Throughout the recruiting, hiring and onboarding process, there’s a lot that can go wrong – especially with campus candidates, whose attention is divided between school, extra-curricular activities, part-time jobs, friends and, of course, the Internet.
According to Nancy Moulday, Manager Recruitment at TD Business Banking, it takes a well-planned, integrated strategy with constant touch points every step of the way, executed by a number of internal and external partners, to successfully retain new entry-level employees.
And she would know. Over the last four years, Nancy has recruited, hired and onboarded 600 new TD Business Banking associates, and boasts a retention rate that would make any campus recruiter green with envy: 98.6%
“Often you hire a graduating student in October and they’re not going to start until May of the following year,” she reflects. “My onboarding strategy is to make sure there’s a connection throughout the rest of the year while they’re still at school.”
But, Nancy adds, it’s not just TD Business Banking’s onboarding strategy that contributes to her astounding retention rate: there is a strong correlation between recruitment and retention, and it all starts with building and maintaining a year-round presence both on-campus and online.
Nancy personally recruits undergraduate and MBA students at 35 different universities from coast to coast. She participates in everything from the typical career fairs and information sessions to student group events and her trademark “Nancy’s in the House” one-on-ones with students.
“You can’t replace being on certain campuses in person and then utilizing online tools like TalentEgg.ca to target the rest of the schools across Canada so I don’t have to visit every campus,” she says.
This combination of face-to-face interaction with a senior campus recruitment professional and online engagement with TD Business Banking immediately sets the tone for what campus candidates can expect if they are eventually hired into the associate program by Nancy, and the candidates’ onboarding activities also mirror the recruiting experience perfectly.
Nancy and an HR Manager continually remain in contact with every new campus hire from the time they accept their offer of employment right through to their first day of work – which may be six or more months later – and then throughout the orientation and training period as well, during which time the bank invests significant resources in these new hires.
To start, the bank brings all its new associates from across Canada – the most recent intake had 51 of them – to Toronto for a four-day orientation event that introduces them to the business bank, its leadership team and the various career paths available to them.
Orientation activities throughout the week include:
- A kick-off breakfast with the bank’s president and senior executives on the 54th floor of the TD Tower
- Business banking training at a downtown TD branch
- A day-in-the-life panel featuring past new associates who have since gone on to pursue a variety of different roles within the bank
- Art of networking and personal branding workshops that teach new associates how to approach conversations
- A team dinner to encourage new associates to develop strong working relationships with one another
- A final-day fireside chat with bank executives where new associates can ask them questions about their careers, the strategy of the bank and where it’s headed, etc.
Two months later, the group of new associates is brought together again for a five-day risk course. Then, at the four-month mark, the new associates have the opportunity to participate in a three-day course called Business Connections.
“We bring business leaders in from other areas of TD so the associates can get to know what they can do in those other areas from a career perspective,” Nancy explains.
During these first few months, the new associates are also introduced to a mentor who has recently gone through the program. Most importantly, perhaps, they’re assigned a portfolio of work right away and provided adequate support with that portfolio to ensure they’re successful.
Plus, these new associates have access to a wealth of professional development tools and an internal social network on TD Business Banking’s own online employee portal.
And throughout it all, they can maintain contact with each other through a special internal social media group for their intake. “They can share information and email when they’re back in their respective businesses across Canada – they still have that connection,” she says.
According to Nancy, most associates have the opportunity to be promoted into a more senior role within their first year or two – an important fact that she readily shares with students during the recruitment process.
This symmetry, our research at TalentEgg has shown, positively impacts retention rates, especially among the students we have identified as “Engaged Leaders.” These are candidates from top schools and programs who hold leadership positions on-campus, are highly engaged with employers and in their own career planning, and are most in-demand by organizations like TD Business Banking.
In a survey of these students in the fall, we found that they ultimately made their decision about where to work based on a connection they form to potential employers through relationships with people like Nancy on-campus and with an employer’s promises to deliver professional development opportunities, such as training, mentorship, access to leaders and the potential for advancement.
Ultimately, the failure to deliver on such promises or maintain those relationships during the orientation and onboarding process can be detrimental to retention.