Blog Post

    A year in review: 10 HR onboarding questions we answered in 2020

    It is with a mixture of pride and gratitude that I write this final blog of 2020. Pride for all that has been accomplished, and gratitude that this nightmare year is finally over!

    We’ve hosted 13 onboarding webinars, released more than 20 pieces of onboarding content from whitepapers to checklists and beyond, and written countless onboarding blog articles. Throughout, we’ve received many excellent questions from all of you that have pushed us in new directions and challenged our teams to expand their onboarding knowledge.


    Today I’d like to take a look back at 10 of the most illuminating onboarding questions we’ve received from our subscribers & clients throughout 2020, and of course, our answers!

    1. Do you have good examples of how to leverage new hire feedback to improve the onboarding process?

    Our answer:
    Gathering feedback from staff who have recently completed their onboarding is an excellent way to continuously improve your new hire journey.

    We recommend conducting a comprehensive survey at the conclusion of onboarding to dive into what worked and what didn’t. A good tip here is to go anonymous. That way new hires will be more likely to provide truthful input without fear of repercussions.

    It’s also a great idea to look at gathering real-time feedback at key new hire milestones throughout the onboarding process, such as after the first day, week, and month (this has the added benefit of allowing HR to ‘course correct’ if there are any problems).

    QMARK 2. Due to COVID, we do a lot of online orientation activities but we tend to see the same people interacting. How can we make these more inclusive and open for more reserved employees?

    Our answer:
    First of all, don’t assume that more reserved people aren’t getting something out of a session just because they aren’t vocal.

    However, it is good to consider utilizing different styles of activities, mixing and matching larger and smaller groups. This may encourage more introverted employees to speak up but is also good in general for keeping things fresh.

    If in doubt, ask your employees what they think is missing from your online new hire orientation activities!

    QMARK 3. How do you measure new hire time-to-productivity?

    Our answer:
    Decreasing new hire time-to-productivity is one of the most important indicators of a successful onboarding process, but to be able to measure this effectively, you first need to define what ‘peak productivity’ means to your organization.

    Once you have this, set goals for when you want new hires to hit peak productivity and utilize your managers to monitor this by declaring a full productivity date. Recording this across your different departments will give you a baseline - at which point you can start experimenting with different techniques to shorten your time-to-productivity curve. 

    For example, if your onboardees are taking too long to be productive, you could consider adding some short video training sessions into your new hire journey at strategic intervals and see if this improves your metric. 


    QMARK 4. Our onboarding program only covers the first week. How can we extend this?

    Our answer:
    A one-and-done onboarding program is something we come across often and, whilst not UNhelpful, really only equips a new hire with the most basic of tools to be job-ready.

    If you’re expanding your new hire process beyond week 1 for the first time, we recommend meeting with managers and heads of department to map onboarding tasks to job milestones. This will ensure that the content you are creating is relevant to an onboardee and not simply information for the sake of it.

    QMARK 5. We usually lose grip on new hires after the first few weeks. Should we pass on the responsibility of onboarding from this point on to managers?

    Our answer:
    Yes and no. Managers are a crucial part of onboarding. They help execute HR’s onboarding vision, underscore the organization’s commitment to new employees, and ultimately drive new hire productivity and engagement.

    But they are only 1 of many onboarding stakeholders. For a streamlined, consistent approach, HR needs to be in the driver’s seat acting as facilitators and empowering managers with the right tools and direction.

    So by all means, hand things over to your managers, but not completely, make sure you still have one hand on the wheel!

    QMARK 6. How much work goes into setting up a new onboarding process?

    Our answer:
    It’s true, there is a lot of groundwork that goes into setting up an effective onboarding process. The exact amount of time will vary depending on the size of your organization and the strength and resources of your project team.

    But keep in mind that long-term, a streamlined onboarding journey will minimize HR workload, eliminate much of the tedious new hire admin, and help to create much more engaged, productive employees who stay longer.

    QMARK 7. Do you recognize new hires being less motivated when they start at home? And how can we turn that around?

    Our answer:
    Now more than ever, with so many of us working from home, HR departments do need to be mindful of how easy it is to lose motivation without good social & structural support.

    Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to tackle low new hire motivation, from managing admin in the preboarding period, to drip-feeding need-to-know content during orientation.

    QMARK 8. Video content is becoming more prevalent during onboarding. Do you have any tips for someone who doesn’t have a lot of experience creating video content?

    Our answer:
    The human brain is wired in such a way that makes us much more likely to retain information presented in video, over any other format - so it makes a lot of sense to invest in video-based content to impart key information during the new hire lifecycle.

    Luckily, there are many free tools available such as Animoto, which offer intuitive, drag-and-drop video-editing with pre-styled templates for even the most inexperienced user.

    Keep in mind that you don’t need a big budget and flashy visuals to create an engaging video - in fact, sometimes a more low-fi approach filmed on your trusty smartphone can make for an even more personal impression.

    QMARK 9. How technical do you need to be to work with digital onboarding software?

    Our answer:
    That entirely depends on the software - and not all onboarding software is created equal.

    Many have intuitive interfaces. Others do not. Some require buy-in from your IT team to help out with the tech heavy-lifting. Others are designed to help HR be self-sufficient.

    We recommend doing your research when choosing a digital onboarding solution to ensure your provider is the perfect fit for your needs.

    QMARK 10. How can you ‘sell’ your organization to new hires without losing your authenticity?

    Our answer:
    The most important thing here is to be truthful - don’t sell an organizational culture that isn’t true to you.

    Consider interviewing your existing employees for real testimonials that you can share with new hires.

    If you’re unhappy with the current state of your company culture, then try talking about where you see your company culture in the future, and what you’re doing to get there.

    The Takeaway?

    Whether you joined us for a marathon or only a moment, we want to say “thank you” for tuning in to Talmundo this year.

    We’ve enjoyed each and every interaction and sincerely hope that we’ve been able to deliver something that has helped you with your onboarding journey.

    We look forward to a jam-packed new year with a whole host of educational, insightful content designed to make onboarding bigger, better, and more impactful.

    See you in 2021!

    Want even more fun, educational onboarding content? Join our community for regular updates and free resources!

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    Topics: Onboarding , Featured
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