The Great Onboarding: How Social and Collaborative Learning can Create Rapid Alignment

There is no need to recap the events of the last two years; they had a profound effect on the way we work. Most of the stories focus on the disruptive impacts, such as The Great Resignation, but we should also look at some of the more positive changes, such as how companies can welcome these displaced workers into their new organizations with a more personalized and humanistic approach

Bruce Temkin terms this movement, The Great Onboarding and he cites safety, flexibility, and better compensation as the driving forces that caused people to leave their organizations and look for greener pastures. Brandon Hall Group’s research similarly found that uncompetitive compensation, limited development opportunities, and work/life balance are the top three reasons people leave their companies, so there is an opportunity to reframe employee onboarding in ways that make employees’ lives better and the organization stronger. 

How employee onboarding improves an organization goes beyond bringing employees to full productivity as fast as possible, although that remains vitally important (reference: Virtual Onboarding with a Human Touch – Creating Connection, Culture, and Community), “The struggle is for organizations to achieve readiness quickly for newly hired individuals and teams, and have them ready to meet their personal and organizational goals in an aligned manner.” It also involves the two-way street of an employee strengthening the company culture and that culture giving them a sense of belonging and shared vision. A shift to a more remote or hybrid workplace only deepened the need for a strong organizational culture and reinforced the notion that onboarding should be the time to assimilate new hires with organizational values and beliefs.

Brandon Hall Group’s research shows a clear connection between company culture metrics and the onboarding process.  88% of organizations say it is critical that “employees believe in what the organization stands for” as part of the onboarding process. That is why it is so important to create personalized messaging during the onboarding program and show those employees that the organization sees their personal needs and can create an engaging process in alignment with the organization’s goals. The information that new employees provide here can also be used to “…personalize their experience and their learning and onboarding journey in a way that makes them feel like a contributing, valued member of the organization from day one.” (reference: Virtual Onboarding with a Human Touch – Creating Connection, Culture, and Community).

Just as the modern workforce is now required to be adaptable and agile, organizations must be equally adaptable and agile.  Adaptability and agility should be reinforced by giving employees the tools to make connections across the workforce with access to the resources they need as they need them. The ability for new employees to feel like they are part of something greater requires access to social and collaborative team-based learning technology and that is what the Great Onboarding is all about.

– Cliff Stevenson, Principal Analyst, Talent Acquisition & Workforce Management, Brandon Hall Group

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