Blog Post

    REINVENT employee onboarding for a post-pandemic future of work

    Editor notes: This blog article has been updated on February 6, 2023

    Employee onboarding has changed in the wake of the global pandemic. Organizations globally are struggling to adapt their new hire processes to support remote working norms, retain recruits amidst the great resignation and encourage healthy mental health practices

    And many are succeeding! But like every challenge, there is a big difference between getting it done, and getting it right.

    Every company onboards. A few employ modern strategies to engage and inspire onboardees throughout the new hire journey. Many utilize a series of orientation activities and checkbox training modules. And 24% have no formal process in place, relying on existing staff to show new hires the ropes, which in a post-pandemic workplace is an easy way to ensure your newest hire walks right back out the door they came in.

    Barriers-to-onboarding-graphSource: Allied Workforce Mobility Survey: Onboarding and Retention

    Regardless of where your company sits - the first step towards world-class onboarding in 2023 is to REINVENT your processes for a post-pandemic future of work.

    What does ‘reinvent your onboarding’ mean?

    We’re talking about taking what you’ve done in the past, and turning it on its head with fresh, engaging ideas.

    Start building strong onboarding stories, tailored to your new hires’ needs. Start creating journeys that are experience-based, content-driven and consistently delivered across different departments and locations.

    Why reinvent?

    Easy. Because the game has changed and your employees need MORE than they did in the past. And besides the positive emotional impact it will have on your employees, good onboarding makes great business sense

    Companies with best-in-class onboarding programs retain up to 91% of first-year employees - compared to 30% at organizations with poor or informal programs.

    Additionally, new hires that experience great onboarding become productive 34% faster, and are 33% more engaged than their (n)onboarded counterparts.

    How do we reinvent?

    When it comes to good onboarding, a digital-first, content-conscious approach that puts experience at the forefront is the best way to go in 2023.

    Why? Because that’s what your new hires want:

    Digital-first employee onboarding means building an onboarding process with technology at its core that will future-proof your journey, allowing all types of employees (in-office, remote, hybrid) to participate.

    Being content-conscious means thinking carefully about the way communication has changed in the workplace. On average, we spend 6 hours and 37 minutes every day engaging with digital content, and when that content is poorly written or designed, users tune out. Providing your onboardees with well-crafted inspiring stories, video introductions from key company influencers and compelling testimonials from existing staff will give their role context within your organization and lend humanity to a process that can otherwise feel disconnected.

    Putting experience at the forefront means treating your employee onboarding process as a journey toward personal success, rather than a series of compliance box ticks. It means thinking laterally about how your new hires will engage with your organization in their first weeks and months on the job, and exploring how HR can make that process easier and more enjoyable.

    Start by taking stock. You know the saying - there’s no need to ‘reinvent the wheel’. It’s likely that many of the pieces of your onboarding puzzle already exist within your company - they may just be hidden, under-utilized or due for a face-lift.

    1. Building a strong onboarding story

    Think about the kind of story you want to tell your new hires and visualize how that story could be told at each stage of the onboarding journey.

    Start from the ground up:

    Identify the tone of your journey.
    What do you want it to feel like? Professional? Casual? Somewhere in-between?
    Ask your existing hires what they would want to know if they could re-onboard at your company. What content do they wish they had been given?
    Break big pieces of content like manuals and long-form training, into bite-sized chunks and drip-feed them throughout the onboarding timeline.
    Think about how your brand plays into this. Is everything in your brand style? Does it LOOK good?
    What are the unspoken rules of your company? How do you convey these?
    Will you talk about the pandemic and how your organization responded? How much of the COVID-19 dialogue will become part of your company's story?


    When reinventing your onboarding story, keep this in mind from a recent ThriveMap survey into employee satisfaction:
    48% of workers left their job because it didn't align with their expectations’

    In a highly competitive market, companies are doing everything they can to attract top talent, sometimes even being less than transparent about their company culture and the nature of the role they’re offering.

    It’s a short-sighted strategy that will ultimately cost you when that talent walks right back out the door - so set clear expectations and be honest.

    2. Tailoring your journey

    Next, we need to think about how to personalize your journey. Not every new hire needs the same things at the same time, so you need a strategy in place that can effectively deliver different information to different people at the relevant moment.

    Consider the following:

    Is your onboarding content
    available in multiple languages?

    Can you filter out information that is not relevant
    to your new hire? Or does every onboardee
    get the same package?
    Can you involve your new hire in the process?
    Have them film a video introduction before
    they start, so the team can get excited
    about their arrival.
    Is your journey reciprocal?
    Can your new hire provide feedback
    on their experiences throughout
    the onboarding timeline?
    How does a new hire ask questions? Directly
    with HR? Through an FAQ portal?
    Maybe you need a Q&A chatbot?
    Does your onboarding involve
    your new hires’ key contacts? Do they have
    a buddy? A mentor? Manager support?
    Will you create content specific to in-office, hybrid and remote employees?
    Will you offer mental health support as part of your process? Will this be confidential? How will new hires access this securely?

    Personalizing your journey ensures new hires aren’t overwhelmed with information that isn’t relevant to them, and creating a two-way dialogue will allow you to make adjustments and identify areas where you can improve.

    3. Delivering consistency across different departments, locations and employee types

    Lastly, it’s time to consider how you will deploy your onboarding journey across different departments, locations and employee types.

    44% of HR Managers believe the biggest obstacle to effective onboarding is inconsistencies in application throughout their organization - so this one’s important!

    Think of it as personalization on a bigger scale:

    Do you have different onboarding journeys for different departments? If not, why not?
    Will EVERYTHING be digital? Or will you incorporate in-person moments too? How will this work for remote and hybrid employees?
    Are heads of departments involved in the onboarding journey? Do they have content that is specific to their team members that you could use?
    Are there site-specific questions for your different offices? Do you need to compile a Q&A list to preempt these questions in advance?
    Is each office using the same branded templates? Or are they mixing, matching and causing confusion? Can you standardize this?
    How do you gauge the effectiveness of your onboarding across different locations? Is everyone using the same indicators?
    How will you gauge the effectiveness of your onboarding across different employee types (in-office, remote, hybrid). Is your measurement for success the same for all 3?
    Who manages a remote employee’s onboarding? Their closest HR rep? A global rep? Their manager?

    Consistency is the key here. You want your onboarding to be in sync across all teams and locations. So think about how you can centralize your resources and ensure that everyone is on the same page.

    The takeaway?

    Reinvention doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a dedicated HR team, a lot of thought and no shortage of creativity. 

    It’s also only one part of the puzzle. First, you REINVENT your journey. Then you AUTOMATE your process and finally, you gather insights to ELEVATE your business.

    Remember, best-in-class employee onboarding looks like this:

    A digital-first, content-conscious experience that is personalized to the onboardee and consistent throughout your company.

    We’ve spent more than 10 years helping the world's leading enterprise companies reinvent their employee onboarding. 

    And we’re here to help you too.

    Book a call with Talmundo CTA

    Topics: Onboarding , Featured
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