Onboarding – not as we know it

The class of 2020: how to help them shine

As millions of graduates and apprentices line up to start their first job, what should ‘best-in-class’ onboarding look like in 2020? And what role does early development have to play?

The big all-singing all-dancing new starter kick-off event with strobe lighting and glitter balls as the CEO takes to the stage to share how they once sat in the graduates’ seat feeling nervous about their first job is obviously off the cards for 2020’s intake.

Since most of the world had to switch almost overnight to virtual working, companies have been experimenting with how to onboard their new team members in a fully virtual world. September brings the new challenge of onboarding large volumes of graduates and apprentices for whom this is not just their first time of working at your company, but their first time working at all.

Early development opportunities

There are many elements to getting virtual onboarding right for Early Careers and beyond – and technology can support us in many ways – from apps to help people complete all the required paperwork to videos with step-by-step instructions to setting up your computer. But in amongst all the logistics it is essential to weave in virtual opportunities for development and increasing self-insight from the outset.

Having a strong onboarding (and pre-boarding) development strategy is essential to ensuring that all new-joiners feel engaged and ready to be their best, professional selves from Day One. It creates a solid psychological contract with learning and development from the get-go.

In our experience there are 3 key ways to support your new starters’ development virtually:

  • Self-led can be your superhero – The modern learner needs their development to be at the ‘point of need’ – timely, relevant and personalised (Bersin 2018). We’ve seen great success with self-led digital toolkits that encompass a series of activities, reflective exercises and resources drawn from organizational psychology to help each individual make a positive impact in their first 90 days.
  • There are no one hit wonders – Research shows that learning transfer is more effective in a journey as opposed to standalone events (Brinkerhoff). Our Digital Mentor e-Newsletter series used as part of pre-boarding or onboarding is designed to raise self-awareness, create a strong foundation for learning to occur once in the organization and provide continuous engagement.
  • Virtual not distant – Connected employees are more productive, experience less stress and are more engaged (Forbes 2018, Cross et al. 2005). In our new social distance virtual landscape, with a little more planning, web cams working and recognizing that spontaneity needs to be scheduled in, we can build strong connections with new joiners. At Cappfinity we run virtual extravaganzas – powerful ways of supporting new joiners to build deep connections, meet key stakeholders and discover how to hit the ground running through leveraging their strengths.

Virtual onboarding can be a positive and successful experience for new joiners if you use the right tools. Maybe the ‘big show’ from the CEO need never make a comeback.

For more information about our virtual and self-led onboarding solutions, contact cappfinity@cappfinity.com