By: Mac Alsbury
A new hire onboarding experience that truly works is more complicated than it may seem – particularly at a time when employees are more dispersed and distributed than ever before. Employers are now in a position where the landscape of modern onboarding is being shaped by the current virtually-focused environment – and it provides an opportunity to completely rethink some key pillars of an onboarding program, and redesign it into something that’s more effective and simpler to manage.
Leveraging a platform like GuideSpark Communicate Cloud® (GSCC) can help companies orchestrate and launch an onboarding program that does the heavy lifting on its own. With automated communication features and HRIS connectivity, onboarding can easily become remote-friendly, consistent, and hands-off for hiring managers, freeing them up to focus on connecting with new hires personally and meaningfully.
The Value of Effective Onboarding
The significance of strong onboarding cannot be overstated; the impacts of new hire programs carry over into their entire employee experience – even years after the fact! A positive onboarding experience can lead to improved employee satisfaction and stronger retention, which also means stronger employee performance and less (costly) employee turnover. And these aren’t minor improvement margins – in fact, organizations with strong onboarding see improved retention by up to 82%, and improved productivity by more than 70%. And, even if you think your onboarding program is engaging and covers everything a new hire might need, the length of the program itself could be a problem. According to HCI, most organizations’ onboarding processes end after just one week, leaving new hires feeling confused, discouraged, and lacking the resources they need.
Consistency between new hires can be another cause of major obstacles down the road – if a company is in the position to “reinvent the wheel” with their onboarding program with each new hire, it puts strain on the employees who are acting as trainers and mentors, and also leaves the door open for more error with the program itself. A recent study by HCI found that the top challenge in onboarding for leadership and development teams is the inconsistent application of the onboarding process – which indicates that it would serve organizations better to create an onboarding program that can be reused and relaunched time and time again.
Make Onboarding Work for You
A cloud-based platform with data-driven functionality, like GuideSpark Communicate Cloud® (GSCC), can be leveraged to make onboarding programming as simple and effective as possible. GSCC enables users to create recurring campaigns for their onboarding processes, including engaging messaging and consumer-grade content, to ensure consistency for each new hire. These recurring campaigns are designed to launch a new campaign cycle relative to the start date of a new cohort or single new hire – the platform provides content and communications in the form of a “journey,” guiding new employees through the major milestones of their onboarding experience, such as their first day, first week, or check-ins every 30 days. Organizations are able to set up what messages, content, and reminders should be sent at any specific point, all in an effort to lead new hires to take the right actions (or absorb the right information) at the right time.
Turning this onboarding experience into a program that’s not only effective, but automated means your team spends less time and energy on crafting new hire training multiple times per year. And, in our newly remote work environment, it’s more crucial than it’s ever been to make sure your onboarding program is reaching and engaging new hires. As opposed to an hours-long orientation meeting, an automated and constant drip of information being shared helps promote a deeper understanding of the company’s goals and culture as well – as well as the employee’s new role.
Though this automation feature is great for creating consistency, that doesn’t mean companies shouldn’t also strive to craft targeted, personalized messaging as often as possible. With GSCC, campaign messaging can easily target the new hires themselves as well as their hiring managers or onboarding buddy, to “nudge” them toward any action items when needed. By creating a campaign that stays as relevant as possible to your intended audience, you’re working toward a more engaged employee experience – right from their first day on the job. Consider demographics or details about your new hires that could impact how best to communicate with them – for example, their location or their specific department – then use GSCC’s functionality to tailor their automated suite of messaging to reflect that.
And, to make the behind-the-scenes work as simple as possible, GSCC easily connects with your HRIS to create audience lists. This will ensure that your new hire information comes directly out of your HR system of record, ensuring that it’s accurate and up to date – not to mention easy to manage.
Using GSCC’s trigger-based functionality takes your automated campaign one step further; imagine welcome emails going out as soon as an employee has signed their offer and has been input into your HR system, essentially bringing them into your company culture before their first day even starts. This feature frees up both managers and HR teams to take more time to personally connect with those new hires, as opposed to sourcing and gathering resources or writing emails.