International Dairy Queen

International Dairy Queen – Creating a “Sweet” Experience for Both Employees and Managers

New hires have described it as the easiest onboarding they have experienced.  It has saved our store managers a lot of time, allowing our managers to focus on managing their restaurant rather than focusing on new hire paperwork.  We now plan to extend our onboarding program to provide additional support for new hire success.”

— Wendy Harding


  • Lack of an engaging onboarding experience
  • Paper intensive, taking hiring manager time away from business goals
  • Manual administration, from reminders to forms


  • Inspiring new hire experience
  • Emphasis on employee/culture/mission connection
  • 100% paperless, saving time for hiring managers and HR

A Sweet Experience for Employees and Managers

As a company who provides a “sweet experience” for consumers across North America, International Dairy Queen (IDQ) recently underwent an initiative to make both employees – and their managers – have an equally sweet onboarding experience. “We set out to create a completely different new hire experience to engage employees and give our managers back time to work on what truly drives the business,” said Wendy Harding, director, HR Operations and Talent Acquisition, IDQ.

The goal for the new experience focused around superior service, articulated in the company mission: “Create positive memories for all who touch DQ.” “We wanted to look at employees more strategically—how do we get them inspired about IDQ quality,” said Harding. “It was equally important to make life easier for our managers by simplifying administration.”

To transform their program, IDQ selected Rival Onboard (formerly SilkRoad RedCarpet Onboarding) to build a journey for both employees and their managers that creates positive memories, inspires the best service and saves everyone time.

The Challenge: Shift from Compliance to Culture

IDQ’s paper-intensive new hire process, built around compliance, was the first target for change, including the elimination of paper forms and packet transfers between hiring managers and HR. The second target focused on creating a richer employee experience to connect new hires to the company mission.

Rival Onboard provided a robust platform to meet all of IDQ’s needs, offering the ability to build a new hire journey connected to culture, easy-to-do paperless administration and high flexibility for future growth.

Managers Win, New Hires Win

Rival Onboard enabled IDQ to expand its onboarding program from a pure compliance focus to a more strategic program built around culture, the employee role and continued support of compliance needs.

The onboarding process has been reduced from a few days to a few hours and has gone 100% paperless. “We’ve given our managers back time in the stores, which is critical to supporting our service goals,” said Harding. “We also can now customize HR forms to comply with privacy requirements – another big productivity boost.”

IDQ created an employee experience focused on culture, emphasizing core values, including teamwork, honoring the rich company history, and supporting the community. New hires say it’s the easiest onboarding they have ever gone through, and it’s incredibly well laid out. “The feedback we hear is ‘easy and intuitive,’” said Harding. “Our new hires are ready to start the first day. They are culturally aware and ready to go.”

Future Plans—Expand Employee Experience

IDQ plans to expand onboarding to 120 days in the near future for a much broader new hire experience that gets even deeper into culture, development and community support. And that plan goes beyond new hires with a focus on creating an integrated employee experience across recruiting, onboarding and agile performance.

“Rival matched everything we wanted to do,” said Harding. “Most importantly, as a customer-facing organization, it’s critical that we pick vendors that align with our customer service values and Rival is a true partner in customer service.”

So my name’s Wendy Harding and I work for International Dairy Queen as their HR operations and talent acquisition director.

So some of the business issues that we were facing when were in the process of choosing a new talent management system were ease of doing performance reviews and being able to do a more agile performance process. Some of the things that have also been improved on is our compensation process. We did utilize and are currently utilizing compXL and so compXL has taken away about fifty percent of the manual work that our compensation guru has had to do.

Onboarding has been significantly improved. We’ve gotten significant feedback from our new candidates, new hires, how great they believe our onboarding is compared to any other organization they’ve ever joined. And it’s a ninety day onboarding process.

And then recruiting also, we’ve been able to brand our recruiting and take it out of the eighties and bring it into the 2000’s.

Yes, so when we were going through the process of looking at different vendors for a talent management process, SilkRoad Performance stuck out to us the most because we were really struggling with a pay for performance culture and so we made the decision to choose the performance module up front, which allowed us to be much more agile in our performance process.

So SilkRoad is able to help us with our onboarding process by automating it one hundred percent. We no longer create any paper files. We are one hundred percent paperless as it pertains to any new hires.

I would describe SilkRoad in one word, which is actually two words: customer service. One of the things that’s really important to Dairy Queen, we’re a customer-facing organization, obviously, and so it’s critical that we pick vendors that align with customer facing also. And SilkRoad has definitely been a true partner for us at International Dairy Queen as it pertains to customer service.

With Rival Onboard, we’ve created a completely different new hire experience.  We’ve gone from a compliance focus to a more strategic program that includes an introduction to culture, communication of the new hire’s role in the organization and meeting all compliance needs. 

- Wendy Harding

employee engagement