ASX-listed Scentre Group runs and operates over 40 Westfield shopping centres in Australia and New Zealand, hiring over 600 staff per year.
Afroditi Sebastian, Organisation Development Consultant, found the company's new hires were subject to highly inconsistent onboarding experiences. This was partly due to the geographic spread of the group's operations, which meant that new hires in NSW got face-to-face induction days at their support office, while new staff in other states and regions were onboarded individually by regional or local managers.
“Onboarding was very ad-hoc, we would wait until we had enough new starters to warrant an induction day and then invite the new hires to spend ¾ of a day in a room whilst we ran through everything they needed to know. Some of the new hires found most of the content irrelevant as they had already been at the company for 2 months, and others found the day to be overwhelming.”
“We also didn’t invite new employees from other states, or remote workers to these induction days and relied on their managers to induct them. This meant that they often didn’t get a proper company induction.”
The reliance on managers to arrange the onboarding experience was taking its toll on new hires.
“We did a manual survey after the induction day and often got negative feedback. The ones that stuck out were; not having a login or a phone, the content in the induction being irrelevant and managers being on holiday or not expecting them when they arrived.”
Scentre Group knew they needed to support their managers to improve the onboarding experience.
“We were left wondering how to get our managers to step up and be more involved, but we knew they didn’t have a framework of support to actually do that.”
Being in retail, Scentre Group typically hire over 200 casual staff over the Christmas period which exacerbated these issues further.
“Our Christmas casuals are opportunities for us to look for permanent staff, so we know we need to make a good impression! On top of that, these hires need to be ready to go faster than any other because they are in and out. They need to know where they are meant to be, understand compliance and be fully trained before they start, and we had no way to do this.”
Scentre Group brought on Enboarder to manage the entire onboarding process and communications with managers, new hires and other business stakeholders. They also integrate Enboarder with PeopleSoft, their HRIS, so as to automate kick off the onboarding experience as soon as a new hire signs their contract.
“We realised that communication was the key issue, both with managers and also with the new employees. Now that we had a solution to easily manage all of this, we decided to completely rethink how we approach onboarding.”
“We mapped out the entire journey including recruitment, pre-boarding, welcome, orientation and team inductions and worked out where we could automate manual business processes that would get lost, forgotten or left to the last minute.”
“We also set up manager coaching which guides all our managers through the best practice framework we created feeding the managers guidance, prompts and information to help make the welcome more personalised and to help facilitate that good relationship.”
Scentre Group also kicked off pre-boarding for the first time.
“Prior to day one, we now communicate with new hires to get them excited and ready to hit the ground running! We never used to communicate with new employees before their start date. Now we communicate at least 2.5 weeks before. This means we can introduce them to who we are as a company and get to know a little more about them before they arrive, get them excited about our values and purpose and help them feel less anxious about day one."
Realising just how important the day one experience was, they even decided to have dedicated Regional Induction Champions to own the experience in their respective regions.
“We also made someone in each region an ‘induction champ’. Their role is to coordinate the ‘day one experience’ which involves an educational centre tour that goes over new developments, and teaches them how different parts of the business contribute to the day to day runnings of the business. On this day we also hold an informal breakfast with a host and we invite their managers and other new starters to attend. This helps them build a network of new starters to befriend. Then finally we give new starters a gift card and let them finish early to do as they wish."
Scentre Group have completely revamped their employee onboarding experience. They are now undertaking provisioning tasks on a just-in-time basis, and delivering the appropriate content during the moments that matter.
“We have had great feedback from new starters and they have mentioned they feel less anxious and more comfortable throughout the journey and prior to day one. What’s more is not only has the feedback been consistently wonderful, we are now able to gather data we could never gather before for ENPS and feedback on all parts of the new hire journey.”
Scentre Group can now be certain that all their managers are fully prepared and engaged in the onboarding process.
“From the platform, we can see that our manager engagement is amazing and we know that the new experience has made our managers feel very supported and more confident in onboarding their new hires. Now we know that our onboarding experience is consistently good no matter where you are, when you start or who your manager is.”
“Enboarder is designed in such a way that it changes the way you think - from process to strategy and experience. It gets rid of processes and gets you thinking creatively about new hire and manager journeys. We basically designed a best case scenario and it is all managed virtually for us. It was just what we needed. We actually won the internal innovation award for this project!”