At Best Buy, Nobody Puts Onboarding in a Corner

Is onboarding the responsibility of talent acquisition or talent management? The answer is yes. 

Of course, there’s more to the answer than that. At ERE Digital, May 25-27, Kimberly Grey, global talent and inclusion leader at Best Buy, will be delivering a presentation titled “Nobody Puts Onboarding in a Corner: Taking Charge of a Neglected Part of Recruiting to Become a Valued Talent Advisor.” She will dive into how to:

  • Drive a seamless transition from candidate to employee in ways that increase visibility and value of your TA function
  • Leverage onboarding to elevate your company’s employer value proposition
  • Maintain ongoing relationships with employees to obtain insights for continuous improvement of your hiring process

Kim and I recently spoke about why TA professionals shouldn’t let onboarding sit in no man’s land.

Vadim: Onboarding feels overlooked by TA professionals at many companies. Why?

Kim: Because there typically isn’t a business-process owner in the organization who owns it end-to-end. But mature companies really understand that onboarding is a strategic process that can add real value to help employees understand the org, create and build relationships, and be productive in their roles

Fair enough, but some might argue that this isn’t the purview of talent acquisition. Rather, this falls under talent management. 

The history is for TA to source, attract, and hire people. Once hired, those people become employees, and it’s all TM after that. So it’s no surprise that some think that the role of a recruiter and TA ends upon hiring, but that’s not true. 

Both TA and TM teams should be working together to create a candidate-evolving-into-an-employee experience. Otherwise, your company risks creating an overall experience that lacks consistency — kind of like how a used-car salesperson might sell a car that doesn’t live up to expectations. 

What have you done at Best Buy to take greater charge of onboarding? 

Again, it goes back to consistency. We want everyone to have a consistent, seamless experience from candidate to employee. Onboarding is the link between the two. So a recruiter’s role must go beyond Day 1 to create value for employees — and for hiring managers. That’s why at Best Buy, we’ve asked recruiters to do milestone check-ins with new hires whom they’ve brought on board. At 30 days recruiters ask people how their experience has been so far working for the company. At 60 days we ask if they are feeling good about their decision to work at Best Buy. And at 90 days we ask about their network for potential referrals, as well as encourage them to help get the word out that Best Buy is an employer of choice. 

This is all fairly new work to Best Buy, and overall, the reaction has been positive, especially when it comes to employee referrals. It’s not that TA hasn’t looked for referrals in the past, but this approach really starts to bring individual recruiters more into the equation. 

Article Continues Below

A moment ago, you mentioned how this also creates a better hiring-manager experience. How so?

Just like with candidates, the recruiter relationship with hiring managers ends once new hires start on Day 1, so by being more involved with the onboarding process, recruiters can show greater value to hiring managers by supplying them with insights they might otherwise not know. Because recruiters already have an established relationship with new hires, those new hires are often more likely to give their recruiters candid feedback that they otherwise would not reveal to their managers. It’s valuable for managers to get early signals, for example, if things aren’t working out as well as they can with new hires. Traditionally, HR business partners may have been the ones to get this information, but again, it’s often recruiters with whom new employees may have the most rapport already and feel most comfortable. 

But I imagine it might get tricky for a recruiter to bring a new hire’s negative feedback to a hiring manager?

It can be awkward. You’ve got to balance issues of confidentiality, and perhaps as a recruiter, there are times when it will be more appropriate to bring that feedback to someone in HR. Ultimately, though, we need to look at this as a means to create opportunities to create positive interventions — and again, this is not typically the role of a recruiter. But it can be, and when done right, also again, it’s a chance for that recruiter to differentiate oneself, show value beyond hiring, and really embody what it means to be a talent advisor.

Also, you don’t necessarily need a formal process to do this. It really is more about being a TA professional who transcends processes to build relationships and provide valuable insights to others. That’s empowering for everyone.


Want more insights from Kim about to elevate your role and that of your department? Join her at ERE Digital, May 25-27, for “Nobody Puts Onboarding in a Corner: Taking Charge of a Neglected Part of Recruiting to Become a Valued Talent Advisor.” Register here to receive 10% off your ticket price.

Vadim Liberman is editor of ERE.net and TLNT (the devil wears TJ Maxx) — a workplace renegade advancing how we think, work, and live. He has previously worked as a strategy consultant to HR and recruiting tech companies at The Starr Conspiracy, as a talent management professional at Prudential, and as senior editor of The Conference Board Review, a magazine for business leaders. Vadim loves to talk about all things HR, talent acquisition, and Bravo TV shows. Bring it!

Topics