Lilith Christiansen, Vice President of Onboarding Solutions at SilkRoad, examined how human resources professionals can leverage strategic onboarding to communicate the impact of their people initiatives on business outcomes during her presentation to Argyle's CHRO membership at the 2018 Human Capital Forum: Employee Experience in the Digital Era in San Francisco on March 21. In her presentation, "Strategic Onboarding to Drive Business Outcomes," Christiansen offered tips to help HR professionals use onboarding to attract and retain top talent.
Onboarding is a common process that enables businesses to teach new hires about a company, its mission and its goals. Yet many companies fail to optimize the onboarding experience. And in some instances, the onboarding process is identical for companies across the globe.
"We all hate the term [onboarding] because it literally comes from thinking about the experience of getting onto a ship," Christiansen stated. "It involves a one-size-fits-all approach, and it involves giving employees the basics."
Strategic onboarding empowers businesses to differentiate the onboarding process, and ultimately, may prove to be valuable for companies and new hires alike. It requires a company to allocate time and resources to tailor the onboarding cycle to the needs of its new hires. Then, a company can provide new hires with the information, insights and support that they need to thrive.
"When we think about strategic onboarding, it is important to begin with specific goals and objectives in mind."
To implement a strategic onboarding plan, a company first needs to consider its goals and objectives. That way, a business can craft its onboarding strategy to achieve meaningful results.
"When we think about strategic onboarding, it is important to begin with specific goals and objectives in mind," Christiansen noted. "A business first needs to think about what it is trying to accomplish and design an onboarding experience around this."
Also, strategic onboarding requires a company to learn about its new hires and plan accordingly.
With strategic onboarding, how a new hire joins a company varies. The onboarding process must account for how a company wants its new hires to think and feel when they join a company and ensure these individuals can instantly contribute to a business' success.
"We need to be intentional about [onboarding]," Christiansen indicated. "We need to design our onboarding process in a way that gets our new hires to think and feel in a way that we want them to every step along the way."
Furthermore, strategic onboarding must be tailored to a new hire based on the individual and his or her role within a company. A personalized and customized onboarding process enables a business to lay the foundation for a successful partnership with a new hire. Plus, this process allows a new hire to receive immediate answers to any concerns or questions about a company.
"Strategic onboarding must be individualized and customized," Christiansen said. "It's really important to think about the areas of an onboarding process that can be customized and make the employee experience personalized or individualized to each person."
A strategic onboarding process can have a significant impact on a company, regardless of its size or industry.
"Strategic onboarding must be individualized and customized."
If a company implements a strategic onboarding process, the business could be better equipped than its rivals to attract and retain top talent. In addition, this company could get the most out of its recruiting investments and achieve its desired results faster than ever before.
"Strategic onboarding helps [organizations] protect their recruiting investments," Christiansen pointed out. "We also want to use strategic onboarding to drive key business outcomes."
A strategic onboarding process helps new hires quickly become acclimated to a company's culture as well. The process ensures new hires can learn about a company and understand their role within this business. As a result, a new hire can limit the stress and anxiety commonly associated with joining a company.
"You need to make sure that you are intentional about providing support to new hires and help new hires master the culture of your organization," Christiansen stated. "New hires must be able to understand the culture of your organization and thrive in it."
Strategic onboarding should give new hires the opportunity to engage with like-minded individuals too.
If a company tailors the strategic onboarding process to a new hire, this business can give its employees the opportunity to foster meaningful partnerships with one another. These partnerships may help a company boost its employee satisfaction and retention levels. Moreover, employee partnerships could help a business increase workplace productivity and efficiency and further differentiate itself from the competition.
"It is important to set your new hires up for success by introducing them to folks both internal and external in nature," Christiansen indicated. "Allow people to find others like them … and learn who the stakeholders are in their jobs."
Lilith Christiansen is the Vice President of Onboarding Solutions for SilkRoad and the author of the book "Successful Onboarding." With 20 years of consulting experience, Lilith has helped many global organizations design and implement strategic onboarding programs that have enabled these organizations to drive key business outcomes. Lilith leverages her experience to help SilkRoad clients design, implement and optimize global onboarding programs to enable organizations to achieve talent activation.