When does an onboarding really begin? Some would say that it is at the very first touchpoint where anyone sees you as an employer. Others would say that it’s on the first day at the office. Yet others claim that it begins once someone has signed with you. And so on.
The predominant view is likely that the onboarding starts on the first day at work. And that’s why so many have started talking about preboarding, i.e. all the things that happen before the first day at work. We will touch upon a few of those things, but our main concern here is the digital introduction and how it could help you get people onboard quicker and more efficiently.
The right knowledge of your business and operations
The very first day at work, and the first period, is usually focused on practicalities and to get up to speed, doing ‘proper work’ to feel that one, as a new employee, contributes. That’s why focus often is on those practical things and not on learning about the company, values, history and so on. However, these areas are important to provide an understanding of how, what and why things are done in the way they are done in your organization. And there’s no time when a person is as curious about their new employer as between the signing and the first day at work.
That curiosity is something that can benefit you, if you provide information in an easily accessible way. And in a way that makes it possible for the new employee to read up on you wherever and whenever they see fit.
Make life easier for the manager
Another advantage is that your digital introduction will make life easier for the new employee’s manager – or any other person that is responsible for the workplace introduction. At the same time, you will secure a more even level of knowledge about you, the company, your operations and ways of working. This is information that often is overlooked when practicalities take precedence and is independent of which manager the new employee has. In addition, the new employee will have accessed the information before the first day at work and you have had the opportunity to create the right expectations about working with you.
Dismiss collective introduction days
If you, like so many others, have set collective introduction days during the year, you can dismiss those using a digital introduction instead. If a newly employed person has to wait three to six months to attend these introduction days, they will most likely feel that it’s a waste of time. Because they feel that they already know you well enough and that they are needed to do their actual work. A bad scenario could be that this person focuses more on mail and answering calls during recess than actually learning about you, your values, where you come from and the like.
Traceable channel for important documents
As this is a digital channel, you really have the opportunity to measure and trace what happens with the information you provide to the new employees. And that they take part of it. You can also get information about which parts seem most popular, tweak the introduction to be as efficient as it possibly can be and you get a channel through which you can share important documents with the newly employed.
Some hard facts
- 22% of staff turnover happens during the first 45 days (UK numbers)
- The estimated cost of losing a co-worker during the first year of employment is three times this person’s annual salary (UK numbers)
- Organizations with a great onboarding process can retain up to 82% of their newly employed (Brandon Hall Group)
- You can increase the new employees’ productivity by over 70% (Brandon Hall group)
There’s more you can do
Besides making sure the new employee gets all that’s needed on the first day – such as computer, workplace, mobile – there are other things you can do before they step in the door.
You can, for example:
- Invite them over for lunch with the team
- Invite them over for a guided tour of the office
- Connect them with their buddy/mentor
- Tell those that will work with the new employee about him/her and when s/he will start
- Keep the relationship alive by mailing/texting the person and inform them that you are happy to answer any questions they may have
- Personalize the pre- and onboarding depending on the role
What should a digital introduction contain?
There are a few things that are great to use as a base for your digital introduction. To start the introduction with a short film where the CEO, a manager or a colleague welcomes the new employee is a sound advice. You should also tell the new employee about:
- What you do
- Where you come from
- Who you are (values, culture)
- Any benefits they will receive
How much content you want in each area is, naturally, up to you to decide. You can also add whatever you think could be useful for your new employees. A frequent addition is a game or a quiz. But remember to keep it light and that a learning test is more effective than one where the new employee has to reach a certain score. It’s also common to add a few interviews with some colleagues from varying departments and roles. Another tip is to avoid too much text. The information should be communicative. After all, it’s not a textbook for students. A way to avoid too much text is to use films, animations, illustrations and photos – and to keep the information bite sized.