Onboarding 4 min

Being Onboarded by the “Onboarding Guys”

April 11, 2014

From the editor: Just recently, we at BambooHR created and completed an onboarding survey. Since the results came roaring in, there’s been a lot of talk about it. We’ve been featured in magazines like Inc. and Forbes. Our data was picked up all over the world, even in New Zealand.  And we’ve written our share of blogs and other content using the results. It’s exciting to be at the root of the data. Since BambooHR is being mentioned in the same breath as onboarding, we feel like we’re a pretty big deal lately. Did I hear BambooHR referred to as the “Onboarding Guys”? Maybe that was just my imagination.

But we’re starting to feel a little pressure. You see, we’re growing a lot. We’re bringing on lots of new employees. And that means a lot of onboarding. Since we now really know what new hires want, it can’t just be lip service. We have to do what we’re telling others to do. That’s why I was excited (and one part nervous) when our brand new hire—Ian, who just started here Monday—offered to write about his onboarding experience:

“When I accepted the offer to work for BambooHR, I wondered how my first day would go. Because they’re a leading HR software company, I thought their onboarding should be at least “above average.” To tell you the truth, I wasn’t disappointed. Not to disparage any previous employers, but my first day at Bamboo has seriously been the best first day ever (and I’m not just saying that)!

Why does it seem like bringing a new employee on board is such a monumental task? For lots of companies, it’s because they’re winging it and don’t have tried-and-true processes in place. I’m not just talking about receiving the necessary tools—like phone, computer, access to proper accounts or filling out forms although that’s all important—but truly being brought into the fold and given the knowledge necessary to hit the ground running from the first day.

I’m reading through this onboarding survey that Bamboo just did. It says that what we new hires really want is mentoring and on-the-job training. The free Creamies don’t hurt, but they also don’t help much on that first day and are only a minor consideration in keeping us around. In fact, in that same survey, less than one percent of respondents said free food and perks would have helped them stay at a job they quit early on.

No one likes paperwork. And thanks to an automated process made possible by using Bamboo’s software, that part of the day was streamlined and super short. Not to mention, it was paperless. I received emailed copies of all the documents I completed, as did the HR department. Also, my handwriting is horrible, so luckily I was able to fill out everything electronically. Our employee orientation was short and sweet, but still necessary. In fact, 75 percent of respondents in Bamboo’s survey noted that new-hire orientations are worth the time spent. I would second that, especially after my experience at BambooHR.

Do you think a herd of elephants, in bringing in a new member to the herd, just hands him or her a pair of tusks and asks them to hit the ground running? Does he or she get a general idea of where the herd is heading? How do they gather food? How does he or she immediately contribute, and in what ways? These are all aspects to consider besides just the logistical aspects of joining a new herd.

If your company really knows who they are and what they are trying to accomplish, onboarding should be a great experience. Because it’s easy to onboard someone into a herd that knows who they are and exactly what they are trying to accomplish. The key is bringing everyone together—meeting your team members and understanding how your role fits with what they’re doing.

Some companies are too big to make a group or face-to-face introduction possible, but for those of us in small to medium-sized businesses, it can be a great and memorable experience. I just so happened to meet (and bond with) a fellow Velociraptor enthusiast in my herd.

After experiencing an incredibly thorough onboarding experience—although it sounds like it’s not quite over and won’t be for some time—I’m happy to say that I am writing a blog post on day one, have already run some basic analytics and feel ready to tackle my job! I’ve also met most people in the company, know my entire team by name and know what’s expected of me and when. I also know exactly what my department is trying to accomplish and, more importantly, what the company as a whole is trying to accomplish.

I know how I’ll work with each of my herd members and how we can help each other. No need for infighting, posturing, or intra-herd conflict, as I have properly been brought into the fold and already feel a part of our herd. Even though I like to use the herd analogy, my first day at Bamboo has been a completely human and people-focused experience.

It seems these “onboarding guys” do really know a thing or two about onboarding.

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Jason Norris