Employee Onboarding and the Virtuous Cycle

November 2, 2017 Appirio

By David Barron

While working with a current client, I was engaged in a conversation about how difficult it was to get their workers onboarded, and how it negatively affects their Customer Experience. As 90 percent of their worker population is directly customer-facing, the cause and effect of the worker onboarding experience can create “Customers for Life” or “Lifelong Haters.” I was immediately reminded of how this example fell in direct alignment with what Appirio calls the Virtuous Cycle.

What is the Virtuous Cycle? Simply put, it is the link between worker and customer experiences. Appirio believes they are intrinsically linked — and must be addressed together. By creating an engaged workforce that is agile, aligned with a purpose, able to be productive on day one, and provided with constant learning opportunities, companies can create both amazing worker and customer experiences that drive customer loyalty, profitability, and growth.

So what does the Virtuous Cycle have to do with employee onboarding, and how could that affect Customer Experience? “Onboarding, also known as organizational socialization, refers to the mechanism through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors to become effective organizational members and insiders. Tactics used in this process include formal meetings, lectures, videos, printed materials, or computer-based orientations to introduce newcomers to their new jobs and organizations.”

While accurate, the definition of onboarding only addresses half the equation. It focuses on the internal orientation and how to become a member of the internal team, but not how to engage and promote customers to become a member of the team as well.

So, what does onboarding look like from a few different views? Let’s take a look:

Worker perspective

As a new worker, I have a couple of concerns: how do I manage the internal processes (i.e., getting all my paperwork completed, meeting my team, learning where I sit, logistics of the office) and how do I perform my job to the best of my ability? To me, that means I not only need the internal training to enroll in benefits and enter time, but also the job-specific training to execute the responsibilities of my job in an engaging way. In this case, what to do, how to do it, and how to measure customer success.  

Manager perspective

As a manager, I need two things from my worker’s onboarding experience: A worker who is engaged in what they are doing (they see the value of their job in relation to the success of the company) and know how to do their job successfully (they have been functionally and technically trained to complete the tasks assigned to them). Those two things will drive their success and mine.

Customer perspective

As a customer, my desire is simple: to have the product or service I have purchased working to my expectations, delivered and/or implemented in the fastest time possible, and with the fewest number of issues. I want to have a hassle-free experience. If I can get that, I will continue to buy from you and tell my friends about it.

So, if companies can focus on addressing the issues of the internal and external customer-oriented training at the worker level, the manager will have an engaged and customer-focused worker, and ultimately, create a great Customer Experience. Happy Workers create Happy Customers!

Learn more about onboarding success in our ebook, The Productivity Prescription: How To Create a More Productive Workforce.


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