You have found the best candidate. You have done the needful to engage them and successfully hired them. But, what next? How do you make sure s/he doesn’t regret the decision about taking the job? How do you make them a part of your company? How do you make them a part of the family?
This is where an onboarding process plays a key role - taking every employee from a stranger to a friend.
Let us step into the shoes of the candidate for a moment. You just accepted the job offer. You are excited about the change. You want to get started on the next challenge and prove yourself to your colleagues. You walk in, get the badging process done and then are whisked away to a training room and kept there for two to three days. Session after session that tell you about the company, the business units, the Do’s and Don'ts, the policies, the procedures, the way to file leaves, expenses, documentation, trainings etc. Barely 30 minutes of this information is retained after a week. The speakers for the sessions do the activity as a chore. You sit there helpless, not wanting to complain on the first week of the job. All of this is tiring and more than anything, uninspiring.
We all subconsciously go through onboarding almost every single day. Every time we interact with a new website or a new product, a mobile app, a fitness tracker, a music player. They all have an onboarding experience. Imagine you downloaded the Facebook app and it starts by bombarding you with every single detail of the application, the groups features, messages, security settings, privacy, notifications, events, birthdays, etc, etc. The chances are you will get rid of the app and go your merry ways. The information in most technology apps and products are layered on to you in a subtle and systematic manner (provide you byte sized information once when you need them. If we think about the onboarding process in a company like a product, we realize that there is an urgent need to change.
I attended this interesting People Matter’s Twangout session. Beroe Inc.’s HR and Marketing Heads- Aarthi Sivaram and Anand Narayan were a part of it. They shared some practices that could really benefit and transform the existing onboarding process. I am collating their inputs here.
Onboarding is not only a HR’s job, it is a company’s job.
A lot of us realize that onboarding is important but very few take the ownership. The HR team alone isn’t responsible for a good onboarding experience. They are just the prime facilitator. People, the new employee will work with, the departments s/he will be interacting with, their team and managers, leads are equally responsible for giving a good first day experience. This makes the newbie comfortable and also tells them that they have somebody to look up to. Plus, who wants to have their lunch alone?
Transfer intangibles- culture, goals, ethos than content.
Usually when a new employee comes in, they are bombarded with modules. Modules that explain them everything about the company in the most boring way. It is important but surely not the first thing they should deal with. This only creates a boring impression of a company on the new employee. Let the new employee have their share of talks with managers, mentors and colleagues. Instead of thumping them down with your boring content, let them get to know the experiences- the successes, and failures too. Everything makes more sense when it comes from a person who has experienced it than a book or a policy document.
Same sessions for all new employees is passé. Personalize.
Now, it will be stupid for the marketing team to go and interact with the technology newbie yet every department delivers the same talk to every newbie under the garb of standardization. Make sure the new employee shares their first day with the most relevant people. It will also be better to split training and orientations according to domains. That way they are grasping information that they will need and truly connect to. An onboarding process shouldn't be a method to dump information but experiences.
Each person is different and they all join your company at a different stage of their career. Some might be freshers, some might be seasoned professionals while some might be just experiencing their second job after years. Each of them can’t be introduced to the same onboarding process. The freshers have absolutely no idea how the corporate world works and it is important to introduce them thoroughly to it. While the same is a waste of time for the veteran. They don’t need to attend the same orientation which they did in the past 6 companies. Instead it would be better to let them share their experience and past stories. So, the onboarding process should be open to experimenting and should constantly change keeping in mind the person and their role.
Onboarding impacts company culture and increases referrals.
If the company takes the responsibility of giving a good onboarding experience to a new employee, it influences the company culture. The buzz is automatically created because now everybody is finding new and more delightful way to make the newbie comfortable. And, an amazing company culture directly affects referrals. The company doesn’t later have to go ahead and incentivize their employees in an artificial manner. Beroe Inc. claims to have increased their referrals by 20% due to this activity.
Many companies today miss the opportunity to tap into a new employee’s network and get great references. They are also losing out on great talent branding. A newbie is eminently enthusiastic about their new job. In this span of time, they are superly active on social media. Changing their statuses, updating their bios, sharing their experience, etc. If any company can make them immediately comfortable and encourage them to refer with a sleek experience, they are bound to invite their friends to join the company. A good onboarding increases referrals in the most easiest way.
These are the four awesome tips I learned at the Twangout shared by the ones who already use them day in and day out. They saw and made a difference. I believe following these steps will help people feel great about transitioning to your organization. If you have some awesome onboarding processes that you have tried out in your organization and spread happiness, do share it in the comments below. We’d love to spread the word.