not to hand-hold or babysit; rather, it’s to open up a line of communication so your new hire knows that help is available when it’s needed.
Regardless of how employers choose to assist employees transition into their company after experiencing long-term unemployment, the ultimate goal is to reduce the time it takes for the employee to acclimate into the environment while also preparing him for a long, successful tenure with your organization.
Trackback from your site.