Welcome aboard: Onboarding technology

How successfully a new employee is onboarded can have a significant impact on their productivity, says Aaron Green of SAP SuccessFactors

Welcome aboard: Onboarding technology

How successfully a new employee is onboarded can have a significant impact on their early productivity and also how long they’ll stay with your company. Aaron Green of SAP SuccessFactors outlines how can technology play a role

  • How can L&D technology help with onboarding new employees?

The way in which many organisations continue to onboard employees is antiquated. Yes – filling out forms, obtaining security access and an ID badge, mandatory online training to tick the corporate policy and compliance boxes, etc, are all necessary processes – but there is a step beyond that adds real value to both the employee and employer.

The idea of cross-boarding – driving an employee’s L&D from before they join and continuously as they grow through the organisation – is integral in attracting, developing and retaining top talent. And it is here where technology really delivers, especially via social and mobile.

  • What are some examples of where technology is going and the results it will deliver in terms of onboarding?

Mobile technology – alongside social – delivered a watershed moment in L&D. We’ve literally put it into the hands of the employee via business tools that allow them to drive their own career destiny.

Being able to consume and transact via a device they use in their everyday lives has made L&D more than a workplace process. Training, understanding your goals and how they align to the corporate strategy, learning who your colleagues are and what they do, all from the palm of your hand anywhere, anytime, enhances the employee L&D experience.

And with social technology comes knowledge acquisition and workplace collaboration on a whole new scale. For example, a new starter today begins on the L&D journey before they even join an organisation. They research the company, view videos, read the annual reports, follow social channels, etc. So why not carry this on once they are onboard via social learning?

  • Do you think the focus is becoming more about the learner interacting just with the technology, as opposed to a face-to-face mentor?

I honestly believe we run the risk of an over-reliance on technology. L&D is part art, part science, and it’s hard to do well.

While an employee can now have an onboarding buddy before day one on the job – thanks in part to advances in mobile and social – the successful organisations I see today have evolved to more sophisticated models.

An example I’ve seen deliver tremendous results is crossgenerational mentorship, as both a recruitment and retention tool. The mentee and mentor both gain a huge deal; in the end both become mentees. For example, pairing a baby boomer with a millennial will see the millennial benefi t from deep expertise and knowledge, while the baby boomer may learn how to best capitalise on new technologies. I know of organisations that have retained mature talent – even from early retirement – through programs like these.

Where technology should be used in this instance is identifying who in the organisation is the source of knowledge and experience and might be at risk of leaving. This person can then be paired with a new joiner with the aim of realising the retention benefi ts of crossgenerational mentorship.

Aaron Green
Head of SAP SuccessFactors

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