This post introduces a new column dedicated to HR and talent acquisition in our professional web development company blog. We decided to launch it as we see it as a great opportunity to share our 15-year long experience in recruiting and connect with new talents on the market.
Only every eighth US company has a great onboarding procedure, according to the employee survey conducted in 2017 (Gallup). The reasons for that are vast.
Often, onboarding is only about getting into the processes and doing the paperwork. And then it ends abruptly within a week, leaving a new employee confused about all the things that were left unclear and surrounded by the people they don’t really know yet.
And sometimes onboarding is too burdensome. Sapling researched in 2019 that the average onboarding process includes over 50 activities. A friend of mine just recently got a new job in a huge company where onboarding takes a whole month. Just imagine the frustration a new employee might have with all the new information flooding through their mind.
And from our experience, if the first impression is not good enough, chances are high the new employee will leave the company within the next 3-6 months.
Now, there are obviously some best or worse practices in the industry to avoid that, but today I, as a VP of HR at EGO, would like to share our own approach to the onboarding process.
I've been crafting it for years to make sure new employees feel as comfortable as possible at the beginning of their journey with us. As a result, within the last couple of years far we've been able to reach:
- a 90%+ retention rate
- The company rating on the local job site, which is based on the reviews of our past employees, is now 93 points out of 100.
- The company rating on Glassdoor is 4.8 out of 5.
The first thing we'd like to explain is the difference between initialization and onboarding in our company.
Initialization Vs Onboarding
Once the new employee is selected among multiple candidates, onboarding starts. To easily manage the process, they get the checklist page in Confluence where they can tick the things as they're getting done.
However, there's also a list of things that the HR specialist should do during the employee onboarding to make it complete. We call it the initialization checklist, and it is also represented as a Confluence page where you can tick off the things to be done.
Only once all the things on both checklists are done we can call the onboarding process finished. I assume other web and app development companies also follow this approach.
Below, I'll give an overview of these two lists so that you could compare them against your personal experience and maybe get some insights on the issue.
Let's first proceed to the list of things our HR specialists do once the new employee joins our company.
- Job offer. We send the job offer and get the final acceptance from the new employee.
- Start date. We agree on the start date and inform all involved managers about it.
- Personal data. We collect contact data and personal information necessary for our corporate traditions like birthday gifts.
- Workplace setup. We make sure all the necessary technical equipment is delivered and set up by the time the new employees start their day one. During COVID-19, if necessary we send that equipment to the employee’s home.
- Corporate email. The system administrator sets up a new corporate email account based on the employee information we provided.
- Address Book. We add the contact data about the employee and their emergency contacts to our special address book in case we're unable to reach them for a long period of time.
- Account creation. We set up the new employee accounts in our HR automation system, time tracking system, knowledge base, task tracker, corporate wiki, and password manager.
- Contract and salary info. We pass necessary information about the new employee to our accounting department and to our internal salary table.
- Work Anniversary. We add their birthday to our Work Anniversaries Calendar. Reminding our people about anniversaries is a good old tradition and another way to get cheered up when it's just another day at work. This year, we’re celebrating the first 10-year anniversary, and most of our employees have been working at EGO Creative Innovations for more than 5 years.
- Welcome letter. We send a greetings email to our new employee that contains the link to the personal onboarding checklist.
- Newbie package. We provide new employees with corporate stuff like pens and cups, and also with corporate books. Our corporate book is written on a yearly basis and tells about people working on the company, their personal interests and achievements, shows the company’s year-over-year progress, and lists mobile and web development solutions we’ve been working on.
- New EGO account letter. This is sent to the employee's personal email so that they could start setting up their corporate email account.
- Greetings. We introduce a new member to the company in the office or in the chat.
- Corporate chats. We add the new employee to the necessary chats in our corporate messenger.
- HR meeting. This is either a meeting or a call with the new employee where they can ask any question. Often, the HR representative will also tell additional details about the team and the company, its values, and traditions, and further explain the responsibilities the new employee has.
- One-to-one meetings setup. We plan and set up three one-to-one meetings: the Adaptation meeting in one month, the Probation meeting in three months, and regular one-on-one meetings every three months.
The onboarding checklist often mirrors the initialization list, hence it's important for an HR specialist to act fast once the new employee accepts the job offer.
- Work email. The new employee gets a letter in their personal email inbox listing the instructions on setting up the corporate account.
- Intro email from HR. The new employee reads an email from the HR department.
- Account setup. Via the invitation emails, the new employee activates their accounts in our HR automation system, time tracking system, knowledge base, task tracker, corporate wiki, and password manager.
- Rules. EGO company rules listed in Confluence are reviewed. EGO Rules is the place where the new employee can learn about the company’s history, learn time tracking and communication rules, find out more about the principles and services we’re using in our everyday work and see other information relevant to their competencies.
- Competency center. This is another separate Confluence section listing things like useful templates, guides, and checklists, that the new employee should look through and see if there is anything of importance for them.
- Intro meeting. The intro meeting with an HR representative is attended.
- Meeting schedule. The employee was instructed about the adaptation, probation, and one-on-one meetings and accepted corresponding invitations in their calendar.
- Meetup video review. We have a few videos we prepared for our new employees where we explain our strategy, vision, marketing approach, and bonus system.
- Bonus system access. Once the meetups are reviewed, the new employee gets access to the document revealing our bonus system algorithms and calculations.
- Corporate package. The new employee gets the corporate stuff and books from our HR department.
- Video presentation. We ask our new employees to prepare a video presentation of themselves that is no longer than 90 sec. Since we're an Android/iOS cross-platform development company, our clients often want to know more about the people we assign to their projects, and such presentations have a much greater effect than plain-paper CVs.
- Linkedin update. We kindly ask our employees to update their info on Linkedin so that we could have up-to-date information about our company on this social network.
- Social media subscription. The new employees are invited to follow our accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
- Glassdoor interview feedback. This is a great way for us to receive feedback on the quality of our initial interviews.
As you see, the initialization checklist is even a bit longer than the onboarding checklist. And indeed, it takes a lot of care and attention from the HR department to make sure the new employee will join our team as smoothly as possible.
Even despite polishing the lists for years, we realize they are still not perfect. That is why we keep experimenting and improving it.
And if you have any ideas or feedback on our approach, I'd love to hear from you – feel free to contact me in any way listed on the Contact US page of the EGO software and web development firm.