I have had the luck of being part of organizations which take their new hire onboarding very seriously. In my previous organization, I joined as a member of the group of 60 odd management trainees. The 2-month onboarding process was kicked off with 2 days of leadership connect, understanding the vision and the evolution of the organization. This was followed up with a 2 – week visits to multiple business sites : factories, office spaces, and sales locations. We were then teamed up and shipped off to different rural locations in India with immersive projects to understand the primary customer of the organization.
Fast forward to 5 years later –
When I joined a start-up in the experiential learning space, my onboarding was no less meaningful. Welcomed into the office with a pot of Lego pieces, I had to make Maggi using the items in our kitchen. I remember a casual chat over evening coffee, understanding how the organisation’s values come alive through simple every day experiences. I also remember going through the policies – simple and fun. An hour with my manager, understanding the expectations (or ambitions) from my role. Thereafter, I tagged along in several experiential programs to understand our business and offerings.
Welcoming a new comer to the organization is an important part of the employee experience – something that stays on for a very long time. Research indicates that onboarding has lasting impact on retention, engagement and productivity.
For the employee onboarding to be meaningful, there are 6 pillars that an HR needs to keep in mind. Though the pandemic has flipped the existing practices on their head, the fundamentals remain the same. How can you adapt your practices to ensure a wholistic employee onboarding and set up your new joiners for success?
Create Organizational Connect
Help the new joiner understand the organisation’s history, values, vision, mission, stories, cultural elements, and artifacts. Try something unconventional. How about exploring your organisation or office just the way you would a new city? Or maybe get your new joiners write, direct and edit a movie about the organization. Sounds fun?
Inter-personal networks are an important aspect that enables a new joiner to succeed. The virtual world has made it tougher for us to develop meaningful connections. Better understanding in the team can enhance collaboration, communication and healthy conflict.
Consider these 2 interesting ideas : A creative activity that gets virtual teams to understand each other better in a very short span of time by getting team members to reveal hidden and unknown facts about each other; or getting the team directed towards a common vision through the design of a virtual Haka challenge?
Explain The Role
Helping the new joiner understand all aspects of the role including key stakeholders that they would be working with can help provide direction for their growth and development. The orientation should also include exposure to various challenges in the role. For example, the US Army has an online, multi-player tactical shooting game which simulates the various challenges that the soldier encounters in real life. We could help you curate an entire experiential experience around a world-class Masterclass by a former US Navy Seal Brent Gleason on accountability, to further boost their morale!
Another fun way to help the learner understand their role would be by using small microlearning nuggets and activities that nudge the employee to experience their role in an experiential and social way.
Empower the new joiner with skills that can help him feel confident in his role. It could be on specific aspects such as the product, processes, SOPs etc. Methodology can vary from classroom training, e-modules, simulations, OTJ or even shadowing a peer.
How about creating bite – sized microlearning content which new joiners can complete anytime, anywhere?
Gami-fying the content with fun learning challenges can boost engagement and allow for effective capability development. You can also opt for business simulations that enable new sales employees to try out their sales skills, explore their selling styles and play around with revenues and margins.
This involves maintaining a continuous connect with the new employee, checking for gaps and anxiety. It also involves building their confidence through continuous appreciation. Assigning a buddy goes a long way in developing familiarity.
The other aspect to focus on is wellness. How about connecting the team over an engaging wellness activity, where everyone tunes out of work and tunes into some fun and mindfulness. Sends a very important message to new joiners about what the organization stands for.
Help the new associate understand the expectations from their role and identifying small and quick wins. It also involves ensuring that all stakeholders involved in the process are accountable for their part.
How about trying to mine for a rare metal while the new joiner understands the objectives of his team, the communication patterns and strengths of each of the new team members? Sounds interesting right?
Creating a meaningful onboarding experiences goes a long way in enabling the new joiner becoming a confident, productive and happy member of the family. Hope you found these principles and examples useful.
We would love to hear your ideas on how to improve the on-boarding process across organisations!