Top 5 New Trends in Onboarding

Here is a look at some of the biggest trends in employee onboarding in 2017.

1. Personalisation

Imagine a restaurant serving you your favourite meal, exactly the way you like it, without having to ask. You’d be impressed right?

Personalised onboarding is kind of the same principle. More than just providing the right training, personalisation is about making the new hire feel like their expertise, preferences and interests have been taken into account in almost every aspect of their onboarding.

Need help deciding on the right technology to automate your onboarding processes? Download Cognology’s Easy Guide to Selecting an Employee Onboarding System.

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Ways in which forward thinking businesses are personalising onboarding include:

  • Providing only relevant and accurate onboarding paperwork, populated with the new hire’s details;
  • Welcome messages designed around the person and their position;
  • Enabling new hires to build their own profile in the organisation’s social enterprise software;
  • Building in flexibility and choice for the employee around training scheduling, content and methods;
  • Onboarding system with cross device compatibility and functionality to enable new hires to use their preferred personal technology;
  • Leaders adapting their styles to suit the person;
  • Scheduling social activities with the team around the new hire’s personality, interests and preferences;
  • Carefully selecting buddies and mentors that are a good fit for the new hire;
  • Surveying and catching up with the new hire regularly about their experiences and how they are feeling about their new role;
  • Discussing the new hire’s ambitions and potential career pathways within the organisation from day one.

There is strong evidence to suggest that personalisation increases productivity by reducing information overload and making workers feel more positive, valued, and in control.

When implemented well, social intranets are boasting staff participation rates of up to 85%

2. Social Networking

Once upon a time in the olden days, Baby Boomers and Generation X’s would see a job ad in a newspaper, type up a resume – or photocopy the one Mum typed up – and send it off via snail mail. If you were lucky enough to be shortlisted from the pile of paper resumes the recruiter had to sift through, you might get invited into the office for an interview. Then if things went really well, you would receive a call from personnel to say you got the job. Rarely would you hear from the company again until your first day. Very few people were given a contract to sign, and sometimes you didn’t even know what you were getting paid until you got your first pay packet. (For people born after 1980 that was a little envelope with some cash poked in it as a reward for your toil.)

Ask any digital native (Generations Y & Z) about their experiences job hunting in 2017, and they will tell you they applied for a role promoted to them on their preferred job board (using their online profile) before completing assessments and submitting a video interview from the comfort of their own home. They then sent invites on LinkedIn to the recruiter and people in the business connected to their network. In addition to researching the employer on the internet, they reached out to personal contacts on Facebook about friends of friends that work at the company to get the lowdown on what the business is really like to work for….

It is no wonder then, that more and more businesses are giving digital savvy recruits social intranet access almost as soon as they are offered a job. Social enterprise software opens up opportunities for new hires to connect with other staff, learn more about the business, post pictures or videos, talk about interests and hobbies, get advice, and build networks all before they even start their job on day one.

When implemented well, social intranets are boasting staff participation rates of up to 85%.

3. Automation

Automation is becoming a key priority for businesses looking to improve onboarding efficiencies and accelerate new hire productivity. In fact, research shows that companies that automate indicate 18% greater achievement of first performance goals [1].
Onboarding technologies are becoming increasingly flexible and easy to use. A well designed system can help organisations streamline paperwork, integrate onboarding processes, and simplify sometimes labour intensive aspects of the programme like provisioning.

4. Data Driven Improvements

Thanks to built-in survey tools and integrated performance management processes, businesses now have both qualitative and quantitative data available to them. Employers can track trends in performance against engagement levels, and pinpoint specific aspects of the programme that may be impacting onboarding outcomes.

5. Cultural Assimilation

Cultural assimilation is a movement striving to smooth a new hire’s transition into a company. More than just a “mission, vision, values and strategy” presentation, cultural assimilation is about designing activities and interventions in which new hires find out what it’s like to work in an organisation. Supported by buddy systems and mentoring programmes, new employees are coming to grips much earlier with the unique and sometimes puzzling features of an organisation such as: unwritten rules and expectations; how workers communicate with each other; idiosyncratic language and lingo; social activities, awards and celebrations of achievement; and how employees react when faced with challenges, problems or when a crisis hits.

Is your business “on trend”?

Do you remember when your Mum used to say “Just because someone jumps off a cliff, it doesn’t mean you have to.” Never were there wiser words. It is the same with onboarding. Just because something is popular or best practice, doesn’t mean you need to implement it in your business exactly the same way or, for that matter, at all.

A great example is automation. Technology can save your business significant time and money. But it is possible to over-automate. The last thing you want to do is make your people feel like a number. Rather than focussing purely on gaining efficiencies, look for ways to use technology to create a more personalised experience as well.

Likewise, think about whether your business is ready for a new trend. For instance, if your workforce has a high proportion of older workers with limited computer skills, you might find a social intranet doesn’t catch on as well as it would with the under 35’s.

In the end, it is all about focusing on the best in best practice. Have a clear strategy for want you want to achieve with onboarding and implement initiatives that work for you and your business.

Works Cited

[1] Lombardie, Mollie. Onboarding 2011 : The Path to Productivity