So I’m looking for a restaurant. I bring up my phone, hold it up in front of me, and scan what’s around. It tells me that 1.2 miles over that way there is a Thai place that is rated week, or 0.65 miles the other way there is a BBQ place that everyone loves. I tap the screen and up come reviews. I think that I’m headed to a pulled pork sandwich.
So it’s my first day on the job. I’m lucky today – my cubicle, phone and laptop are all ready for me. My manager takes me to lunch, and I get introduced to the team. HR conducts orientation and I enroll in benefits. Someone comes over and tells the the 10 people I should really meet at some point, and someone else drops 10 large binders on my desk to review. Not so lucky after all.
Every manager is fully aware of long ramp up times for new employees as they adapt to a new culture, business processes, and team members. For some roles, the ramp up period can be as short as a month, for other more technical roles 18 months is not unheard of. Not only is there a need to decrease the ramp up period for productivity reasons, but the employee experience suffers as s/he struggles to navigate the new workplace. While onboarding is the realm of HR practitioners, start-up and time to productivity is the realm of the manager, a well thought out social onboarding approach can integrate the two needs and accelerate tasks while engaging the new employee. Tasks that happen informally in the current state of a business could be put to a “gamified” experience where new employees win points or badges as they accomplish a set of activities. The simple activities could be making sure benefit enrollments are performed and going to the employee orientation. But informal meetings, like having lunch with their manager and other team members, can be awarded. Going a step further, creating a network of links in the internal social enterprise site can be encouraged, and getting to know other members of the staff beyond the employee’s core team will help the employee connect broadly in ways that may help their work in the not so immediate future. Having a manager spend 15 minutes before their employee arrives noting who would be important to meet can make the employee onboarding experience less an outcome of luck and more a planned activity.
Gaming experiences can also be applied to onboarding.
- Imagine if the employee could show up on their first day, download an app to their phone and take a guided tour of the office.
- A new group of employees could be treated to an office scavenger hunt to familiarize them with people, places, and departments.
- New hires could compete against each other in cross functional teams from different departments to get familiar with document management systems, company products and services, policies and procedures.
- The mentoring experience could be converted to a series of interactions for which bot hthe new employee and the mentor can be rewarded.
- At the end of the virtual onboarding experience, the employee has connected with their teams, people from other departments, they know where to find work related documents and administrative documents.
Onboarding and speed to productivity is something that most companies know is a problem, but continue to allow employees to grow in the organization organically. Not only is there an opportunity to better manage the interactions that are known to create positive impact, but these interactions can be made fun. An employee’s first day should be fun – it should be an expression of what the employee can expect for the rest of their career there. It should be immersed in learning and discovering, accelerating the time it takes to bing productive and a full fledged member of the team. SHouldn’t this one be a no-brainer?