The Great Onboarding

By now, it’s likely that you or your organisation has been impacted by the Great Resignation. Whilst the after effects of COVID-19 have prompted employees to seek new opportunities, the most successful organisations are evolving their employee experience to be ready for future change, and to attract new talent

By now, it’s likely that you or your organisation has been impacted by the Great Resignation. According to over 1 million responses in Culture Amp’s 2021 Exit Surveys, regardless of tenure, “career growth” was by far the most common reason why employees left their organisation last year. Whilst the after effects of COVID-19 have prompted employees to seek new opportunities, the most successful organisations are looking beyond just the current pandemic. Organisations are evolving their employee experience to be ready for future change, and to attract new talent. During this session, we will cover: - The opportunity that the great resignation creates to move teams and organisations in a direction towards future success - How to create experiences that allow employees to embrace change and thrive in a new environment - The impact of onboarding - what employees expect, and what great onboarding looks like

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Kylie: [00:00:15] Hello and welcome to today's webinar, The Great Onboarding Brought to you by Culture AMP and HRD. My name is Kylie Speer and I'm delighted to be your host over the next hour that we have together. Thank you all so much for joining us today. Our intention for today's webinar is for it to be as informative and interactive as possible so you, our audience, can glean as much benefit as possible from your participation. So just a couple of housekeeping items to begin with. You will notice there is a poll incorporated in today's presentation as well as a Q&A session at the very end. I'd like to encourage you to please participate and to submit as many questions as you'd like via the Q&A function. Your questions can be anonymous, or if you'd like a shout out, feel free to include your name and organization, too. And lastly, just a reminder that today's webinar is being recorded and it will be emailed to you all after its conclusion. So by now it's likely that you or your organization have been impacted by the great resignation. Whilst the after effects of COVID 19 have prompted employees to seek new opportunities, the most successful organisations are looking beyond just the current pandemic. Organizations are evolving their employee experience to be ready for future changes and to attract new talent. Taking the helm of today's Great Onboarding webinar are two of the most respected and experienced in the industry. Tony Tran is a lead people scientist and psychologist at Culture AMP and in his role coaches leaders to better understand their people data, allowing them to focus on moments that matter. Tony has over ten years experience working within organizations across a range of industries, ensuring they are able to align strategies around their people, data and business. Tony is passionate about taking a design thinking approach to the way we look at the employee experience and ensuring that organizations design experiences that are both positive for the individual and the organization. And Dean Carpenter is the vice president of talent and operations at MRI Software. In his role at MRI, Dean is responsible for the APAC talent function covering recruitment, talent development and workplace experience. Dean also leads a global program of work to drive business success through employee engagement. As a self-confessed people geek, Dean is passionate about connecting the dots between leadership, employee engagement, team success and commercial outcomes. Thank you so much, Tony and Dean, for being here. I'll now hand over to you both to begin today's presentation.

Tony: [00:02:59] Thanks Kylie, a really nice intro. Yeah. My name is Tony Tran. I'm one of the lead people scientists here at Culture AMP. One of the things that we do do at Culture AMP are belonging badges, which is just a quick icebreaker in a way to introduce ourselves. My three belonging badges are a psychologist, a parent, and I'm an introvert. Like I said, joining me today is Dean Carpenter, who's going to share some stories about how they're creating great employee experiences at my software. Dean, won't you tell the audience a little bit about yourself?

Dean: [00:03:32] Thank you, Tony. Thank you. Kylie, look great to be here. Following on from from Tony, my three belonging badges are optimist, geek and LGBTQ+. As Kylie spoke about, I do work for MRI software. We're a leader in the tech field, so providing services and solutions out to real estate agents, property managers, strata managers, etc. across Australia and New Zealand, but also more broadly globally. So I'm really excited to be here and can't make the discussion.

Tony: [00:04:02] Okay. All right. So before we jump into discussing the great onboarding, let's quickly revisit the great resignation. I know most of you have already heard about the great resignation, but for those of you who want a bit of a reminder, we'll start with a quick refresher. The great resignation is a term that was first used in an NBC News article by Anthony Klotz, and it refers to the idea that a significant number of people will leave their jobs post-pandemic. Anthony explains that due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, many employees who would otherwise quit their jobs decide to stay put. And as the pandemic subsides, these would be quitters who sheltered in place will likely enact their plans to leave. Now setting the stage for the great resignation is the opportunity and the desire. So in terms of opportunity, January saw record breaking job ad numbers nationally 4.9% in December, according to the latest Sikh employment report. The new figures represent a 39.6 increase year on year and are 36.6 higher than those reported pre-pandemic in 2019. Kendra Banks, the managing director of SEEK NZ, said that we're experiencing a great job boom with record job ad numbers on in recent months and January's figures being the highest in 25 years. So the opportunities are there. On the other side, there's the desire in a 2021 feature form report. They said that 57% of knowledge workers are open to looking for new opportunities in the new year, which is this year. So we have the opportunity and we have the desire. But what's causing some of the desire, why our employees are leaving? That's a really important question to ask. A 2021 McKinsey article suggested that rather than taking the time to investigate the true causes of attrition, many companies are just jumping to well intentioned, quick fixes that missed the mark. For example, they're bumping up financial perks, sorry, bumping up pay or financial perks without making an effort to strengthen the relational ties people have with their colleagues or with their employers. And this transactional relationship reminds them that their real needs aren't actually being met. So what we're trying to say is it's really important to look at your own data and address the issues within your own organization to find the unique drivers of attrition and attraction for your people. That being said, we did want to spotlight one of the reasons people seem to be leaving, and that's the lack of humanity at work. So during the pandemic, mental health was taking taken into account by some organizations, but that wasn't true across the board. And in 2020, many organizations made tough decisions, and some did so without the right amount of empathy or communication. And by doing so, they left a bad impression on employees who were essentially just waiting to leave once they were able to. Now, obviously, there was a lot of concentration on the actual disease at the start of the pandemic. And as time progressed, we did see more and more of an emphasis the pandemic was having on mental health. And although we're doing a better job of talking about mental health now, in a lot of ways it's still hidden due to the fact that many office workers are still working remotely. Um, Dean, I was wondering to share some thoughts about how you manage this at MRI.

Dean: [00:07:37] Thanks, Tony. Look, I agree. Mental health is is almost the hidden side effect of the pandemic. And the bad news is it can hit you even if you've never had COVID itself. So if you managed to mask up and get vaccinated and you managed to avoid COVID, but you still could be suffering from mental health challenges. So I guess people have been isolated at home sometimes en masse when we've had community lockdowns, sometimes on their own or as a family unit, if COVID has entered into their homes. So as humans, we're generally social beings. So all that time alone can't possibly have been good for us through COVID. Keeping our teams at MRI as safe and connected as possible has been and number one priority. So whilst trying to keep the business running, we have got a few things in our toolkit that we've learned and hopefully on the court today he's got a few more tools in their toolkit than we did a couple of years ago when this thing first started. So first is really around flexibility and I think that's just become the norm, right? Reducing the friction where you can talk to your people about what do they need and how do you help integrate, I guess, work into into their lives. Second place is around purpose and clarity. Having a working grant with clear purpose and clarity makes a huge contribution to having a mentally healthy workplace, being clear on what you're going after, how you're going to go after it, go after it, how you going to get there and what role does each team play? So helping them to join the dots between where the business is going and what they do on a day to day basis. We've had to get a bit crafty around engineering, some social interactions, so giving people a reason to come together a little bit easier. Now that we've had restrictions lifted, we can gather again in person. We've also leveraged tech to support connection wherever we can. For example, we used a cool bot on Microsoft teams called Icebreaker, and that has been used to engineer a little happenstance into our work. So it randomly introduces folks from across the business who then arrange to meet up virtually for a coffee or a lunch. And even now we're starting to see that happen in person that people can connect once again face to face, checking in, making sure that as a leader, you're checking in with your team, making sure that your employee knows that they're valued. Just asking how they're going and how you can help. I really think it's important to go beyond status updates. I think sometimes as managers we can fall into the trap of where are things up to? We're going running through a checklist, but checking on how the humans doing. And lastly, acknowledge you don't have all the answers. This year at MRI we're investing heavily in mental health first aid training across our business, but it could be as simple as a referral to EAP if you have it in your business. And if you don't, there are a bunch of free resources out there that you can refer your team to or perhaps engage with yourself. Organisations like AOK, like our Black Dog Institute, Beyondblue, etc. So ultimately being there to support your team.

Tony: [00:10:42] I think it's interesting that you mention EAP. I think about EAP a lot because I have a team full of psychologists. And you think that would be the group that was most readily accepting of accessing EAP when they need to? And I find that when whenever I talk about it, they they know their heads because they know it's the right thing to do. But I feel that there's a bit of hesitancy. Is there anything that you do to just make sure that people feel comfortable with accessing it?

Dean: [00:11:11] Yeah. Look, EAP often approached with a healthy dose of skepticism by a lot of people in our business. We've done a couple of things. We try to be as transparent as you possibly can be. So we're making sure that people understand the level of reporting that obviously we tell them about, the rules on confidentiality, those sorts of things. But being really clear on the level of reporting that we receive, even down to if people want to see the report, very happy to share that and show that we've had X number of people refer. This is sort of the session, this is the number of sessions that they've had. These are the if there's themes emerging, we sometimes get that insight, but nothing that's linked to an individual. And the second thing is, we're fortunate to have a number of advocates in our business for EAP. So people that have actively engaged with EAP in the past very happy to share that they have successfully engaged and sort of the support, the outcomes they achieved. So it's all well and good for for the HR or the talent team to advocate better than that would be managers advocating and even better would be someone that's actually live that experience and can share their positive experience with. Some of them might be considering using IP.

Tony: [00:12:22] I really like that. Just getting somebody has actually gone through and can speak to their own personal experience and normalize that respect. Great. We're going to jump and go ahead and do a quick poll. How concerned are you about the great resignation? Eh, not at all. B a little or C or C, moderately or D, very concerned. So we give you about 30 seconds or so to pop in your responses and we'll see how things go. Now, keep in mind, there's no right or wrong answer here as as most things in business there. It's going to be different for everybody. But just curious to see where most people's heads are at right now. All right. So 4%? Not at all. 37%. Moderately sorry. 34%. A little, 46% moderately and 16% very concerned. So most people are moderately concerned or a little bit concerned. A few people very concerned. That's really interesting to see. Thanks for everybody participating in that. All right. So if the great onboarding is such a big deal, why aren't we talking about that? Why are we talking about onboarding? So I might have said that wrong. If the resignation is such a big deal, why we why aren't we talking about that? Why are we talking about onboarding? Now, the idea originally for this webinar was to discuss the great resignation, but as we began to put together this topic, bumping into the same question, that was different variants emerging in different parts of the world, going into the lockdown, again, some people choosing to go back into lockdown. Organisations needing to adapt. How do we have this conversation in a way that's still relevant? Whether or not the great resignation happens now or happens later doesn't happen at all. And that brings us to what we have on screen. Canadian if you couldn't tell. So I'm going to make a reference to ice hockey skate to where the puck is going, not to where it is. What I mean by that is if you focus your strategy on what's happening right now, the right now is going to pass you by and you're going to be too late. And we saw that with the pandemic. So prior to COVID 19, the COVID 19 crisis, we were already talking about the importance of flexibility, remote working and the importance of empathetic leadership. And organizations that already had those foundations in place were able to adapt overnight, and organizations that didn't struggled, at least initially. This is why we decided to focus today's conversation on core aspects of the employee experience that are going to be critical focus areas no matter what's happening in the world, but will be heightened during times of transformation, such as pandemics, mandates, resignations and so on. So skate to where the puck is going, not to where it is. We want you to be prepared for trends rather than just chase them. So through the lens of the great resignation, we're going to look at three aspects of change and transformation when it comes with onboarding. First, we can talk about the disruption. A lot of the discussion so far has been around how to retain employees. And as important as that is, we're going to talk about the other side of the coin. What happens when new employees join organizations? We need to be prepared to evolve as organizations, as employees, go through this cultural shift with new team members and new strategies emerging from the context of a post-pandemic world with new responsibilities and even new work locations. How do we create experiences that allow our employees to embrace change and thrive in this new environment? Then we're going to have a great onboarding. Onboarding is and always has been important. So we're going to wrap up by talking about the impact of onboarding. So the quiet disruption, as I mentioned, when employees leave organizations and new employees join, this is going to have a big impact on the culture of teams and and the organization. Now this can be a risk to the current culture, but it can also be a catalyst for positive cultural change. And we're going to start this conversation by talking about the ship of Theseus Paradox. The Ship of Theseus Paradox is a thought exercise about identity. It raises the question of whether an object that has all its components replaced fundamentally remains the same object. So as a ship, ages and planks, the planks are replaced. If you replace one plank, most people would agree that it's still basically the same ship. But as you replace plank after plank after plank, at what point would you say that it's no longer the same ship? So if over five years you replace every single plank on that ship. Would you still say that's the same object? Would you say still say that's the same ship. What if you replace a whole section in one gulp? So just the front part. Would you say that it's still the same shape? What if the wooden planks are replaced with metal? So some of you have probably already caught on that. I'm making an analogy about teams as employees move in and out. When do you need to recognize that the culture of the team is different, that the team itself has changed? Now leaders and organizations are often discussing the need for cultural change, and these moments of disruption can be an opportunity to make that happen. So you can take this opportunity to move your teams and align them with the future needs of the organization. So if a wooden plank needs to be replaced, do you replace it with another wooden plank or do you start looking at a different material, one that's better suited for the next part of your journey? So let's throw a question out to discussion. Have you ever experienced large portions of your workforce leave? And if so, what was the impact on the culture of your team or the organization? So you just want to pop your answers in the chat. As you're doing that, I might just share one of my experiences. Quite a long time ago, I was working with an organization where I did experiences. A lot of team members I was working with were leaving and there wasn't really a lot of discussion about why that was happening from leadership. So after a meeting where one of my colleagues left, they went. Another colleague went up to me and asked me, Hey, do you think those people that are leaving know something that we don't? And my response was, Yeah, probably. And not to not too long after that, myself and that colleague decided to leave because there was this uncertainty of why all these people were leaving. So for your organizations, as the great resignation happens and people are leaving, you want to get in front of that conversation and manage that change in disruption. I'm seeing a few comments go coming through. The culture. The culture shift was so bad that the person decided to leave, so they leave. Rather so similar experience to me. It's really uncomfortable for the remaining team members. The requirements of the business change. So causing a lot of disruption for the people who are there during a merger. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences. I know it's not always easy to share your personal experiences, so appreciate you typing that in the chat. Okay. So as change happens, do we want to try to return to normal or do we take this opportunity as a chance to evolve? Now there are pros and cons to both, but today, today I want to talk about the opportunity.

Tony: [00:20:53] Now there's a fantastic book called Range by an amazing author named David Epstein. And the subtitle of this book is Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World. One of the themes the author tackles is kind versus wicked problems. Now, client problems are problems that are generally well defined and have concrete, right or wrong approaches. So if you think about the problem solving in a game like chess, where there are clear rules and the desired outcomes are really well defined. If the primary challenge is your organization or organization is facing is kind, then specialization is really effective because you do want the smartest person in the room. You want the person with the most experience, because that person is going to help you get to the answer much faster than anybody else. But if your promises are wicked, that means that there isn't one correct answer. And maybe specialization isn't what you want. If you're if you're tackling a wicked problem, then you're likely looking for a new solution, or at least a new spin on an existing solution. You want to be innovative. So how do you become innovative? Well, the people that are able to develop really innovative ideas are the ones that can connect the dots between different domains and come up with something new. So, for example, Uber is what happens when you look at the taxi or transportation industry through the lens of mobile technology. The iPhone is what happens when a computer technology company decides to create a phone. So if there's a problem that you're looking to fix, it's important to have people in that room thinking about the problem from a different lens than everybody else. This is one of the reasons why diversity, equity and inclusion are such fundamental ideas that organizations need to embrace in order to become successful. Bringing in people with different backgrounds and experiences, even non employment related experiences and embracing those differences will help your organization succeed in a world where we don't have one size fits all solutions. So when people start to leave your organization because of the great resignation. To what extent are you going to maintain the same culture or and what extent are you going to lean into the cultural change and maybe hire somebody else to work in a completely different industry? So there aren't any right and wrong answers. And the balance is going to be different for every organization, but it's something to be mindful of as we move through this period of lots of change. Okay. Another quick discussion they'll throw out to the group and please put your responses in the chat. What examples can you share where having diverse experiences allow a team or organization to develop a creative solution? Now, a quick example that I've shared as you're putting your responses in the chat, quick example that I've shared in the past is with Commonwealth Commonwealth Bank. So over a decade ago when user experience was still kind of new and not everybody was into it, they hired a psychologist, an organisational psychologist to look after them, to lead and Speerhead that group.

Tony: [00:24:22] And as that, and by having somebody who wasn't necessarily a design expert, but somebody came, came at user experience from a psychology point of view, they were able to grow that practice into what it is today. And if you've ever used their their apps, you can see that the design in those apps is really intentional. So by having psychologists think about technology, they're able to come up with that creative solution design a little bit differently. And see some examples coming in. Having a diverse team, putting together a proposal brought about different thinking and resulted in the proposal being accepted. I think that's a great example. Another example that we've kind of have seen is during the pandemic, rather than having HR figure it out, you brought people from different divisions. You had air people, you had people yet business leaders getting together to fix that problem. And then that could also work with an I.T. problem. Why isn't HR involved in it? Because it affects people. Hr is looking after the people. Why aren't they involved in that conversation? So bringing together those diverse ideas is going to help help solve these broader problems. Thanks for sharing your experiences. All right. So if change is happening, how do we rebuild sustainably? Rather than me continuing to talk, I'm going to throw some of these questions to Dean. So in terms of rebuilding sustainably and first off, needing to attract the right people for a disrupted organization, how you manage that?

Dean: [00:26:14] I think this is actually one of the. Silver linings if you like, to the great resignation. So whilst we're all focused on retaining existing talent, I think there's so much talent out there that is open to a change and folks are open to roles in industries that they might not have even considered previously previously. So for example, if I look at our industry being proptech technology, we are actively considering candidates from industries that are outside of ours in order to broaden their talent pool. So specifically, if we look at the hospitality industry as a market for us to tap into, there's loads of talented people with great customer focus, transferable skills who are looking for a change out of hospo that they're all wonderful customer focused skills that we'd love to have in our business. So that's definitely something we're looking at. But I think it's also an opportunity to be purposeful in crafting the organisation and culture that you seek for the future. So thinking about the shape of Theseus Paradox, and I've referenced that a number of times actually in conversations recently, Tony, since you and I first started talking about it. But do you need another wooden plank or do you start looking at a different material, one that's better suited for the next part of the journey? So yeah, I think there's lots to be thinking about there. And in terms of diversifying that candidate for Tony, I saw recently that culture has actually changed up it's job postings to encourage a more diverse pool of candidates. Tony, you're on mute.

Tony: [00:27:59] Of course I'm on mute. Yeah, no, I'm kind of new to talk to myself. And when I saw that statement, it really resonated me and for for everybody else. We have a statement on our job post that reads Research shows that while men apply for jobs when they meet an average of 60% of the criteria, women and other marginalized folks tend to only apply when they check every box. So if you think you have what it takes but don't necessarily meet every single point on the job description, please get in touch. We'd love to have a chat and see if you'd be a great fit. And, you know, a statement like that can increase the diversity of your applicant pool and gives you a chance to talk to people that you talk to people with different experiences that you might that your organization might also find valuable. The next step obviously is on board. And we're going to talk a lot about onboarding later. So we'll go into a bit of a deeper discussion in a bit. But also along with onboarding, you need to integrate them and think about how the team adapts. And that's probably not something that we talk about enough. What happens for the existing employees when new employees join?

Dean: [00:29:12] I think. I think this applies really in in any situation where you're looking to apply a change. So I guess my advice would be looking considering the ripple impact, looking at who's likely to be impacted by the change beyond the obvious. So we have to think about are we going to make a change and these three people are impacted, but who do those three people know that might then be concerned about? What does this change mean for me? And as you work your way through that ripple, thinking about who else might be impacted. So. A couple of examples I thought of is if you've only ever hired to a particular mold in the past, how will the team react when we change this up? How are they going to feel? How the team maybe need to modify the way they onboard someone who has a different background to what we're used to onboarding into our team. So if we're used to a certain skill set and a set of assumed knowledge, if we're considering something different, a different type of candidate, does that mean that we need to change up the way that we that we onboard? I joined MRI back in 2019 when I acquired the rocket business, and overnight I went from having 40 people in a pack to having just over 200. And while the upfront effort was focused on guiding the 150 plus rock end employees through that integration process, the change really impacted the heritage. My employees just as much. So the rock end Team definitely felt put out. We were being acquired, but we had this group of 40 people who had worked for their business for quite a while being absorbed into this into this bigger mass. So everyone was really feeling that change and thinking about what does this mean for me? Does my role going to change even the day to day logistics services meant I have to go to in your office? So I think for me the lesson in that was around looking beyond just the immediate group. We've got the change in our case, the acquired employees thinking beyond that about, okay, well actually there's going to be a perceived change here for the for the small group as well. So I think it's just looking for those for that ripple and thinking about who else might be might be impacted.

Tony: [00:31:29] Okay. And what about retaining employees so making sure that they stay with the company and stay engaged?

Dean: [00:31:37] Yeah, I think it goes without saying. Obviously it's much easier to retain a great employee than go to market to find a replacement if they resigned. But it's just that don't be that business. Don't be that manager. Don't be that leader that waits to have the resignation in hand before you do something about it. If you are worried about it, it's time now to get in front of it to to to have those conversations upfront rather than waiting for the resignation to come in. We're trying a few new things this year. The talent team is we're borrowing from our colleagues in account management and customer success teams, thinking about, well, if we have retention plans in place for key customers, why shouldn't we have the same thing in place for K talent? So what are the different levers that you can pull to retain your key people? Thinking about different tactics will work for different people, for example. And I don't limit yourself to thinking about dollars. I think to to the earlier point about the McKinsey research, there is a tendency just to try and sometimes throw dollars at the problem, and that's not always a solution. So thinking outside the box a bit, what are some training opportunities that you might be able to offer? Some stretch projects, even things like access to leaders to sit down with the same leader in the business and have a conversation about career and where they're going and where the business is going and how that might fit in. These are all things that, depending on the individual you're talking about, they might find it very motivating. My one caveat on all of this is that we shouldn't be striving to retain everyone. I think if you if everyone thinks about a time when they've worked in a team where there's been an underperformer that they've had to work with, you know, people that are high performers that's really demotivating. So I think if you want to retain your key people, it's time to deal with underperformance as well. If they provide support, encourage, try and get them to the level of performance that you and the team need and deserve. But if it's not going to if it's not working, obviously follow the relevant protocols that you have in place. But if it's time to let me go, it's time to go and replace them with a new player and think about what's the right what's the right culture for us moving forward.

Tony: [00:33:54] Yeah, I couldn't agree more. A lot of employee engagement and employee experience surveys and run a lot of focus groups and there's nothing more disengaging than having somebody. Well, being a really hard worker and then having somebody next to you who's not working as hard and being treated basically the same. So as employees go through this cultural shift and we create experience, how do sorry as employees go with this culture? How do we create these experiences that allow employees to embrace change and thrive in the new environment? So who wants to change? Look, I put this cartoon here. I think it's funny, but it actually misses the mark, right? Because people aren't necessarily resistant to change. The great resignation itself is all about people wanting to change jobs. People just want to be sure that the change that's happening is positive and they have a certain degree of control over the change that is happening. So how do we manage this evolution? If change is inevitable, then we want to be able to enable and ready our people for that change. And there are a few core aspects of managing change that different models agree is important. I'm just going to talk about some of those core core themes. First you want to maximize importance in order for individuals to change and participate in the change journey. They need to feel that it's important at a an emotional level. So it's vital that you communicate how change will positively impact your employees. How the lack of change will negatively impact them. And you need to be clear around. How the change will impact them personally in a positive way. So maximize importance. Secondly, you want to minimise difficulty. So whether it's factual difficulty or perceived difficulty, it's important that employees feel that the positive change is possible. A part of this improvement is improving confidence about the employees ability to manage change themselves, but also their perceptions of their leaders ability to manage change. So a lot of these tactics can be around communication of a clear plan, but it can also be around the design of the change itself. So how do you make things easy and how do you make it fun? I know that you're looking to or you have managed to change recently with getting people back into the office. And what I'm hearing from a lot of other organizations is they're mandating a certain percentage of time back in the office. But you've decided to take a different approach. And I wonder if you share that with the audience.

Dean: [00:36:52] Yeah. Thanks, Tony. Look, I think our mantra really is, has been for this particular project, it's kind of our employee experience mantra overall. But make it easy, make it fun and make it desirable. We we might not be mandating, but we certainly have a goal. And the goal is to have a hybrid workplace. We see the value of spending time together in the workplace. For us, that's an office. And we are we're aiming for an average of two days a week in the office of most employees. So that will vary depending on the role and responsibilities and what sort of required. But you're right, rather than using a stick we're using, we're trying as where we can. So to the earlier point about maximize the importance of talking about the positive impacts, we're reinforcing messaging around social connection, mental health benefits. We're trying to create reasons for teams to come together, genuine reasons not not sort of made up reasons, but talking to managers about is your opportunity to bring teams together for workshops and collaboration in engineering. Some of these social interactions speculate about that earlier. I think the idea of Friday drinks might be gone, but team get togethers during the week is definitely something we're seeing. It's not not unusual for us to see teams gathering together in the kitchen or heading out to a local, local pub, etc., to to socialize during the week. And I think it's also important for us to acknowledge the challenges with returning to the office, but importantly, be really ready and open, genuinely open to discussing ways to work through those challenges. So sometimes it's small changes, individual flexibility, for example, discussing different working hours to allow travel during non-peak periods for for those that are worried about COVID on public transport or for those with caring responsibilities, finishing work, early office through school, drop off before maybe finishing the day at home. But sometimes it's larger scale. We heard from our team that the commute to our office on the North Shore of Sydney or in St Leonards was a was a was a killer. People weren't happy about having to commute. So we worked with the team, understood what the challenges were, and we ended up making the decision to relocate our office into the Sydney CBD. So we managed to reduce our team's average commute time by about 30 minutes a day and it doesn't sound like much on its own, but someone's in the office a couple of days a week, three days a week that that starts that up an hour, 90 minutes a week that people can then have back to better integrate their work life in their home life.

Tony: [00:39:33] Well, what's the CBD office like?

Dean: [00:39:38] So far so good. We've tried really hard to make the change desirable. We had a soft opening of the office a week prior to the official opening, and some team members were super keen to check out the offices. We'd been in our old office for quite a while, so being in shiny new premises was certainly something new for everyone. So we invited those folks in for that, for that, for that soft opening. They got a sneak peek ahead of everyone else. But I also managed to tick a box around making sure that we tested out the scale of our infrastructure. So when we're in the process of relocating, we didn't have any more than maybe three or four people on WiFi at any one time. So having a bunch of people who all wanted to be there, check out the new premises, get a sneak peek ahead of everyone else. We also managed to get that testing done and it also created a sense of FOMO, sense of fear of missing out from the broader team. I'm sure there was lots of Instagram stories and Snapchats flowing back and forth, people showcasing their experience with their first few days in office. So yeah, it's all about making it desirable for us.

Tony: [00:40:52] It's a great story. I like the. I like the win win aspect of it. What are your employees want and what do you want? Finding the same thing. I like that. Lastly, we want to reinforce and sustain change. So when you're dealing with human behavior, what you're what's being changed is habit and a part of the habit loop. So securing that habit loop is reward. So as these changes happen within your organization, you need to recognize and reward your people through this change and celebrate wins. To reinforce and sustain that change as it happens. All right, last topic. Onboarding. Onboarding is a big task. You only get one chance to get it right. So how do you solidify your employees choice or your new employees choice to join the organization? So we've spoken a lot so far about how to get an organization set up for Great Onboarding, but didn't want to walk us through some of the practical things that you've done and try to make sure that great onboarding happens.

Dean: [00:41:58] So I guess to give everyone some context, we have three broad groupings of employees that we obviously got the traditional new external hires. So we go to market and we find a candidate and we bring them through the onboarding process. The second is internal hires or transfers, and whilst there's a bunch of assumed knowledge that person has about the way the organization works, really getting them up to speed as quickly as we possibly can or returning value in their new role is important. And the third for us is people that we hire through acquisitions. So we're quite an acquisitive business globally. So we're constantly bringing new people into the into the business via acquisition. So that that last one can be tricky as we talking about earlier was a positive change. It's still a change. It needs to be managed and oftentimes we're definitely changing someone's someone's world, someone's life, etc.. So look, whether it's a direct hire transfer or an acquisition support and we get that onboarding piece right. I think sometimes managers and leaders, we all fall into the trap of thinking that the hard part is over. When the candidate has accepted the offer, they're perfect for our team. But I think we're wrong right when we think that that the hard part is over. A good onboarding process sets the new staff for success, improves their speed to performance and drives engagement, and importantly in that in the current environment reduces further turnover. So I'd say when we're thinking about how to improve your onboarding process, it's good to look at it from the macro levels we've talked about here. How does your onboarding process systems and communications work today? What's working? What's not working? Are we losing new starters in their first three months, their first six months, their first year? And if so, what's happening at each of those points that might be driving that and then looking at what other data you might have in the data, for example, onboarding servers that you might be running to give you that trend over time and look at what areas might need to be focused on in order to improve the overall macro experience. I don't think it's always about the big stuff, though. Sometimes we have the biggest impact at an individual team level. I'd encourage you to don't wait for a raging bushfire before you worry about a solution. Look for those spot fires. Look out for those little niggle or itch or a gut feeling. Something's not right. And if you can fix it up front, you can then stop it from flaring up into a much bigger issue that may impact engagement and retention longer term. A really tangible example for me is with the recent acquisition as part of our integration process, we moved the new employees over on to shiny new PC laptops. But a small group wasn't happy with the change they had to. They moved from Mac to PC. And for I'm dying from Mac today. For anyone that is a regular Mac user, moving to PC can be a quite daunting experience. So look, we worked with the group to understand their challenges, understand what the genuine business need was, and we ended up moving them back onto Macs because it absolutely made sense in the end. But if you don't want to have the conversation, then we wouldn't be able to solve that. And for some it would have been a deal breaker. We would have ended up losing some people. I think the key takeaway for me on that one, though, was use the data to that you have to to guide where you focus your energy. We in that example, we identified a hot spot in our acquisition onboarding survey that enabled us to take some targeted action off the back of some targeted conversations. The same would apply to a new hire. If you read a red flag appears through the onboarding process, then you're going to add to that. But if you're sometimes you're running anonymous surveys through onboarding and that won't necessarily allow you to hone in. But if you do have attributed surveys looking at identifying ways to nip those issues in the bud. I recall a few years ago we had a team of just started with us and in an onboarding survey we noticed that that everything else was was green lights. Everything was really great except one area that was kind of maybe an orange or a red light that was around work. Life alignment is relatively down compared to the others. And when we had a chat with the team member, it turned out that he'd underestimated his commute time and he was no longer able to do school drop offs for his daughter like it used to and for him. And his role ended up being such a simple fix. We just tweaked start finish times and from his perspective, it was his mistake. He didn't think about that. During go through the interview process, he traveled to the office outside of peak hour. He wasn't aware of the travel time during peak, and it's only that we asked a question and took some quick action that we managed to resolve the issue and retain that employee in there, which is great. The last thing is we run a pretty lean and tell team here at MRI. I'm sure there'll be plenty of people on the webinar state who are in that same, same boat, but we don't have the capacity to do everything for everyone. And really we've we've we've sought to try and enable our managers and our leaders as much as we possibly can and in a broader sense, empower our people to do stuff, to do cool stuff.

Dean: [00:47:40] For example, why not give managers access to onboarding data and voting survey data, enable them to take ownership of the employee experience and in their team you let them take ownership of it and run with it. And in a broader sense. One of my favorite books is by Patty McCord, the foremost HR at Netflix. And there's a great story about how Waffle Day came to be at Netflix and started with a team member who came to Patty and said, hey, I think we should I think we should make waffles. And she's like, That sounds like a great idea. And he's like, Well, what are you going to do about it? And she said, I'm not doing anything about it. And if you want to go off and make waffles for everyone, by all means, you know, run off and do it. And I think that was an example where just getting out of someone's way, the guy ended up going off and making waffles. And it's now a tradition that's been handed down well beyond the lifetime or certainly the tenure of the people that were around initially with waffles. But waffles at Netflix is still, I think, today. So I think it's just an example that if you get out of people's way and do cool stuff, it allows you enables you to scale up and build out your culture without having the biggest team in the world.

Tony: [00:48:59] See. Now I'm hungry for waffles. Well, again, as we wrap up today's session, just three takeaways that I'd like you all to think about as as the day progresses. One. Be prepared and embrace change to some degree, depending on the needs of your unique organization. Enable your people for change. And lastly, focused on the employee experience at both, both the macro and the micro level. This last one, I actually really like it in that it really came from game thinking about macro and versus micro. For me and me being more of a data person, I've always kind of considered the employee experience through the macro level. How do you improve the experience of the most number of people at one time? But considering things from the micro level can be so important, like there's three people that need a macbook. If they don't have it, they're not going to do their jobs as well. They might leave. So let's just make that change happen for them. And it doesn't need to be the same experience for everybody. So. Focus on the experience at both the macro and micro level is really important. We have some time for some questions.

Kylie: [00:50:15] Yes, we sure do. Thank you so much, Tony and Dean, for such an informative and thought provoking presentation. What a great adage about skating to where the puck is going. Thank you also to our audience for your participation in the poll and for your awesome discussion point comments. Much appreciated. We will now start the Q&A section of today's webinar. In the time that we have remaining, so please feel free to keep submitting any questions you may have via the Q&A or chat function. The first one I have for you guys is from an anonymous attendee, and the question is employee experience is, by its nature, individual. How do we manage this as an organization with dozens or more hires each month?

Tony: [00:51:06] I I'll jump in for this one. But I think we can actually learn a lot from Dean's examples here. If you think about the macro versus micro show, at the macro level, just kind of ensuring that there's a high standard level of onboarding for all employees. So thinking about things like employees having access to the right technology and resources that they all have, all the training that they need and that they feel productive early on. We know that's an important part of onboarding and making sure that. And so it's an important part of onboarding, making sure that people. Are contributing to the success of the organization early on, that they stay long term with the organization and at a micro level addressing the individual nature of onboarding. I think being mentioned this earlier about educating, empowering lead managers to own that onboarding experience for new starters. So. Allowing managers to have a template but make alterations to that onboarding template where necessary so that they can identify potential issues and create unique experiences for each new starter. So I think with a lot of new starters, you really need mentors to start owning that process.

Kylie: [00:52:18] Dean, did you want to add anything to that or should I ask the next question? I think you're on mute. Ding.

Dean: [00:52:27] It's my turn. Look, I think Tony summed it up really well. I think, you know, it's it's you do need to standardize as much as you possibly can, but be open to having those individual conversations and individual tweaks in order to provide a more personalized experience for for the individuals.

Kylie: [00:52:50] Brilliant. Thank you. We have some questions here in the chat function. So a question from Julie Marsh with busy managers how to give new employees access to senior leadership to get their high level view of the organisation. Also creating recognition of newbies by senior leaders. Great questions.

Tony: [00:53:15] Oh well, it'll depend on the organization that we have a a lunch with, with new starters and senior leaders. So that happens about once a month. And in different regions, it will be a different senior leader. But that senior leader will give everybody a high level view that that that's a good way around it as well, to make sure that they do have that high level view. The other side of it is what are we doing to empower managers to have to know what that high level view is so that they're communicating that throughout the whole onboarding process? And in terms of busy managers, yes, managers are busy. So how do you find ways to potentially automate the onboarding process so that they're not worrying about it, but they're not worrying about the paperwork and they're just more worried about building a great onboarding experience from a personal point of view, making sure that they have time with the new staff, thinking about their development and connecting them to the strategy.

Kylie: [00:54:14] Dana, question directly for you from Stephanie. You mentioned an example of a virtual meetup to encourage social connection in the virtual environment. Can you explain a little bit more on this? How has it been received and has it served its purpose?

Dean: [00:54:30] Great question. Yeah. So we have been using a tool called Icebreaker is the name of it. It's a tool that's built a bot, rather, that's built on the Microsoft teams platform. That's our internal comms platform of choice. There are equivalent tools on Slack, for example. Is that a tool called Donut, which does something very similar. But the idea being that people opt in to a team or a channel rather on on Microsoft teams and the bot then automatically I believe our cadence is weekly sets you up with makes a random introduction to someone else who's also didn't where we're a global business and we've got people opted in from Australia, New Zealand as well as throughout Asia but also into the US and EMEA. So for us you could be connected with someone that works in the same office as you if you're office based. But it could also be someone that's randomly from somewhere else in the world. You might be connected with someone that works in our office in Ireland or in our head office in Cleveland. So I think for us, did it has it been well received? Really good. I think the momentum is the is the challenge. How do you kind of keep it going? I think after you've done your first few meet ups, maybe the novelty wears off. So how do you keep it? Interesting. We've tried a few things like talk topics and those sorts of things so people can have conversation prompts. Sometimes it's challenging if you're not naturally an extrovert to have those conversations. So that's that's the sort of thing we've done. And and being prepared to tweak your approach, you got some feedback that that doesn't really work for me, connecting with someone randomly either side of the world, could we do something more local? So our next iteration of currently working on will be a regional connection piece. So connecting with someone that at least works in the same time strategy, which makes it easier to grab a coffee or a lunch or whatever it might be. But yes, it's definitely hit the mark across.

Kylie: [00:56:33] Thank you.

Tony: [00:56:33] We actually got. Oh, sorry. We have something similar at Trap. We use Slack. And so the program we use is called Donut. And it's fantastic. To be honest, when it comes up, I always feel I'm a little bit busy and kind of want to skip it for the month. But whenever I have these conversations with colleagues across the world, I'm always glad that it's ended. And you just develop these relationships with people in San Francisco, especially now that we're all working virtually. And you don't bump into somebody at the kitchen and get to chat.

Kylie: [00:57:12] And guys, we'll just finish with one last question and the 2 minutes we have remaining. It's anonymous one. What is critical for onboarding remote employees?

Tony: [00:57:26] It's actually. I'm sorry. You go. You know, I think I'll just quickly I think one of the things is the social is finding ways to find social connection. If you knew starter, you don't want to look stupid. And so you're afraid to ask questions about your job if you're if there's somebody that you feel comfortable with. And so you want to be able to create this connection where I'm going to starter, I trust so-and-so. I'm just going to ask them this stupid question and they'll help me out. If you don't feel comfortable, you're not going to ask the question. You're going to make mistakes, and that's just bad for everybody. So I think that social connection is important.

Kylie: [00:58:07] Did you have fun doing it?

Tony: [00:58:09] No. It's ok you go.

Dean: [00:58:12] I agree wholeheartedly. I think that thinking about what would someone normally get from in the old, old way of onboarding in a face to face environment, what are they missing? And certainly that that that social social interaction is is is key. And I think having someone that you can go to is important, but maybe thinking about some engineered opportunities to connect with the team. You might not you might normally go and grab a lunch or something like that. How do you do that in a more online environment?

Kylie: [00:58:48] Well, thank you, Tony and Dean, for those great answers and once again for such an informative and thought provoking presentation today. And to our audience, thank you for joining us and for your valuable participation. Today would not have been the success that it was without it. And also, just a reminder to those of you in particular who have been asking that, asking that the entire webinar will be emailed to you all. In the meantime, on behalf of Culture AMP, and I hope you all have a wonderful rest of the day and we hope to see you again soon.