Rolling out an offer to a candidate is only part of the recruitment story. The other important part is ensuring retention. The key to making a positive impression on new hires while they are still assimilating their new environment is to create extraordinary experiences. Here are a few steps talent leaders can take during the early days of an employee to make them feel welcome and get them excited about their future at the organization.
Start early: Ensuring everything is planned and set up, even before the new hires show up for their first day, helps accelerate productivity. That’s the take away from Twitter’s new hire onboarding playbook ‘Yes to Desk.’ The playbook aims to make an employee’s journey - from job acceptance to start of work – a seamless and pleasant experience. The program works in tandem with all support functions - HR, IT, and facilities - and covers 75 steps spanning the onboarding workflow. From presenting a Twitter branded T-shirt and a bottle of wine to setting up their email address and hosting a breakfast with the CEO – everything is planned and set up before the employee physically shows up at the workplace.
Initiate cultural alignment: Alignment with company values and culture are a key factor that helps amplify engagement and employee success. For the online shoe and apparel shop, Zappos.com cultural alignment of its new hires is a non-negotiable part of its people practices. Focused on growing the company culture and forging lasting relationships, Zappos onboarding program trains employees on best practices in customer service, team collaboration, and 10 of its core values - each explained with an anecdote. Going a step further, any new hire, who doesn’t feel aligned with the Zappos culture, is offered $2,000 to quit!
Involve the team: Welcoming new hires is not just an HR job anymore, but it is a collective effort. A collaborative welcome by the new hires’ fellow team members helps them effectively coalesce with other members. Google, one of the consistently top ranking places to work for, emphasizes team-level employee onboarding versus a centralized framework. Although processes and practices vary across different teams, Google uses data analytics to provide a uniform experience. One of Google’s key strategies is to engage its top talent as brand advocates in order to instill pride in the new incumbents.
Prepare a comprehensive roadmap: A clear roadmap is absolutely essential to setting up new hires for success in their roles. LinkedIn understands this well. Day one for the new hires at LinkedIn starts with receiving ‘New Hire Onboarding Roadmap’ - a comprehensive guide to help them to succeed in their new roles. Other activities include icebreakers where they share interesting facts about themselves and learning about the company and employee benefits as part of the “Investing [In] You” sessions.
Empower through right training and development: An effective way of enabling new employees to start contributing immediately is to chart out a well thought out learning roadmap. Netflix follows this diligently. Its onboarding program for engineers has powerful learning components that empower new hires from day one. From explaining the Netflix technology stack and meeting and greeting technology leaders including the Chief Product Officer to throwing tech challenges; Netflix sets up its new joiners to start creating value early on.
One aspect that these successful brands have realized is that the peril lies not in doing too much but in getting complacent with half-hearted attempts that prove to be inadequate. The first touch point of a brand is its employees. Framing a compelling onboarding experience is therefore a strategic need. One word of caution though. While the number of experiential programs in terms of quantity may be good, the real challenge is in sustaining the initiatives. The key to success is to maintain continuity in new hire programs to positively impact the employer brand.