Improving the induction experience for new joiners

 

For most new joiners, including graduates, interns and apprentices; it is harder than ever to integrate into a new workplace in the current climate. The rise of COVID-19 has caused a massive shift away from the ordinary workplace, with 93% of large firms turning to telework, an Argentinian study found.

This has caused a massive strain on the induction or onboarding process, leaving new colleagues with a feeling of detachment from the organization for several reasons.

Firstly, there is more rigidity in terms of collaboration and interaction in comparison to an office environment. A new joiner would usually thrive off the vibrant energy, aiding motivation and transition to a corporate working culture. According to the 2020 State of Business Communication Report, face-to-face communication is still the most preferred communication method among employees.

Furthermore, a lack of professional support from employers can be felt working from home; there is poor communication with colleagues and limited direct interaction. New joiners may benefit from being surrounded by their peers, enabling better communication as an individual can approach management more confidently to ask questions or hold short discussions.

Lastly, it may be difficult for young families, especially within the graduate, intern and apprentice space, to work from home. They may find themselves distracted by large families, noisy neighbors and other interruptions during important phone calls or video conferences.

Overall, this could leave new employees with a feeling of disconnect from the organization, which could lead to a lack of productivity and declination in the learning curve. An LSE study on attitudes toward flexible working found that many of the positive effects dropped over time.

Nevertheless, even with the drawbacks considered, 69% of millennials would give up numerous work benefits for a more flexible working space. Common, widespread collaboration tools usually neglect the induction process. Therefore, it is important as an organization to consider improving the induction experience to overcome this drop in productivity early in the employee journey. Here are some ideas:

Virtual employee induction days and training

With many induction programs being canceled, and new starters being forced into generic online training plans from their first day; disconnect may be felt through the lack of personal investment. Many new starters will be left wondering, “Will this online training ever end?” and “Is this all the company comprises?”

Gamifying induction programs may be the best way to overcome this: 80% of employees who receive gamified training feel motivated, versus 40% who receive non-gamified training.

Immersive collaboration games, with use of VR and AR simulation, can be created in order to produce customizable onboarding spaces. Simulated environments allow new employees to freely apply their skills. Branching scenarios, highly effective nonlinear e-learning methods, enable learners to have a degree of control over how the course will progress; with decision points changing the narrative.

This can effectively convey an organization’s desired messages, while collecting data in the background that can be used to attach specific traits to an individual, via analytical tools such as Nexthink. Feedback can be provided, allowing individuals to learn more about their workplace characteristics and where they are best suited in the organization.

Further competition may be introduced using group polls and quizzes at the end of each module or training day, to boost morale, collaboration and motivation. Rewards, e.g., free lunches or additional annual leave days, can further enhance this — recognition is, after all, key to feeling appreciated in a workplace.

Overall, this will enhance teamwork and exploration, help build emotional connections, and produce interactive sessions based on reality.

Online mentoring

Lack of steady guidance, especially throughout one’s first few weeks within an organization, could strain the learning curve. And managers may find it harder to oversee teams that have transitioned to working at home.

Generic audio and video conferencing can leave new joiners feeling a sense of anxiety, as all eyes and ears are felt to be on them. This leads to key questions and conversations being avoided in the apprehension of an unfamiliar culture.

Point-of-need e-learning widgets can be used as more relaxed monitoring tools. For example, the ServiceNow device assesses how much time an individual is spending on a particular page and what topics they are viewing in order to assess their rate of learning. The tool will prompt the user toward additional training schemes, blogs and other materials for a deeper understanding of core components within the industry.

Furthermore, users can access 24-hour support through the device; acting as a support system in which they can ask seemingly stupid questions more comfortably — without feeling like a nuisance to their teams.

Lastly, the widget can enhance the listen to the voice of the employee experience: Short, tailored, survey-style questions are sent out after each support-session to ensure users have gained what they needed.

Overall, this can allow new joiners to build confidence, learn more about the organization’s culture and cultivate a sense of belonging without the feeling of invasion-of-privacy or micromanagement.

93% of large firms turning to telework, an Argentinian study found.

According to the 2020 State of Business Communication Report, face-to-face communication is still the most preferred communication method among employees.

An LSE study on attitudes toward flexible working found that many of the positive effects dropped over time.

69% of millennials would give up numerous work benefits for a more flexible working space.

80% of employees who receive gamified training feel motivated, versus 40% who receive non-gamified training.

Social integration and collaboration

Imagine having to become familiar with new employees and a work culture without even stepping foot into the office? Becoming acquainted to such social spaces may be difficult over a laptop, especially with no idea of what is out there in the organization.

Analytical tools, such as Nexthink and ServiceNow, can help overcome this feeling of being estranged from the social aspects of the workplace. Attached traits, mentioned above, can create personas for new joiners. In turn, this informs recommendations as to which communities they should join, to allow them to connect with like-minded colleagues who share similar interests.

Overall, this can help remote employees, who feel lonely and lack interaction with other employees, to experience a greater sense of belonging and community.

Looking forward

As the current pandemic continues to disrupt our usual day-to-day activities, it is vital that we put more thought into employee experience. Mental and physical wellbeing are fundamental to any organization’s workforce; therefore, it is only right we start from the very beginning of the colleague journey!

If you missed VMWorld 2020 last week, you can still tune-in to our session on "Being Future-Ready around the Digital Workplace" here:

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About Jay Nagha

Digital Workplace Consultant
Jay Nagha is a Digital Workplace Consultant at Atos. Passionate about connecting people, technology and business, she is a member of the Graduate Innovation and Pitch-to-Win Community where she explores the Future of Work and the impact of technology on individuals, organizations and society. She is a strong ambassador for diversity and inclusivity – and particularly encourages diversity in the workplace. She believes, as does the Together Network, that a diverse and more aware workforce is a key driver for business success.

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