The Role of the Onboarding Experience in the Employee Journey

April 26, 2016 Jiordan Castle

Recruiting is a little like dating. You have the courtship phase (i.e., the interview process; the tense, terse, or (ideally) jovial emails back and forth) and, if that goes well, you want to ask this new recruit to join your company for the long haul. Or at least the foreseeable future. How you go about doing this sets the tone for the rest of an employee’s stay with your company, and everything from the offer letter to a 3-month check-in with a new boss is an important part of the employee journey. Even after the courtship has ended, you’ve got to keep the romance alive (aka engage and retain talented employees).

Another metaphor: If the employee journey is a puzzle, the onboarding experience is a series of corner pieces; you can’t make the picture on top of the box without first coordinating those critical pieces at the very beginning.

The employee journey in 4 parts

A successfully onboarded, engaged employee goes through the following phases on their way to work-life nirvana:

  1. Prospect (seeking employment). Early in the job application process, the job seeker plays a passive role — the long-term goal being to join the organization. To venture back to dating terms, this is the flirtation phase.
  2. Applicant (during onboarding). This is when onboarding kicks into high gear, with both employee and employer pulling out all the stops to seal the deal.
  3. New worker (needing engagement). Success! Sure, the candidate has essentially said “yes to the dress,” but the Worker Experience is only just beginning.
  4. Engaged worker (employer advocate?). People with the tools, technology, and training to do their jobs most effectively make the most engaged, empowered employees. Not only are these employees happier at work, but they also share their positive experiences on social media and employer review sites like Glassdoor.

There are a couple of expressions that don’t hold true when it comes to the Worker Experience: “No news is good news” and “all publicity is good publicity.” It’s simple: Companies need to hear from employees at every stage of the employee journey — be it through the occasional employee survey, after they’ve received a major award or promotion, or (absolute worst case scenario) during an exit interview.

On the publicity front, you could probably guess that a negative review on Glassdoor isn’t going to make potential job seekers swoon. How you engage employees at the get-go (as early as the interview process; as often as a weekly check-in with a manager) sets the tone for the rest of their time with your company. So while some negativity can’t be helped, any smart company can tell you that managing attrition is always going to be about listening to employees — not doing damage control after the fact.

HR’s secret weapon: a next-level onboarding tool

Workday Recruiting, one of the newer additions to Workday’s suite of cloud-based HR and Financial Management apps, is a talent acquisition app the takes much of the guesswork out of the recruiting process. Whereas most talent acquisition systems prior to Workday were only used by recruiters and applicants, Workday Recruiting was designed for everyone involved in the recruiting process — hiring managers included.

Appirio has already done over a dozen deployments of the app. If you love the idea of unifying Workday HCM and Workday Recruiting in order to streamline the recruiting and onboarding processes, you’ve come to the right place.

How can you improve the Worker Experience now?

No matter what industry you’re in, you know how important it is to attract and retain talented people. Learn more about technology’s role in the employee journey and how to empower and engage your employees at the Appirio Worker Experience Tour — coming to a city near you.

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