How to Achieve World-Class Onboarding
Hello and welcome everyone. I’d like to thank you for joining us in today’s presentation. My name is Kelly Carmody, I’m the field marketing manager at SilkRoad, and I’ll be moderating today’s webinar. The followup email for this webinar will include a recording of this broadcast. You can expect that email around this time tomorrow. As we go through today’s presentation, please feel free to submit any questions that you might have in the questions box of the console located on the right-hand side of your screen, and we will be happy to address those as they come in. Now I’d like to take a brief moment to tell you a little bit about SilkRoad, who we are, and the solutions that we provide. SilkRoad defines strategic onboarding as a continuous process that engages, aligns, and activates people throughout every transition on their employment journey. SilkRoad specializes in helping companies leverage technology to create engaging, personalized, and ongoing experiences for employees across many different industries, sizes, and cultures, enabling them to consistently achieve organizational outcomes. Today we are joined by Lilith Christiansen. She is the VP of onboarding solutions for SilkRoad and the author of the book Successful Onboarding. So without further ado, I’m gonna go ahead and pass things over to our presenter Lilith Christiansen.
Great. Thanks, Kelly. Welcome, everyone. We’re really happy that you’re joining us today. What we’re gonna spend some time on today is really talking about what is successful onboarding and how can you achieve a world-class onboarding program. We’re gonna do that first by talking about the ins and outs of onboarding, how to gauge the current level of maturity that you have with your onboarding program today, then assess how we can measure and what type of impact can we have from investing in onboarding on our overall business results, and then wrap things up at the end of the day. And as Kelly said, I hope that you all will ask questions as we go along the way. I know it’s hard in a webinar like this sometimes to make it interactive. We’ve got a poll or two for you, but I’d love to have your questions as we’re going along.
So let’s start out. What is world-class onboarding or strategic onboarding as we talk about it here at SilkRoad? What this page gives you is sort of a one-page summary of the book that I wrote, Successful Onboarding, which was published in 2010. So when you look at onboarding, we’re talking about all of the activities and experiences that a new hire and his or her manager goes through over the course of essentially the first year of employment, and really starting that experience back at the point of offer acceptance. That’s important because it’s really that first time that that new hire is experiencing the company that they’ve been interviewing with and interested in as their employer. So making a solid first impression on the offer and then how that new hire accepts it and takes advantage of that time before they show up on day one is a really important part of the process. We think about the experience as being an entire year long so that there’s an opportunity to have all of the firsts that occur over the course of a year of a business cycle.
So you can think about the first time that an individual, say it’s a salesperson, that they’re going into a sales meeting where they have pushback and experience that from a customer, and how do they handle that and how do they learn from it? What happens the first time they have a successful sale and how is that celebrated and what can they learn from it? Or things like reporting business results. What does that mean to the organization? How has this individual helped to contribute to it? That can become a learning experience for a new hire, which is why we see best-in-class organizations really taking this long-term approach and looking at it being about a year-long journey. So because it is so long, it’s important to think about how the different phases of time should differ for that new hire over the journey. So we like to divide that into four key phases, where Prepare is that time from offer acceptance up until the first day. Orient then are those first few days, or maybe even first week on the job. Integrate typically goes from around the end of the first month to say the six-month mark, and then Excel is that latter half of the onboarding, first year for the new hire, and that’s really once the new hire has started, not just hit the ground running, but they’re having successes and they’re learning and growing and actually providing value back to the organization there in that last phase.
So how do we make that happen? What we look at is four key pillars of content that will compliment any of the job skills training that you would provide to your new hires. So starting at the top, cultural mastery. This is around establishing all of the right types of exchanges, coaching, orientation for new hires, to help them understand the culture and really how to thrive in it, both from a company perspective as well as them taking it down to their business unit or functional area and team that they’re a part of. Then you also want to help your new hires make connections with folks, both internal and external to the organization, personal and professional in nature, and establishing certain activities and experiences that really help them make relationships with folks that will ultimately drive more success from a performance perspective as well as build confidence and help them feel like they really fit in to the organization.
Career support and providing it early in one’s tenure is another aspect of world-class onboarding programs. This means being intentional in the design of the types of assignments that you give your new hires, that you’re setting them up and providing guidance for them as they’re navigating the waters and taking on their first duties. It might also mean that you provide insulation for them or remediation if something goes wrong, that you’re turning it into a learning experience rather than something they might see as simply a failure. By doing this then the new hires really start to see elements of progress, which creates excitement for them that they can start to see what their prospects will look like at the organization, and really helps them to take hold and get excited about what their long-term career plans can look like at your organization.
Then the fourth pillar is strategy immersion and direction. It’s really important to include some contextual education for the new hires on their role, the function and the mission of the organization that will help them really understand the big picture for the organization and how their specific role fits in, and then helps drive success for the company. So those four content pillars then are supported by the three gray areas on the outside. So governance and administration I’m showing down there at the bottom because it is such an important foundational element from beginning to end of the experience. And this includes having in place the right type of governance structure, so roles and responsibilities, how we hold stakeholders accountable for key parts of the process, the use of technology to both deliver onboarding experiences as well to help with the administration of the program, and having in place a strong performance management process in order to evaluate how the program’s going and is it meeting the goals that you’ve established. Then over on the left, customization and integration. While this framework serves as a foundation for what a consistent onboarding experience should look like across an enterprise, it’s important to remember that it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. You should be intentional around the onboarding experience in thinking about how and where it should get customized.
So it’s common for many organizations to think about it from a new hire segment perspective. How should the college graduate experience be different than that of an experienced hire or an executive? But you might also want to customize based on geographies or business units. The ways that you can customize the experience might be the way information is delivered to new hires, or it could be the kind of experiences that they have specifically. Then lastly with integration, it’s important to think about how onboarding fits into the other programs that are part of the talent lifecycle as well as ordinary business processes as well. An example of this is say you’re a publicly traded company, there’s an earning report and your CEO does a public address around earnings for the quarter. Take that opportunity and set aside some time with your new hires, whether it’s in a group, or a one on one that you’re prompting between the manager and the new hire to help provide some context for them around how we did this quarter, what was it that drove the success and how did that compare to quarters past, and then help make it real for them around how their role is contributing again to that overall success of the organization. So it’s bringing in say some of that strategy immersion type of activity and placing it at something that happens as part of your normal business cycle.
So, Lilith, of the four pillars the cultural mastery, the interpersonal network development, early career support, strategy and immersion, which one of those are the most important for organizations to focus on? Yeah, that’s a great question, Kelly. Of those four, the two that I see as kind of being the power pillars are the career support and the strategy immersion and direction. A lot of times when I’m working with organizations that are just getting started on designing their onboarding programs or they have something in place and they’re looking to enhance it, culture is usually where people start, which is a great place for sure, but that career support and strategy immersion is what can really move the needle, because it is what reinforces the new hires feeling like they can have a longer-term career path at the organization, and then just that connection with the strategy. When they really get it, that enables them to kind of have some more aha moments of their own that starts to allow them to attain new levels of productivity that wouldn’t happen otherwise. Yeah, to kind of expand on that, from a new hire perspective, it’s important to have a place, path and a purpose in the organization, and this really aligns that to that need on their behalf. Yeah, that’s exactly right, Kelly, I like that. A place, a path and a purpose, that’s perfect. I have to add another P, I guess. (laughs) So the next slide then gives us some more examples of how that model can come to life. And as you’re looking at this, it’s intentional as far as what we have here as example, program elements, and how it differs and builds from that prepare phase before the new hire even shows up, and how it changes over time.
So what I hope you can see from this is how at the very beginning it’s more around having an objective of reaffirming that new hire’s decision to join and getting them excited about joining the organization. So they’re easy things around having welcome messages going out to the new hire from the manager and perhaps their buddy or the team that they’re a part of, providing an opportunity for them to make connections with folks. If you hire large classes of folks that come in out of university, you can perhaps take advantage of going on campus and having forms that allow folks that are gonna join your organization meet together before they even start on day one. And allowing the opportunity for new hires to start self-educating themselves with information on the company and where it’s headed, and absolutely trying to take advantage of this time to take care of the paperwork. The least exciting thing to a new hire is to show up on day one, be excited to dive into things and meet with individuals, but instead be handed hours worth of paperwork that they need to complete. It is a excellent opportunity to remove that out of the day one experience and pull it forward so that new hires can get that all out of the way so when they show up for orientation or the day one experience at your organization, it can start with creating a real positive first impression.
So, while similar to the prepare phase from an objective that we’re again still creating excitement, you’re also starting to get that new hire to understand how to succeed at the organization, how to fit in and not necessarily look like a newbie. You do that through sharing unwritten rules and some of the company norms. And it’s also important that you’re taking care of really their most basic needs. Do they have the equipment that they need? Do they know where to go to find pieces of information or even to get lunch during their employment? Then as you move into integrate, this is really layering on more detail. They had a preliminary introduction into the strategy of the organization, now you start to have more structured conversations so that they can understand more about that strategy. For a experienced hire, maybe this is even a compare and contrast from the organization that they left to the current employer around how they’re different, and why, and using that as an instructional moment. And then in the excel phase, you’re really seeking to design specific opportunities where new hires can continue to explore their professional development, have some successes and learning opportunities, they’re growing their network and really strengthening it further, and also then celebrating key milestones along the way. And at the end of that first year, you’re taking stock of what they’ve learned, how they’ve progressed, and then starting to chart a path for the future.
One other way we want to think about what some of the best traits are of world-class organizations in an onboarding perspective are these key characteristics here. Management buy-in and participation is probably the element that I see as the biggest differentiator between organizations that are world class and looking to be world class or moving in that direction, that they have key leaders from the business, and not just from HR, that are committed to onboarding, and are participating in it, and they’re part of delivering the content to the new hires. I also see that organizations that have a strong focus on metrics and accountability that are driven to, or tied rather, to specific business drivers, that also provides really specific direction then for the design of the experience and a way for them to report back to management and show that they’re adding value to the organization. I also see organizations that have a brand for their program standing out as well from an onboarding perspective. And this is something that can even help your organization stand out from a recruiting perspective by having not just a strong employer brand, but also what that onboarding experience is gonna look like. A couple examples of this is thinking about IBM, where everyone there is an IBMer, and the experience of joining the organization is about being new to blue. Or perhaps you are familiar with Google’s term Nooglers. Those individuals are new Googlers. By having this type of branding and experience associated with it, it really creates a special feeling for your new hires and generates pride on their part that they’re now a part of something and they’re special within this new organization. So as Kelly talked about at the very beginning, when we at SilkRoad think about onboarding, we do see it as a continuous process that engages, aligns, and activates people throughout every transition in their employment journey.
So, while what I’ve talked about so far has really been focused on that new hire experience, which is where I think most of us start and think about onboarding as the how we’re bringing our new folks on to the organization. You can extrapolate that same set of experiences and process at other points in time in the employment journey. So the journey concept may be new for some folks. Can you expand on exactly what that entails? Yeah, definitely. So what you can think about is that employment journey that starts with recruiting, right? The attraction, the hiring, and getting folks ready to join the organization. As they do, then there’s that prepare phase, where we’re pre-boarding folks into the organization and getting them ready to be new hires. At each one of those stages we’re going to be helping them understand the culture, we’re gonna be getting them set up with a strategy, helping them make connections with folk, and then also providing some perspective on where they can head in their career. Well, that same philosophy can hit at these other points in time. So think about it when someone gets promoted in the organization. Now they have an opportunity to get some more contextual education around that new role. Do the folks that they need to know and network with, is that gonna be different now that they’ve moved up a level in the organization? What do they need to know differently about the career model and the types of the responsibilities that they have now that they’ve moved up in the organization? Or think about it from a project perspective. If you are a company that has a lot of team-based or project activities, each one of those, it’s necessary to have folks re-network and get to know each other on the team, understand the purpose of the project that they’re working on and the strategy behind it, also, understand how the dynamics of that team are different or the same than others. So we look at each one of these points on the employment lifecycle as an opportunity to get re-onboarded, and by doing that, you can lead to have individuals that are much more activated and excited about the organization and able to deliver much more value back to the company.
All right, so in our next section, I want to share with you all a maturity model that I’ve developed over the last couple of years. This came through the work that I’ve done in partnering with large global organizations to design the strategy for their new hire onboarding program as well as additional research that I’ve done with other organizations in the space and kind of taking a look at what the common characteristics were that I found for organizations all the way from stage one at the basic level up through the world-class stage five, which represents the model that we’ve just been speaking about for the last few minutes. So those organizations that are just getting started in the new hire onboarding space, they’ve typically recognized there’s an importance to acknowledging onboarding and being more intentional around it, but a lot of times, it’s a lot of information right up front. Maybe they’ve just been able to establish an orientation program, and it’s almost like drinking out of a fire hose, right? Ton of information on the first hours or the first day, and then nothing kinda after that. That’s what we see typical, is organizations that fall into that basic stage. Then as companies begin to elevate their maturity, they move into the emerging stage, and some of the drivers behind that is that they have a bigger focus on the programming. They’re starting to look beyond orientation and go further out in the timeline, be that moving ahead up to that offer acceptance phase and taking advantage of that time to handle some preliminary paperwork, let’s say, but then also looking further out from a timeline perspective. Maybe including some more surveys as well, getting a little more sophisticated in the way that they think about measuring the success of the program. As organizations move into the progressing stage, they have a much longer view on the duration of the program, they certainly have a greater mix of those program elements that we’ve talked about, the culture, the strategy, the networking and the career support, and they do take a more distributed approach in the way that they design that content to get delivered to new hires. I also see from a measurement perspective, that organizations in this progressing stage are looking at performance at different points in time.
So what is this experience like for the new hire after day one? What does their first 30 days look like? And then at the end of the program, how are we doing and how is that impacting our overall business objectives? As organizations move further up from a maturity perspective and into the advanced stage, I see these organizations really reflecting all of those key parts of that onboarding margin framework that I shared at the very beginning. And most importantly, they’ve taken the perspective that they’re deferring the content until the new hires have enough context to really make something of it. What we have seen is that by holding out on some of the information and building it up over time, that allows the new hires to really understand it a lot more, ’cause they’ve had some more runtime in their role and it really makes it real and the connections happen much more quickly for them. From a measurement perspective, what we see is different here for folks in the advanced stage is that they’re taking a more holistic approach in involving the perspective of multiple stakeholders. So maybe rather than just having a new hire survey at different points in time, they’re recognizing the importance of that manager and assessing their view of the program and is it having the desired impact. Then those organizations that are truly world class, really reflect all of those elements of the onboarding margin pillars. They have a long-term perspective on what that new hire experience looks like, and from a measurement perspective, they’re really getting sophisticated around looking for predictive measures of being able to connect the dots say from some recruiting information like source of hire into that onboarding experience. Does the particular type of employee that comes from a certain source that participates in four key elements of the onboarding experience, what does that say about their likelihood to stay with the organization, or even their level of productivity and contribution that they can have? So it’s a really powerful place to be as organizations move up to that stage five. And, Kelly, I think we have a poll here.
We wanted to get a sense and kinda pulse check from folks on the phone to see, where do you think you lie today with your organization’s level of maturity from an onboarding perspective? Certainly no judgment here, but this is something that we’re hoping you all will be able to walk away from this session with a few learnings that help you move forward down the path of maturity. I have a question for you. Yeah, go ahead, Kelly. With companies that have or move to higher levels of maturity over time, do they see downward pressure in the number of folks that are on performance improvement plans? In your experience, have you seen people improve performance of employees throughout the lifecycle as a result of their onboarding efforts? Yeah, that is a great question, Kelly. I could see a couple of things happening. One might be an initial uptick in performance improvement plans, but that happens in a positive way. It’s because they’re being intentional around identifying some folks that maybe have some skill gaps or aren’t quite working out in the role that they’ve currently been assigned to, so by having this strategic approach to onboarding, they’re able to actually identify those folks much more quickly than they would have otherwise and reduce the level of regrettable attrition because they’re able to have some interventions early on. So I can see it actually going up in the near term, but then over time as your program is really established and you’re identifying performers that need those types of improvement plans, then it goes way down because now you’ve got the right kind of interventions in place where folks are performing higher. Right, so it’s the constant engagement and conversations around what’s happening at a particular point in a journey. Yeah, exactly.
So it looks like just about everybody has voted, so I’m gonna close the poll and share the results. All right. So it looks like 27% are at basic, 29% are emerging, 25% are progressing, and 18% are advanced. Okay, great. Not too surprising that there aren’t many folks out there that are classifying themselves as world class. That’s certainly a high bar to achieve. From the work that I have done in the past, and when we have used this level of maturity and poll with some of the conferences that I’ve attended to, I’d say our population today really represents a very similar mix to what I’ve seen out at large within industry, where most organizations are in that level two or level three phase so that they’re taking a more intentional approach to the design, but yet are still working to evolve that program going forward. So it looks like I’ve lost the, there we go. Are we back on the right page now? Yeah, you’re good. Okay, perfect. So good, hopefully that was useful for everyone to kinda take a quick, pulse check yourself on where you stand today.
The next slide shows you when we think about how to evaluate in a more rigorous way your onboarding maturity, we’ve developed an assessment that will take you through all four of these key dimensions. So if you wanted to take this yourself and think about each one of these components as I go through them, you may be able to rate yourself even further or to a greater level of granularity. So design philosophy, going in a clockwise manner here, is thinking about your overall definition for onboarding. What do we think about it from a timeline perspective as well as the kind of content that we’re including in this experience, and how intentional are we in our design, and how consistent are we across the organization? Do we have pockets of the organization that think really strategically about it and are intentional in their approach, and others where it happens a little more haphazardly? How involved is the leadership in our onboarding experience? Do we have folks that are engaged from HR? Do we have folks that are engaged from the business? Does that mean we have their buyin in, or do we have their participation in the program? And then have we established a program brand? Next is the core content area.
So we’ve talked a lot about this already, the cultural mastery, the setting up of networks for folks within the organization, providing career support, helping them to understand the strategy, and then how customized do we get with our programming and how integrated is it to our overall architecture of the organization? Then in terms of delivery approach, some of the things that drive onboarding maturity here is first the delivery mix. When we think about the content, do we have a good mix of experiences that might be instructor-led learning, both virtual or in person? How about self piece learning? What about conversations that we have that are set up between a manager and the new hire, or a buddy and the new hire? Are we leveraging gamification in our experience at all? What’s the impact of the content that we have on our new hires and how engaging is it? And how do we use technology to support that delivery? Is it helping us from enabling a very disperse employee population to engage together, and is it helping us to deliver information at the right point in time when the new hire can really maximize the use of it? Then from a program governance perspective, I kinda think this is a last but definitely not least. How structured are we in that overarching delivery and governance of the experience? Do we have well-defined roles and responsibilities for all of the key stakeholders? How engaged are the managers in the experience and what are we doing to help enable those managers to be successful in bringing their new hires on board? How do we measure the success of the program? How integrated is it into the broader parts of the organization, and in particular, with other aspects of talent? How do we leverage technology to support administration and make it easy for the folks behind the scenes to administer the program? And what kind of communication strategy do we have in place to make the organization aware of onboarding, the benefits of it, and what their role is as an employee to welcome new hires, let’s say.
All right, so moving to the next section. Now that we’ve talked a lot about what is onboarding and taking an assessment of where we are from a level of maturity perspective, I want to spend some time talking about what some of the benefits can be of investing in new hire onboarding in a real strategic way. We have seen time and time again that organizations that focus in on taking a strategic approach to the new hire experience can have a variety of quantifiable gains to the business. So it certainly helps to accelerate the time to productivity for new hires as they are getting socialized and becoming really a part of the culture of the organization. That strategy-immersion piece is really critical to helping to align them to the business goals, and from a career development perspective, it keeps them growing with the organization and ultimately keeps them on board longer. So from a bottom line perspective, it really helps increase revenue, can help with your retention numbers which reduces cost, helps your business to be more agile in today’s very dynamic business environment, and ultimately, enhances your competitiveness as an organization.
One of the things I always recommend for companies as they’re getting started in an onboarding redesign effort is to be really intentional in choosing what improvement objectives you’re seeking to achieve from your onboarding design. So on the left of the slide here, we have a couple common improvement objectives that I’ve seen organizations keep in mind as they move forward with a design. And let me give you a couple examples as to why it’s important to be intentional here and how it could flow through to the way that your design looks.
So let’s take the first one, knowledge transfer. Let’s say if you’re in an organization that has a large retiring class of employees that have a ton of institutional knowledge, and you’re bringing on board new hires that are new to the industry, they’re just growing their skills, it’s gonna be really important that knowledge transfer be a key improvement objective of your program. So the way that that kind of trickles into your design is maybe you’re gonna have an apprenticeship program being part of your onboarding experience, or a mentoring program where that existing class of employees that have all that knowledge are able to transfer that to your new joiners. On the other hand, let’s say you’re in an organization that is taking part in a broader transformation. Let’s say you’re moving from a more traditional kinda older way, industrial way of doing business, and focusing now on being more technologically innovative, or moving into a digital platform. Well, that’s a big transformation that your whole organization is going under, and you have an opportunity with your onboarding program to really have that be a catalyst for your overarching transformation. So you want to be intentional, and while you’re attracting and bringing in employees that are really bought into what the future of the organization’s gonna look like, you need to tread carefully and make sure that you’re not over-promising on what this experience is gonna look like, kinda making sure you’re intentional and understand the difference between your aspirational culture versus your current culture. And then that will trickle in to the way that you’re designing certain experiences. And maybe the new hires are folks that are providing some reverse mentoring to your existing employees, and that can happen as part of your onboarding experience. So just as you want to be intentional in what those objectives are that guide your design, you also want to be selective in what type of organizational impact you’re seeking to drive. I don’t recommend that you go out and design a program that’s trying to tackle all of these at once, but rather be specific and find the ones that match with critical business outcomes that your business leaders are seeking to drive as well. This is one of the best ways to help build your business case and get buyin from senior leaders in the organization that gets them committed to the onboarding experience.
Hey, Lilith? Yeah, go ahead, Kelly. Quick question came in. How do you measure the increase in organizational competitiveness? That is a good question. So I think about it in a couple different ways. One is your competitiveness from a talent marketplace perspective and keeping an eye on the types of recruits that you’re successful in bringing on board, and being able through a survey process is one indicator of it. Who is it that we’re attracting into and having greater success from a hiring process and how does that compare to the types of candidates that we had in the past? That can be an indicator of improving your competitiveness from a talent marketplace perspective. Then the other component is thinking about it from a business perspective, and is your market share increasing or decreasing in the space that you’re playing in, so I would recommend looking at it both of those ways as indicators of your competitiveness. Great. Keep the questions coming if other folks chime in with them.
So the next couple of slides are a couple of notional graphics that kind of demonstrate how some of these organizational impacts can really come to life within your organization. So on this page I’m showing you what the positive gain can be from a productivity perspective, and we think about it in two different ways. One is the time to productivity, and I think that’s a really common metric that folks recognize and look to measure, and through investing in a strategic new hire onboarding experience, you can actually accelerate that time to productivity, which is moving from that dotted line up towards the solid line there where it kinda happens in a much earlier period of time. Then the other piece is looking at raising that overall level of productivity. So again, pushing above that current state and going to what that future state could look like from a level of productivity perspective, so kinda two aspects there that drive your gains in your onboarding margin. And then the next slide shows you some gains from an attrition perspective. So most commonly, folks are focused on reducing overall attrition. That is a quantifiable way to demonstrate to the business how onboarding is having an impact. But the other piece is a little more nuanced. It kinda gets to what you were asking earlier, Kelly, around the performance improvement plans and how does that show up here, and it’s around changing the mix of your regrettable and non-regrettable attrition.
So if you have an intentional design to your onboarding experience where you’re able to identify folks in your system that may not be excelling, or be the wrong fit for the role that you have them in, you’re able to institute some interventions with those folks that may come through different skills training for them, job rotation, or other mechanisms that allow you to then identify those folks early on and make a change here. It could be that you have a super high-performing, high-potential individual who’s just in the absolute wrong role. Well, we don’t want to lose that person because we’ve miscast them in the mix, but rather identify them and get them in the right place. So this is what we’re talking about in terms of being able to move the needle and have less non-regrettable attrition coming out of your onboarding experience. And then the next slide kinda pulls it together from one example that we have with our clients here at SilkRoad, which is Energizer. So what they were able to do was when they evaluated their program and launched a refresh onboarding experience, they really focused on creating a personalized experience that allowed each individual to have targeted content no matter where they are across the globe in the organization. They also streamlined the administration and focused in on a couple key central metrics that allowed them to have a more consistent global experience as well. And it was also critical for them that it was able to be delivered to new hires wherever they were on whatever device that they needed. So having a variety of different languages, and it delivered in a mobile way to the new hires, so that they could access the information whenever they needed it. So as a result of that, they were able to reduce the onboarding administration time, so folks that were involved from a HR perspective as well as the time the new hires were spending doing administrative tasks by almost 88%. And when you think about it from a headcount perspective, what’s happening behind the scenes, they went from a really manual process that had 172 data fields getting completed, down to 34. So that was a major gain there for them in being able to reduce the work that their HR business partners were doing and now they can focus on much more strategic activity within the organization.
And then the last slide that I wanted to share from an impact perspective comes from the Brandon Hall Group and a survey that they did last year. So they have a fairly similar maturity categorization as the one that we went through earlier in our discussion where the level three and four maturity is equivalent to the levels three through five of ours, and then level one and two were really that basic merging stage. So what they showed through their study was that organizations that had a higher level of maturity actually had quantifiable difference in their business key performance indicators. And what I find so compelling about this study is that the KPIs are really business-focused. A lot of times I feel like those of us in HR are trying to make a case to our business colleagues or the CFO’s office around getting investment dollars into a program like this, so this may help in your storytelling with your peers around the improvement that can happen. So seeing that market penetration is much higher for organizations with more mature onboarding programs, that their revenue performance is higher, their customer satisfaction, as well as the customer retention. Certainly, employee engagement and employee retention are really positive as well, but, I really want to highlight the impact that this can have from a business perspective and not just the HR realm. All right.
So moving into the last section that we want to cover today, now that we’ve kinda got you excited around what’s possible with a new hire onboarding program, both from an impact perspective as well as that experience and what it can look like, I want to provide you with some perspective on how to get started and some best practices around this. So what this model does is give you a framework, where to get started and how to move forward with an onboarding redesign effort. So what’s really important is to be intentional at the very beginning around how you’re gonna scope your project, establishing your project governance, and being able to articulate the issues. Essentially, what’s the problem that we’re trying to solve here by redesigning our onboarding program, and then setting your objectives for the onboarding experience. Then moving into step two, conducting a diagnostic and then a visioning session. The diagnostic I feel like is such an important step because it enables you not just to take stock of where you are today, and maybe there are some bright spots across your organization and you can take advantage of that and have it be something that you roll into your enterprise experience. You won’t have to recreate the wheel on so many things, but it’s also really important because it helps you peel back the onion into some of those key performance indicators and enables you to quantify kinda where we are today, so that once the program is rolled out in the future, you can go back to that and be able to demonstrate where you’ve made progress. It’s also an opportunity for you to identify and then prioritize what are some of the quick wins that you can have in your onboarding redesign, which is also another key piece in getting that buyin and maintaining the business case with leadership.
The visioning session I feel like is important because that also helps you put a stake in the ground around where you’re gonna head and establish what the guardrails are for your design process. Then in the third step you move into developing a business case and starting to put in place an overarching framework for that experience. That’s what I call the blueprint development, and sort of, if you think about it as building a house, it’s your architectural plans, and each one of them is another layer around what that experience is gonna look like. Then you move into actually designing and developing all of the program elements, and then doing a pilot of that new hire experience, and then measuring it, seeing how that’s working with this target population, and then refining it as needed before you move it out in a full enterprise-wide rollout. The blue step there that goes throughout the whole piece is ensuring that you do have in place a strong project management approach and change management. And you can never start too early when it comes to change management, particularly if you’re seeking to roll something out on a large enterprise-wide perspective. And then hopefully you’ll be able to identify some quick wins early on and be able to demonstrate what the progress is and the success that you can have from the experience once it’s fully rolled out.
So, since the governance piece and the business case is so important, I wanted to dig a little bit deeper into that as far as what are some of the key elements in building that business case. So one place to start is getting senior leader input into the process. What are their pain points, and understand from their perspective what keeps them up at night, and that will set the stage for you as you’re gathering more information to help put it in terms as far as how onboarding can help them with some of the key pressure points that they’re seeing. You also want to take stock as to whether there’s any other strategic business initiatives that are underway at your organization, and then think about how onboarding can help support that both from a quantitative perspective, can it have a measurable impact, or qualitatively to just maybe support it say from a change management perspective. You want to take stock at what other talent initiatives are underway, and how can onboarding be seen as an enabler of some of those other talent initiatives, take stock of what your current and future cost structure is gonna be with the onboarding experience, and use that in order to help calculate an ROI, and then tie that into those intended outcomes. I think all of these pieces together will be a very wholistic business case. You’ll have to take stock at your organization what it is that will really move the needle, or what’s a priority for you. And then from a governance perspective, I highly recommend that you establish a steering committee with key stakeholders from the business as well as your partners in delivering onboarding to really be successful in moving forward with your onboarding design. The steering committee can provide guidance and input on the business case and the blueprint. They should meet regularly in order to review the progress and provide input, and ultimately be your champions in the key areas that they’re representing from the organization. And then your design team, you want to be intentional about them too in that this is the group that’s gonna meet regularly and be responsible for creating the content. This is a notional structure here of your design team, but it’s important that you’re thinking about all of the stakeholders across the whole experience, so it’s not just HR, but it’s also your IT folks, the people that handle facilities, your legal team, or even marketing, getting them involved in the process, and then being intentional on where you want to fit them into the experience and where they can add value in the design process. So I hope that that gives everyone a good perspective for what successful onboarding looks like, what some of the impacts are that you can seek to drive from taking a strategic approach to onboarding, and some food for thought on how to get started. Great. Thanks, Lilith.
I have one more questions for you. Obviously, the theme of today’s presentation was world-class onboarding programs. Can you describe one or two companies that you feel fit this category and have for some time? Sure. I can give an example of a couple, two different companies, and maybe I’ll give a third one while I’m in there, because I also don’t want to, the two that come to mind for me are very large global organizations, so let’s talk about Accenture for example. They speak regularly at some onboarding and HR conferences and their program really stands out as a highlight to me. Some of the things that make it a world-class experience is the way that they’re engaging new hires in a personalized way from the point of offer acceptance up until day one, in that they deliver information almost in countdown method to them via technology where new hires get the information they need at 30 days out, at 20 days out, at two days out, so that it’s kind of unveiling as they’re getting ready to start at Accenture. It’s called Countdown to Accenture. Then as they go on site and they’re welcomed into the organization, their orientation experience is really dynamic and engaging. It is leveraging media as well as activities that are happening in a tabletop perspective, and they’ve got some interesting ways that they’re even teaching information like acronyms, right? That’s not necessarily a very interesting topic to cover necessarily in orientation, but it sure is important for someone to know what those things mean when they go out into the workforce, and so they’ve created a really cool game around that to make it interactive and interesting for their folks. And then the onboarding experience certainly lasts well beyond that in terms of how they’re getting the new hires connected with others in the organization, how they enable them to have some learning moments along the way, and that they’re taking advantage of what they’re doing in a client-facing setting, bringing that back and learning from it in their onboarding experience.
IBM is another organization that has a great program, who’s also been out speaking and talking about their program as well. So to bring it down, maybe to demonstrate that you don’t have to be a giant organization to have a world-class experience, there’s a organization that we work with that is much smaller in nature, and they’re just super intentional about that experience, in that culture is really important to them, they start to get new hires immersed in that culture before they join the organization. Then they have a buddy program that connects that new hire with one individual that’s there to support them during that onboarding journey. They’re incorporating performance as part of that new hire experience, so they’re giving feedback to that new hire at 30 days, and 90 days, and then they have a squad of individuals, is actually what they call them, that help support that strategic immersion for the new hires by having connections with folks in the business that are skip level from them, and that they can really help that new hire build some more strategic context. Yeah, I’ve heard other folks talk about buddy programs in the context of you have one buddy that’s like a thought leader mentor, and then you have one buddy that teaches you like the cultural norms within the organization. So two totally different aspects of the organization, but it speaks to that connectivity, inclusiveness, and then context around strategy. Yeah, that’s a really smart way to do it, because I think you need that buddy that’s kind of your peer-level person that you can ask quote unquote the silly questions to, but then having that connection with someone that’s a little more senior that you can really understand the strategy, and learn from them what’s made them successful, is great to kinda tag team with both of those roles.
All right, well, I’d like to thank Lilith for a great presentation. We are at the top of the hour here. I’d also like to thank everybody that joined us today. Like I said, you will receive a recording of this broadcast. You can expect that email around this time tomorrow. If you have questions, please reach out to either Lilith of myself. We’d be happy to help you in any way that we can. And we hope that you all have a great rest of the day. Thanks, everybody.