Life at LACE: Onboarding in a flexible working world

This week’s blog is a ‘Life at LACE’ piece from one of our newest hires about their experience of being hired and onboarded in our post-pandemic world and at the start of the colleague lifecycle with an employer. Luka Winterborne compares his recent experience in joining LACE Partners, with his career-long focus on employee experience, telling us what he thinks good should look like in this space.

After advocating the importance of employee experience for the best part of five years, I recently had the opportunity to sample one of the most important ‘moments that matter’ for myself – the hire and onboarding journey.

What made this a unique experience for me - and many others since the pandemic - was going through onboarding during a lockdown where meeting new colleagues and getting set up with the basics was impossible in the way that we remember. You might assume that my experience of onboarding was a faceless, disconnected and impersonal one, but you’d be wrong. I was welcomed weeks before my start date, had check-in calls regularly, knew who to call with any questions, received my equipment a few days before I started…and everything worked!

With so many people now reassessing their career options since the pandemic and re-entering the job market, is it any wonder why we’re hearing HR leaders and influencers placing much more emphasis on the recruitment and onboarding journey? There’s no dispute that the significance of getting this first and impression setting ‘moment that matters’ is great; after all, first impressions really do count when joining a new employer and will set the tone for the rest of a colleague’s journey with you.

My experience upon joining LACE has been hugely valuable and there have been several key onboarding opportunities that I think you should consider when reviewing how your business recruits and retains the talent that you need to excel.

Make it seamless

If you have, or are looking for, a nice tech platform as a wrap for your employee experience then great – review it and use it. If not, it's always worth considering. If your budget doesn’t allow for this then map out the key touchpoints and activities as a new hire journey, taking into consideration not just the colleague joining, but the hiring manager and recruiter. Look for opportunities to remove duplication, simplify the journey for all involved and put the mechanisms in place to action them.

Get the basics right

No one needs balloons and goodie bags on their first day and really, they’re not necessary. Getting the right technology, connectivity and other equipment on or before day one really is necessary though. That was clear when I joined LACE and it was vital to my success and the positive experience I've had. Not hitting the mark on the day one basics will set the tone for your employee experience and could lead to poor talent retention and engagement further down the line. The basics could look and feel different depending on the business, so don’t be afraid to ask your people the question ‘what would make your experience of joining our business again best in class?’ Equally as important is empowering new colleagues with a sense of purpose and belonging from the very start so be clear on your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) and bring this to life.

Make it personal

A simple phone call can make the world of difference in a landscape of automation. That is what was clear when I joined LACE and the fact that I had so many interactions planned when I joined showed that it was important to have those connections right from the start of my career within the business. Spend some time getting to know the persona types you’re recruiting and what lifestyles they lead. Tailoring the onboarding process where possible to their preferences shows that you care, builds trust from the start and will kick off engagement in a positive way from the beginning. Breaking down your colleague landscape into personas and understanding the drivers for these groups is an activity I advocate at this stage and will help you at every following stage of improving your colleague journey.

Get feedback…and use it

The best way to find out how you’re doing at any step of the colleague lifecycle is to ask for feedback. Be brave enough to ask the honest questions on how the recruitment journey felt and worked for new hires and then use the insight to make improvements. It doesn’t matter how this is done, surveys, workshops, focus groups – they all work and give the opportunity for colleagues to feel that their voice counts.

If you have questions on what you’ve read, or want to talk to Luka directly about how you can optimise your onboarding processes, you can reach out to him on LinkedIn here. If you’d like to find out about working at LACE Partners, you can get in touch with us here.