By Cary Schuler, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, cfactor
I always love self-righteously claiming my right of a “Mulligan” as it’s often referred to in golf. You didn’t like that drive? No worries, just tee up another ball and try again…
Unfortunately, Mulligans don’t work so well in our professional lives.
Case in point: making a positive first impression with your new employee. When you look at the large body of research available on the topic of first impressions, a consistent conclusion emerges: It takes very little time to form opinions about people and organizations. It is also clear that first impressions are remarkably persistent. Once attitudes are set, it becomes difficult to change them.
Likely we can all remember a time when we were in the new hire’s shoes—simultaneously feeling nervous and excited. Wondering if you made the right choice. First impressions of an organization and its people matter. Good first impressions build trust and confidence. They are the precursor to positive new hire experiences.
Crafting Positive First Impressions
Underlying the challenges many organizations face is past practice—because traditionally, orientation methods have been mere administrative events. They typically include binders of information and mountains of forms to fill out. Hardly inspiring. What is truly important for your new employee is helping him or her “fit in”—feel welcomed, reduce anxiety, and start making personal connections. These are all vitally important factors in crafting positive first impressions that ultimately influence the employee’s decision to stay with your firm.
How do you change the status quo? How do you start employees off on the right foot by delivering personalized, memorable experiences? How do you craft an effective program that:
…starting from the moment they sign on the dotted line?
A Role for Social-Infused HR Technology
We all know the importance of “real-life” experiences. Technology will never replace those. However, the latest social technologies are connecting people in ways never before possible. I often hear people comment on how many great relationships started exclusively online only to connect with the person face-to-face at some point in the future.
Next-generation HR technologies are evolving from mainly “back-office” systems to socially infused applications that recognize the value of the employee experience. This provides a great opportunity for organizations to leverage these next-generation systems to positively influence a host of HR programs/activities—case in point, employee “preboarding.”
A new onboarding concept called preboarding refers to that span of time between a candidate accepting your job offer and his or her first day. Preboarding is designed to help with this critical phase in a new hire’s acclimatization to your workforce—when an employee’s first impressions are being cemented. Organizations rarely take advantage of this “honeymoon” period. The employee is excited and eager to make his or her mark.
All too often what happens is, well, nothing. Your new employee doesn’t hear from the organization until he or she shows up on the first day.
This can change—right now. By utilizing HR technology, infused with rich media and social technologies, before new employees begin their first day, they can have an online personalized experience with the company. These experiences can be tailored to specifically reflect your unique culture, values, and way of doing things, while driving efficiency by ensuring your unique new hire processes (i.e., compliance and transactional) are kick-started as part of your preboarding program.
Things to Consider When Crafting a Preboarding Experience
Create the Desired First Impression. Use technology to get your story across:
Introduce the Company Through its People. Craft engaging and consistent experiences:
Accelerate Time to Productivity. Impact this key metric even before the employee’s first day:
Can It Work?
Even when voluntary, new employees are highly motivated to participate in an effective preboarding experience.
For example, DeVry Inc. uses a sophisticated online preboarding solution to support its goal of being an employer of choice in the educational services industry. As a result:
As with all aspects of employee management, HR technology choices and preboarding/onboarding initiatives need to be considered as components that align to larger corporate goals.
So, now I ask you this: Did I make a positive first impression? Did these perspectives give you a fresh, practical approach to leveraging technology to develop a compelling new hire experience?
I hope I did as I’m pretty sure I don’t get a Mulligan!
Cary Schuler is a co-founder and the chief executive officer of cfactor. Since its founding in 1999, Saskatchewan,Canada-based cfactor has rapidly expanded its operations currently servicing clients across North America. Prior to serving as cfactor’s CEO, Schuler held progressively senior roles in health-care management, culminating with his appointment to the role of CEO of an 11-facility health region. Schulerpossesses a Master’s of Business Administration (University of British Columbia/Rotterdam School of Management) and Bachelor of Commerce Degree (University of Saskatchewan).For more information, visit www.cfactorworks.com.