By: Keith Kitani
As technology makes major steps forward, it’s now easier than ever to create and scale great new hire experiences for your increasingly digital, diverse, distributed employees. Providing organisations with the opportunity to rethink and reimagine their onboarding processes in ways that were never possible in the past. Focusing on great onboarding experiences leads to a number of positive effects for organisations; it can drive employee retention in the long term (82%), as well as jumpstart and sustain higher productivity (70%).
Organisations can now quickly orchestrate and scale 90- or 180-day onboarding experiences that engage employees with information in digestible, well-paced increments. With this long-term approach, it’s much more likely that your new employees will not only receive the information, forms, and goals they need, they’ll also connect more deeply with your company culture and develop meaningful connections with colleagues along the way – all without being overwhelmed in the process.
Here are 3 ways automation will help deliver great onboarding experiences:
Orchestrate a comprehensive new hire experience
A multi-month experience for new hires allows organisations the time and space to cover ground that may have been overlooked in a one-day or one-week session. Key elements of your company – from business strategy, to the suite of programs available, to the informal details that make up your company culture – are all parts you need to integrate into the new hire experience. And on top of this, different employee demographics may have unique needs based on location, role, or department – which in turn affects the way you communicate. But delivering all of this in a way that doesn’t overwhelm your audience will take more time to carry out.
This was the perspective we saw recently with Delta Dental – pre-pandemic, they would host a “Smile Day” for new hires, an onsite orientation experience. But when they partnered with GuideSpark, they wanted to provide a top-notch onboarding experience that carried over from day one all the way through day 90, to provide a strong foundation for new hires to be settled, successful, and fully prepared. They built an onboarding strategy that delivers consistent messaging over the first 90 days to segmented new hire groups (based on role, location, and other data), and created unique messages as needed for certain groups. Since they launched this new approach to onboarding, they’ve saved time and money, automated the onboarding communications process, and improved new hire engagement.
Fuel consistency and scalability across your organisation
A recent study by HCI found that a leading challenge in onboarding is inconsistent application – which means consistency is key to improve or scale this kind of program over time. Delivering multi-month experiences to weekly new hires – even across a global organisation – means coordinating hundreds of messages and a huge amount of content every week. It’s impossible to create consistency and scale manually. But, by leveraging automation tools, you can deliver consistent onboarding experiences that also have the flexibility to be personalized… at any scale.
The right internal communications software integrates with your existing systems to deliver a seamless new hire experience. By connecting campaign software with your HRIS, for example, you could easily “trigger” or launch a new onboarding campaign anytime a new employee is added to the database. In other words, automation can be the push your internal communications need to deliver the right messages to the right people at the right time – all under consistent guidelines and standards set by your organisation, yet without any major manual lift from internal teams.
One of our customers, a 2,000-employee tech company for the construction industry, recently set out to implement more consistency and stronger communication across a handful of programs, including onboarding. They partnered with GuideSpark to launch a comprehensive campaign, educational content, and thoughtful messaging – supported by seamless HRIS integration and data. In just their first few weeks, they’ve seen a huge increase in employee engagement, with each user engaging with an average of 3 pieces of content in a single session – all across a variety of channels like Slack, emails, and web banners.
Track data to iterate and optimize
In any campaign or program rollout, you won’t know how much of an impact you’ve made without tracking results. Engagement data – such as program sign ups, forms completed, content views, employees reached, clicks, and more – gives you the insight you need to ensure your onboarding experience is effective across all employee groups, departments, and regions.
Understanding your data – and in turn, understanding the impact your onboarding program has on new employees – is the most important step you can take to move toward continuous iteration and improvement. Use this functionality to your advantage, and gather feedback at key milestones in the onboarding process, such as the end of week one, month one, and month three. Knowing what’s working and what’s not getting through can allow you to quickly shift gears on a tactical level, or make broader, large-scale changes to the program – all with an aim of achieving optimal onboarding experiences, which are critical for long-term business success.
The importance of a strong onboarding experience cannot be overstated. A positive onboarding experience leads to improved employee satisfaction and higher retention, which also means stronger employee performance and less employee turnover. Leveraging technology and the power of automation gives your organisation the foundation to approach onboarding as more than just process and paperwork. Investing in automation will facilitate a more engaging, communication-centric employee experience that boosts the success of everyone who joins your organisation. Ultimately, you’ll deliver a great experience for new employees, scale a consistent experience across your entire organisation, and measure your results to keep optimizing onboarding well into the future.
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