Surprise, I’m here!!

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Ever have a new employee show up unexpectedly? Ok, let me rephrase that, have you ever started a new job and showed up for your first day and after the first ten minutes thought “Wow, did they know I was starting today?” It’s happened to all of us. Maybe not to that extreme, but one way or another when we started there was something preventing us from hitting the ground running.  Was it the paperwork and long lists of documents you needed to complete?  Nope! Most of that has long since been automated or at a minimum, been planned for thoroughly enough that paperwork is the least of your concerns.

The real problems start when you don’t have a desk or a phone, right? Actually, that’s just more of an inconvenience and they normally figure out the phone and desk thing pretty quickly.  Then you’re off and running right?

Actually…not so fast! You haven’t gone through any training, you don’t know who your peers are or where you can get information, or even what your manager’s goals and expectations are.

Dilbert Onboarding

Most people think of onboarding as the tasks and activities associated with getting someone ready to start a new job. While that’s certainly part of the onboarding process, one of my favorite definitions of onboarding comes from one of our TalentTalk Book Club chapters, Successful Onboarding.

“Successful Onboarding is not simply an improved orientation to the organization. It is a total system for success that is woven into the entire experience in the course of your new hires’ first year and beyond.

This really hits the mark for me, probably even more so because over the last six months I’ve had the opportunity to moderate 4 separate onboarding symposiums around the U.S. with current SilkRoad RedCarpet onboarding customers. In total, I worked with about 25 different companies ranging in size and industry from smaller companies like Juniper Networks to large enterprises like Bay and Manpower.

They all had a common theme and, of course, going green and saving money on shipping were great, but they were all thinking much more strategically about the impact onboarding had on their company. There were using terms like engage, inspire, inform, and connect.  These companies understood that with onboarding and life event management the impact is enormous:

  • Create positive & memorable experience
  • Affirm decision to join
  • Accelerate time to contribution
  • Increased performance
  • Increase retention

I think the biggest takeaway companies can have from these sessions is understanding that successful organizations are able to positively impact their employee engagement, performance, and retention strategies by creating a formal onboarding process that’s more strategic in nature and goes beyond the automation of simple form and checklist management, and delivers the right content to the right people at the right time.

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