onboarding experience

Spring Cleaning, HR Style: Time to Renew the Onboarding Experience

The early days of the COVID-19 crisis presented companies with the opportunity to make exponential changes to support the dynamic nature of the employee experience. In a short time, organizations accelerated digital transformation. They co-created new career paths with employees. And many employers implemented flexible work schedules. Some teams even enacted four-day workweeks. In what seemed like an overnight development, the world of work changed. In many ways, for the better: 90 percent of employers say that their employees banded together as a result.

Now vaccines are becoming more available, and some sense of prior normalcy is starting to return. So leaders must continue to push existing boundaries. Not only for current employees but also the new wave of people joining the workforce. Over 25 percent of companies plan to hire at higher volumes than before the pandemic. Another 20 percent anticipate hiring at the same pre-pandemic rates. So there is a lot of onboarding on the horizon. With that comes another opportunity: To create a great experience from the start.

For HR teams and hiring managers, it’s time to embrace spring cleaning ideology. Specifically, it’s time to dust off the onboarding experience—and revamp it for the new world of work.

The Onboarding Experience Needs a New Shine

The onboarding experience is an integral part of the overall employee experience. Done well, it can set the trajectory for company success. In fact, organizations with effective onboarding have 33 percent more engaged employees than organizations with ineffective onboarding. And 70 percent of executives believe that employee engagement is critical to company success. Creating a positive experience out of the gate provides the road map for employees to be more productive. Ultimately, it increases the value and profitability of the organization.

However, many organizations haven’t done a good job of creating this positive onboarding experience. Eighty-eight percent of employees don’t think their organization onboards well. As a result, ineffective onboarding increases employee turnover within the first year of employment. Poor onboarding also decreases engagement for employees who stick around. Even worse, disengaged employees who do stay risk spreading unhappiness to others.

With the high-projected hiring rate for 2021 and a highly competitive job market, leaders don’t have time to deal with the outcomes of poor onboarding.

What’s the Cleaning Solution for This Mess?

To clean up the mess, employers must reimagine the most basic principles of the onboarding process: enablement materials. It is no longer possible to hand employees a stack of materials on their first day and send them on their way. Besides, the information in those documents might become out of date in a matter of days! Plus, the modern employee will expect more than a stack of papers.

How much more?

Digital capabilities have significantly increased the frequency and number of communications buzzing around. So much so that many of us (especially new employees) feel overwhelmed with the amount of input received. So it will be necessary for employers to simplify the experience wherever possible, starting with creating a concise set of onboarding materials. After all, any attempt to get up to speed quickly creates a chaotic environment for new hires. And it happens during a vulnerable—and stressful—time. Leaders should be looking for modern content tools that create consistency for users. Specifically, they should focus on trimming down the various content formats (one-pagers, presentations, emails, PDFs, etc.) to a single multimedia experience.

The Key to Onboarding Today: Providing Interactive Rich Content

Additionally, employers must pack enablement materials with rich content. Yes, traditional tools have been limiting. But today, leaders can leverage interactive content technology. These tools allow creators to access built-in design tools, making it easier to combine assets from multiple sources. No-code builders enable individuals without mastery in copywriting, design, or development to deliver an engaging onboarding experience. Everyone in the company can have the power to create materials rather than relying on a specialized team.

Onboarding materials should invite employees to engage the same way they interact with other digital content. Additionally, employers should leverage embedded assessments, quizzes, and access to related resources to give employees a better opportunity to digest and apply new information to the job in a format already known to them. After all, the more engaged new employees are, the more likely they are to contribute to the company’s success.

Renewing the Onboarding Experience

Companies have invested heavily in improving the employee experience in the past—and the innovation shouldn’t stop now. To compete well for top talent, employers must dig deep to keep innovative ideas coming. Sure, it would be easier to simply continue with traditional processes. But with the new wave of modern employees coming, dusty onboarding content won’t cut it.

To quickly contribute, employees must feel engaged from day one. They need a positive employee experience, starting with access to interactive and immersive content to help guide their onboarding journey. When companies get this right, they reap the rewards of a more engaged and committed workforce now—and in the future.