How Ogilvy Digitized Their Onboarding Journey

Case Study 


Ogilvy is a global advertising and communication business inspiring brands and people to impact the world.

Engagement with onboarding process in the past 12 months:


of employees


of managers


of buddies

⚙️ Challenge

“People have high expectations of joining Ogilvy,” says Marissa Wild, national head of learning & development and change manager at Ogilvy South Africa. In South Africa alone, Ogilvy employs about 550 permanent employees, with 15-25 new joiners each month.

What was the new hire experience like? How did employees transition from the recruitment phase to onboarding? According to Marissa, the communications were transactional at best, and nonexistent at worst.

💬 “We'd send them a few policies and then day one, they’d arrive and, depending on where they land in the business, they'd have a great first day experience. Some people didn't. The worst for me was when I was engaging with people and they said, ‘Ogilvy is such an amazing business. But my first impression was, have I done the right thing?’ And that was what we were looking to solve for.”

Not only was the “wow” factor inconsistent, but the entire onboarding process was manual and antiquated – involving lots of emails, attachments, scanning paperwork, etc.

💡 The Insight

What Ogilvy needed was a standard, easy way of onboarding every new employee that focused on building human connection. That’s where TalentSmith and Enboarder come in. TalentSmith is a global implementation partner that helped Ogilvy successfully deploy the Enboarder solution.

“When COVID hit, everybody was doing in-room onboarding. Everything was person-to-person, and then everybody had to work remotely. So now how do we transform our in-person onboarding to something that's digitized, that can be delivered remotely or in a hybrid setting?” says Verna Agenbag, client success lead at TalentSmith.

One of the goals of the project was to move everything from paper to digital. This would ensure the onboarding journey is consistent across locations and offices.

Finally, Enboarder helped Ogilvy rethink new hire communications to become more of a drip feed of fun, engaging content people could interact with on the go and on their own time.

👑 The Results

In just two months, the team launched a successful new onboarding experience. “The beauty of this product is that it has a lot of templates,” says Marissa. So the new, automated journey was easily replicated for the Ogilvy graduate program, which kicks off annually in February.

In the last year, 75% of all employees have engaged in the platform. Further, 53% of hiring managers have used the tool and 76% of buddies are engaged in building critical connections with new hires.

Now new hires get excited about Ogilvy’s culture way before day one with fun questionnaires and even videos from hiring managers. “Our managers are loving this one. Most of them are recording videos of themselves and sending it to the new hire,” says Marissa.

Stakeholders across the business have quickly embraced the Enboarder tool. “It makes the L&D and HR team look like rock stars,” says Marissa. Managers appreciate how Enboarder “takes out all the guesswork” through simple, automated prompts.

Now with the right tools and processes in place, Ogilvy is delivering on the amazing employee experience candidates expect from such an iconic brand.

It's your turn to discover better human connections!