Successfully Onboard Your Talent – Crisis Or No Crisis (Part 1 of 2)

(Because your onboarding needs to begin well before Day 1)
by Simon Cropper

Domo Japan | HR Director Asia & Japan |

Is one of your company`s goals to more efficiently onboard talent and to lay the groundwork for a new hire`s long-term success? With a little thought and planning it`s probably easier than you think. Here are some things to consider to help you get you started.

How is your new hire onboarding process working during the COVID crisis? I’ve recently been hosting some HR Roundtables and will continue to do more on a monthly basis. It’s a great opportunity to hear directly from other HR professionals from various global and local organizations on challenges we are all facing during these times 😊

One issue that has often been raised on these calls as well as from peers within my own HR network in Japan is the issue around creating a great, new hire onboarding experience! Data shows that in even normal times a majority of companies have poor onboarding processes — and the actual onboarding often fails to embed the culture and required behaviors that drive longer term success in our respective organizations.

Frequently, onboarding is more like an information exchange or data dump. They are usually called something like “New Hire Orientation Sessions” and these sessions often have nothing to do with the long term productivity and success of the employee in their new role!

Frequently, the onboarding is more like an information exchange or data dump. They are usually called something like “New Hire Orientation Sessions” and these sessions often have nothing to do with the long term productivity and success of the employee in their new role! And data shows that poor onboarding is a major cause of employee turnover within their first 12 months of joining, which can end up costing a company 100% – 300% (!) of the employee’s annual salary in total.

So how do we hire, onboard, and engage someone who these days we can’t even meet, can’t have a F2F meeting with, and who can’t meet any of our key managers or their team members F2F on their first day or first week? Most of us are now doing it online of course! But we are already struggling to engage our own current workforce. And many of those employees we`ve known for years and have already built a trusted relationship with are becoming disengaged — so how do we go about engaging someone we don’t even really know?

Many of those employees we`ve known for years and have already built a trusted relationship with are becoming disengaged — so how do we go about engaging someone we don’t even really know?

First of all before we start the actual process of an engaging “online onboarding process” we`ve got to look at the goal, the actual result we are trying to achieve with this process. We`ve got to work backwards and consider all of the potential obstacles that any new hire may face. At my firm, Domo, one recurring challenge is that we are still a relatively small and unique organization with most of our employee base in Utah. We may have been around several years but we still have that startup feel and so have to consider that talent coming from large organizations with very established processes across their business platform will struggle to navigate the ambiguity here. So for us this is just one big issue that faces a lot of hires not coming directly from other startups. And every organization has numerous issues that can impact success and failure of the individuals within.

Any successful onboarding will require we take the time to identify what these challenges are, whether they are company-wide or team-wide, longstanding or relatively recent, etc. Once we have done this we can plan our onboarding in a way that addresses these during the interview process, pre-orientation, and orientation. In Part 2 I`ll talk about some general and specific things that can be done to improve your onboarding.

Simon Cropper is a Tokyo-based HR professional with 25 years of HR and Recruitment experience working both in-house and in agency. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TADirect or any other agency, organization, employer or company.