🧑‍💻 Make it easy for people to onboard

Jul 18, 20238 months ago

A good onboarding experience is about giving you the tools and information needed to offer value to the clients as soon as you walk in the door (or as it’s 2023, join your first zoom meeting).

Let me give you a bit of background: a specific public sector engagement I have worked on has scaled from tens of people in 2019 to hundreds in 2023. Whilst it’s unlikely that effective onboarding was the sole reason for this growth, one thing is certain – with so many new people coming through the door, getting onboarding right is crucial to avoid a disruption in business growth.

Let me share with you some of the things this organisation did, and why it’s important.

Avoid thumb-twiddling

The onboarding process starts as soon as the offer is confirmed. For example, the first day can go much more smoothly if access and devices are set up before someone arrives on their first day. Failing to do so could result in people waiting days, or even weeks, for access to the things required to get on with their job.

Lack of Access = Lack of Productivity

During a previous engagement, I observed colleagues arrive without the necessary access or kit to be able to contribute. As is the case with many organisations, the workload was carefully balanced by the team size; as our team grew in size, we took on more work, but often the new members lacked the necessary access to contribute for weeks, making it more difficult and stressful for the entire team until they were eventually up and running. Not to mention the dip in morale and feeling of uselessness in the new starter.

Last person in opens the door for new starters

On the surface, it sounds stupid, right? The person with the least knowledge is doing the training, but let’s look beneath the surface.

Here’s the key, the person who started just before you did has likely gone through the same issue you have, and has the freshest recollection of how to solve it.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a great onboarding process, but rotating the role and responsibility of onboarding new starters in this way is a simple change I recommend you make to get the ball rolling.

What even is “ABC”?

Well, obviously, it’s the first 3 letters of the alphabet, but I am using it here to symbolise an acronym. We’ve all been there, when you join an organisation for the first time and you’re not quite up to speed with their lingo. In my previous public sector engagement though, this big problem became almost irrelevant.

How? Quite simply, they kept a bible of acronyms.

My advice to organisations is this: keep a constantly updated log of all the acronyms used in your business, or else avoid them altogether.

Why? Joining a new company is daunting for a lot of people, and it can cause such imposter syndrome when you don’t understand their acronyms and abbreviations. If you keep the log, you avoid the problem.

Final thoughts

Good onboarding is paramount; it’s what engages the person and makes them feel welcome. It instils the company’s vision, and helps embed the company culture. It is make or break for a new starter’s chance to hit the ground running.

Face it. You only get one chance to make a first impression. If you get it wrong, you risk saying goodbye to 100% productivity, staff buy-in, and employee happiness. Get it right, and you set up your employee for years of productivity, happiness, and commitment to your company!