It is no secret that the workforce is changing; as more Millennials move into managerial roles, advancing in their careers, fueled by a need to succeed and to make a difference in this world. They crave for the opportunity to make the world or their community a better place to live. That desire to enhance the world around them may stem from social injustice or the need for more technological advancements or other driving forces.
We all recall the emotion of receiving that phone call or email from the hiring manager offering you the position and then, in turn, you feeling that you accomplish anything. However, before an employee can even begin to actualize those successes they have built up in their mind, they must first go through the routine of the onboarding experience. Onboarding varies from company to company.
I remember my first onboarding experience at a top consulting firm, which consisted of me sitting in a room by myself, watching a video of the CEO and senior team welcoming me on a screen, and describing what a privilege it was for me to work at their firm. All the while, I was tasked with filling out several forms for their HR department that were due at the end of the video. On the flip side, many of us see stories on LinkedIn about effective onboarding: making employees feel welcomed from the start, setting up their desks with the latest company swag and gadgets, and having management make a real effort to get to know the new hire from the start. However, those are just a few of examples of how onboarding varies by company.
According to a study done by Society for Human Resource Management, new hires who experienced a well-structured onboarding program were 69 percent more likely to remain at a company for up to three years. That staggering statistic should alarm organizations. On the other hand, organizations who consistently update and innovate their onboarding programs have seen major advantages and are likely to be better positioned to respond to employee and marketplace trends because they have their fingers on the pulse of what is currently happening in the marketplace. One such innovation is “Employee Journey Mapping,” which is becoming more and more common among organizations who seek a more enhanced employee experience.
I recently co-facilitated a journey mapping workshop with a very large B2B technology company. This company had mapped multiple customer scenarios that they could then step back and identify the likely pain points, moments of truth, and wow factors they could deliver to their customers. However, they also did the same for their employees and tried to build their employee experience to be, bar none, the best in the industry.
This principle and idea of the “employee before the customer” is catching on because you first must deliver exceptional employee experiences in order to deliver exceptional customer experiences. As Lior Arussy, President and Founder of Strativity Group frequently states, “you can pay an employee to smile, but you cannot pay them to smile sincerely.” For an employee to truly smile sincerely, the employee experience and mission must inspire that employee to be a true advocate of the company they work for, and the employee inspiration process starts with onboarding.
The Container Store is famous for putting their employees first. In a recent companywide blog post entitled Our Employee First Culture, the company stated “we’ve found that if you really and truly take better care of the employee than anybody else (instead of just myopically focusing on the shareholder), your employee will take better care of your customer than anybody else. And if those two are ecstatic, then wonderfully and ironically, the shareholder will be ecstatic, too!”
After the interviewing process, the onboarding experience is the first impressions a company can make on their new hire. If the employee has a warm feeling of acceptance and potential growth and opportunity from day one, they are much more likely to play the long game and be an engaged and productive employee that will make an impact on customers and the business.
Presenting and reviewing the employee experience during the onboarding process is an impactful way to set expectations with your new hire, who is undoubtedly nervous about the long term potential. The HR industry estimates that a large percent of turnover, approximately 20%, occurs during the first forty-five days of a new hire’s tenure and that it is due in large part to failed onboarding programs.
Mapping the employee experience has no bounds. A great example of this is to create a map for a new employee’s first ninety days. Use it to level set with your new hire that, on day three, they will still have that feeling of excitement and on day fifteen, they might be feeling stressed about being the new person and desperately want to make an impact. In this scenario, the map becomes a tool to help that new employee understand what he, or she, should expect their first few months to progress.
As your organization develops onboarding programs, think about communicating the first ninety days of the new hire experience through the lens of an employee journey map. A visual journey, complete with images and emotions, can be just what your new hire needs to be able to digest all of the emotions that take place throughout the first three months at a new company. Presenting the employee journey during onboarding can result in positive ROI. Try it the next time you deliver an onboarding program.
Ari Ashkenas is a Program Manager and Client Success Lead at Strativity Group, a globally recognized customer experience consultancy and professional services firm. Ari has worked with many Fortune 500 companies including Royal Bank of Scotland, Marriott International, Mercedes-Benz USA, CA Technologies, and AmeriGas.
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