Does Experience-Driven Onboarding Work for Enterprise-Sized, Multinational, or Fast-Growing Organizations, Too?

Posted in Best Practice

It’s the Holy Grail of onboarding: to wow new hires with personalized, consistent, truly engaging onboarding experiences. But what if your organization is hiring new people at a breakneck pace? Can you still take a personalized, experience-driven approach to onboarding?

We know that personalized, consistent, engaging employee onboarding experiences make a real difference to engagement levels and wider business outcomes.

But how do you achieve this if you’re onboarding hundreds to thousands of new people, all with different roles, locations, languages, demographics, and more to consider?

Without dedicated HR people on the ground, how can you ensure Taka in Japan, Hilda in Sweden, and Bruno in Brazil are onboarded properly?

How should their onboarding journeys be adjusted so they are culturally appropriate while remaining consistent with your employer brand?

You might have guessed this already, but unlike small or medium-sized organizations, you’re going to have to go beyond doing everything manually, or in an ad hoc manner.

But before we start throwing automation and software at the problem, let’s look at the fundamentals of great onboarding.

These are the pieces that will form the foundation of your onboarding program. Once you get these components right, you can start scaling, automating and customizing your onboarding journeys – and still be sure that your new hires will remain engaged.

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Employee onboarding experiences – your approach matters

Your first step toward creating outstanding onboarding experiences that rock each new hire’s world is getting the right mindset. You need to:

1. Make people more important than processes

Sure, compliance and checklists are important in business. However, it’s the people your organization is built on that really matter.

When it comes to onboarding, this means making your employee onboarding experience personal. Let your employees know how much you actually care about them by showing them as frequently and thoroughly as possible that you care about them as bonafide human beings.

For example, ask new hires what their favorite afternoon snack is (and WOW them by actually providing it on Day One), ask them about their interests, and their hobbies, and build all these questions into their onboarding experience.

2. Get a head start

Preboarding! That’s the name of the game when it comes to offering great employee experience before Day One rolls around. Starting early by preboarding will help ensure your new hire is ready to hit the ground running on Day One, and also shows you care enough about them to keep in touch before they arrive at work.

Here are some things you can do during the preboarding stage:

  • Send the new hire their induction paperwork to complete, so you get that out of the way early while at the same time instilling them with a sense of “this is really happening!”
  • Send over team and company introduction videos, and get the new hire, in turn, to introduce themselves to the team virtually
  • Send them day one instructions, so they know exactly when to turn up, and where to go

It’s time to recognize that employee onboarding isn’t over after just a few short weeks. The onboarding process doesn’t have a specific end date, but we’re pretty adamant that it should go for a minimum of six months after Day One, just to make sure your hires feel truly “at home”.

3. Make WOWing your new hires your goal

It’s no longer enough just to do things “pretty good”. Remember, there’s a talent war going on out there, and if you want to win it, your organization is going to need to show it has the chops to really deliver on its employer branding promises.

Go beyond the norm to deliver best-in-class, memorable, emotionally transforming onboarding experiences. To really break the employee experience barrier, you need to find things you can do for your employees that will set your company apart, and get your people talking. Transform your employees into passionate advocates. Your employer brand will benefit from the great online reviews, and you’ll start getting talent referrals, saving you time, money, and headaches on the HR hiring wagon.

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The scaling question

That all sounds good, but how can large organizations put all that into practice? Typically, when companies scale, the onboarding process becomes less transparent and less consistent, and sometimes much worse than that. (Believe us, we’ve heard the horror stories.)

This is often the case with geographically separated teams that, although working under the same banner, are forced to operate virtually independently from one another. In this situation, a system that relies on manually onboarding staff can have unpredictable, inconsistent, expensive(!!) results, particularly if you fail to effectively engage your new hires and cause them to become disengaged. Truly in this case, “your mileage may vary” – but what to do about it?

Beyond manual onboarding

So, how do you provide stellar, consistent onboarding experiences when you’re a large, complex, widely distributed company that’s spread across multiple countries, with different languages, cultural norms, demographics and more to deal with, and tens or hundreds of new hires per month?

The answer: with the right employee onboarding software.

Scaling beautifully with Employee Onboarding Software

Large organizations can win at providing personalized, consistent, engaging employee onboarding for each and every new hire if they utilize the right employee onboarding software to unify the process across their entire organization. Here are some features of onboarding software that you’ll want to look out for:

  • Integration with your existing HR systems and ATS, so each new hire is automatically launched into the appropriate onboarding experience
  • Powerful logic to automatically guide the onboarding pathway of new hires, according to their role, location, language, demographics, and responses to questions and forms
  • “Just-in-time” nudges, and virtual coaching content to make onboarding easy for remote managers and keep them on track
  • Engagement heat maps, to identify drop-offs in manager engagement during the onboarding journey
  • The ability to control and easily edit all onboarding journeys from a single location, including updating information or uploading new materials
  •  Built-in feedback, scoring, and engagement tracking mechanisms, which will alert you when engagement drops off, and grant you insight into the onboarding progress for new hires (even if they are on the other side of the world!)
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And that’s just the start!

Are you a large organization trying to nail down the answer of how to keep onboarding personalized, consistent, and engaging despite growing so fast you’re busting at the seams? Book a demo of our best-in-class employee onboarding software and discover just how much better your organization will perform on every level, no matter how big you get.