Onboarding: Using your intranet to welcome new starters

Using your intranet to welcome new starters

Are you tackling your onboarding issues through the power of your intranet?

At seven years old I remember getting ready for my first day at a new school. With TV-AM on in the background, I warmed my legs by the electric fire in my crisp white shirt, army-creased shorts and knee-high socks. I adjusted my elasticated tie whilst my Nana spiked-up my Pat Sharp style hair-do, uttering the well-known phrase to me, “Remember Michael, first impressions count!”

They say that people decide if they like you within the first 30 seconds of meeting you. This gives us only a very short window to get our first impression right if we want to make an impact. Not forgetting that we only get to do this once.

Imagine if you met Albert Einstein for the first time for just 30 seconds, with his bushy moustache and candy floss hair — you’d be forgiven for walking away without asking old Albert if he had any theories on relativity.

“Hew man Albert, have you got any theories on relativity, like?” Said in the broadest of Geordie accents.


Making your first impression count

First impressions are a two-way street. As a business, this goes beyond just impressing your prospects, customers and stakeholders — first impressions are vital with your staff, too.

We’ve all been there, waiting in reception, full of anxiety on our first day in a new role. After a nice meet and greet, a possible walk around the office floor, you’re handed a bit of paper with your induction programme. If you’re lucky, you might even have a spreadsheet. As the week goes on things don’t all go according to plan; meetings are missed, you’re not too sure who to hand your ID to and no one’s mentioned any of the vital policies you need to adhere to.

This is where your intranet comes in. Creating a digital onboarding programme for your new starters, helping to reinforce to them that they made the correct decision in joining your business. It will make the responsible staff accountable for their part, as well as making light of the paper-heavy admin processes we all hate.


Getting started

Your new starters are arguably most-engaged as they come on board, so it’s key that you tap into that eagerness from the off. By not taking this chance, you run the risk of missing out on a vital opportunity to instill your company’s values into your new workforce, give them an experience to remember. This is your opportunity to set the bar as high as possible, serving up a personalised welcome to your new employees. Here are our top 3 tips:


1. Plan wisely

Just as you would with any other intranet content planning, make sure you take time to think your onboarding content through. Beyond setting up and welcoming your new users, think about which processes, policies and training could be integrated into this new way of working. Consider the necessary documents, timetables, contracts, handbooks, links to HR, IT — the list goes on.

Also, think about what workflows you can create to make the admin side of things run smoothly — if they forget to bring in their ID, can they easily upload this at home, directly from the app?


2. Put yourself in their shoes

When thinking about the content you’ll include within your new process, consider the position your new starter is in.

It’s not just about the policies and training you need them to complete, but what can you do for them. Think about the questions they’ll have around dress code, holiday allowance, brand guidelines, break times and so on. Accounting for all these small extras may seem menial to you, but this extra information can make all the difference to your people.


3. Think beyond day one

Start earlier and finish later. Too many ‘induction programmes’ and ‘welcome weeks’ are just that — one week. Check-in with your new starters beyond the initial week or month points, using reminders to speak to ask them how they’re settling in or what further support they need. Use surveys to ask them for feedback on their welcome to see what you can improve or change, and quick polls to get their votes on top issues.


Reap the benefits

Think about this type of experience vs older, paper-based methods. Your employees have reduced anxiety, you have a fully-compliant team member who understands your company values, and the opportunity to build excitement for the journey they are about to embark on.

By giving these new folk the red carpet and trumpets-out experience (dah, dah, dahhhh *insert trumpet noise here*), you ensure they go home on a Friday with nothing but great feedback for their friends and family.

With 36% of businesses stating that engagement is the top challenge they face, and 53% of HR professionals seeing employee engagement rise when onboarding is improved, can you afford to not make the change?


P.S. For anyone interested in my Nana’s hairstyling skills:

First impressions really do count, I only wish she’d realised that mullets were not the best type of hairdo for making friends quickly!

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