Onboarding is a dilemma. Your new hire has spent an incredible amount of time and energy moving from nervous candidate to excited employee. Onboarding seems to reverse the process and move the employee from excited back to nervous.
New hires are naturally full of questions. What are the details of my compensation plan? What happens if I have a bad quarter? Who is the Top Gun salesperson and how to I get to know what they are doing? How much product knowledge do I need and how long before I really know it? What is the training like? Is there a ton of paperwork? What will my co-workers be like? Who is my manager’s manager? What is the cafeteria like?
The company should also have questions. How can I make the best use of the new hire’s talents? What does the new hire need to succeed? Who can mentor the new hire past those first few ‘honeymoon’ months? How do we develop a training strategy that uses Dr. Practice as the best teacher, and saves The Presenter for anytime and anyplace?
Onboarding today has not really changed from the way it was done yesterday. You go to a conference room. You hear horror stories about The Importance of Security. You fill out forms and more forms. You get to know the person in HR who may also be the last person you see if you are … .
Digital technology and Social eLearning can change the equation. It can enable the excitement that the new hire felt grow and increase. It can take the cognitive materials and make them interesting, and make the behavioral know-how real and compelling.
Using a program that I pioneered at IBM and several other large corporations, recent new hires, using Flipcams, record short webcasts of their experiences with everything from company policy for computer use to the choosing the best food in the cafeteria.
These are posted on the web, along with ALL the forms and other materials the new hires are usually required to sign during their first day onboarding meeting. Any additional lectures or important presentations can also be posted on the New Hire Site.
That first real meeting is an Onboarding Celebration for the new hires. The goal is to increase their excitement, having answered most of their questions online, and provide a moment in time to envision their future contributions, hear stories about other successful new hires, and learn more about stretch goals, rewards and compensation. The old sales expression “You only get one chance to make a great first impression” is true for your new hires.
You only get one big chance to get a new hire totally jazzed about making an important contribution to ‘their’ company or going out there and closing a big sale. After you miss that chance, that it happens incrementally, slowly with every success and at every yearly performance or sales meeting.
With the new social learning model for onboarding, imagine sending those new hires out there totally pumped, ready to jump in and go where very few new employees have ever gone before …