Wendy Graham

The Onboarding Process: Why First Impressions Matter With Wendy Graham

When you get hired for a new position, first impressions matter. This is why the onboarding process is so important to any business. You want to make that person feel like they made the right decision to choose your company. Wendy Graham is here to talk more about onboarding, whether it be in-person or virtual. Wendy is a dynamic learning and development professional with a passion for marketing. She helps small and large companies implement, manage, and train HR systems. Listen in as she talks to Sam Reeve, Char Miller, & Sumit Singla about the importance of onboarding and what the latest trends are.

The Onboarding Process: Why First Impressions Matter With Wendy Graham

I’ve had the pleasure of working within my past life. She is a wonderful person as far as the knowledge that she has in bringing people on board, not only recruiting, training and development, and onboarding, but she is a wealth of knowledge. I thought she would be an excellent guest here to tell us about the new trends that are going on in the onboarding place. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself there, Wendy?

Thanks, Sam. It’s great to be here on my first People Strategy Forum as a co-host. I’m very excited. It’s something new for the bucket list checked. A little bit about me, I’m geeky about onboarding because I usually have seen it done so badly. It’s a pet peeve like, “Come on. How hard can it be to do a good job with this?” I’m passionate about making it a priority and not just saying it, but showing it through your actions and the time and money that you invest. All organizations would reap some benefits if they truly took some time to make this an important part of their talent management strategy.

I was thinking about my first job. I started with AIG’s corporate learning, development, and recruiting function. None of the trainers wanted to do the orientation. It was a hot potato. They couldn’t get fast enough to someone else for our Fortune 500 Wall Street firm to take an hour with new employees and then say, “Good luck.” That was it. I always signed up because I thought it was great and such an awesome opportunity. I felt like, “I got to be the first person at the welcome mat to welcome them in and help them have a great experience.” It’s that mindset of wanting to do it and making it a priority.

The last time I was working inside a company in going through that process was quite some time ago. Not to age myself, but there were still a lot of the paper processes, in-class training, and technology systems that were done hands-on. Now, it’s a mindset. We’re bringing on people remotely. People are having all those forms that are digitized. Training is through the Zoom platform in those first-person meetings. There are a lot of different things. What else have you seen that has been changed?

I was curious if maybe we could even ask that out to our readers. I was thinking that virtual is the biggest challenge. If your whole process was all about being in person, then how have you converted in this pandemic? Even before the pandemic, it was a struggle to do virtual onboarding. In a way, it’s gotten easier because more of the population has their home or remote office dialed in so that they can with the technology.

That was the barrier before. We can barely get people to dial in on a phone call or video chat. I would love to know if there is any reader out there what they’re experiencing. Is it virtual? What are the challenges that you’re coming up against? Is it pandemic-related or something else? Let’s see. Executive presentations used to be recorded. Now, we’re doing a live session to make personal connections. That’s an improvement and a cool thing. These challenges force us through that barrier that we’ve been hitting and we get to a new place where it’s better for everyone.

I’ve heard that as well as far as what Susan is explaining there. There has been an increase in instances where the leadership team can jump on a quick Zoom call or a meeting for 5 to 10 minutes to welcome a person on as part of that team session and not have that be a big chunk of their day or a huge disruption in their calendar. It’s easy to get in, get out, say what you have to say and go. That personal touch or presence from the leadership team is a value-add, I feel. What do you think, Sumit? Have you heard anything like that from your clients?

I’ve got clients on both extremes. One, people are trying to make the extra effort of shipping onboarding kits and making people feel welcome, even if they’re working from home and not stepping into the actual office for a real-life onboarding experience. I’ve also seen clients who are saying, “Onboarding was a bit of a waste of money anyway. A penny saved is a penny earned.” It’s unfortunate, but there are people who believe that onboarding is pointless.

Having said that, it’s those companies who try and dump every single piece of information, which includes maybe 1,000 pages of policy right on your head on day one. The onboarding isn’t onboarding in the real sense. It’s more of, “We’ve given you all this information. If you flout any of these rules, you’re on your own and we can take action against you.” It’s more of people like that who are treating onboarding as something redundant, probably.

Virtual onboarding is the biggest challenge right now. Click To Tweet

In a way, all that paperwork can now be done electronically or before you start that first week. It’s great because we can take it out of onboarding. It’s certainly a process to get someone legally on board and in the company and make sure we’ve crossed our T’s and dotted our I’s and protected ourselves, but that’s not what onboarding is at all. In a sense, they’ve also realized that it wasn’t helpful to have a whole day of paper-pushing.

One other thing, this will be fun. I know we have a lot of our readers on. If you could tell us some of your onboarding horror stories, let us know what you’ve experienced. What are the challenges in onboarding when we think about what should onboarding not be? From my particular experience, I’ve walked into organizations as a young professional and didn’t have any kind of onboarding experience at some larger companies, especially because it was scheduled for maybe a few days away where they were going to have it in a group.

In my first two days of walking into an organization, my manager came over, shook my hand and said, “Welcome aboard. This is where you’re going to sit.” I sat in front of my computer trying to sort things out through my email for the rest of the day as other team members came on and were like, “Who are you?” and introduced themselves. I had to wait for two days until the onboarding session happened. I thought it was pretty odd. I didn’t know any better at that time because that was one of my first experiences.

Another organization I did took their in-person and had a virtual version. It was the same information. It was four hours of slide show and not a good one. I thought, “Are you kidding me?” This was pre-pandemic and people did not have the technology. They couldn’t see the screen. Sometimes they can only hear. Could you imagine being on a call for four hours and not even be able to see the slides? We got rid of that right away.

I can relate to that, Wendy. I underwent an induction where the finance part of the induction was about four hours. The person walked us through how to fill up a timesheet and how accounting is done in various aspects. Honestly, I would rather have had a root canal treatment done than attend the four hours again. It was quite horrifying. In my opinion, the whole idea of onboarding should be to reassure the person that, “You’re in the right place. We’ve got you covered,” rather than making them question on day one, “This doesn’t seem like the right place to be at all.”

First impressions last. We’re going to talk about that. We’re telling the horror stories. Before we go on to what the opportunities are, another great statistic that confirmed my internal gut and life experience is that 88% of organizations don’t onboard well, according to a Gallup poll. Sumit, that’s why we’re all able to come up with these horror stories because we’ve all had one here, there, or the other. We can talk about the actual onboarding itself. One of our attendees was mentioning that instead of one day, now they’ve spread it out over a week.

What I challenge people to think about is your onboarding starts before they come on board. In my opinion, it’s the very first time they even touch your company brand and website. There’s that spark of, “Maybe they have an opening.” They begin that talent acquisition process. I like to think of onboarding as the courting part of meeting the company. Certainly, that first day and first orientation, if it’s more people than a dental procedure, then they’re maybe rethinking. You’re not invested at that point, so it’s easy to leave.

I like to challenge people to think about onboarding to go all the way up to the first year. It’s easy even that’s great that we’ve already extended it from one day to one week, but can we even be more methodical about that whole first year? This is about building loyalty with someone. It’s a courtship. Just because they’ve said yes to come on board doesn’t mean they’re invested in helping us reach our goals.

The first year is important, but day one or the first couple of days are extra crucial. We’re operating in a different model, but whenever offices open or prior to the lockdown, it would be so easy to step into the shoes of a person who is coming to your office for the first time and say how to get there, who to meet, or where to park. Whether or not your email address, mobile devices, laptop, and all that, is you’re enabling infrastructure going to be ready or not? Are you going to sit there reading through long presentations and brochures with nobody to guide you even to the cafeteria?

PSF 2 | Onboarding Process

Onboarding Process: Organizations would benefit a lot if they took some time to make onboarding an important part of their talent management strategy.

In the virtual world, it’s different, but it can still be done. I just don’t think we’re doing it right. It’s horrifying to see the numbers out there. The numbers that you quoted, Wendy, they’re quite an eye-opener. If 88% of people are not doing it right, but 82% of retention benefits are there to onboarding, it’s appalling how, as an entire race of HR professionals and business leaders, were failing at it.

HCI, which is an HR organization, said 58% of organizations say their onboarding program is focused on processes and paperwork. That’s a huge amount. I would love to see another study come out post-pandemic to see how that has changed because they’ve been forced to put all that online now. Now, it can be eliminated from this warm welcome that we want to give people on their first day, first week.

What Lisa mentioned in the chat was important. We’re thinking about this as their first impression. The people that we’re bringing on are at the pinnacle of their excitement. They’re starting at this new company. How can we leverage that environment and the fact that they’re ecstatic? How can we get them excited about other things in getting them engaged and also even getting other people engaged in their personal network and being a testimony to what the company is trying to deliver to their employees?

This takes me to this comment about if we were dating, “Before we have a date, can you please sign the prenup? We’re putting this paperwork before I can even have a date with you.” It doesn’t feel good. We could talk about all the cool strategies and things you can do for onboarding and all of that, but the key thing that all of us at are passionate about is, “How do we take this experience that feels like herding cattle and everyone feels the same?”

I’ve been in an orientation where a C-Suite member was in there with someone else. I’m not saying that they’re different, but they got the same experience. That was, in one way, cool, but in another way, clearly, we were not customizing the experience to the person. There’s this ace in our back pocket, which is we have tools that can help us see this person as an individual. We can bring them on in a custom way that makes them feel that they can resonate with, but everyone has this cookie-cutter approach to onboarding.

I get it for efficiency. That is what people go towards, but is there a way in your process to individualize and customize it for that person? That idea that, “Every person I date is going to sign a prenup?” It’s like, “You’re like anybody else. You’re not an individual.” That is how we’re treating our new employees. That is not a good feeling to come in and feel like you’re the same as everyone else. You are your own unique individual person. In fact, that’s why we hired you because we think you’re so cool, but yet you come in and we don’t treat you like you’re this cool, unique person that we knew you are and that’s why we invited you on.

How do we take a more individualized approach to onboarding? What are the steps that we would take there?

One of the things that always baffled me is and I would love for our readers to say, “Are you using a scientifically validated tool in your recruitment process?” We use it as a scientifically validated tool that you can use in your talent acquisition process. I would love to know who that’s reading is using that because a lot of people are.

In my experience, you’ve taken the time to learn how to use this tool. You’re effectively using it in your talent acquisition process and then what happens? You’ve got a gold mine of information about this person, but that’s where it stops. We just used it for hiring and then we didn’t use it any further in that person’s life cycle at the company.

First impressions last. Click To Tweet

One person mentioned that they used in the past, which is another assessment tool. I have some familiarity with that. One of my colleagues uses that tool. He is a practitioner in Culture Index. I know that when a person takes that assessment and they are classified in certain categories like a Maverick, Philosopher, or these different things, that at least tells them a little bit about that individual. I know that the that we use is more of a conversational tool, where it doesn’t classify any person into one thing or another, but it’s designed to create a dialogue to any one of those tools. Wendy, aren’t you a PI? What is that?

Predictive Index, PI. It’s another great scientifically validated tool that you can use. It’s EEO-compliant. You can use it in your talent acquisition process. You’ve got this information now. Why aren’t we passing that on to the people who are going to make that first day, week, and month great? By that, the manager needs to have that information.

Hopefully, they already have that through the acquisition process, but now, what about the team members? What if they had a clue about this unique, cool person that’s coming onto their team ahead of time? They could start to make connections ahead of time and be able to, on day one first week, go out of their way to make a connection and start to build the fabric of the team.

Also, as a learning and development facilitator, I want to know who is in my room live, especially virtually. If I know that you are not going to be the kind of person to speak up, then I know I need to call on you, Sumit, to get you to engage. If I know, Sam, that you’re going to be chatty the whole time, then I know that I can work the room so that everyone gets a good experience.

This tool, many organizations are using at talent acquisition and then why aren’t they bringing it forward? It’s logical to bring it through on the onboarding. That’s the key that if everyone could pick one thing that they could do to improve their onboarding process would be, what do we already know? How can we share that with the people who are responsible for seeing them succeed before day one?

Are there certain techniques for doing that? I’ve been in organizations where they’ll send out an email blurb. Basically, it’s like, “Today, we’re going to welcome so-and-so. They’re passionate about these things. These are their hobbies. They have X many kids. Their spouse’s name is George and things like this.” I’ve been involved in others where they’ll have a meeting on how to make their best first impression to that new team member. They’ll discuss a little bit of what they know about that person so that they can find commonalities. Have you seen other techniques that work well, Wendy?

Another one that is important is a phone call before their first day. It takes so little time to pick up the phone for that leader to say, “We are so excited to have you start with us on Monday,” the Friday before and, “I want you to know that I’m going to be needing you.” Set those expectations because sometimes the communication isn’t that great.

There’s a hand-off between talent acquisition and onboarding team, which is the leader, maybe somebody from HR or learning and development, and the new team that they’re going to be joining. A couple of people in the hand-off has to be smooth. Maybe you read that person’s profile before you pick up the phone. If you know that they’re going to benefit from learning, maybe their learning preference is physical. They want to be able to get in there, start playing around, and learn that way.

You can say, “I know that there’s going to be this video conference call the first day. That may not be your preference for learning, but I promise you, during the first week, we’re going to get you practicing and get you lots of opportunities.” You can customize the orientation and onboarding for them for their preference. They’re already like, “That is so cool. They know how I like to learn.” That immediately builds loyalty and trust in the organization, “Before I even walk in the door, I already feel more loyal to this new company that I’m starting with.”

PSF 2 | Onboarding Process

Onboarding Process: How do you take this experience that feels like herding cattle and everyone just feels the same? You should customize the experience for that person.

One of the big mistakes that I’ve seen a lot of companies make is the failure to do homework. We have so many tools available to us now and a lot of them are free. Simply, five minutes before the call, going into and looking at a person’s LinkedIn profile, the resume that they submitted, their cover letter, or these assessments that we mentioned only takes a few moments to be able to do that, yet a lot of leaders fail to take that critical step. The impression that the person gets from that is, “I can’t believe they didn’t even know this about me.” It’s unfortunate.

Another great thing that doesn’t take very much is a buddy or mentor program, somebody maybe who wants to or who is not even related to their team. They’re someone at the company who is passionate about the organization and likes to welcome new people. Maybe you see their profile and then you find someone else who might have a compatible profile that would be a good match.

If you can think back to every job that you started on your first day, I guarantee you can think of one person that you connected with, whether it was another new employee or a buddy that you were set up with. I was a buddy to somebody and he called me buddy. Years later, he is still like, “Hey, buddy.” I’m not Wendy. I’m buddy.

In fact, HCI did another study. They said 87% of buddy programs boost new hire proficiency. This is a powerful number having one person, even if it’s on that first day that you meet. As you said, Sumit, they can take you down and show you the cafeteria if we’re in person if we’re in a building. Thinking about how you take the information you have and maybe even tweak that buddy program slightly to where you’re matching them with somebody.

One of my clients called that their Ambassador Program. What they would do is they would have the Ambassador Program and open it up to anybody in the organization that wanted to meet the new people coming in the door. They had tons of people sign up. They would get half a day off, welcome this person on, and take them through the building.

In a virtual environment, you would show them how to use all the cool tools, do that Zoom, work through the process, and answer questions. They were able to take their half through lunch off, even taking that person to lunch if they wanted to. It was successful and it was a high impact on the new recruits coming in. Have you seen anything like that, Sumit, or any programs you went to?

Some companies which think of onboarding as part of the overall talent management experience tend to do well on onboarding because onboarding is not only a sales exercise for them then. It’s more authentic and aligned with what you can expect, even six months or six years after being in the organization. It’s not only a sales pitch. It’s not only you getting pulled into a conference room and getting free pizza and drinks on the house.

With some of the things I’ve seen, I’ve been a huge fan of Accenture’s onboarding process, which is an organization I’ve spent a lot of time working for. It ticks all the boxes in terms of what you and Wendy mentioned, making people feel welcomed, getting them to fill up our blurb, and people knowing who you are. They would encourage you to share stuff that’s not on your CV. People do know about you from your LinkedIn, but any extra information that’s not on your CV is welcomed.

There are multiple buddies assigned. One of the buddies is more of your go-to person, “How do I fill out a timesheet? Where do I find the cafeteria? How do I get a parking sticker?” Another person is more of a culture buddy or culture ambassador who makes the values and the overall culture of the organization come alive for you. They wouldn’t answer questions which are more transactional, but they would help you in settling into the culture and making sure that you are aware of all the inclusion and diversity practices and how you can cultivate your sense of belonging with the organization.

Just because someone said yes to come on board doesn't mean they're invested. Onboarding is a courtship. Click To Tweet

There are a lot of good ideas here, but as far as looking at solutions, Susan alluded to this. Wendy, when we were talking about this, you were mentioning about a multi-phase approach to onboarding. It’s not just a one-day thing. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?

Susan made a comment that I’ll allude to. She said she holds monthly lunches or coffee pot discussions and that’s that long-term vision. You have to think about it before day one all the way up to year one because it’s a process of unfolding to where you suddenly feel part of the new family that you’ve joined. You understand the culture of the family and you fit in somewhere. That allows you to be yourself.

When we are ourselves, that’s when we show up fully. Now, I can perform fully and feel confident that I’m bringing some value to the organization and I’m engaged, but that takes time. A lot of studies say it’s three months before someone is manifesting their full potential. It does take time for that piece to even happen and for me to feel fully part of my team.

We do want to think about a strategy. Before day one, I think of day one, which is the orientation usually, and then the first week, which is me having time with my leader and team and probably some nuts and bolts, processes, and technology. It’s moving in weekly, then, “What about the first month? What about the first three months?” I say, “All the way up to the first year, you have to plan for this because otherwise, you are going to be too busy.”

Most people don’t even plan time on day one or on week one, much less the first month, but can you be diligent and think all the way up to the first year? Making it to one year is worthy of a celebration. If you let that go or you’re the kind of leader that’s like, “It’s my person’s first anniversary,” and you forgot and then you’ve run out at lunch, go down the aisle at CVS, and get something cheesy, they know that you didn’t plan and you forgot. That’s worse than if you plan for it.

I’ll give you an example. I was part of a small startup that got bought several times. When we got bought, they had the best intentions. They had an automated program that would send you a certificate on your anniversary from the leader, but it said, “For your service at this company.” We had just been bought and people were like, “I haven’t worked for ten years for this company.” It put people off.

Maybe we are all too sensitive. We just need to get the ulterior motive, but it was impersonal. People were a little bit bruised from the merger and acquisition. You got to be sensitive. These are human beings. They’re not robots. Even robots have more feelings than that. Thinking about your first year, doing it right, and planning it is important.

One thing that I saw another of my clients do is they wanted to get a couple of touchpoints here. When there was the first onboarding session or through the first week, they wanted to take advantage of the excitement of that particular person coming on board and get their impressions on something that they could use almost like, “What was it like to start at this company?” It was a little video thing. They would give their feedback in excitement. Sometimes they would use that in some of their promotional materials.

The next thing that was a big goal of the manager was to ensure that the first year was stellar. The result was is that they wanted to get a testimonial from that particular employee at the end of that first year about their experience and what they think of the company. That goal set it in their manager’s mind to make that year very special. All years should be special, but the thing is, it’s setting the habit and engagement with that individual and with the end result of having that testimonial. That was a sign of the success of the manager and also the success of the onboarding process. I thought that was the neat way to go about it.

PSF 2 | Onboarding Process

Onboarding Process: As a leader, you should make a phone call to the person you hired before their first day. It takes so little time to just pick up the phone and ease them into the onboarding.

That manager is held accountable for the survey results. That first month, Sam, you and I have talked about this that you got to give that new team member some homework and you have to set aside your ego. You may think, “We’re great. Our company is awesome. Our team is amazing.” Set it aside because that new person has a different lens. They have a third-eye lens. When they see, “This isn’t that clear. This is confusing to me. Why do you guys do it this way?” It’s easy because, “That’s the way we always do it. That’s how we do it around here.” If you can see that, that outsider’s feedback is gold.

It’s in that first month because once they start to assimilate and speak the new company’s culture and language, they may start to say, “That’s how we do things around here,” but as an outsider, it’s foreign. If you can say, “I want you to be a sleuth and observe, be a fly on the wall, and write down all the things,” I’m going to hear that at the end of this month and give that homework. Usually, companies do a 90-day “How has it been so far?” which is awesome. Keep doing that, but what about that first month?

That’s one thing that we forget to do in a lot of situations. It was thinking about, “That new person, that accountant that’s on our team now has a history.” I would love to hear what they think about how we do things around here and how it can do things better based on their experiences at other employers and our competitors, frankly. That’s a wealth of information that we should take advantage of.

A couple of more topics I want to make sure to address. Someone was wanting to know a little more about, “With Zoom fatigue, how are we addressing?” Sumit, this is your question. I personally love gamification. There are some great free tools out there. I don’t know if you guys know Mentimeter. It’s free-limited. I cannot believe how effective these tools are in getting engagement and changing it up from another Zoom to something that you want to be a part of. It can be fast-moving. You can create a little friendly competition to get everybody to clean the slate, laughing, and having a good time.

I recommend for virtual, we’ve got to start using tools, even if you pop on a call and the first thing is there some music or a cool activity. It doesn’t have to be related, but the point is that the first impression is, “This is different. This isn’t like all those other things. I’m hooked in now.” I encourage people to do that. Another thing that Lisa mentioned and I remember this was the bane of my existence.

I was trying to get these CEOs and C-Suites every time. We had a Monday orientation and I wanted a C-Suite person there every time. That was the best part of it. It took a little bit of arm-twisting to get them on board. It was a lot of work, but these new people got to meet the CEO and hear their story. That CEO got to meet them. Later on, we were all in the cafeteria and the CEO was getting coffee at Starbucks. That’s the culture. This is what we need to be doing on day one.

Hearing from that CEO and feeling empowered like, “I’m going to help this company succeed because, look at this person, he has dedicated his life to helping this company succeed. I can help with that and be inspired.” I remember the first CEO when I was at AIG. He started in the mailroom and those stories. Now, he has been the CEO for all these years and is very successful. Those stories and little pieces go a long way.

One of the products in our services I give to my clients, and part of that is measuring impact as far as having that exposure to senior leaders and hearing their stories about how they’ve impacted the organization and how you too can do the same thing. It’s very empowering any way we can bring those in.

I mentioned this program that this company had. When a person was onboarded or came onto the company, they were scheduled into lunch with leadership. It would either be the CEO or the leader of their department and that would be a group lunch. That was maybe a month into the session or when they started. That was something that they looked forward to and prepared for everybody. They want to make that impression and be visible. It was a great way for that connection, depending on what level you are in your organization, to be able to access and be seen and known by top leadership. It was engaging.

Making it to one year in any job is worthy of a celebration. Click To Tweet

One example that I’ve seen is from my time at Aon, where the CEO would make time for people. They would do a check-in after about 15 to 20 days of you joining in, apologize for not having spent time with you earlier, and check if you’re settling in well or if there’s anything they could do to enable you to do your job better.

The great thing was that this wasn’t just a catch-up call. They would follow up on any requests that you made. If you said that, “My first impression is that something is not working out too well. It needs to be fixed,” they would get in touch with the right department and say that, “Let’s resolve this quick,” and then follow up in another 15 to 20 days later to see if the issue has been resolved or not. For a top leader to do that, it’s very reassuring as a new joiner.

Especially that follow-through that you mentioned, Sumit, even if that leader is not going to do something, they’ve taken your feedback. Maybe they’ve molded over a little bit and done some research. It’s important to come back and say, “I’ve thought of what you were saying, but it makes sense for us to keep doing what we’re doing or whatever that may be as to close the loop.” One of the big things that I hear from people is that they don’t feel like that their voices are heard. Sometimes even saying that, “We thought about it,” closing that loop is critically important.

The great thing is that with technology, giving people voices has become much easier. You don’t have to get into long-drawn surveys and say, “Here’s a 60-question, 90-question, or 800-question over for you.” Similar to the tools that Wendy mentioned, you can have tools that gauge your mood on a particular day. Every few days, you can give them a set of emoticons and say, “How are you feeling?”

You can gauge the transition in the mood over a period of time and say that, “A lot of people seem to feel a little unhappy between the 7th day and the 20th day. What are we doing wrong there?” That’s when you can start diving into more detailed conversations and see how you can make it a better experience for people. Sam, you brought up the Workforce Experience Scorecard. Onboarding is step one in creating a good workforce experience.

Sumit, I know you mentioned that there are a lot of tools out there. One that I would mention that I thought was interesting is a startup out of Utah. They’ll send their employees texts here and there. It’s scheduled to go out at different times. It gets people’s feedback on different things in the organization.

It’s almost like a pulse or employee opinion survey that’s done in real-time throughout the year. It’s interesting they can get good statistics on the sentiment of your people around certain topics and their experience. That can be one thing that they can do. Wendy, when a company goes through an exceptional onboarding experience, what can they expect as far as the benefits?

I come in as an individual versus one of many, all the same, then that piece about me feeling loyal to the company starts to build even before my first day. If you keep up with this good onboarding process, make time for me on the first day, and plan to have check-ins during that first week, and if we set up a one-on-one and you keep those one-on-ones, no matter how busy you are, and we have a one-month check-in and I tell you about all my experiences and you hear that openly, now you’ve built trust and loyalty with me.

What flows from that is my team members know about me. You know about me. I know about myself because we’ve had a conversation using that tool, hopefully. You know what I need and what my preferences are. As a leader, you’re working towards that. As an individual, I know how I need to flex to work within the team. As a result, our team-building happens faster.

PSF 2 | Onboarding Process

Onboarding Process: Onboarding tools like gamification can be really effective in getting engagement. They can also make your onboarding experience feel more than just another Zoom meeting.

I feel part of the family quicker and know the culture better. I can navigate myself through the organization to become more productive more quickly. I am engaged. My personal and professional satisfaction, all the stuff is happening at a much faster speed and I’m committed, versus a lot of people keep one foot on the other side of the fence just to see. They don’t want to commit fully.

When you build trust and loyalty with me right from the start and then you keep it up over time, and I can see there’s a celebration plan for one year on the calendar ahead of time with my whole team, you thought about that ahead of time. It’s like I’ve got accountability buddies. I’m in it fully committed. I’m fully functioning, productive, and engaged. All those things happen more quickly.

That’s great for me, but how does it affect you as the business owner or the business leader? The disruption to your business is minimized because I’m on quicker and producing more fully. As a business, there’s less disruption. The cost to bring me on, then you retain that if I stick around. There are costs and time. All of that is retained if the person has a great experience and that’s tailored to them in their preferences, desires, needs, and wants.

One of the big things that we talked about here on the forum a lot is having an integrated approach. I know that we have talked about the integrated talent management approach with TMA. One of the most important things when we look at recruiting, sourcing people, onboarding, developing, teaming, and all these different factors of the talent journey is that we are connecting them together. They make sense in a cohesive fashion.

We mentioned about the assessments that were done. I know that a lot of people out there have done assessments in their organizations. I remember them doing some of them at Barclays and when we had these assessments that came in. We did the assessment as part of a team-building effort and then it disappeared. We never used it again. The big thing was, “How do we use it?” It was only used in that teaming element, but we should be looking at a cohesive talent management process where we bring back themes. All these little investments that we make in our talent process should be linked. That’s critically important.

Thank you so much, Wendy, for sharing your knowledge. I want to express my gratitude to those that were active in the chat. Susan had some great ideas all throughout here. She is truly an idea generator. Thank you, Susan, for participating. I look forward to seeing all the comments on those other social media platforms that we’re multicasting on. Thank you everyone for your participation. I love to see the engagement.

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About Wendy Graham

Wendy Graham Settle (PHR, SHRM-CP) is a dynamic Learning and Development professional with a passion for marketing. Her superpower is clearly written and verbal communication.

A highlight of her rich 20+ year career is helping small tech startups (Mercury Payment Systems, Vantiv, Local News Network) to large international Fortune 500 corporations (AIG, FIS Global) implement, manage, and train HR systems in order to improve and automate their processes.

She is a credentialed human resource professional since 2013 through the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Human Capital Institute (HCI). Wendy also brings a global perspective to her work: Her international relations background and experience living abroad make it easy for her to quickly connect with and influence others across multiple time zones.

Outside the corporate world, Wendy is also an internationally-renowned community dance leader and loves sharing her joy of music, song, and dance with people of all ages and abilities.

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