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Ettore Toppi January 11, 2022 4 min read

Reimagining the Employee Onboarding Experience

A New Year, a New Look at Onboarding

An unfamiliar environment. Names to learn and faces to identify. New rules and job duties. Navigating a new job is never easy. It’s especially challenging now in our uncertain world. The unfortunate fact is that most of the time new employee onboarding is not a great experience for employees or the organizations they join.

Employers are still reeling from the radical shifts in the employment market of the past two years—from the rise of work-from-home (WFH) culture to a decentralized workforce. What’s more, under current conditions, job seekers have the upper hand as employers struggle to hire qualified candidates. Inside this perfect storm, organizations need to up their game to attract and retain essential talent.

Given this environment, it’s clearer than ever that the onboarding process needs to preserve the employer’s recruiting investment while enhancing the employee experience. With the current market favoring job hunters and the increased difficulty in getting WFH workers up to speed, world-class onboarding is more important than ever. As we kick off this new year, it’s time for employers to think long and hard about how to improve onboarding. It’s essential not only to employee well-being and productivity but also to the organization’s bottom line.

There’s a Problem with Most Onboarding Approaches

The situation is critical. Bad onboarding experiences can lead to poor performance or high employee turnover, and both of those have costly impacts. Statistically, one in three employees quits within the first six months of employment, and when they go, that costs organizations between six and nine months of salary for each person lost. Here’s the real kicker, though: More than half of employees who quit say their manager or organization could have done something to prevent them from leaving. Stop and think about that for a moment. The problem is avoidable and completely within the organization’s ability to control.

Sad to say, but in many organizations, onboarding is not done in a planned or intentional way. In-person onboarding may be nothing more than a visit to or quick meeting with Human Resources to complete a sheaf of necessary forms and then a brief office tour that ends at the employee’s new desk. And in the solitary world of WFH, a new employee might get even less than that. Either way, it can be cold, alienating, and likely at odds with the organization’s image, mission, values, and recruiting experience.

Onboarding Reimagined

That leads to the question: How do we reimagine the employee onboarding experience in a way that values employees, creates an environment for retaining talent, and helps employers preserve their bottom lines?

Imagine a process that focuses on the employee’s point of view and needs—one that is personalized and strategically planned, while also automated. In this new vision of the ideal onboarding experience, an employee could receive personalized emails from their manager and other key colleagues in the weeks leading up to their start date. They can select workplace preferences or make equipment and accommodation requests. The employee can learn about the company culture and job-specific nuances, fill out paperwork in advance, learn about benefits, and know what to do on day one.

This personalized outreach and orientation creates a better process, which engages employees even before their start date. They’ll arrive already excited and feeling they are an integral part of the team.

Fortunately, solutions exist that can help you do just that. Perhaps you’ve seen or heard of workflow technology—a phrase used frequently in recent years—and wondered why it’s getting so much attention. Simply put, workflow technology is comprised of automated tools that drive processes. These tools do the work of facilitating the conversation between managers and operations while integrating certain tasks (including human resources, IT, facilities and workspace, and more) behind the scenes.

You might read this and see dollar signs. But getting onboarding right doesn’t mean a complete overhaul of your existing systems. In our solution, we combine a deep understanding of workflow technologies with the expertise to build these experiences into systems you have in-house. We can even integrate these workflows with popular HR and IT systems, for example, Workday and ServiceNow. Don’t have a system in place? No worries; we have partnered with a leading provider of HR technology to offer a tailored solution built around your organization’s unique needs.

Check out this short video for a quick preview of how Segal Benz is redefining onboarding.

How Do You Do Onboarding?

How does onboarding look at your organization? Are you undermining your recruiting and hiring efforts—and taking an unnecessary hit to your bottom line—with an antiquated, unfriendly process? Are you missing out on maximum engagement of new hires that will help them hit the ground running? 

As you think about your priorities for the new year, consider how improving your onboarding experience could benefit your organization and the people joining it. The time is right for you to see what reimagining onboarding can do for you. We’re excited about how new technologies can enhance the employee experience, and we’d love to discuss the possibilities with you.


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Ettore Toppi

Ettore Toppi, Senior Communications Consultant, creates engaging communications campaigns that ensure employees are informed and connected with their benefits.