Engagement- The Cornerstone of Onboarding: A Tale of Two Stories

Engagement is playing a bigger role in sourcing and retention. In the Deloitte 2015 HR Technology Report, John Bersin articulated the next era of HR technology has shifted from automation to engagement. Things like blogs, social communities, tweets, facebook posts, social crowdsourcing, etc. are all strategies that companies are undertaking to remain competitive and retain their human capital investment.

on_imageBut what about that window of time when a candidate is transitioning from their old job into the new one? The Onboarding window. It’s the optimal time to capitialize on the excitement and eagerness of new hires.

Some companies have already started focusing on engagement by shifting away from automated forms and mass structured orientation classes to using social channels, interactive video and/or “buddies” in orientation. This supports research which finds 80% of learning happens in an unstructured environment through conversations with co-workers[1].

Successful onboarding also has a bottom line impact. On average, the cost of finding a replacement for a junior level employee is about 20% of their salary. That percentage increases as the level of seniority increases[2]. Interestingly, new hire turnover within the first 45 days can amount to about 300% of the new hires annual salary[3]. This puts a lot of pressure on companies to get onboarding right.

OB_firstyear

Some companies are still focused on using technology for forms automation and provisioning instead of engagement. The importance of interaction with employees should not be underestimated whether you use technology or not. Consider the following two stories and its impact on retention.

Experience  # 1- High Engagement; Low Automation

Jill* was referred by an employee to a prestigious financial services company. After a number of interviews she was delighted to accept a senior position. Jill was excited to start her new job. Prior to her start date, she was called into the office to complete the new hire paperwork.  She was presented with her offer letter and a number of forms to sign and complete. The entire process took about 30 minutes. She would be notified via phone or email if there were any issues or questions.

Day 1

On her first day, Jill* arrived at the appropriated time and was greeted warmly by the receptionist. After a few minutes, onboarding_1John*; her new Manager, came out to greet her. He welcomed her and showed her to her desk. He told her he would be back in 30 minutes once she got settled in. There was an envelope on Jill’s desk with information to log into her computer, set up her voice mail and keys for her cabinets and office. John came back after 30 minutes and escorted her to his office. After a few minutes of banter he presented her with a word document that outlined her schedule for the first week. He provided an overview of the organizational structure, gave her a seating chart of the floor and talked through what needed to be completed on the first day.

After spending some time going through the schedule, John took Jill around the floor and introduced her to the team. He also introduced her to her “Buddy”, Mark*, who also reported to him. Mark would be her main point of contact for questions and specific work related items. As per the schedule, Jill spent sometime with Mark to get her up to speed and identified some other key contacts she would need to meet over the next week.

At lunch time, John came back and all three of them went for lunch. After lunch; Jill had some time allotted with the Coordinator to complete her benefits enrolment. After that, she completed some mandatory training courses. Around 3:30; Mark came by to visit Jill. He dropped off a few files for Jill to familiarize herself with. He also offered to answer any other questions she had. Jill was glad to have the personal interaction and said she would review the files to get a head start for the next day.

At 4:30 John came by to enquire about Jill’s first day. How was she feeling? How were things? Was the schedule he prepared helpful? Was Mark helpful as a Buddy? Jill was quite happy with the proceedings of the day and found having a buddy extremely helpful. John was glad. He talked about some of the projects she had been assigned to and some of the challenges they were trying to address. John told Jill to call it a day, and said he looked forward to seeing her again tomorrow.

happy_eeAs Jill commuted home she reflected on the day. She was quite impressed with how her the first day unfolded. She was glad John assigned her a Buddy and appreciated his thoughtfulness to make her feel comfortable. She was confident she made the right decision to join this company.

Jill stayed with the company for 5 years.

Tale # 2- High Automation; Low Engagement

Sally* was referral by an employee to a prestigious financial services company. After a number of interviews she was offered and accepted senior position. Sally was excited to start her new job. Prior to her start date, Sally was emailed her offer letter and instructions on how to complete the onboarding process.  The process consisted of completing a series of electronic forms, checklists and collecting banking information. Sally thought the process was quick and efficient. She enjoyed the ability to complete transactions online at her own convenience. She also had the option of emailing her new Manager if she had any questions. This experience renewed her excitement to start her new job.

Day 1

On her first day, Sally arrived at the appropriated time. She was greeted warmly by the receptionist who asked her to wait as her Manager, Amy*, had not arrived yet. Sally waited in the reception area for 30 minutes. When Amy arrived she greeted her warmly, apologized for being late and showed her to her desk. She told her she would be back in a while as she was late for a meeting . Sally took the opportunity to get settled in. The keys for her cabinets and information about her computer were on her desk.

Amy came back after an hour and started to introduce her to other people on the floor. She then returned Sally to her alone_workdesk and asked her to start reviewing some documents on the shared drive. Sally started reading the documents Amy requested. As there was no schedule, Sally did not know what time Amy would come by for lunch. Sally waited for Amy but soon realized lunch wasn’t part of the first day. She decided to go down to the food court by herself. At the elevator she ran into Amy who said she was going to grab a bite, did she want to come? Sally nodded and they went down together. Sally was just about to pay for her sandwich when Amy said she would pay for it. Unsure of what to do, Sally smiled and thanked Amy. They walked back to the office to their individual desks, where Sally ate her lunch alone.

Around 2:30pm Amy came by and asked Sally to meet with her to debrief about some of the projects she needed to become familiar with. After the meeting Sally went back to her desk and started completing information for her benefits and mandatory training.

At about 4:30 Sally got an email from Amy saying she had to leave early and hoped her first day went well. She said she was happy to have her on board and would see her tomorrow. Sally realized she would not have an opportunity to debrief with Amy about her first day. Unsure of when she should leave, Sally decided to pack up and call it a day.

Womancontemplating_istockimage_0As Sally commuted home, she reflected upon the day. Her first day had not been what she expected. In fact it was quite disappointing. She barely spent anytime with Amy and was left alone most of the day. She felt isolated. Her colleagues seemed so busy she felt awkward interrupting them. She also couldn’t believe the lunch mishap. She contemplated whether this was normal behaviour at the company? Was this going to be a good fit after all? Had she made the right decision? It left her with an uneasy feeling. Hopefully tomorrow would be better.

Sally left the company just before her first year anniversary.

The two experiences above are true stories that have been shared with me. Even through Jill and Sally had vastly different experiences, both stories illustrated how important engagement was in cementing the employee experience and retention. I asked Sally if she would have traded a manual process to completing onboarding forms if it meant she could spend more “engagement” time with her Manager and/or co-workers. Without hesitation she said YES.onboarding_mobile

Now picture Millennials entering the workforce. Connected, collaborative, social, mobile, comfortable on multiple device types and demand 24×7 accessibility. Conventional strategies will do little to keep this generation stimulated and engaged. Companies need to capitalize on using blogs, communities and gamification to appeal to this generation. Building rapport can also be multi-dimensional. Tools like Skype/FaceTime can be alternate ways to chat with colleagues or management. Communities to crowdsource or connect with others are familiar ways for Millennials to engage. A Buddy (in person or virtual) is still a wonderful way to help new hires acclimate to the company.

So rethink about your approach to Onboarding. Engagement is the foundation to employee retention!

________________________________________________________________________________________________

* Names have been changed

[1] http://www.socialtext.com/blog/2013/05/goodbye-boring-orientation-hello-social-onboarding/

[2] Ibid

[3] https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20141014104815-21377985-driving-people-excellence-through-social-onboarding

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Course TSPK101- Expanding Your Technology Vocabulary For Business Use

In my opinion, there are three things that have become the norm of modern day societal interaction:

  1. Mobile Devices
  2. The Cloud
  3. Social Networking

I’ve affectionately labelled them the Technology Trio. Most of us could not go an hour without interacting with one, if not all of these items. This Technology Trio is fast becoming the driver of business strategy development; encompassing sales, marketing, product offerings and the employee value proposition.

Technology_Trio

That’s right I said employee value proposition.

Employees are increasingly demanding the use of mobile, cloud and social collaboration at work. Things like importing their talent profile from LinkedIn, requesting and approving vacation on their smart phone or using SharePoint to crowd source ideas from multiple internal and external stakeholders to complete a project.

Discussions about the Technology Trio have also become common place in executive strategic planning discussions. functions including . Departments such as Sales, Finance, HR, Marketing, Legal, Procurement, Operations, Compliance, etc., are now expected to have some general knowledge of the Trio to develop solutions to support businesses strategies.

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These could include providing answers/recommendations on whether to use a new SaaS solution to manage sales. What’s the contract/ cost implications if we move to an integrated best in suite solution or continue with a series of best in breed solutions? If  we enable API plugin’s how do we mitigate privacy concerns? If we use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to engage customers as part of our sales strategy are they any compliance risks? What guidelines need to be added to our code of conduct around acceptable usage of social media at work? How should we address anonymous employment reviews  on social media sites about our company? How do we leverage big data to gain insights into projected sales revenue or succession planning for baby boomer retirements? What’s our social recruitment strategy? And on and on….

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For many, this is new and overwhelming territory. Symptoms may include eyes being glazed over, increased heart rate, bouts of perspiration or having to leave the meeting early due to a sudden appointment!

Relax. Take a deep breath.

For all of you who would like a crash course on the essential technology terms* you need to know for your next meeting; this blog post is for you!

 -Technology Terminology Cheat Sheet-

Term*

Definition

Example

Android Is a mobile operating system (OS) developed by Google. Android is designed primarily for touch screen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. It uses touch inputs like swiping, tapping, pinching, etc. to manipulate on-screen objects. It also offers a virtual keyboard.
  • JellyBean
  • NexusGalaxy
  • HTC Mobile
API PlugIn An application programming interface (API) specifies software component inputs and outputs.  Its main purpose is to define a set of functionalities which allow integration (plug in) of new features into existing applications or to share data between otherwise distinct applications.
  • Apply for a job on a recruitment system using your LinkedIn profile
  • Login to TripAdvisor using your Facebook profile
Best of Breed (BoB) Applications that offer specialized functions in specific areas that ERP’s suites usually do not feature. (E.g. Time and attendance, compensation, talent management, financial planning, etc.) Most BoB  solutions are now SaaS and Cloud based.
  • Kronos
  • Salesforce.com
  • HireVue
  • Jobvite
  • JobsDB
Best in Suite (BiS) Applications that provide a broad set of functional capabilities as part of an integrated suite. These components can be sold as standalone modules or bundled. They sit on a unified platform which makes integration easy.
  • SAP
  • Oracle
  • IBM
  • Blue Link
Big Data Is an all-encompassing term for the collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand data management tools or traditional data processing applications. Big data solutions:

  • Zaponet
  • SAP Big Data
  • Oracle Big Data
Cloud Computing Is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product. Shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices remotely as a utility (like an electricity grid) over a network such as the Internet. Cloud computing allows users to access their information anywhere, anytime and on any device type.
  • Google Drive
  • Yahoo email
  • Facebook
  • WordPress

 

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image24614112

Term* Definition Example
Integrated Platform A unified technology solution that offers software that delivers services across multiple subject areas such as learning, recruitment, compensation, talent management, etc. Unlike BiS, there are no modules to sell individually.
  • Workday
Middleware Computer software that connects software applications to other software applications. Think of it as “software glue”. Middleware is used behind the scenes to execute transactions, facilitate data flow or build integration.
  • Custom API’s
  • Web Servers
  • Automated backup system
Mobile Refers to a variety of smart, portable devices that can access the internet and facilitate the usage of apps.
  • Blackberry
  • iPad
  • Smart Phones
Mobile App A computer program designed to run on smartphones, tablet computers and other mobile devices. Apps (applications) are available through application distributors such as the Apple App Store, Google Play and BlackBerry App World.
  • Good
  • Mobile Bank Payments
  • Instagram
SaaS Software as a Service (SaaS) is a cloud model that delivers on-demand applications that are hosted and managed by the service provider and paid for on a subscription basis (fee/ license).
  • Microsoft Office 365
  • Workday
  • Salesforce.com
  • SuccessFactors
SEO Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of influencing the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid (“organic”)search results. The goal is to have content indexed so it ranks closer to the top (higher) on the page when search results are returned. The higher results are ranked, the higher the probability  visitors will see content and click on it. Content can be in the form of text or digital media such as videos, audio files or images.
  • Your content shows up in the top 10 search results on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Baidu, Naver, Khoj, Achei, etc.

 

social_recruiting

Term* Definition Example
Smart Phone A mobile phone with more advanced computing capability and connectivity than basic feature phones. Smartphones include a touchscreen computer, web browser, Wi-Fi connectivity, 3rd-party apps, etc.
  • Blackberry
  • iPhone
  • Samsung Galaxy
  • HTC
Social Collaboration A processes that helps multiple people interact and share information over the internet to achieve a common goal.
  • LinkedIn
  • TripAdvisor
  • Google Hangout
  • SharePoint
Social Recruiting The use of social media and mobile tools to facilitate sourcing, marketing and recruitment. Many SaaS solutions offer social recruitment tools as part of their suite of products.
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Adwords
  • Jobs2Web
Technology Ecosystem The suite of systems in an organization that make up their comprehensive systems portfolio.
  • Your organizations systems

This list is by no means exhaustive. It should however, give you a good starting point to become a knowledgeable contributor in conversations.

I hope you find this blog post useful. Stay tuned for my next blog post which will delve into social recruiting vocabulary.

I would love to hear from you. Please drop me a line via  pca_icon_linkedin_111w_116h LinkedIn or twitter@annzaliebarrett

Ann_Nov_2012

By Ann Barrett- Director, Integrated Solutions

*Source of terms have been taken from wikipedia.com and modified for relevance.