Ongoing Trends in Onboarding

By Cliff Stevenson, Principal Analyst, Talent Management and Workforce Management

It is tempting to look at 2020 and assume that many of the workforce changes resulted solely from the pandemic. However, some factors involving onboarding employees, such as working from home and working remotely were already becoming a concern for employees due to globalization and digitization. And interestingly, certain aspects of onboarding have not changed even with the advent of increased globalization and remote workers. There is still a need for culture, connection and community.

However, although these needs may not be new, there has been more interest in understanding the role onboarding has in instilling company values and culture and helping people feel more connected to the organization and its mission. Organizations show a renewed interest in leveraging recruitment and onboarding as key areas for expressing company culture and values, and see that as a major value proposition instead of a minor one.

Community, and the sense of togetherness it implies, has been brought to the forefront in surprising ways, such as re-examining the ways we use data and insights from the onboarding process. Organizations are taking a more humanistic approach to onboarding, resulting in a change in evaluating metrics. Instead of pure productivity numbers, it is now diversity, engagement and connections/communication. Although productivity still matters, the long-term effects of these other metrics are being considered more heavily.

Organizations are doing a better job being more transparent in how and why data is collected and used and giving more access and agency to new employees to connect to others in the organization. This includes possible mentors or coaches, with an additional positive effect of creating more of a sense of community and taking a “show instead of tell” approach to education about the company culture. 

Collaborative learning platforms are an emerging technology that are able to fulfil those needs by making those connections and allowing new employees to find their own path for success. Giving new employees the data, tools and access they need so they can make their own decisions is part of a self-service philosophy that has long been promoted by HR professionals and given additional weight from the events of 2020

If this is a topic that interests you, I suggest joining me and my co-host Rebecca Castro of NovoEd, as we present Virtual Onboarding with a Human Touch – Creating Connection, Culture and Community on Wednesday, January 27th. We will have an open Q&A session during the event so you can join in the conversation, as well. Hope to see you there.

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Mike Cooke

Chief Executive Officer of Brandon Hall Group Mike Cooke Prior to joining Brandon Hall Group, Mike Cooke was the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of AC Growth. Mike held leadership and executive positions for the majority of his career, at which he was responsible for steering sales and marketing teams to drive results and profitability. His background includes more than 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, management, and operations in the research, consulting, software and technology industries. Mike has extensive experience in sales, marketing and management having worked for several early high-growth emerging businesses and has implemented technology systems to support various critical sales, finance, marketing and client service functions. He is especially skilled in organizing the sales and service strategy to fully support a company’s growth strategy. The concept of growth was an absolute to Mike and a motivator in starting AC Growth, in order to help organizations achieve research driven results. Most recently, Mike was the VP and General Manager of Field Operations at Bersin & Associates, a global analyst and consulting services firm focused on all areas of enterprise learning, talent management and talent acquisition. Tasked with leading the company’s global expansion, Mike led all sales operations worldwide. During Mike’s tenure, the company has grown into a multi-national firm, conducting business in over 45 countries with over 4,500 multi-national organizations. Mike started his career at MicroVideo Learning Systems in 1992, eventually holding a senior management position and leading all corporate sales before founding Dynamic Minds. Mike was CEO and Co-Founder of Dynamic Minds, a custom developer of software programs, working with clients like Goldman Sachs, Prentice Hall, McGraw Hill and Merrill Lynch. Also, Mike worked for Oddcast, a leading provider of customer experience and marketing solutions, where he held a senior management position leading the company into new markets across various industries. Mike also serves on the Advisory Board for Carbon Solutions America, an independent sustainability consulting and carbon management firm that specializes in the design and implementation of greenhouse reduction and sustainability plans as well as managing the generation of carbon and renewal energy and energy efficiency credits. Mike attended University of Phoenix, studying Business Administration and Finance. He has also completed executive training at the Chicago Graduate School of Business in Chicago, IL.

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