I started at StoryShare as CRO on March 30, and like many, I have faced a new experience of a totally virtual onboarding experience because of the COVID-19 crisis. Typically while you may receive some documentation upfront to read, agree and consume, there was always a human element of interaction that has been key to the process of engaging people new to an organisation. Having gone through the experience first hand, using the StoryShare platform to access content remotely and using multiple devices not connected to the organisational network or infrastructure it has made me consider onboarding differently. The ability to reach and deliver an experience unique to me has been at the forefront of my journey which is positive. With this in mind here are some observations and tips that professionals may need consider to enhance their onboarding experience:
1. A Personal Touch Matters
Removing the human element means that the need for a personal touch to onboarding is essential. This will require the process to use alternative mediums to the traditional to introduce people to the new member of the team and vice versa. Video is particularly useful as it can be quickly self-authored and then used as a means of providing a short unique introduction to individuals where their story in terms of who they are, their role and perhaps interesting facts about them as an individual can quickly be delivered in the absence of direct contact. Similarly, the use of video/web conferencing solutions which was already a key tool for communication has become mandatory for people inside and outside working environments to stay connected.
While both areas raised above clearly aid the process of onboarding the time and organisation required to set up individual pathways need to be considered as does the additional variety required to make onboarding engaging.
2. Promote and enhance Digital Learning Content
The appetite for more and more content right now is insatiable as people look for more knowledge and insight that previously they may not have had the opportunity to consume. In terms of onboarding, the reach of the process has been extended as at the remote nature the current global pandemic imposes may have a level of permanence in terms of the approach. Therefore the quality of each piece of content delivered as part of onboarding has taken on a new level of importance to ensure a well balanced, consistent and engaging journey into the organisation. The size and style of content that individuals are expected to consume, their preferences and importantly the frequency of expected engagement all now come into sharper focus.
3. Find the right tech to enhance the digital learning experience
While content may be king how the platform and solutions used to onboard are now ever more critical as the need to offer a completely virtual experience, seamlessly to any device is more important than ever to ensure individuals remain engaged throughout the onboarding process and beyond. If the process begins prior to arrival which devices can your solution reach? What access does the new colleague have? Is the content optimised specifically for mobile or tablets? How will users securely reach your site and what interface will they encounter? These are all new questions we must all ask as the opportunity to make the first impression only occurs once and initial user experience of corporate systems colours future use particular from a learning and development perspective.
Forging meaningful workplace connections and collaboration are important now more than ever and will take us through to the other side. In preparation for what happens post-crisis, consideration and accommodation must be made for a changing landscape in terms of onboarding which will require more thought on delivering a purely remote process and the challenges that must be overcome in that environment.