Getting the Basics Right: Onboarding Done Right in the Hybrid Workplace
In competitive sectors, the drive for constant business growth can create environments where all considerations other than success are given second place. How employees are performing becomes more important than how they’re feeling, and unhappy employees not only don’t perform as well as they might, lowering the organization’s productivity and potential for growth.
The irony for decision-makers is that employees are any company’s biggest investment and greatest asset, yet they remain one of its highest costs. A new piece of IT hardware procured at great expense wouldn’t be mistreated as a matter of course from the day it arrived. For some, doing the same with people appears to be OK.
Of course it’s all entirely avoidable, and study after study shows that positive, happy employees perform at their very best, day in, day out, for (literally) a lifetime, given half a chance. Conversely, getting it wrong can wreck the business’s chances at the success that most seek.
Like comparing options from multiple retailers before a big purchase, research and investment starts early with new employees. Vetting applicants and interviewing candidates takes time and money, plus there are plenty of other elements to get into place. Training and mentoring, for example, must be planned from a purely operational perspective, plus there are the pastoral elements too — introductions, tours of the premises, a managed settling in process for the new arrivals — in all, it’s a great deal to consider.
Certain parts of that process have evolved a great deal over the last few years. There are obvious changes in work patterns (remote vs on-premises), but even before the COVID pandemic, technology had begun to alter pre-onboarding, onboarding itself and ongoing development, too.
Some IT-related changes have come from the adoption by organisations of digital processes, like digital signing and witnessing of contracts, for example. But the overall experience of a new employee is much influenced by the ubiquity of technology in everyday life.
A prime example of this natural tendency towards the digital might be a young employee given an A4 arch folder comprising a “welcome pack.” To a digital native raised in the smartphone era, that’s not the best experience, nor is it a particularly promising start to a new career.
The cultural shift in society outside the workplace needs to be reflected in the workplace. Therefore, using technology platforms to onboard new staff seems appropriate, and it’s certainly highly relevant at a time in the evolution of work where the lines between home and office are blurring.
Technology delivering onboarding digitally serves the purpose of encompassing both traditional “welcome to the office” and the newer “wave hello at the camera to your new colleagues” onboarding scenarios.
There’s a great deal more on offer from onboarding technologies than substituting the traditional welcome handshake for a digital equivalent. The same platforms can be used to deliver engaging, exciting mentoring and help via rich, experiential media, for example. Plus, multiple collaboration tools at the fingertips of the new starter and their colleagues can start friendships, build bonds, and start the new hire on the right course faster and with less need for managerial oversight.
There’s little need to train new hires in the physical workings of digital platforms, if the creators of the onboarding suites stick to the norms of interface design that are an everyday part of life. That leaves the field clear to have a software platform that makes immediate and positive connections between the newbie, the organisation and the people in it.
Done well, those connections develop, building excitement for the new career — irrespective of whether the process is all online, all in-person, or some of each.
Not just the money
The big technology companies know well that the very best employees are looking for more than a high salary. That’s why companies like Apple and Google work so hard (and spend so big) on exciting campuses, employee environments and everyday perks of the job. Candidates of the Microsoft caliber pick and choose an employer based on the working experience.
The lessons other organisations and sectors can learn are apparent. Starting off and developing new hires needs to be positive, engaging, and exciting. Just a decade ago, achieving this via technology for remote or hybrid workforces was impractical. But in 2021, technology can not only deliver great onboarding experiences but add more to the processes than its traditional elements ever could.
Staff who are brought into the company smoothly and who are quickly up to speed and comfortable in their surroundings will outperform those left standing at the (real or virtual) threshold, wondering what to do next. Getting onboarding right isn’t especially difficult, considering suppliers of dedicated platforms offer experiential onboarding systems right now.
Engaging early in the new employee’s progress into the organisation and keeping up the positive, helpful, and broad-reaching support will create a body of workers who will do well by their employer. Every employee deserves more than a workplace that is just good enough not to complain about. With systems like that from Enboarder, organisations can make a difference in their people’s lives and an extraordinary difference to the bottom line too.
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