Early Engagement: Onboarding that Creates a Consistent New Hire Experience

Support employee engagement with a meaningful onboarding experience

Do you have a strong, standardized onboarding process that consistently engages every new hire? Or is it possible that each new hire’s experience is entirely different?

If the latter sounds likely, don’t feel bad. It’s common for organizations to delegate different pieces of the onboarding process to individual hiring teams, resulting in a multitude of processes and experiences. And it makes some sense! Each department or team has a unique culture, distinct goals, and norms. The problem is: how do we allow space for each team to tailor onboarding that fits their norms, while still ensuring consistency across the organization and alignment with onboarding best practices?

A tale of two onboardings

Let’s illustrate with an example. Two new hires start at your company on the same day but join different teams. Because their hiring managers were tasked with onboarding them but not given a checklist or guidance, their experiences vary wildly.

Employee XEmployee Y
The new hire spends Day One on the job filling out paperwork and otherwise feeling like he’s forgotten or in the way. His manager won’t have time to meet with him until later in the week and his teammates are too busy with their own work to spend time with him. Meanwhile, IT won’t get around to setting up his email and desktop for a few days.
Another new hire spends her first day on the job meeting with her manager and an excited team of colleagues. She has a new hire buddy who sets up several shadowing sessions and a library of training ready for her to jump into. Her paperwork and systems setup were completed before her first day, and she has a 30/60/90-day plan laid out to follow.

As you can imagine, these two new hires will likely feel very different levels of engagement. Y will feel valued and therefore act valuable, hitting the ground running. X will feel uncertain and self-doubting, not ready to deliver or ask questions because he doesn’t know who to ask. These beginnings manifest over time into long-term engagement and productivity.

If your organization doesn’t have a standardized onboarding process, you risk more new hires going through Employee X’s experience. It puts hiring managers in a difficult position, too, as they try to determine their own methods for curating new hires’ experiences.

Creating a standardized onboarding process requires pulling in multiple functions and tying them together with an overarching system or set of tools. It requires looking cross-functionally at what new hires need to be successful in the short- and long-term: training, relationships, compliance, and support.

Implement a tech solution to support best practices

Software will not fix broken processes. It can, however, help guide the development of those processes in line with best practices. Cloud-based onboarding technology offers a great example of this. Through the setup of new hire dashboards, checklists, training content, and connection recommendations, onboarding software ensures the right teams are providing the information new hires need, when they need it. It also ensures those new hires experience a standardized set of basics. It takes the design work out of individual hiring managers’ hands while still allowing room to tailor and customize by team and role. 

We are, of course, partial to SAP SuccessFactors Onboarding solution, especially when used as an integrated part of a talent suite that includes SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting and Employee Central. But there are many great onboarding solutions on the market.

Invest in your new hires with onboarding software that smooths and standardizes your processes. Your bottom line will thank you!

If you could use advice or support standardizing and improving your new hires’ experience, our team can help. We support the exploration, implementation, and maintenance of SAP SuccessFactors solutions. And our EX division can help you think more broadly about designing and measuring employee experience. Reach out to learn how we partner with organizations like yours to engage employees, increase productivity, and move the needle for their business.

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