What Christmas gifts can teach us about effective onboarding


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British people will be using around 108 million rolls of wrapping paper this festive season to cover the gifts they give to family and friends.

As well as wrapping each present, notes will be added; they may be adorned with decorations and ribbons - all for something that’s going to be ripped off in a matter of seconds.

So why do we do it?

Importance of presentation and experience

Science can provide some answers. A 1992 study in the US by Professor Daniel Howard tested the different ways people react to wrapped and unwrapped presents. It found that identical gifts received much higher ratings when wrapped.

It’s something we understand intuitively - the way something is presented, affects our attitudes towards it. And this applies to the experiences people have when joining a new organisation.

It helps to explain why the role of employee ‘engagement’ is becoming more of a focus within the HR sector. This refers to the kind of ‘experience’ a new hire has as they enter an organisation.

A warm welcome

When you have been offered a new role, you enter into the onboarding process. Onboarding should involve experiencing a warm welcome and a transparent and hassle-free process, making a person feel a valued part of the company they’re joining. This can improve productivity and reduce staff ‘churnover’.

This starts the moment a job offer has been made and covers all of the tasks required to integrate new starters into a business.

It’s during onboarding that the HR ‘wrapping’ becomes so important. If experiences are negative, it will often result in candidates changing their minds about joining.

Cost of onboarding frustrations

Our  2017 study found that 39 percent of UK employees have had frustrations during onboarding, with 15 percent having rejected the role as a consequence. Common issues included paperwork errors, delays and poor communications.

A root cause of many of these onboarding problems is the fact that more than two-thirds (68 percent) of hiring teams still rely on manual management processes - posted paperwork, phone calls and emails.

The ability to effectively manage, monitor and maintain a positive onboarding experience is one of the major benefits offered by cloud-based systems and the use of real-time data.

Smarter way to manage new hires

Webonboarding streamlines and automates the process, using an online portal to handle all of the communications between hiring teams, managers and incoming new hires. By removing much of the administrative burden, HR managers can place more focus on the quality of experience.

The cloud-based approach makes it easy to share any kind of welcome documents and company guides, digitally improving the overall experience for a new hire.

Tools to improve experience

This kind of feedback allows the onboarding process to be constantly honed and improved over time to ensure that new hires have the best possible first impressions of an organisation.

So while we may understand the value of nicely wrapped Christmas presents, the same isn’t always true for the way organisations present themselves to new hires.

With webonboarding, the focus for hiring teams can start to shift from paperwork administration and towards the effective management and monitoring of the onboarding experience.


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