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How to engage new hires quickly: Nielsen’s story

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On-boarding needs to go beyond simple orientation if aims to retain new hires.

That was one of the key points made by Elma Diala-Pangilinan, ‎HR business partner and head for learning and organisational development at Nielsen Company.

In her keynote presentation on the second day of Training and Development Asia 2015, she shared a case study on how the company evolved their on-boarding programme to make the process more consistent and effective.

Diala-Pangilinan recounted the company were getting reports that new hires were feeling lost, managers were citing them as being “unproductive” and attrition rates were high.

“There was an opportunity for us to change the experience by changing how we do things,” she admitted.

In January 2014, the company launched an initiative entitled On-boarding New Employee (O.N.E) programme.

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“The aim of the programme was to deliver a consistent first impression to our new hires that further reinforces their decision to join Nielsen across the globe,” Diala-Pangilinan revealed.

She explained that her team focused on making the on-boarding process simpler by reducing complications. Templates and processes from talent acquisition to back-end HR operations were enhanced and made simpler.

Collaboration with hiring managers also increased, in an attempt to clearly define new hires’ tools of work, and structure on-the-job and formal training programmes.

“We came up with a guide to what the new hire should be exposed to on the first month. We had to tweak it for entry-level and manager-level hires after discussing with business leaders,” she explained.

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Diala-Pangilinan added the company also motivated its new associates by allowing them to lead out-of-work engagements.

In April 2015, new employees led a company-wide activity held in Universal Studios Singapore, which comprised of 300 staff in total.

“We are empowering our new associates in employee engagement initiatives. They lead the programme themselves,” she observed.

With such initiatives, new staff feel like they can make a difference to the company, and that helps in engaging them significantly, she added.

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