Onboarding insights: a little human touch


Onboarding or inclusion in the business world is about ensuring every employee brings their number one game to work, with the end result of an engaged workforce and a lucrative enterprise.

A dictionary definition of inclusion reads: “A sense of belonging: feeling respected, valued for who you are; feeling a level of supportive energy and commitment from others so that you can do your best work.”

In a South African context, when a layer of cultural diversity is added to the mix, ensuring that a newcomer is assimilated smoothly into a team is critical to team production.

Amanda commented in a forum, “After I accepted an offer from a new company and put in notice at my old company, I received emails from all the partners in my office welcoming me to the practice. It was a tough decision to leave my current position, but this made a world of difference that people at that level in the industry really did care that I was making a jump to join them.”

And it isn’t just a matter of forking out cash for sophisticated onboarding software, says Sue Edwards. “We onboarded a new sales hire, and asked everyone in her group to connect with her on Facebook, LinkedIn, AIM, Twitter etc… so we could all get to know each other a little better before she got started.

“The result? When she came on board she already knew everybody, had a good sense of what was going on, and knew who to connect to for important info. She now holds the record for ‘fastest sale from point of hire’, and she has one of the strongest sales pipeline records of her team.”

President Obama in the USA used an onboarding process to prepare for his inauguration and cabinet recruitment, surrounding himself with people whose expertise could challenge and improve his thinking on a range of world matters. He also reached his hand across the table to invite and engage in dissenting opinion, appealing to the “we”, rather than the “I” mentality.

As a lesson to corporate leaders worldwide, the message from the “No Drama Obama” administration before and during the inauguration was for leaders to surround themselves with a mixture of talent, be truthful, and measure expectations realistically.

Rather than simply letting new recruits get on with socialisation, a concerted effort on the part of staff through social media, emails or plain communication can work wonders for staff retention and production. A little human touch can go a long way.

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