The way in which we welcome new people in to our organisations reveals a lot about our values and culture.
The approach we take can make such a difference to how people feel. If we humanise our approach through a warm and friendly onboarding experience, it can establish a good working relationship from the word go. It can reinforce in the new starter’s mind that they made a great decision to join your organisation and bring their skills and talents for the good of the business.
When hiring, it’s natural to promote the positive things we see in our organisations and working cultures. The positive impression conveyed as part of the hiring process to the candidate does not always match with the actual onboarding experience.
For all the positive things we say about our culture during recruitment, initial onboarding approaches can fail to meet expectations. There is often too much reliance given to form filling, ‘tick box induction’ processes and adherence to rules designed by HR to meet their needs for standardisation and consistency. Too often the whole experience feels cold and unwelcoming for new starters. We don’t use the early interactions to excite or inspire people. The overwhelming feeling for the new hire can be one of disappointment.
There is often too little emphasis placed on purpose and values when we bring new people into our organisations. Having a framework for handling induction is helpful, but we need to humanise the whole approach. A framework allows us to cover the things that are important and highlight what the organisation stands for. To be effective, it should always be delivered in a humanised way.
The real value within an onboarding approach is a connection at a human level. The initial start provides a fantastic opportunity to connect new people with the meaningful work being done by the organisation. It sets the tone for what is to follow. It should convey clearly ‘that when we said we really did value people as part of our culture when we were looking to hire you, we really meant it’. It explains to the individual how much we value them and their decision to join us, and for them to see how they contribute to the overall cause and purpose. It reinforces in their mind that they made a great decision to join our organisation.
So rather than see induction or onboarding in purely process terms, let’s centre the whole exercise around human connection. Let’s take the opportunity for each person to feel like an individual, and not just a number. HR should be leading the way in humanising this and many other processes within our organisations. Delivering a great employee experience from the word go is the real measure of success that HR should be looking for.