The Importance of Personalizing Your Onboarding Experience

The productivity, morale, and monetary losses of new hire attrition have always been a concern, but finding the right caliber of talent in today’s talent economy is becoming harder and harder. Best practices for onboarding new employees are rooted in retention and engagement. Retention starts with onboarding.

Onboarding shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all approach. Companies that have best practices for onboarding new employees personalize the onboarding experience for different types of workers (experienced vs. new), hourly vs. salary, geography, and type of office (small office vs. large office). Personalizing the onboarding experience is necessary because the context of the role or relationship between the new hire and the organization is different for every employee. Some events or tasks will be universal, but there is an opportunity for organizations to personalize the onboarding experience for different roles, the team that they are joining, and their office location with content that is specific to the role that they’re being asked to perform within the organization.

A traditional or transactional approach to onboarding where the experience is exactly the same across the organization fails to articulate the culture and norms of the company or a particular team that a new hire is joining. A strategic approach clearly outlines the performance values and cultural norms specific to a new hire’s role, location, and team.

Here are some of the performance values that need to be communicated to new hires as outlined in the book Successful Onboarding: A Strategy to Unlock Hidden Value Within Your Organization

  • Personal manner – what we consider acceptable, what we believe represents excellence, and under what conditions we expect it
  • Productivity and work pace – what we expect in output as well as how hard we expect the engine to run
  • Priorities – what matters most to us
  • Interaction – how we interface with one another
  • Process – how we process standard work and opportunities
  • Response – how we respond to actions and surprises

It’s easy to see that communicating these performance values greatly benefits the organization. The extent to which organizations personalize these values specific to the role, business unit, office, and team a new hire belongs to directly impacts their success, engagement, and tenure within the organization.

From the new hire’s perspective, they have a clear place, path, and a purpose as well as a firm understanding of how they are to navigate the organizational culture and contribute to its success.

Here is a video of Rival, formerly SilkRoad Technology’s Lilith Christiansen on the importance of personalizing your onboarding experience.

Personalization is really important to the onboarding experience, because it shouldn’t be a one size fits all approach. I think every organization, even small ones can think about the difference between what an experienced hire might need as they join the organization versus someone that is a new college grad. Or what your hourly workers might need versus someone who’s in a salaried position, or different geography whether that’s from an international perspective, or maybe just working in a small office versus a large office. So we can’t take a one size fits all approach if you want to drive toward some of those specific outcomes that we’ve talked about before that, we need to personalize the approach to the types of roles that an individual as they join the organization, the team that they’re joining the office that they’re joining to create content that’s relevant to them and the role that they’re being asked to perform in the organization.