Compliments of
Dimitris Kalogeropoylos
via Flickr

An effective onboarding program begins at pre-board—with the first impressions companies make. Some things that I still remember are the personal touches: like the potted flower in my hotel room and the basket of fresh baked goods sitting on the credenza.

Interviewing is as much about a candidate deciding whether they want a company as it is a company making their final choice. Small considerations that demonstrate concern may outweigh the more unsavory aspects of work—like location or commute time. A culture of people centeredness and continual outreach can override perceived inconvenience. The following may help candidates decide whether your company is a fit, and retain them once they start work.

Pre-hire engagement. Between offer acceptance and start of employment, most workers are left in the dark. High-tech means to engage new recruits include a personalized video featuring  teammates (e.g., via Skype, Zoom, or YouTube). A three-dimensional experience and “face” help to establish community before employees ever set foot on the premises. Proprietary virtual worlds (in programs like Second Life® (SL)) enable recruits to interact prior to their start date. In a virtual representation SL “guides” can give recruits a virtual tour—replete with point-and-click markers that display an explanation of company history, and a pre-board orientation to policy that’s accessible 24/7. Virtual worlds may be especially suited for expatriates (or for employees who work primarily online). Companies with a presence in Second Life include Adidas, Dell, Sun Microsystems, Ben & Jerry’s, Autodesk, and American Apparel. A welcome wagon of sorts can help stave off an initial feeling of “misfit” for new hires.

Onboarding packet. Materials communicated pre-hire can include a link to the company intranet, with messages from people who perform a similar job. Posted messages might be responses such as “The Ten Things I Wish I had Known before I Started at Company X.” Packets may also contain an explanation of benefits, a personal welcome note from the employee’s manager, an organizational chart, and teammates’ bio sheets.

Mentoring. Once recruits begin at work, a more formal guide, or “mentor,” should be assigned to illuminate the unspoken knowns of firm culture. Mentors act as sounding boards or “go tos” for Q&A, liaisons between recruits and other people to whom they are indirectly connected, and buddies who help them navigate the organizational terrain. DQ calls its mentors “Blizzard Buddies,” or experienced employees who give DQ recruits the feeling of family at work. Mentors provide employees with “big picture” understanding of what transpires behind the scenes and a sense of how their job impacts other functions within the company. Effective mentorship continues past the probationary period.

Training. Employees should receive training in both the technical aspects of their job, and in the not-so-apparent soft skills which are crucial to their success. Emotional intelligence components of empathy, civility, integrity, active listening, self-awareness, the ability to “read” other people, altruism, self-control, character, and organizational citizenship can directly affect success at work. People arrive in different stages of their self-evolution and may require coaching to successfully integrate within the company fabric.




Share |

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

Comments are moderated.

Comments are closed.