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Posts Tagged “employee onboarding”

Via Business 2 Community : Why Google’s Onboarding Process Works 25% Better Than Everyone Else’s

Even tech giants have humble beginnings.

In the halcyon days when Google was making the transition from a bedroom to a rented garage in Menlo Park, it won’t surprise you to learn they didn’t have a tight onboarding process in place.

For years Google ran on a single, sprawling spreadsheet including a ranked list of the company’s top 100 projects. The projects were confusingly graded on a scale between “far out” and “skunkworks”, and the founders handled the process with a ‘who cares’ attitude.

Since that point, everyone knows Google has made leaps not only in the Internet space but also in the workplace. The company is the #3 world’s most valuable brand and the #3 best employer in America. Its made extremely effective tweaks to its hiring process over the years, but what isn’t reported as often is its approach to new employee onboarding — the process of getting a new hire equipped with everything they need to integrate into the company culture, work effectively and succeed.

The wackier aspects of Google’s orientation process are widely known. We’ve heard about the Noogler beanies with motorized propellers, and the Mountain View all-Noogler TGIF meetings where the founders “just come in and make some dad jokes”. The inner workings of the process, however — the parts that make it so notoriously effective — aren’t as obvious.

In this article, I’m going to run through the nuts and bolts of Google’s ‘just in time’ employee onboarding process, and some of the supporting events that happen during.

Google’s ‘just in time’ onboarding checklist

Just one day before a new hire joins, the hire’s manager is sent an email with five small tasks that will need their attention.

The list is pretty simple:

  1. Have a discussion about roles and responsibilities
  2. Match the new hire with a peer buddy
  3. Help the new hire build a social network
  4. Set up employee onboarding check-ins once a month for the new hire’s first six months
  5. Encourage open dialogue

The fact that managers get sent these instructions with only 24 hours to prepare plays on the recency effect — the tendency for people to recall the last thing that happened to them better than things in between.

Put simply, getting that email in front of the manager “just in time” makes it easier to remember. This, in turn, means that they are more likely to execute it correctly.

The email isn’t mass mailed, either. It’s sent only to the manager who needs to see it, making them feel like they’re directly responsible for getting it done. The checklist is no-nonsense and doesn’t include a ton of instructional material, which is instead given to the Noogler with more time on their hands to get familiar with it.

After all, when creating reference materials and checklists (especially if you’re strapped for time), bare-bones is always the way to go.

This small change — creating a sense of urgency and responsibility — has improved onboarding results by 25% at Google.

Why Google’s checklist is laser-focused on company culture

If you look through the five steps of Google’s onboarding checklist, you’ll notice that three of them are focused purely on company culture.

That’s because Google is known to be more than your average organization with bland corporate practices. They believe it’s the “people that make Google the kind of company it is”.

Much like startups, Google is known for turning their noses up at a stuffy work environment. Despite being one of the world’s biggest companies it still acts like it’s a fun-loving founding team from the early days.

Maybe that’s why it ranks so highly as an employer – it has the same attitude towards traditional employment spaces as most of us do to working in them.

Google has learned to prioritize relationships and fun at work because studies have shown happy employees outperform the competition by 20% and are 12% more productive. In fact, Google raised its employee satisfaction by 37% by implementing company culture initiatives.

During the onboarding process, Google supports employee development by educating employees and inducting them into company culture (with both lectures and beers).

Obviously, this won’t work for everyone and it highly depends on the kind of culture your company has. Latham & Watkins LLP (the world’s top-earning law firm) wouldn’t blend quite so well with a more informal or employee-centric company as their clients (and their security) should always come before anything else.

That’s why Google is (almost) unique in this way. Even though the atmosphere and work naturally come with a lot of pressure, it’s the collaborative nature and culture that lets employees at places like Google and Pixar truly thrive.

Hosting a series of intense lectures

While many companies train employees on the job by getting them to dive into the task and learn as they go, Google can spend upwards of two weeks immersing new hires in the culture, and Google-specific theory such as ‘the life of a query’ and ‘the life of an ad’.

This educational approach and fast-response onboarding are necessary because even brand new employees get to work on important projects and key features of the Google architecture.

It’s not that they don’t trust their new employees to work on important projects. It’s more that they give their new employees a crash course in everything they need to know and then give them a chance to prove themselves on something that really matters.

Unlike other onboarding processes, Google’s will put trust in you as part of the open approach to company culture and inclusion. As you might imagine, that shows a level of confidence that will almost certainly rub off on new hires.

You’re not starting from the bottom on menial tasks, which gives you an incentive to stick with it through the hard work and really try your best.

In return, it’s easy to suggest that Google benefits just as much from these new appointments due to that drive to prove themselves capable. After all, it stands to reason that this would demonstrate to the team what the new hire is capable of at this early stage and thus all more effective placement on future projects.

Educating about company culture

When you join Google, you’ve got a lot of mental molding to happen before you can be part of the hallowed ranks. You’re going to need a mix of technical knowledge and company culture education to slot seamlessly into your new role.

Some things don’t change from company to company – the amount of studying you’ll need to do varies depending on your role. It can be anything from none (all optional classes) to two weeks of lectures from senior engineers where they talk about their experience and share their “engineering perspective”.

Kellen Donahue, a former Google software engineer says:

“It seems very overwhelming. There’s so much to learn and read, and at times it seems like when you really understand a concept you realize you just saw the tip of the iceberg”

Of course, there’s more to company culture than lectures and education.

Nooglers are welcomed with a friendly drink after work, but as well as that, the booze flows freely during TGIF meetings. As one engineer pointed out, “if you try hard enough, you can always find alcohol”. Whether or not this negatively affects their work isn’t easy to measure, but you can be sure it helps break the ice and gets new employees feeling comfortable — and that’s mostly what orientation is all about.

Google’s company culture is far from typical, so this kind of instruction from senior employees is great for showing them what a long-term stay might look like. Coupled with the alcoholic icebreaker, you have a potent mix designed to help new hires immediately get stuck into their culture and up to speed with any expectations.

Adopt Google’s onboarding process in your own culture

I won’t sit here and pretend that Google is the perfect template of how to onboard and interact with all employees. It isn’t, and neither are other such standout examples of how companies treat their employees (like Pixar).

However, when discarding the culture the onboarding process itself is absolutely still relevant to almost any company.

The principles behind it cover everything a healthy employer-employee relationship needs:

  • Specifically laying out roles and responsibilities to both parties
  • Giving support to the new hire (a peer buddy) to ease initial friction
  • Introducing the hire to teammates and other contacts to break the ice and start building their network
  • Checking in on them once per month to field questions and smooth out the process without micromanaging
  • Encouraging open dialogue to get useful feedback to improve your own processes

All you have to do now is to take those principles and apply them to your own employee onboarding processes and adapt the whole thing to tie into your company culture.

If you don’t already have a documented onboarding process, check out our free new employee onboarding processes for some ready-to-use templates.

Via Real Business : Does your employee onboarding go with a bang, or fizzle out like a damp squib?

It’s understandable that businesses want to get new talent onboard quickly, but beware you don’t immediately dampen the enthusiasm of your new hires under a deluge of paperwork.

Taking on new hires should add a spark to your business during the employee onboarding process, rather than it feeling like it’s burning out like disappointing roman candle. For Bonfire Night, we light up a box of fireworks to focus on the different kinds of onboarding experience that businesses offer onboardees when starting a new role..

The Rocket – getting talent onboard quickly

Rockets rush up into the sky, in an explosion of noise, to create dazzling and sometimes overwhelming displays.

It’s understandable that businesses want to get new talent onboard quickly, but beware you don’t immediately dampen the enthusiasm of your new hires under a deluge of paperwork.

Sending out a huge bundle of contracts, offer letters and supporting documents can be overwhelming for candidates, and can mean that you spend time chasing their return.

Make use of templates for things like offer details and contracts to ensure details are accurate and up to date.

Think about which documents are necessary and relevant to your onboardee, and which topics are better covered when they start working for you.

Using digital technology such as webonboarding makes it easier for candidates to complete, sign and return documents so that you can get them onboard without delays.

Catherine Wheel – whirling around to ensure the correct people are involved

Does hiring a new starter send you off in a flurry, firing off sparks in a whirl of chaos?

If getting someone new into your business means HR, Managers, IT, security, finances and contract departments running around in a state of confusion, then onboarding planning and organisation can help stop things spiralling out of control.

Having a central resource for information, and a well thought through onboarding process helps to save time and eliminate mistakes during employee onboarding. Using online software such as webonboarding can ensure everyone knows what’s happening and understands their role in welcoming a new employee to the business.

The Blaster – onboarding starts from the moment the role has been offered

Shooting off with a screech, all goes silent with this firework until it explodes with a boom and crackle of sparks.

Does your onboarding process start off with great intentions and then go quiet? Do onboardees drop out before they start work, causing the whole process to come to a crashing halt?

Sometimes it can take several weeks, or even months, between making an offer and new starters turning up ready to work. If they don’t hear from your organisation, onboardees may get cold feet, or be tempted away by another offer.

Onboarding should start from the moment the role has been offered. Engage with your onboardees early and keep in touch throughout their notice period. Make them feel like they are already part of your business and give them an idea of what to expect when they start work for you.

The Sparkler – keep the sparkle alive in the onboarding process

This all-round firework favourite dazzles and delights.

Remember, remember offering onboardees a sparkling start to a new job means your organisation should make an effort to impress them as much as they impress you. By demonstrating how your business values its employees from the moment you make an offer you can start to make them feel part of the team.

First impressions can have a big impact, and staff who are unhappy in their new role will quickly decide to move on. Those who have had an effective onboarding process and who feel part of your organisation are likely to stay longer.

Overall, communication is key and can help new starters to begin adding their own sparkle to your business success story.

Via Human Resource Director : Why are so many onboarding experiences bad?

Most employees look forward to starting a new job. But what if the introduction turns into a bad experience?

A recent online survey of 4,000 office workers in the UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand by cloud-based webonboarding.com revealed that over a third of new starters have had bad onboarding experiences in their organisations.

These experiences led them to regret joining the firm or to leave the job altogether. In fact, 22% of respondents changed their minds before their official start.

For example, 36% of those surveyed said they did not have basic equipment such as a computer on their first day. This caused them to feel like they were joining an unprofessional company.

Fifty-six percent of workers said they did not receive full training and have a sufficient induction plan – when support is seen as pivotal to the overall development of a new employee.

“The findings of our research have highlighted extreme flaws within the onboarding process that are having detrimental effects on global businesses. Major themes throughout were neglect, disorganisation and a lack of engagement,” said Adam Reynolds, CEO of webonboarding.

“Remarkably it seems to boil down to businesses failing to invest the time and focus you would expect to receive in the first few months of joining a new organisation.”

Among those surveyed, 71% said they would have settled into their role quicker had there been a better process in place.

Sixty-nine percent said a good onboarding process would have improved their overall job performance.

Reynolds highlighted the need to prepare all required equipment, materials and training for increased engagement of the new employee.

“Our aim with these results is to make businesses sit up and listen,” he said. “We wouldn’t treat our customers like this, so why would we treat new staff with such disregard?”

via Business News Daily : What Does Poor Onboarding Really Do to Your Team?

Getting your new hires started off on the right foot requires more than just offering them a quick tour of the office and sending them on their way. Giving employees the best chance at future success requires a successful and thorough onboarding program, according to new research from CareerBuilder.

Unfortunately, a number of employers aren’t taking those steps. The study found that 36 percent of organizations do not have a structured onboarding process in place.

Not having any process in place can cause a number of negative consequences for both the employee and employer. Specifically, 16 percent of HR managers said it lowers their company’s productivity, 14 percent said it brings on greater inefficiencies and 12 percent said it leads to higher employee turnover.

Lower employee morale, lower levels of employee engagement, lower confidence among employees, a lack of trust within the organization and missed revenue targets are among the other negative impacts of not having a thorough onboarding program.

Onboarding Process

“While onboarding is a critical component of setting new employees up for success from day one, this study shows some companies are neglecting fundamentals in the onboarding process – and running into serious consequences that can impact the bottom line,” Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder, said in a statement.

The study discovered employers use varying strategies when it comes to their onboarding process. Nearly half of those surveyed provide an overview of their process and how things work; 45 percent offer individual, ongoing training; 43 percent introduce new hires to key employees; and 42 percent provide an introduction to the company culture.

Additionally, more than 30 percent have a team welcome, ensure the new employee’s workspace and technology is ready before they arrive, and have goals and expectations for the employee’s role with defined milestones and success metrics. Some employers also provide detailed information on the company and growth opportunities and assign a mentor to the new hire.

The research revealed that HR employees would benefit from including more automation and technology into their onboarding systems. More than 40 percent of the HR managers surveyed who don’t capture onboarding information electronically spend three hours or more per employee manually collecting and processing the data, while 16 percent spend five or more hours. 

Onboarding Process

Those who collect all the information manually say they suffer from heavier workloads and higher stress levels. In addition, it leads to missing information, delayed start dates and candidates who end up walking away from the job because the process took too long.

“Employers need to establish a comprehensive checklist for every new employee and incorporate more automation to provide a better, more efficient experiences for employees, their managers and HR,” Haefner said.

Overall, one-quarter of employers have an onboarding process that lasts just a day, or less, with 26 percent having programs that last about a week. Twenty-one percent have an onboarding process that lasts one month, with 11 percent extending it over the course of at least three months.

The study was based on surveys of 2,300 hiring managers and human resource professionals across a variety of industries and company sizes in the private sector.