Planning for Growth: How Domain implemented an experience-driven multi-team onboarding strategy

Case StudyMedia

Domain Group provide property advertising and media online via mobile, social media and in magazines, and technology services to the real estate industry, and have more than 700 employees across Australia.

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The Problem

When Domain Group separated from Fairfax Media in 2017 there was no real structured program in place for onboarding. The business was relying solely on hiring managers to own the process.

Wanting to provide a consistent onboarding experience for all new starters, the Employee Experience team moved to a manual spreadsheet-managed process that involved emails, manual confirmations and a physical welcome handbook for new hires.

“The logistics of delivering a good onboarding experience were overwhelming, we had new hires starting all the time on different days and no visibility over what had been sent to them or what had already been organised. The spreadsheet was supposed to be tracking these things - but keeping it up to date involved a lot of manual follow ups and new hires were falling through the cracks.”

Understanding the need to streamline the process, they started digitising onboarding, introducing a single intranet-style landing page to supplement the spreadsheet-managed process. This was intended as a one-stop destination for new hires, with the goal of making the process easier.

“Introducing the static page didn’t do anything to improve the experience as new starters would simply be sent a link and it would be left to them to navigate the high volume of information contained there. The new starters were not absorbing, or engaging with, the information.”

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Challenge one - supporting managers during rapid growth

As Domain Group grew from 200 to 700 employees in under two years, there was a strong emphasis on ensuring new starters were onboarded effectively and engaged within the business.

“Like in any business, some managers were great leaders who were invested in onboarding, but our rapid growth meant we also had first time managers who needed more support while they developed as leaders so they could do the best for their teams.”

Challenge two - great employee experience as the ultimate goal

“We had challenges around consistency and that was a focus, but overall we wanted to make our onboarding experiences great for our new hires.”

Aware of how critical the first 90 days are for new hires in terms of employee engagement and retention. The initial goal for the Employee Experience team was to deliver consistent and automated onboarding, but ultimately a great employee experience.

“We looked at other workflow tools, like ServiceNow, but Enboarder offered much better ease of use for the administrator and we loved how clean and simple the notifications and content delivery was. Enboarder provides a look and feel that is truly experience driven and user centric, beyond what the traditional systems could offer. There are other systems that can send a workflow, but they don’t offer the same seamless user experience for the administrators, managers and new hires.” 

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The Solution

Domain is now using Enboarder for onboarding nationally, and helping new hires know how to succeed at Domain.

Most teams have concurrent onboarding workflows with specific business unit content. For example, each sales team has a workflow to cover product and system knowledge to help get them up and running in their markets. This online learning is supplemented by face-to-face training.

The Employee Experience team were looking for a solution that delivered information at exactly the right time, rather than overwhelming new hires with a flood of information at once, as the original intranet portal did.

“We wanted to prompt managers at the appropriate times to ensure they were getting the support they needed without interrupting their day.”

Domain’s Employee Experience team are in the process of integrating their HRIS Cornerstone with Enboarder to automatically trigger the onboarding experience for managers and new hires each time a new staff member signs their letter of offer.

“We want to be able to hit the ‘hire’ button and for the process to be completely digital and automated from that point on.”

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The Results

“After implementing Enboarder we are consistently getting 95% positive scores from our new starter surveys.”

Domain has onboarded 283 new hires in the past 12 months and their employee NPS scores are extremely strong at 83 for that same time period, as they can now consistently deliver a great experience.

“Enboarder has helped us improve employee experience levels more broadly - when people are engaged as they walk in the door that sets us up well in the long run.”

In terms of cost savings and efficiencies, using Enboarder enabled the Domain Employee Experience team to re-allocate the headcount of the person who was previously managing the manual onboarding process, focusing the role on other value-adding activities in the team.

“We can now collect real time feedback directly from new hires at key touchpoints in their onboarding process, and that allows us to iterate on the workflows and follow up with people directly if there’s a problem we can fix.”

Here’s what some of Domain’s new hires said about their onboarding experience:

“Loved the balloons and welcome message on my desk for my first day. Met everyone and got the office tour so felt comfortable and familiar with the internal procedures and other staff from the first day. Loved the structured induction schedule, and the buddy system.”

“The ability to have all your technology on day one and be live in the system is amazing”

“...the lead up to the first day was great, knowing a lot of forms and things were out of the way and having a better understanding of what to expect was really good. My manager has been great at setting up an induction plan to meet my peers and slowly get on top of the product and the strategy."

“Everything has been really good. On my first day I got a brand new macbook, security card (working!), and all the access sorted that I need so far. That's really impressive! I sent a photo to my friends and told them I've never seen something like that. Excellent onboarding experience!”

“I really appreciate that Domain took the effort to "get to know me" before I started and really went the extra mile to use the information I provided to make my first day special”

“With onboarding, it’s about starting small and making it happen. Your onboarding process is never finished, people change and businesses change and your onboarding needs to move with that flow.”

Domain has onboarded 283 new hires in the past 12 months and their employee NPS scores are extremely strong at 83 for that same time period, as they can now consistently deliver a great experience.

“Enboarder is so incredibly easy to use, I recently taught the platform to a new staff member and it only took two hours and he’s now setting up workflows. At the end of the day, Enboarder has allowed us to deliver that consistently-great new starter experience and it makes your HR team look like champions.”