Webonboarding Tales Presents: An Agonising Experience

While helping organisations to improve their handling of new hires, the webonboarding team receives some great insights into the everyday problems faced by hiring teams. In this series, we take a look at some of these real-world stories and how they help to highlight better ways to tackle employee onboarding:

The Situation: An Agonising Experience

This involves the experiences of a young single mum from Ireland with a three-year-old daughter. She was working in the banking sector and, having built up experience, had moved into a leadership position. With an impressive track record, she found herself being headhunted by a recruitment agency who were looking to fill an Irish based role for a large multinational company – headquartered in the UK. It seemed ideal. The chance to enter a large and established company with loads of potential and opportunities to develop her career. So she accepted the request.

The recruitment rollercoaster

She found herself entering a lengthy and pretty high-pressure recruitment process. This included a phone interview and initial face-to-face meeting, as well as an interview and presentation at the UK headquarters. Trying to fit all of this in around her existing job, while meeting all of the usual responsibilities of a parent, made for a particularly stressful experience. But it was worth it. She was offered the position. It was a welcome relief after all the strains of the recruitment experience. Unfortunately, it was a relief that wasn’t to last.

Early warning signs

The first problem during the onboarding process was with paperwork. She received multiple versions of her contract, with differing details. It took multiple calls and emails to eventually identify which one was the correct one. It was only then that she could start negotiating over some of the terms – salary, holiday entitlements, company benefits etc. It was a slow and frustrating process but eventually everything was agreed and a start date was set. She was to begin with a two-week induction at the company’s UK office. As a single mum, it meant making arrangements with family to look after her daughter while she was away.

Worst possible welcome

When she arrived, she was told that there had been a few administrative ‘issues’ which needed to be cleared up. Put simply – they couldn’t currently employ her. As an Irish resident, the UK company couldn’t directly employ her until an Irish entity had been set-up. She was given assurances that this wouldn’t be a problem but it didn’t help allay her fears.

While she remained in employment limbo, the company looked to resolve the problem by using the Irish property of a consultant to set-up a sole trader which could employ the woman, as a contractor of the UK company.

Things get really messy

But things began to get increasingly complex. The new entity raised multiple issues for payroll, compliance and admin processes. It also meant that any of the benefits she had negotiated with the UK company were no longer applicable. Despite all the confusion, she carried on with the process – all the time being assured that everything would be sorted out. But nine months later, it became evident that this simply wasn’t going to work out. The administrative issues created more problems than they solved and, reluctantly, a decision was made to terminate her employment. In some ways, it was actually a relief – an end to months of stress and uncertainty.

Takeaway: Treat new hires properly

Thankfully, this woman bounced back after this bruising ordeal; she secured herself a management position with a great finance company. But her experience isn’t something that any employee should have to endure. Along with the personal cost and loss of talent, there’s also the reputational damage that can be caused to a business when car-crash situations like this occur. This is a particular risk with the power of social media to spread personal stories. It shows the importance of having efficient, scalable and user-friendly systems in place to handle new hires. The experience of starting a new job is already stressful enough without the added pain caused by process errors and inefficiencies.

Have a story to tell – let us know by contacting us here.

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