Phil Steggals, managing director for Kadence International, and Ashley Nin, associate director of Kadence International, shed light on how the firm's communication culture helped increase its offer acceptance rate.Kadence's “communication culture” has been the bedrock of its success – so, in 2014, the consultancy felt it was important to explicitly articulate this winning principle to ensure its sustainability for the years to come.
Building on its mission statement and HR policy, Kadence decided to invest time and thought to ensure every new colleague was smoothly assimilated into the Kadence team, regardless of background, and that they knew Kadence's expectations from them.
"Kadence has bold strategic goals to raise the profile of our company and to reposition what market research stands for in the eyes of the wider marketing community. An integral part of this process is how we communicate with our candidates," explained Phil Steggals, managing director for Kadence International, to Human Resources' Jerene Ang.
"Our candidate experience strategy is built on three core objectives: simple, timely and personal. We read all CVs and cover letters within 24 hours of receiving them to ensure that we can respond to candidates in a timely manner."
-Ashley Nin, associate director of Kadence International."We want to share our vision from the outset and ensure that people buy into, and are enthused by, our ideas. It is our firm belief that we are being interviewed as much as we are doing the interviewing – and this ensures that we clearly communicate the direction that we want our business to move in."
Strategy: Communicate from the start
Kadence's onboarding experience doesn't start once a job offer has been made, it actually begins even before the interview.
"Our candidate experience strategy is built on three core objectives: simple, timely and personal. We read all CVs and cover letters within 24 hours of receiving them to ensure that we can respond to candidates in a timely manner," explained Ashley Nin, associate director of Kadence International.
She added that once the right candidate is identified, Kadence will send them a few simple questions to understand their interest in the industry, company and the role to accurately gauge their engagement level. Again, all responses are made within 24 hours and candidates are then invited for an interview.
"During this interview, we invite them to deliver a short presentation, which demonstrates their creativity, proficiency in market research and a bit about their personal interest," she said. "This provides the ideal means for us to get to know the candidate and for the candidate to get to know the Kadence philosophy and way of working."
Wanting all new employees to hit the ground running, Kadence's onboarding involves extensive preparation in terms of logistical requirements and human requirements.
Once the employee has signed the contract, they are included on the necessary email correspondence from the very first day. Additionally, a week before starting work, they are invited for social drinks to allow any questions, and to stoke their enthusiasm about their new role.
Subsequently, the "welcome week" and orientation is tailored to the level and experience of the new colleague, ensuring that information is delivered in a timely, engaging and personal manner.
Beyond the standard orientation tasks, this "welcome week" typically consists of a balance of interactive discussions, social integration and reading material.
Results: Positive onboarding feedback
Kadence first assesses its onboarding experience through feedback from the new employees themselves. They often offer feedback that they feel integrated, inspired and productive from their first hours in the company and become Kadence advocates in their first few days.
As a result of Kadence's excellent candidate experience, employees are committed to the firm's goals, leading to enviable retention rates by the standards of any industry – in 2015, only two employees left the Kadence team.
"With a nearly 95%-plus acceptance rate, we believe this strategy has been highly successful at identifying and engaging the right candidates," Nin said. Additionally, the timely, personal and engaging induction, which doesn't break the bank in terms of investment – about S$700 per new colleague – has played a part in accelerated productivity and familiarity, as well as the longterm commitment to the Kadence vision.
This has helped the firm bring in a consistent net profit of 12% to 15%, in addition to being crowned the gold winner for Best Candidate Experience, among in-house recruitment teams, at the recent Asia Recruitment Awards.