The On-Boarding Experience You (and Your Workforce) Has Always Dreamed of

By Lisa Lyssand HR Director on September 29, 2010

In light of our attendance at the HRTech Conference this week in Chicago (come visit us in Booth #258!), I was inspired to write about how technology has influenced my department specifically.

Since I became the administrator of my company’s Enterprise Social Network (ESN), I have accumulated a wealth of experience with this new “intranet 2.0” business, and how it can really make the on-boarding process easier for new hires (and for me, of course).

Many of my HR counterparts often ask me about the benefits of using an ESN. Just the other day I sat and tried to write down the number of ways Enterprise Social Networking can assist an HR department, and what ended up on paper was an endlessly long list. Yes, I still write on paper.

So instead of sharing that insanely long list with you, I decided to try and consolidate all those points into five top benefits – specifically related to how our own ESN helped one of our recent new hires join and become one with our workforce.

Connect. Peer-to-peer and management-to-employees.

    The new hire was able on his first day, through our ESN intranet, to reach out to several employees with similar interests. Connecting on common ground with a peer helps to make the first day nerves of any new hire lessen. I also observed that within 24 hours, some members of our European office had written a greeting on the new hire’s profile page welcoming him to the company. As a global company, being able to allow employees all over the world to connect and interact comfortably with each other instantly is huge.

    Share Knowledge. Reduce the silo effect of internal knowledge. If you lose an employee the knowledge doesn’t necessarily go with him or her, nor is it lost in the abyss of a network share drive.

      The new hire I mention was a replacement that we unfortunately couldn’t get on board before his predecessor left. Through our ESN intranet he was able to find work already in progress, key documents, and other files that he needed to help him start working on day one.

      Collaborate. Through connecting and knowledge sharing, collaboration amongst teams, across departments, and company-wide becomes natural.

        Again on day one of employment, the new hire had already posted a blog on the intranet home page. He also started a forum in his department’s community page asking for advice and “need to know” information in regard to a specific client. His department is geographically dispersed, and it would have taken a while prior to our ESN for him to work out whom he should ask… then email…and then wait on a response. Through a blog and forum he communicated with his whole team, and they shared the “need to know” client detail among within a departmental community.

        Communicate. The ease to communicate anything, from policy changes to new hire information, helps to keep a workforce engaged.

          It always helps both the new hire and the existing workforce to know who works where and in which department. It also helps to have faces attached to colleagues’ names because it makes a geographically dispersed company feel “whole.” Announcing the new hire’s information on the ESN intranet home page without having to rely on IT meant that he was introduced to the company on the day he started. (Sorry IT. It does sometimes take a while for you to update intranets!) A photo and a link to his profile were also included in the announcement. This led to him connecting with other members of the workforce immediately.

          Nurture and reflect a positive corporate culture. You want to be able as an HR department to embed and grow the culture of a company

            Our company ESN intranet helped to give a very strong and positive first impression of our company culture to the new hire. He began finding key information quickly and connected with coworkers in a natural manner.