This weekend I had a lesson in what happens when expectations disconnect with reality. All the time, we create ourselves little visions in our mind about how things are going to be, what is going to happen. We have a story, a plan, a dream, all worked out.
Disappointment occurs in the gap between what we expected, planned for, hoped for, and the reality that is.
I had booked a night away, in small cosy, quiet pub. On the website, it looked friendly, warm, relaxing. The pictures hinted at just a little luxury. Only it wasn’t what I had expected. The reality did not match up with the story in my mind, did not match up with the marketing. It simply didn’t meet expectations. And disappointment was the result.
Because the website had neglected to mention it was also a live music venue. And that they would have a band on until very late. And that when the band cranked up, you pretty much had to join in, because it was so loud the furniture in the room vibrated. I asked the manager why they didn’t warn the guests in advance, in case it wasn’t their sort of thing. He told me that it was standard policy to tell you when you checked in.
Naturally, the work analogy occurs.
Because reality and expectation often differ here, too.
It is easy to be influenced by the fancy brand. The shiny website, the recruitment agency pitch, the attractive advert. Often, recruitment practices misdirect the eye. The reality you find on arrival isn’t the same as the one seen in the shop window.
I thought that the hotel manager’s suggestion to me was strange. That you would tell someone when they arrived, when it was too late to change their mind, go somewhere else, important information that would influence their decision whether to stay or not. But I have seen this happen in organisations and I am sure you have too. We present a rosy picture during the recruitment process, but the induction tells the real story of the day to day.
And then what happens? The new employee doesn’t engage, doesn’t believe, and ultimately, doesn’t stay. Just like we didn’t at the hotel.
The answer is obvious. Tell it like it really is. Make it real. Make it honest. In your story, tell of the challenges and the problems as well as the great stuff and the shiny stuff. It is simple, really.
Some people will choose to opt out. Some people will decide it’s not their sort of thing, and go some place else. But the ones that opt in, with the fullness of information, are more likely to be happy with the choice that they have made.
Let’s do good recruitment stuff.
I couldn’t agree more, more organisations need to consider the whole onboarding process from offer to three month stage.
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Hear, hear! The talent market is indeed a market – and breaking a brand promise (in this case, a talent brand) is a quick and assured way to irritate your market. I do a lot of analytics and strategy work in global organisations, and often we see higher early turnover and new-hire disengagement when the talent brand doesn’t match the reality of the job.