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Overview of Onboarding Experience

In This Episode

  • This episode is an overview, of how important the employee experience is to your onboarding process. We’ll be going deep with tactics in an upcoming episode.
  • Learn why the transition from candidate to an onboarding employee, should be considered a part of the employee experience, to help lower your turnover rates—especially for key talent.
  • I share how my onboarding experience negatively impacted my overall feelings and engagement due to a bad onboarding experience.
  • How to use the Employee Experience Framework, identifying the Know, Feel, Act, and Touch, for your onboarding experience to improve the relationship between your new employees and your company.


(00:00): When you think about onboarding, you need to think about it in the framework. And the, what that means is I want you to really think about at each step of the onboarding process, what the know feel act and touch points are. Now, this doesn't mean that you have to send great, big, welcome gifts to your new employees, and that solves everything. It's a nice touch to feel welcomed on your first day, but doing that alone, isn't enough. I'm Melissa Anzman. HR practitioner turned CEO of a thriving employee experience company, but it wasn't all that long ago that I worked as an HR business partner, responsible for increasing employee engagement at companies nationwide. And I struggled to move the needle even after trying everything under the sun, fast forward, past many fail tactics and lessons learned. And you'll see how I've been able to crack the code and replicated at companies of all sizes for creating true engagement and doing HR work that matters work that changes the lives of leaders, HR professionals, and employees.

(01:05): By focusing on the employee experience, I created the rethink HR podcast to give you actionable step by step strategies to help you make an impact. If you're an HR leader or one on the rise, who's looking to stop spinning your wheels, doing the same tired activities that aren't driving results, or you want to have a career. You love your in the right place. Let's get started. When it comes to employee experience. One of the things we tend to forget is the external experience, our employees, our future employees, our candidates have before they come on board. Now I talk about all the ways that you can understand the external experience and why it's important in episode number 10. So if you haven't listened to that, check that out. But today I want to talk about the most influential part of the employee experience. And it happens when it's still an external experience and that's the candidate experience from an HR and leadership perspective.

(02:09): This is the biggest opportunity that we have with an external audience with our and our future employees. It is the first time our future employees interact. And it's their first experience that they have with our company and all the various touch points that they are going to have when they start their new role. It's not just about the job posting software or the boards that you've partnered with. That may be how they found you in the first place, but it's just an entry point. Your overall candidate experience sets the tone for how your employees will feel about your company from the day they hear about you until the day that they leave and beyond it is that important. And we've been ignoring it or piecing it together or letting different groups manage different parts of the process because it's easier. And in fortunately by not focusing on the candidate experience, we are losing employees all over the place because that first experience started out bad or created the beginning of negative experiences in the experience bank.

(03:26): So I want to share a personal story with you about this. I had been out on my own for a few years, oftentimes getting calls about new roles or different opportunities. And there was one that came up for just an offer. I couldn't refuse. It was super awesome. It was with a former client. They had all the things I wanted in something I would consider. And I had to say, yes, it was a big team, big opportunities, big clients, deep work, all the things that were super exciting in a new role. So I went through the entire interview process, which is a bit clunky. I get that lots of rounds, a whole drama on one of my in person interviews. But that aside, there were a few bumps along the way. Mostly I had untimely responses, lost emails from the group recruiters, nothing that was terribly off-putting, but as candidates, I think we all become accustomed to that.

(04:29): But when the offer finally came in, I was super excited that it all seemed to come together. And I was finally ready to make the leap back into the corporate world. However, with that offer came a lot of interesting surprises. The hiring manager for that role was reorganized into another role. So one of the other people that I met with would actually be the boss and the person who I, this role was support like supposed to be reporting into or partner with. It was still a little unclear, decided to leave and was gone before I started. So it's not ideal, but you know what? I liked the other hiring manager that I talked to, the one that ultimately became my boss. And so it seemed like, okay, we can do that. It's not the end of the world, but that aside after I accepted the offer, I never heard from the recruiter again, never.

(05:27): I sent some emails following up of like, Hey, do you have everything? Do you need anything? The process was super cumbersome of all the requirements and all that stuff. Nothing. It was, it was totally crickets. And I didn't understand how that would sort of set the stage because on my first day of work, it's a remote work role. Um, the entire team was remote. I didn't have anything. I knew that it was my first day of work. I didn't have a computer. I didn't have a log on information. I didn't have email. I didn't even know what the heck I was supposed to be doing. I didn't even hear from my manager, how was I going to be introduced to the manager, to the team? When was I expecting to get my computer? How was I supposed to spend my first day? It was nothing like, it was very much a quiet entry into the company.

(06:22): And because it was remote, I didn't even have an office to go into. So I didn't have to get lost, trying to find my place or trying to get my badging or any of that fun stuff. Um, but I didn't have any directions either. So I being the rule follower that I am showed up, sat down at my desk and sat there for eight hours, waiting for someone to tell me what it is I was supposed to do with my day, how I was supposed to start working in my new job. And for every single one of those minutes, during those eight hours, I questioned my decision. The silence was deafening in my head and my jumping up and down excitement that I had to be starting. A new role was so many new opportunities started to feel like the biggest mistake of my life.

(07:10): I kept asking, do they not want me to work there? Did they forget? It was my first day? Did I miss something important? Like an email or a call or something with directions? Have I already dropped the ball and like let people down on day one, is this how every day is going to be? And what am I supposed to do? I can't continue to do this day in and day out. I was super lost. And as the day continued, my regret and concern grew until I was really almost in tears with frustration about it. Now, this was my first impression with the company. I ended up getting my laptop in two weeks, which was actually a miracle. Apparently there were people on my team who waited six weeks for theirs. Now I tell you this, not because it is a super horrible situation. I tell you this because our onboarding processes are broken.

(08:11): And so many candidates turned employees experience something along the way during onboarding. That makes them question their decision that provides negative touch points. Even before they've gotten their feet wet. Even before they've had the skirmishes that comes with getting into their new role and understanding and new personalities and all those things. Their first impression as an employee is negative. And we know employees leave when they have run out of positive experiences in their employee experience bank. So when you think about onboarding, you need to think about it in the framework. And the, what that means is I want you to really think about at each step of the onboarding process, what the know feel act and touch points are. Now, this doesn't mean that you have to send great, big, welcome gifts to your new employees. And that solves everything. It's a nice touch to feel welcomed on your first day, but doing that alone, isn't enough.

(09:26): You need to understand no at every point, what does that employee, that candidate to employee need to know? And what do they, what do as a company, do we want them to know? So they need to understand all of the different steps, timelines, processes, expectations, right out of the gate. That would be the no. And you can break that down even further for each micro action along the onboarding process. The next is feel as a new employee, they are going to feel they're. Their default is going to be crazy, darn excited. They're jumping up and down, excited to accept a new role. And we want to continue that excitement, that emotion, that feeling into their first day, which leads to the first week and their first month and so on and so forth. And so everything that we do, our actions, our communications need to reinforce that feeling.

(10:29): We don't want to provide any type of friction or elimination of that positive feelings when we're onboarding a new employee. So what does that mean? That means that we are welcoming. That means that we are excited and we show our excitement. That means that we share our excitement with our team, by doing a welcome email. So on and so forth, the actual tactics you can find in the employee solutions, employee experience, solution book they're there. You can follow them step by step. But my point here is, is when we talk about feel here, we want to enhance the emotion and continue it during the onboarding process. And in this case, we want them to continue to be excited and engaged at wanting to do a good job at our company. The next is act. So when a new employee starts their new role, they are going to be super insecure and questioning that they start it off on the right foot and don't mess up, right?

(11:33): Like we all have that insecurity walking into something new. Maybe it comes from those elementary school days or middle school or high school, whatever our schooling days around being hesitant of stepping into a new thing. But the same is true when you're stepping into a new job. And so when it comes to act, our new employees need to know exactly what actions they need to take and when they need to take them and they need to know upfront. Now, when we use act, it's the one next thing, the one next action our employees need to take. And so we don't want to say, here are all the things you need to do, but you do want to provide an outline of here's the timeline of the actions you will be taking over the next week. And in that you want to include things like when you're going to meet with your manager, when you're going to get your laptop, when you're going to get email access, when you should be starting to talk to your team members, when the first team call is a, when you should be attending new hire orientation or taking it virtually when you should enroll for in medical benefits, these are all things that we want our new employee to take action on.

(12:46): And we need to make sure that we share with them that these actions are going to be required. Even if they're not a take action now, because we always want to use the act to do one next thing. So you don't want to give them this list of all these things in timelines with click here, click here, click here, click here. We don't want to do that. No, one's going to click there. And I was going to go back to the email or they're gonna stress over it and pick up the phone and call you, which is exactly what we don't want. So instead, we're going to give them an overview of these are the actions you're going to take and when to expect them so that they have a gauge of things that are on a normal timeline or not. So they know when to reach out and who to reach out to, but at the same time, we're then saying, hi, welcome on day one.

(13:29): Here's the action we need you to take. We need you to click here to get your badging or getting our system or complete your employee personnel information. And once they do that, they get another email notification of thank you so much for completing your personal information in our online HR. I S here's your next step, which is to sign up for benefits, whatever it is, that's a random example, but whatever that process is for you, I want you to parse it out and make sure that your actions are one next thing. And you may be pushing back saying, well, no, one's going to want that many emails you're wrong. That is not true. That is a lie, particularly in a new employee, but I would debate that for all employees, but particularly for a new employee, they are waiting for things to do. They want to be brought up to speed.

(14:17): And so getting more information in manageable ways, which is one next action. They're able to take it implement and move forward and feel as though they're accomplishing it. Now, when it comes to touch, this is the one where we in HR may have some influence over and may not have some influence over. So be sure to understand where those lines cross and how you can work with the things you can't influence. But touch really comes down to the interactions and touch points. Our new employee has with HR and with the company. And so with that as a new employee, you're probably interacting with more systems, more emails, more groups, et cetera, than at any other point in a consistent basis over your career. Because as a new employee, you're dealing with all of the let's get you onboard stuff. So all of the HR programs, we need to get you into all of the it programs we needed to get to into, um, your local department and organization programs, the programs you need to do your job.

(15:23): I mean, it's ongoing. So the touch points are going to be plentiful as are the emails as are the instructions as are the overlaps. Now, what we can influence is how the touch points interact and how we're flowing them through the systems. So I want you in this point to really understand what that new employee gets from an external perspective and internal perspective, what are the emails? What are they saying? What are the systems? Where are they going? How are we interacting? Because we want to make the touch points as seamless as possible. And we want to make sure that it doesn't become a friction point in a, I don't know where to go for this. I don't know how to access this. I don't know where learning the new online learning program is. How do I get there? Do I have to be logged in?

(16:13): Do I have to wait for my, uh, employee information to be in the system? So I have an ID. Like you need to give some thought into how your new employee is going to actually interact with these systems. So you can compile a very clear touch point system or a process for all the various things that your new employee needs to do. Now, when it goes, right, you're likely not going to hear anything other than, Oh, yeah, that was pretty easy. Or I got things pretty quickly, or thank you so much. That sounded great, which is all positive feedback, but when it goes wrong, which it usually does, there's going to always be a break, right? There's always going to be a bump in the road what's going to happen is we're going to get feedback along the lines of, I didn't know what to do.

(17:02): I felt confused. It felt, uh, nervous about am I doing it right or wrong? And it really impacts the overall employee experience over the lifetime of their employment. Now that story I shared with you about myself, I will tell you that onboarding experience did leave a lasting impact. In my entire experience at that company, I never got back to the level of excitement and joy and open to new experiences that I had before that experience at that company. So when things continue to happen at that company, instead of me having a different starting point or level setting it in a different norm, my norm was, well, of course, that happened because they're so disorganized. Or of course it happened because they don't care about this part of the process. Or of course that happened because, because, because, and as a leader in the organization, I don't message it that way.

(18:15): But in my head, it was like compile, compile, compile, and then you get into this weird, I'm talking one thing and thinking another, and that's just weird. So it really can impact your overall thought experience and interaction with a company. And as things start to happen along your employee journey, as you're an employee there, those things that are negative experiences, whether it's something big, like a big company decision that kind of came out of left field or something small, like an annoying email from your boss, all of those things add on top of each other. And every day when you wake up to work and go to work, you have to make the decision of are the positives outweighing the obstacles, or is it vice versa? And there will come a time when all of those compiled negative experiences starting from the recruiting process, starting from the onboarding process, because those shaped the way we see things. There comes a time when the negative experiences outweigh the positive, and that's why your key talent is leaving your organization. So what do we do? We need to focus on the candidate experience. We need to spend some time on making sure that all of the pieces come together appropriately, that the people, as part of the process, whether it's recruiters, hiring managers, HR in the candidate, all know what they're responsible for very clearly and are held accountable to it. And that we are reinforcing at all times the no feel, act, and touch.

(20:02): This podcast is brought to you by the employee experience solution book. Today's HR leaders in innovative workplaces. Can't waste time focusing on employee engagement. We know that in our current uncertain times, traditional engagement tactics are becoming even less effective and even more expensive to increase employee engagement and keep your talent engaged right now and beyond you need to dig deeper and get to the root of the issue, which is why the employee experience is the answer. My book, the employee experience solution is designed to help you rethink your approach to employee engagement by focusing on the employee experience starting right now, pick up your copy of the employee experience solution on Amazon or at bettHR.com/book that's B E T T H r.com/book. Thank you so much for tuning in for this episode of the rethink HR podcast. For more information, including the show notes and resources, please go to rethink HR podcast.com/wealth.

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