Digital Platforms in the Onboarding Process
Every organization recruiting new personnel know that recruiting is a costly process, sometimes costing thousands of euros. Organizations often spend much time and money finding and selecting the right candidates. However, far too often, the hiring process is declared as "done" right after the paperwork is completed and the start day is agreed upon, leaving new employees to discover the mysteries of their new job on their own.
Utilizing Digital Learning Environment
In America, as many as 1/3 of new employees start searching for a new job during the first six months of their new work contract. Among millennials, the number is even higher and the search process begins even earlier (Docebo 2016; Onboarding at the Speed of Growth). As far as I understand, the corresponding number is not yet as high in Finland, but having such a high number of job dissatisfaction at such early period of the contract, proves the importance of onboarding and familiarizing new employees with the new environment. The sooner the new hire starts getting acquainted with the organizational culture, the best. And once the job starts, these processes are emphasized even more.
However, finding the best way to bring employees onboard requires a lot of planning. While employees should not be left alone, too much of holding hands is not good either. Employees should be given enough information to empower themselves, without drowning them in an ocean of information. Additionally, new hires should be given tools to independently find solutions, and to develop at their own pace - which helps them to effectively absorb content. So how to find the equilibrium between not enough and too much info?
For your onboarding process to be successful, it should be a healthy mix of training, performance management, mentoring, coaching, goals setting, and getting to know the people, processes, and culture of your workplace. We should say goodbye to the onboarding workshops that pour information on new employees, and after which, they are assumed to know everything and to work at full capacity. At Valamis, we are utilizing a digital learning environment in our onboarding (or more precisely our Valamis Intro). In the environment, one can find enough information to start familiarizing himself with Valamis from day one. And a special functionality of the environment also enables Valamis to provide applicants with access to some of that material already during the recruiting process.
Our learning environment is mainly used for training purposes, but in there, new members will also find versatile materials on the history and future of Valamis. Our learning environment also enables one to accomplish Valamis Tasks, such as completing tasks with the help of given hints, while at the same time getting to know our people, culture and organization. Furthermore, introducing members to all of the tools and programs that we use in the company used to take a lot of time, so we have decided to digitize this part of the onboarding process as well.
Employees in a key role
Before digitalization, employees played the simple role of an information receiver, many times a fearful one. At Valamis, we give incomers control of their onboarding development by allowing them to choose their own pace to process information. We also diminish new members' pressure by encouraging social tasks such as personally inviting the CEO for an onboarding lunch, completing communication-related tasks and sharing constructive criticism with others. We strongly believe that these will enable new employees to play a key role in our company much faster than before.
In case you are thinking that this is all about digitalization, I would like to point out that we have not digitized everything. We know that people are irreplaceable no matter how perfect digitization becomes. Thus, also as part of the Valamis Intro, each new employee is assigned with a Valamis Friend, whose special task is to act as a tutor to the new employee. We have also strengthened the role of superiors as caring coaches who take part in setting learning goals for and with the new employees.
In addition, we have included small gifts in the onboarding process. The purpose of the gifts is to tell the new employees that we genuinely care about them. With the digitalization, we have aimed at digitizing or removing all the processes that don't get added value from face-to-face communications. Instead, the information absorbed via digital learning environment is being processed when the employees encounter. That's when the understanding and the assumptions of the absorbed information change their form and/or deepen.
Listen and develop
New employees tend to see organizations and the way it functions in a new way, and we aim to benefit from it. During the onboard training and the first year of employment, Valamis employees are asked to evaluate the company by completing Valamis Tasks and answering to online questionnaires. By encouraging feedback and listening to our people, we have been able to keep the most qualified professionals working with us for a much longer period of time, and with big smiles on their faces!
P.s. In case you are wondering what digital e-learning software we have been using, it's Valamis, of course!