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Alex goes to tech events: The Value of Welcome

Personably was created with the purpose of helping fast-growing companies improve their onboarding, and so, naturally, we know that there is a lot of value in the welcoming of new employees into a company! That’s why I jumped at the chance to go to the event co-hosted by Deloitte and Benivo where like-minded people would be talking about how they are improving the employee experience, engagement and retention in their companies through onboarding.

Once we’d all arrived and had been given the chance to chat with a few people over coffee and croissants we were directed into the room where the talks would be taking place. The hour and a half was split between four speakers and a panel at the end that invited audience participation, and I’m going to try and summarise some of the things I took from each.

What makes a good welcome?

Pre-first day

  1. Reduce the stress

    • Get new hires up to speed not just with their work place and what is expected of them, but also the social side of a new company
    • Have a mentor or buddy system
  2. Make sure the new hire knows you are thinking of them, before they get into the office

    • Send them a welcome package
    • Help with visas and moving to a new place
    • Give them access to a community of people within the company who can help with that move
  3. Provide a good mobility experience and consider whether you have covered the four corners of support:

    • Personal well-being
    • Professional engagement
    • Financial welfare
    • Operational support

Be consistent

  1. Culture and company
    • Give positive reinforcement - positive feedback or simply dedicating time to your new hire goes significantly further than a bonus or financial reward
    • You can give an amazing impression in an interview, but if it was a performance, and day to day the company is not really like that, new employees will feel deceived
    • Encourage investors, customers and candidates alike to visit the office - it demonstrates honesty, transparency and that you are proud of the culture in the office

Some companies use a ‘pay to leave scheme’: after the new hire has been working for three weeks in their new role, offer them £1,500 to leave with no strings attached. If they choose to stay you know they’re committed to making it work, and those who were already feeling uncertain, won’t drag their feet for another six months. The ROI may not be immediately obvious but ultimately you save yourself time by retaining those most happy in their role.

  1. Job description and learning benefits
    • New hires are, now more than ever, likely to jump ship if they think the description of the role is not consistent with their experience of it in the first 90 days
    • If you encourage learning and progression, demonstrate that with feedback and giving people real projects and responsibilities within their first few days

Let the new hire choose: As they do at Facebook, try to set up a standard 6 week onboarding process where at the end a new hire has had a taste of each team got to know people and new experiences, and ultimately can choose what project and which team they want to concentrate their efforts on for the first few months.

It was a great opportunity to share experiences about onboarding from both sides of the fence - as the onboarder and onboardee, so to speak! Jesse, my colleague, and I both came away with a few new ideas and it was encouraging to know we’re not the only ones who have recognised this as an important part of the employee life cycle and that there are lots of individuals working to make this better!