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Onboarding New Employees? Get Social!

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Ellen Julian
on January 31, 2013

Years ago job hopping was frowned upon. Today, it’s the new normal with the average individual changing jobs every 4.4 years. While starting a new role may be exciting, it’s often combined with some uneasiness.

The first few days or weeks in a new work environment typically involve meeting new people, learning new routines and navigating an unfamiliar culture. Helping employees ease into the “honeymoon” phase and start with confidence can be achieved by taking a more social approach to onboarding.

Traditional onboarding is designed to get new hires acclimated to the company quickly, but onboarding is more than provisioning and paperwork. Social onboarding can give employees the confidence, connections and tools they need to succeed from the start.

We’re a connected culture

The average consumer spends close to five hours a week on a computer screen, using the Internet and watching video content. As organizations think about onboarding strategies, incorporating digital media and social collaboration and onboarding tools can meet consumer expectations while helping new hires engage with information and other individuals in the organization.

It used to be that employees met their colleagues or learned about the company at a new-hire orientation. Today, new hires can tap into their networks or the extended network to identify contacts inside the organization, connect with former employees or learn about the company culture from social sites that feature workplace reviews.

Business professionals active on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and other social platforms are used to sharing or seeking information, both with people they know and those they don’t, and responding to posts, queries and commentary. Social onboarding tools can feed this hunger for information and provide new avenues for answering questions, connecting new hires with colleagues in their workgroup or division and increasing their comfort levels with both expectations and the environment.

Connections are the key to success

Social tools break down traditional new hire barriers. Employees can get to know their colleagues whether they’re in the same department or a different country, learn about the company from people who work there, and access other information to get up to speed as quickly as possible.

How can you make onboarding a more social activity?

Create an online orientation group – For organizations that welcome large groups of new employees, creating connections early increases comfort and confidence when starting a new role.

Use video to introduce leadership -- Social tools can also connect new hires with leaders, colleagues, mentors and other internal resources. A video of the CEO discussing the company’s vision can help new hires understand the business’s mission and goals as well as the company leader’s personality. Whether it’s being able to recognize the CEO in the elevator or knowing who to call for regulatory insight, familiarity with key organizational team members is critical both from a career development standpoint as well as for simply getting work done.

Create engaging learning content – Multimedia presentations, video biographies and other visually stimulating materials can help tell your company’s story. Make it easy for individuals to access the resources they can draw upon to orient themselves to the company and learn at their own pace.

Have a central repository for new hire information – Rather than a binder filled with static information, social onboarding tools provide quick access to pertinent information and connections that fuel success, increase morale and help employees contribute productively from the start. Incorporating search functionality as well as tagging capabilities will ensure information is easy to locate. 

Getting employees involved in the onboarding process as soon as they accept the job can ensure new hires are engaged and energized as they embark on their new role. Social onboarding can support a productive transition, optimize a company’s talent investment and ensure new hires are productive and effective from day one.

>> For further insight into this topic, read the new white paper “Make Onboarding a Social Activity”, available here.

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