We’re super excited to announce our brand new employee onboarding podcast, focused on sharing insights & uncovering the trade secrets of employee onboarding!
Our very own Josh Ashton talks to employee onboarding experts about common problems they face, the tech they use, the future of employee onboarding as a whole, and more.
In this Process Street post, I’ll present our first three episodes with the key takeaways, and of course a link for you to listen.
Check it out, and don’t forget to subscribe for more episodes!
Episode 1: Tim Sackett (executive HR & talent acquisition expert)
Tim Sackett is currently the president of HRU Tech – leading IT and engineering staffing firm – and has over 20 years of executive HR and talent acquisition experience.
He is a speaker on leadership, HR, talent acquisition technology, talent acquisition in general, and HR execution. Tim’s also a senior faculty member with the Josh Bersin Academy, author of best-selling book The Talent Fix: A Leader’s Guide to Recruiting Great Talent, and writes every day on his blog The Tim Sackett Project, as well as Fistful of Talent.
Your top 3-5 ingredients in every great onboarding process?
- Onboard people on their preferred mediums (computer, phone, on paper, etc.);
- Onboard people when it is best for them vs. when it is best for us;
- Get all boring paperwork done before the new hire’s first day.
Most innovative/creative/out-of-the-box thing that companies do to create a ‘wow’ moment for their new hires?
CEO/upper management recording personalized videos with advice for their new hires and sending the videos to them little by little during the pre-boarding phase to help encourage them along their job transition.
Thoughts on the future of employee onboarding?
Since the pandemic, lots of companies have transitioned to either hybrid or fully-remote workplaces, but the onboarding processes have a lot of catching up to do. Tim believes that things like VR and the Metaverse will, in future, play a big role in remote onboarding.
“When you have the [VR] goggles on, your level of focus is 100%. Like if you’re watching a video or we’re on a Zoom call and we’re doing onboarding, you’ve got dogs running around outside, you’ve got your phone buzzing – your attention is not 100%. When you have the VR set and headphones on, you are immersed in that environment and you have a higher level ability to do great onboarding that we aren’t utilizing just yet.”Tim Sackett
Episode 2: William Tincup (HR influencer & thought-leader)
William Tincup is one the top thought-leaders and influencers in the HR and talent acquisition game.
“I do a lot of advisory work for startups. I do it more for sport and fun, because I enjoy that cluster of people that think to themselves, ‘There’s gotta be a better way. I don’t know what it is, but there’s gotta be a better way.’ I love that.”William Tincup
3 elements of an excellent onboarding program?
- Highly personalized – People learn differently and have different expectations and needs, so their onboarding should reflect that.
- Memorable – We want [new hires] to have an award-winning experience when they go through this process.
- Relentless – In the first year of employment, the new hire and the company are both still deciding if they made the right decision. So, onboarding should not be a one-and-done thing; it should be long-lasting so that new hires are made secure in their decision to work for your company.
Tips / examples on how to personalize at scale?
“The Ritz Carlton.
The first time you check into the Ritz Carlton, they sit you down and ask you standardized questions about your preferences (‘Do you like coffee? Tea? Do you like your water cold? With ice?’ etc.), and they take a photo of you. Through this, during your stay, someone walks up to you and asks, ‘Hey Mr. Tincup, I know you like Voss water. Here, it’s cold – I know you like that.’ It’s highly personalized and all they did was ask questions.”William Tincup
Forget the concept of HR “best practices”. There is no single practice that can be applied to all companies. What makes sense for your company and employees?
Ask you new hires questions about what their expectations are, what they would like to get out of their onboarding experience, and shape the process to best suit them.
“If you don’t innovate, you’re going to lose all your talent.”William Tincup
How do you feel about the current state of HR technology?Willi
HR and recruiting practitioners should separate all their work into high-value tasks and low-value tasks. Focus all your efforts on the high-value tasks and automate the low-value tasks with onboarding software.
“An example in recruiting would be candidate scheduling. A bot can do candidate scheduling, and do it more efficiently in seconds.”William Tincup
But when you’ve organized your work in this way and have streamlined your work with technology, you should still prioritize creating moments that matter with your new hire; and those moments need to be human.
“Have someone actually check in with [your new hire]. There’s nothing like Johnny calling you up and saying, ‘Hey, I noticed you just hit 60 days. How’s it going? Is there anything holding you back? Is there anything you would change?’ That can’t be replaced; the human touch.”William Tincup
Episode 3: Ben Eubanks (HR AI researcher & speaker)
Ben Eubanks is currently the Chief Research Officer at Lighthouse Research and Advisory. He’s an author, speaker, and researcher living in Huntsville, Alabama. He spends his days learning about the talent technologies and people practices that set great organizations apart from the rest.
His book – Artificial Intelligence for HR: Use AI to Support and Develop a Successful Workforce – may give you textbook vibes, but it’s essentially a guide to leveraging technology to create a more human experience for employees, and is used by organizations, like Cornell and NYU, to teach the next generation of HR professionals.
Ben also hosts a podcast – We’re Only Human – which focuses on improving HR, one HR pro at a time.
How does the research you’ve done on the intersection between people and AI apply in the realm of employee onboarding?
Ben initially began working on his book because he was seeing a lot of conflicting and over-generalized statements being made about the use of technology in the workplace. Will we all lose our jobs to automation? Will we be able to just hand over all our work to software? This is what inspired his research into the topic of people and AI.
“When automation comes into any space, it takes away some of those things that are more process-driven and less human and allows us to spend more time on those things that do matter and require a human touch, like how do I make [our new hire] feel like they’re really connected to what we believe as an organization? You can’t hand that off to an algorithm.”Ben Eubanks
Automating simple, recurring tasks with software opens up your time to things like building relationships with your employees, sourcing better candidates, connecting with stakeholders, etc. It’s not about replacing people with software, it’s about being able to wholly focus on the important, human things.
There’s been a lot of investment into technology in the workplace and task automation. Do you think we’re there yet, or is this only the tip of the iceberg?
“Companies who have been using these tools for two or more years start to see different outcomes than those who are just starting.”Ben Eubanks
Usually, the beginnings of software implementation is focused on automating annoying tasks no one wants to do. Over time, after those tedious tasks have already been automated for a while, you’re able to turn your attention to things like business impact, ROI, and proving the value of the work that you do.
What have you seen companies do well, or differently from others, that ensure that new hire is both culturally and functionally ready to join a company?
Pre-boarding is incredibly important if you want to make sure you’re building a solid connection with your new hire from before Day 1.
“What we’re seeing in the research is that pre-boarding is almost becoming a necessity in order to keep people from ghosting you and just not showing up on their first day.”Ben Eubanks
A couple interesting pre-boarding ideas Ben has seen:
- More companies are giving their new hires swag – “What’s fun about that is that it’s not just a thing, but also a branding opportunity.”
- Introducing new hires to their coworkers before their first day – “If you can start doing things before Day 1 to make them feel like when they show up, they’ve got some familiar faces, that’s really powerful.”
Available now on your favorite podcast platforms!
What do you think of our new employee onboarding podcast? Let us know in the comments below!