How to make onboarding beautiful

By Guest Contributor, - Employee experienceFuture Workplace

Author: Pat Wadors, Chief Talent Officer, ServiceNow

The Covid-19 pandemic has put remote work at the top of employee experience agendas across the world as many employers have had to ensure workers are equipped with the right tools to carry on working from the safety of their own homes.

However, as workplaces remain closed and the likelihood that physical distancing will be extended this year increases, companies realize that many of the temporary fixes they put in place must become permanent solutions.

One such opportunity is the employee onboarding process.

Onboarding has always been a uniquely difficult task, even when employees could do it in person in a physical workplace.

Now, due to unprecedented circumstances, employers who hadn’t digitized employee onboarding are having to rethink how they’ll get new employees up to speed when they’re distributed across many locations.

In this blog, I will focus on why it’s critical to digitize the onboarding piece of the employee experience and make it possible for employees to choose anywhere, anytime work options. And I’ll delve into how we at ServiceNow have managed to make the experience rather…well, beautiful.

Old problem, new predicament

Businesses that had started along or were more advanced in their digital transformation journeys were the ones able to transition to remote work the most smoothly.

That’s because they had digitized their routine, manual processes and made it possible for employees to get their jobs done anywhere, anytime, across different business activities – IT, benefits, HR, travel needs, and much more. They were able to achieve that goal by learning to navigate processes across functional silos and create a seamless partnership in service of their employees.

That’s especially true for onboarding, which has different requirements. Onboarding is an incredibly personal experience. And much like any other first impression, you only have one chance to make it a good one.

To ensure onboarding is a good experience, employers need to be able to meet all their employees’ expectations. This means creating an experience that is friendly, personalized, predictive and seamless.

At ServiceNow, we’ve done in-person and digital onboarding for quite some time. A significant percentage of our employees work outside a physical office location. Plus, we’re located around the world. When this pandemic struck, we leaned into our digital onboarding experience with confidence.

Customer zero

As a digital workflow company, we believe that behind every great experience is a great workflow. Our solutions unlock productivity and deliver great experiences to employees and customers.

Before this crisis, we approached everything we offered with a customer zero mentality – making sure we use our solutions to digitize workflows across our company, just as our customers do.

So, once we moved to work from home, our transition to digital onboarding was seamless. We continued to focus on our two main onboarding priorities:

  • Pre-boarding and day one effectiveness (new hire orientation)
  • Making employees successful in their first 90 days.

We had to change some processes to deliver on those priorities. For example, we had to send hardware (laptops) to new employees before their new hire orientation. This has been a good way to make sure new hires feel prepared and physically part of the team even before their first day.

Then, we made sure new hires could proceed through onboarding in a digital way, with our onboarding app, our Employee Service Portal, and other digital tools that help get them up to speed on ServiceNow, our culture, and their role. Where possible, we’ve even digitized common new hire to-dos, so they can get those out of the way and be as prepared as possible for day one.

The beauty comes from creating an employee experience where they always feel heard. However, that empathy only gets you so far.

That’s why I always like to say: empathy + technology = compassion. Compassion only comes when you take action to address the problem. In this case, we leverage technology to address our opportunities.

A new landscape

Since our partnership with Fujitsu in 2009, we’ve managed to deliver more than 1200 ServiceNow projects. We now have more than 1200 ServiceNow skill certifications available and over 700 active customers.

And just in the last 12 months, both global and EMEA ServiceNow won IT Workflow Partner of the Year, as well as 2019 APJ Partner of the Year.

However, we’ve entered a new era. And this pandemic has managed to supercharge digital transformation efforts across the board, and as a result, work has changed forever.

It’s the companies that continue along on their digital transformation journeys that will make it through to the other side in the best shape.

And while digital transformation has a great deal to do with technology, what makes it successful is ensuring that at every step of the way, technology is being put to work in service of people.

Think about the end-to-end design of the onboarding process, and what you want new hires to know and feel when they start.

By using workflow technology, employees’ daily routines can become easier, simpler and faster – freeing them up to focus on the more challenging, essential and fulfilling aspects of their new jobs.

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