By Cliff Stevenson, Principal Analyst, Talent Management and Workforce Management

It is tempting to look at 2020 and assume that many of the workforce changes resulted solely from the pandemic. However, some factors involving onboarding employees, such as working from home and working remotely were already becoming a concern for employees due to globalization and digitization. And interestingly, certain aspects of onboarding have not changed even with the advent of increased globalization and remote workers. There is still a need for culture, connection and community.

However, although these needs may not be new, there has been more interest in understanding the role onboarding has in instilling company values and culture and helping people feel more connected to the organization and its mission. Organizations show a renewed interest in leveraging recruitment and onboarding as key areas for expressing company culture and values, and see that as a major value proposition instead of a minor one.

Community, and the sense of togetherness it implies, has been brought to the forefront in surprising ways, such as re-examining the ways we use data and insights from the onboarding process. Organizations are taking a more humanistic approach to onboarding, resulting in a change in evaluating metrics. Instead of pure productivity numbers, it is now diversity, engagement and connections/communication. Although productivity still matters, the long-term effects of these other metrics are being considered more heavily.

Organizations are doing a better job being more transparent in how and why data is collected and used and giving more access and agency to new employees to connect to others in the organization. This includes possible mentors or coaches, with an additional positive effect of creating more of a sense of community and taking a “show instead of tell” approach to education about the company culture. 

Collaborative learning platforms are an emerging technology that are able to fulfil those needs by making those connections and allowing new employees to find their own path for success. Giving new employees the data, tools and access they need so they can make their own decisions is part of a self-service philosophy that has long been promoted by HR professionals and given additional weight from the events of 2020

If this is a topic that interests you, I suggest joining me and my co-host Rebecca Castro of NovoEd, as we present Virtual Onboarding with a Human Touch – Creating Connection, Culture and Community on Wednesday, January 27th. We will have an open Q&A session during the event so you can join in the conversation, as well. Hope to see you there.

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