HRD Roundtable Report: Levelling Up Onboarding for the Hybrid World
Attracting new talent is shooting up the priority list, but also proving more difficult than ever. After the effort of finding the right person, are we investing enough in the experience of the early days of joining, to support, include and level them up quickly?
Reimaging the employee experience takes enormous work and can take trial and error. There are several challenges including how to assimilate new employees and help them to learn and understand company culture. This roundtable sought to gain insight into this subject matter.
Remote Onboarding since Covid
One of the participants shared that when covid hit they were throwing so much information at new employees and that this was proving to be overwhelming. They shared that the information is now bite-sized so that employees can learning in smaller increments. It is more about giving freedom and time back to users and letting them learn at their own pace.
Another participant shared that since onboarding 100% remote it has prompted them to look at their methods. Initially they were sharing 80-page slide decks and HR coordinators who were not natural presenters were leading the onboarding. The induction has been radically changed and is now a six-month learning journey with social interaction. Employees meet several people from the business from different teams virtually that they may not have had the chance to connect with. The trainers have now also had their own training to help change the process for new employees.
Culture is one of the most difficult aspects to embed in hybrid environments. It is so intangible. It comes from being around people. It was argued in the roundtable that you can read all the slides that you want, but it does not give you that sense of being part of the family. How do you make connections outside your meeting? Since covid there is a missing element of what it is like to be part of a broader family. Furthermore, companies have a very short period of time to help people feel belonging when they already feel vulnerable. Participants shared that one of their challenges is in making employees feel that they belong. One of the participants shared their social exchange program. They have devised programs to help them engage with their cohort. They are encouraged to connect with their colleagues on socials before joining and are given tours of the London office and surrounding area. Another participant shared that they have set up a long-term buddy scheme which allows employees to have a point of contact within the organization and that this is helping tremendously. Culture and embedding culture essentially needs to be more intentional.
Utilizing the Physical Space
Participants shared that one of their main challenges is in bringing people into the office. Companies are offering incentives such as free food and exciting experiences, but even then it is proving to be difficult. A great point that was mentioned is that some employees need to re-onborded. It is apparent that employees need a reason to want to come in. It is about companies creating that environment where people want to come in and creating an environment of collaboration. Many participants shared that they are looking at their offices to see how they can be adapted to become more collaborative and this is proving to be the best solution.
One participant shared that they collect feedback on the onboarding experience at 30 days and then once again at 90 days. It was shared that the 6th week is the most pivotal week. Employees at this point don’t know enough to be effective and they don’t have that many connections within the organization. If they haven’t built that relationship with their manager you can lose momentum with that employee at the 6 week mark.
To conclude onboarding needs to be focused on the experience rather than the process to help them understand what is required of them without overwhelming them. More companies are moving towards bite-sized learning than onboarding employees in the first weeks. Feedback from new employees was also recommend at different stages. Finally encouraging collaboration and in-person interactions might mean looking and redesigning offices to ensure that they encourage collaborative work.
This was part of a four-part roundtable series will bring together senior HR leaders to discuss the most pertinent issues currently facing the HR function, identify opportunities and allow you to learn from the experience of your peers. Find out more information about each session here.
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