Your Employee Onboarding Process is Failing - Here is Why and Best Practices

Your Employee Onboarding Process is Failing - Here is Why and Best Practices


By Amin Fard, CEO Preppio

Learn how to transform your new hire onboarding with scientifically proven onboarding best practices that result in reducing the cost of turnover and increased employee engagement, even in a remote work environment.

Take me right to the onboarding course

Outdated new employee onboarding checklists and programs often result in employee retention issues and staff turnover, According to Gallup only 12% of new hires state that their company does a good job of onboarding, strange when we think of how much we are investing in hiring the same people. With social distancing and remote onboarding, it is even harder for HR and managers to give a consistent and good onboarding experience to new employees.

Why do some new hires fail during onboarding while others succeed?

We spend a lot of time and resources on finding the perfect new person for our company, yet paradoxically, a lot of companies invest minimally when it comes to the onboarding experience of their future employees once the contract is signed. We think of the recruiting process as nature and the onboarding process as nurture. A person you hire comes with a certain “nature”, experience, capabilities, and personal skills, but the onboarding experience is where we have an opportunity to nurture the person into our culture, mindset or a given skill set/and role. Both are equally important for a successful employee onboarding program, so let’s have a look at how to overcome the challenges of mastering both areas. The employee onboarding process in most organizations has for too long been overlooked and outdated or left to local managers or a busy HR department with no one really owning the onboarding process. "Death by PowerPoint" during new hire orientation day or sending an onboarding checklist to hiring managers once and hoping they follow it years later, often results in employee retention issues and staff turnover. 

Overcoming the Challenge of Remote Onboarding

Finding good ‘employee-to-job fit’ is more difficult than ever in the current climate where so much employee communications have moved online to platforms like Teams, Zoom, or Workplace by Facebook. Put yourself in the shoes of the new employee to remember the anticipation, nerves, and loneliness most new hires experience when entering a new organization. Such emotions are only heightened in a world where it’s more difficult to meet face-to-face and interact with others during your first time in a new job. Now more than ever the nurture part of hiring is critical to ensure successful employee onboarding, and happy employees. But what does nurturing look like in a virtual world? Most companies already have digital learning platforms and one-size-fits-all e-learning systems, however, many such systems fail to meet the needs and expectations of today’s incoming employees.

Science-based Onboarding is More Important Than Ever

According to Talya Bauer Phd, the foremost authority on employee onboarding who authored the widely used 5 C’s (now 6) of Onboarding, for new hires onboarding is so much more than the paperwork or the Compliance. It is vital for the socialization of people in the Culture, building meaningful Connections, developing employee Confidence, and Clarification throughout the onboarding process. Check back is the latest addition to her framework, and it is all about listening to the new hires and continuously improving the experience over time.

Your Employee Onboarding Process is Failing – Here is Why and Best Practices

Companies that lack a structured and science-based onboarding process perform worse on important metrics like employee engagement, time to productivity. According to survey results from staffing agency Robert Half & Associates 22% of new hires that quit, do so within the first 45 days. Even more critical is the turnover in deskless and hourly workforce where a study by Krauss, A. D. (2010) showed that 50% of hourly workers quit within 120 first days.

According to SHRM, 69 percent of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboarding experience, Clearly, it hurts the bottom line to leave your employee onboarding to chance!

Inconsistent onboarding process or a ‘sink or swim’ mindset for your new hires has never worked well, but in today’s landscape, this type of approach to onboarding can be detrimental and may result in new hires feeling overwhelmed and alone. This is especially true for experienced hires who in such circumstances come to miss the safety net of co-workers to lean on from previous jobs.

Onboarding Experience is at an All-Time Low

Through our research of recent new hires who had recently started their new job in restaurants, call centers, and offices, we learned that employee onboarding experience is at an all-time low due to social distancing and work from home.

You too have probably experienced that onboarding employees are much harder with the recent changes in how we work and interact. A significant part of onboarding happens by people interacting with each other. With many employees working from home or being onboarded remotely, we need more standardized onboarding processes that take each new employee through one, consistent and engaging onboarding experience that motivates the new employee, and ensures they are seen and properly followed upon by others. This way we can build productive employees who instantly feel as if they are part of the organization.

Become an onboarding superstar!

Join our 4-part email course:
HOW TO BUILD A WORLD-CLASS ONBOARDING PROCESS



The Good News

A poor onboarding process is not affecting the unwanted turnover typical in the first months as much as it was before the pandemic. Employees and the organizations know they are in strange times, expectations to onboarding in 2020 are low. At the same time, this is also an opportunity to go above and beyond to improve your new employee experience.

It doesn’t have to take much. Sending a new employee welcome kit from their co-worker or meeting their manager and co-workers for a Zoom- lunch on the first day are examples of small efforts that can make a big impact when expectations are low.

The Bad News

Poor onboarding experiences often boils down to simple things like failure to assign responsibility for a new hire’s success. Managers don’t know what to do or are too busy. HR also lags behind in terms of adapting and upgrading onboarding processes to ensure they are in line with today’s expectations and organizational needs. The outcome is that new employees often are left to their own devices, trying to navigate new territory with no clear map or guidance.

Three key areas that are hurting organizations due to bad remote onboarding:

  1. Unproductive new hires, and time spent getting them up to speed
    • New hires spend a lot of time doing nothing of value or sitting alone with no work to do. 
    • New hires struggle to find help to get work done because they don’t know who to speak with.
    • New hires leaving a bad customer service experience for end customers in the first weeks and months without anyone being there to give them feedback and training
  2. New hires failing and feeling unhappy at work
    • New hires don’t feel a sense of accomplishment due to a lack of on the job learning and support.
    • Finding it hard to succeed at work while feeling like a failure goes both ways, employees feel it, and managers say they made the wrong decision as the person is not independent enough to succeed.
    • New hire work on things that do not result in tangible results for the organization and not directed towards long term success
  3. Culture and employee engagement
    • Lack of community, connection, and socialization for new hires. 
    • A bad start when it comes to culture leads to bad habits that the person will bring with them throughout their life span at an organization.
    • A poor start leads to bad habits that the person will bring with them throughout their life span at an organization.
  4. Lack of clarification, confidence, and connection
    • Recruiters and hiring managers are not good at clarifying the situation, how the company works, and what is expected of the new hires to succeed. Extra important in these different pandemic times.
    • Building confidence is the key to ensuring onboarding success. Small simple tasks that new hires can do on their own have been forgotten and managers have been busier. This leaves new hires with no work or work they are not able to do.
    • Connection is lacking as employees are not feeling like part of their team, do not know about (or believe in) the company mission. This usually happens when they have not been properly introduced to their new co-workers and the company story in the pre-boarding and first weeks on the job.

Quick Pro Tips for Great New Employee Onboarding

  1. Automation is key: HR and hiring managers should not spend their time sending a lot of information manually to each new hire in order to give them the best onboarding experience. Without clear communication onboarding often fails. Sending the right message at the right time and doing so automatically is the secret to success. According to the internal communication company, Poppulo 50% of management emails are not opened by people that work behind a desk and 70% of emails are not opened in deskless workforces. Imagine if you could push onboarding information to new hires, managers, and other onboarding stakeholders in the channels they use most and use software that can automate it for you.
  2. Actionable tips by using automation of onboarding:
    • Send a CEO video to all new hires so they get more invested in the mission of the company in the critical pre-boarding phase.
    • Use SMS during pre-boarding and chat messages in the employee communication platform, because if no one reads the messages you might as well not have sent it.
    • New hires have a lot of questions and some of them might be embarrassing to ask. Is it allowed to date a colleague? What happens if I am late to work? What is the dress code? Information overload happens when sending a long e-mail with too much info. Imagine if you could send bite-sized messages over time to ensure that employees actually retain the information. You could also use an onboarding chatbot in Workplace from Facebook, Microsoft Teams, or Slack where new hires can get answers quickly.
  3. Use a Science and Data-Based Approach: Implementing the 6 C's of onboarding framework and onboarding process is key to ensure onboarding success. According to a study by Brandon Hall Group in 2015 Companies with the top maturity level in employee, onboarding are twice as likely to increase employee engagement versus companies that focus with a lower level of maturity.
    • Build Confidence and connection by giving new hires simple tasks like introducing themselves in Workplace from Facebook or Microsoft teams as part of their onboarding process. Their colleges will greet them and create a social bond, even if done remotely.
    • Clarify the work, progress, and ensure the new hire is aware of what is expected of them. Good habits are created early on!
    • What gets measured gets managed. It can be scary to learn how little employees absorb the critical first weeks, but measuring feedback from new hires onboarding experience creates a culture of caring for your employees. Over time it compounds and impacts your employer branding, engagement, and productivity.
  4. Support managers with the right software: Don’t leave the full burden of employee onboarding to the HR department, make it easy for managers to become onboarding superheroes as well. Develop easy ways to ‘pass the baton’ to the new hire’s manager and help your managers with automated nudges and check-in points throughout the process.
    • Creating a buddy system for your new hires where the senior employees take more responsibility for helping the new employees during onboarding.
    • Get the software to handle the time consuming and boring tasks from the manager’s shoulders, like giving employees access to the right tools, do online intro courses and paperwork.
    • Lunch with managers early days is important for employees to feel a connection, in today's work environment you can nudge managers by (automating) a message 10 days before the start to remind them to send a gift to their house. Imagine the fuzzy feeling the new manager and organization give the new hires when the whole family of the new hire experiences that their new job has taken the time to send a package through mail, it does not take a lot to create engaged employees when expectations are low.

Become an onboarding superstar!

Join our 4-part email course:
HOW TO BUILD A WORLD-CLASS ONBOARDING PROCESS




Guide to driving Workplace from Facebook adoption to 100%

You are at 50% Workplace from Facebook adoption or more, great work! You have created a place where many people find relevant content and connection, but how do you get the others to join? Keep reading to learn how to avoid the most common mistakes when trying to drive adoption for Workplace from Facebook post-launch, and how to grow adoption from 50% to 100%.

In this article, we look at the strategic application of two theories that are proven to increase adoption.

I hope this article assists you in your mission to improve your Workplace adoption rates, reveals the mindsets that activate engagement, and provides a clear plan that you can implement with your team. 

If you are serious about getting to 100% adoption and liked this article, you should sign up for our free email course. The e-mails will provide you with practical and tactical things to do and be a great motivation and resource on your journey to 100% Workplace from Facebook adoption.


IT’S NOT EASY, BUT IT IS CAREER DEFINING

Reaching 100% adoption on Workplace in your current company is an exceptional achievement. It demonstrates not only that you can get sh*t done but that you genuinely care about the workplace community and recognize the efficiencies, productivity, and cultural benefits that engagement offers.

You’re the breed of employee that any company would love to have, especially in these times when corporate cultures and tech adoption are pretty high up on the list of problems that most companies struggle with. 

If you’re reluctant to put in the work over the next 6-12 months, this guide is not for you. However, if persistence is in your nature I can promise great results and turn your satisfactory 50% adoption to an excellent 100%.

 

WHERE DO YOU START?

First up, let’s look at our objectives and figure out where things have gone wrong. Further down, there’s a practical list of basic actions you can take to get the adoption ball rolling. 

Jumping right in, there are two things you need to achieve:

  1. Adoption - people returning regularly 
  2. Engagement - people posting and interacting

In order to encourage adoption and reach the engagement for the non-power users you need, consider the following first:

  • Create content that is relevant and interesting: People discover and consume content created by other users on Workplace. As more people adopt Workplace, the sum of all content scales, leading to greater value for the different cohorts of users. 
  • Connection: Networks allow users to discover and/or connect with other users. As more users join the network, there is greater value for every individual user. 
  • Influencers: These are the CEO, the management team, employees that other employees like, and follow. Think of these people as the “celebrities” that have followers within the organization. If these people become adopters and engage in Workplace, the platform gains integrity and dependability and becomes the place to be. 
  • Forget the home runs: Rather than try to hit a home run, think of the process of reaching 100% adoption as a step-by-step process. This way you’ll benefit from continuous small wins along the way. 
  • Be patient and consistent: Moving from 50% to 100% adoption on Workplace doesn’t happen overnight. Once you’ve reached 50% adoption, you’ll find more effort is required to make incremental gains such as from 60-86%. 


The classic bell curve can be applied to Workplace adoption. It's easier to attract the “Innovators”, the “Early adopters” and the “Early majority” compared to the “Late majority” and the “Laggards”.

The brutal truth is that the last 16% - (the Laggards) - is actually just as hard as the 60%-86% journey (late majority). So remember this when communicating internally and setting the goals of adoption. This journey needs strategic thinking and commitment. 

WHY THE OBVIOUS CHOICE IS NOT ALWAYS THE RIGHT CHOICE WHEN DRIVING ADOPTION:

To make the theories simpler to understand, we have created this fictional case:

Let’s say your company has about 10,000 employees. 6,000 (or 60%) use Workplace on a daily basis. The remaining 4,000 (or 40%) are checking in irregularly, or not at all. Your objective is to increase the adoption to 100%. You have two groups of employees that you can focus on:

Group A: Of the 40%, 200 middle managers have downloaded the Workplace and WorkChat apps on their phones. These people are checking in once a week. 

Group B: Also as part of the 40%, 2000 frontline workers are in the category of “heard about Workplace”. They may be checking in from time to time, perhaps not at all with some having uploaded a profile picture. 

In the next section of this article, I’ll address the pain points of each user type and the theories that can be applied in order to inch your way to 100% adoption.

Called the network effect and Adjacent User Theory, these concepts can be applied to the adoption of goods and services, such as Workplace. Furthermore, they also offer the psychology that explains how politics work, how movements start, and why Kim Kardashian and her family can make millions by simply being influencers.

 

THEORY ON HOW TO DRIVE ADOPTION FOR WORKPLACE FROM FACEBOOK

The network effect and its impact on adoption

The network effect isn’t a new term. Also called a demand-side economy of scale, it refers to the bandwagon effect resulting from people joining or adopting a product or service, thereby enhancing the value of the network through a positive feedback loop. 

The network’s value increases according to the number of others using it. 

Network effects become significant after a certain subscription percentage has been achieved. This is called a critical mass. Social media is highly dependent on network effects, but the most famous examples of network effects are the telephone, the internet, and marketplaces such as eBay and Craigslist.

The below diagrams illustrate three different dynamics of the network effect - Sarnoff’s Law, Metcalfe’s Law and Reed’s Law. Together they show the increased network value in relation to the network - 

  1. Firstly, in direct proportion to the network size - Sarnoff’s Law
  2. Secondly, to the square of the number of users Metcalfe’s Law
  3. Thirdly, in proportion to the network size which also forms clusters that in turn scale faster in value due to influence and interconnectedness.

 

How is this relevant to speed or rate of adoption?

With an adoption rate of 50% or more, there is more than “critical mass” as seen in Metcalfe's Law. Let’s take WorkChat as an example. If no-one uses WorkChat there’s no value in trying to call or text people. However, if everyone uses it, everyone receives value. Based on Metcalfe’s Law, with 50% adoption of Workplace, the channel delivers enough value to be used regularly, and it will spread. 

Reed’s Law shows that the network grows proportionally but forms in clusters that scale faster based on the value of others. Let’s apply Reed’s Law to WorkPlace. If senior management and key people (the influencers) in the organization adopt and engage regularly in Workplace, employees will do the same. Given the platform will facilitate connection, interaction and engagement with those that offer real value to their professional lives and experience in the workplace generally, employees are more likely to be enticed. 

Adjacent Users - what are they and how to win them over.

The next step is to ensure that the “Adjacent Users” join. To start any movement, influencers are needed in order to create buzz to attract the individuals we refer to as adjacent people. These people are aware of your product or service and have maybe even tried it but they are not engaged enough to become a user. This is likely because the product/service’s positioning presents them with what they’d consider being reasonable barriers to adoption. 

So what role can influencers play in all of this? The more powerful the influencer in an organization, the stronger the attraction for the Adjacent Users. By focusing on influencers to adopt and use, the network effects will have a far greater impact.

Since you are in charge of ensuring Workplace adoption, it’s important to remember that these are the critical people to engage - they, the influencers, are the magnets.

Here’s a simple example of the importance of influencers. If the CEO uses WorkChat to send a message to the people with whom he/she engages, the likelihood of the C-level to start using WorkChat, instead of their current platform, will increase. Note, the power transferral does not work from the bottom up. That is, a CEO is far less likely to cease using their preferred channel or mode of communication and adopt WorkChat simply because a middle-tier manager has done so. 

Adjacent User theory is commonly discussed in the context of companies like Facebook, Instagram and Slack. These social giants have mindfully applied this thinking to their growth strategies to tap into exponential growth for their community-based products.

 

Two great sources to learn more about this theory, are:
'Growth Outside the Core' - Harvard Business Review
'The Adjacent User Theory' - Guest Post by Bangaly Kaba 

 

The role of Power Users 

I’m figuring you’re likely to be a Power User given you use Workplace. You probably also interact with other Power Users using Workplace.

The Power User can be an influencer, but not always. Power Users are great at assessing what works and what doesn’t. They’re the ones that are clear about what’s effective in Workplace for them, and what’s not. As a result of the attention, and their stature in the organization, improvements are made.

And that’s how things roll. Those who experience the pain-points and who then have the confidence to not only express the problem but do something about it are called the Power Users for this very reason. The caveat is that over time this leads to creating a community through the power of the Power Users - (it sounds like a tongue-twister for your next WorkChat call!)

While securing traction from Power Users to drive engagement in the early days is critical to building a community for the Power Users, it’s also crucially important to drive adoption of Workplace to the wider work community. To do this you need to change your approach. The only way to increase adoption is to focus on the users that don’t have the level of engagement, knowledge, needs, or the same interests as you and your Power User cohort. Identifying the pain-points experienced is critical for your next phase of Workplace adoption. You need to take off your own Power-user hat, and look at the world through the lens of the irregular and non-users. 

It’s worth remembering that the likelihood of losing the Power Users once they’re engaged with Workplace is slim as they’re already in the habit of checking Workplace daily. Improving the experience for these stakeholders will return fewer rewards than turning a non-user into a daily user. Here’s the catch. All new users are not created equal, so this should be done in steps, with a special focus on influencers who are categorized as Adjacent Users and those that are moving outwards.

The Adjacent Users are aware of Workplace and have tried using it, but their experience hasn’t been habit-forming. Why? They don’t believe the platform will benefit them, or there are too many barriers to regular use.

Every organization is different and the reasons for not using it can be many and varied. It helps to speak to and empathize with the people not using Workplace to understand their situation before any actions are taken. It could be useful to conduct a survey or questionnaire to gather insights as well as talking to the different groups of people who are not using the platform regularly. 

Put yourself in your colleagues’ shoes and ask yourself what it would take to start using Workplace? It could be an idea to schedule a series of lunches with key people and/or workgroups to discuss what it does, what it offers, how it can improve workplace connections, and where its value lies for them. Presenting Workplace through the ‘Did you know’ lens can prove useful for many. Be sure to build rapport with your stakeholders before you start investigating, and stay open and curious.

 

SETTING THE STRATEGY

As soon as you know the problems for the non-power users you can start solving them. Adjacent User theory illustrates employee groups as a series of circles. Each of these is defined by the user type in your company and has users in orbit around them. 

Steps to follow:

  1. Identify who your users are. Ie. those that sit on the outer radius surrounding the successful user. 
  2. Identify the influencers amongst them.
  3. Figure out the barrier(s) preventing your users from crossing the threshold and moving closer to the Power User. 
  4. Break down these barriers one by one, gradually increasing and driving adoption.

Examples of your Workplace users and their behavior:

  1. Workplace Power User that posts regularly to groups.
  2. The daily active user that likes often and posts occasionally.
  3. Weekly check-in user - Adjacent Users.
  4. Checks in from time to time; have a profile picture. 
  5. Signed up once.
  6. Has heard about Workplace but never checked in.
  7. Never heard about Workplace.

 

Here’s the strategy put in practice. Use this to problem-solve your own situation:

Remember the examples of Group A and Group B we talked about earlier?
Group A: Out of 4,000 employees - 200 middle managers have downloaded the Workplace and WorkChat apps on their phones. These people are checking in once a week.

Group B:  Out of the same 4,000 employees, 2000 frontline workers are in the category of “heard about Workplace”. They may be checking in from time to time, perhaps not at all with some having uploaded a profile picture.

  • Your research reveals staff is using Whatsapp to communicate on a daily basis explaining why Workplace is rarely checked. 
  • The issue is that these are the Adjacent Users and influencers that would increase the network effects down to the people that are managers.
  • Front line employees advise they were told to download the app, but never did citing 3-6 different reasons. 
  • A number of Non-Adjacent and non-influencers also downloaded the app but did not find it relevant, fun, etc.

Users you should focus on are the 200 managers, not the 2000 front line workers:

If you get 200 managers (influencers) to successfully use WorkChat to communicate to their teams instead of Whatsapp,  you will automatically get the 2000 (adjacent users) frontline employees to also use Workplace regularly. 

Tips and insights in this case (more of this in the Free e-mail course): 

  1. The barriers to managers not adopting Workplace is that they do not have a problem you solve with Workplace. They use Whatsapp to communicate with their local teams and do not see the point of spending energy to adopt something new.
  2. Talk to IT and discuss the problem of shadow IT in the company (security risk, GDRP etc), making a subscription to Workplace redundant, let alone a waste of the budget. Request IT to create a no shadow IT policy to be formally communicated and enforced. 
  3. The above policy should be combined with communicating of benefits of WorkChat and that WorkChat is the new communication channel to stop employees using Whatsapp.
  4. Watch the power of influence grow adoption numbers on WorkChat amongst managers and their local teams.

Summary:

Moving towards 100% adoption requires smart thinking and having an astute understanding of the different types of employees in your organization. Spending time to assess the impact of network effects and the Adjacent User theory is a useful and scientifically valuable approach that if done methodically is guaranteed to deliver results.

Be realistic. Do not try to hit a home run every time, but focus on the large groups that are not adjacent. 

I hope you have found value in this strategic adoption approach and are now better placed to understand the psychological rationale that drives adoption and its relationship to business success. Once you have laid out the strategy, it is time to implement the plan.

If you are serious about getting to 100% adoption you should sign up for our free email course, it will provide you with practical and tactical things to do and be a great motivation and resource on your journey to 100% Workplace from Facebook adoption.