Onboarding humans (like humans)

Illustration 19 07/02/2024

Homo Sapiens. We’re social animals. And work is a social institution. So why aren’t more onboarding strategies tapping into the power of human connectivity to help engage and retain new starters? 

We all form long-term relationships at work. Colleagues we’ll network with throughout our whole careers. Workmates who’ll become close friends. Some of us will even meet our future spouse – (it’s estimated that in the UK, one in five of us meet our partner at work). 

Being able to build strong relationships and friendships at work is key to both performance and retention (and with 25% of new employees leaving a job within the first year, improving retention is vital). A multi-year research initiative by the Gallup Organisation set out to find the key factors that unified organisations with the best employee retention, customer metrics, productivity, and profitability. One of the key 12 factors they identified? “I have a best friend at work”.

Connections that drive retention

How powerful, then, to have an onboarding platform where new starters can interact with each other, and with your people through both instant messaging and social tools.

One particular big British bank (who uses the Eli Onboarding system) discovered just how powerful this was recently, when real-time dashboard MI flagged over 8,000 hits on their graduate instant messaging page in less than 4 months, as new starters sent messages to their line managers, buddies and each other.

What’s more, through Eli's social wall, the graduates forged even stronger links, discussing everything from finding accommodation, to arranging meeting up. And all before they’d even started work. Dropout fell dramatically.

A personalised experience

Such connectivity is only one strand of onboarding humans. The second key strand is personalisation. Frequently, the onboarding process can become a series of checklists – of forms to be filled in, and processes to be followed. All too often, the fact that there’s a human at the centre of it all – someone who needs to be engaged, informed and enthused, is lost.

Delivering an experience that not only leverages the power of your employer brand, with engaging content that enthuses and excites – but also delivers very specific information about the new starter’s own office, own team, and own first 90 days can all help to make sure your potential new joiner does actually start. And that when they do, they are informed, confident, and ready to begin adding value to your business right away.

Once again, an onboarding experience that uses the right platform can achieve all these goals – as Rolls-Royce found when they used one to power their global online experience. They did this across their entire business in over 50 different countries – and still had the capacity to personalise the experience so that each user got the information exactly relevant to them.

By treating each person as an individual, Rolls-Royce saw huge rises in their Net Promoter Score, with joining experience now rated at +52 and the company at +73. That’s the power of a human approach to onboarding.

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