Optimizing the onboarding experience

Aaron Rubens, founder and CEO of Kudoboard, on how to integrate new employees in a remote world

HR leaders know that effective onboarding leads to greater retention.

That’s why it’s crucial to engage new hires as soon as they accept their job offer, even though they may be working from home and never step foot in the office.

In this interview with HRD TV, Aaron Rubens, founder and CEO of Kudoboard, gives tips for making new hires feel welcome in a remote/hybrid world.

To view full transcript, please click here

John: [00:00:18] Welcome to HRDTV. I'm John Corrigan with HR America. And today, I'm joined by Aaron Rubens, founder and CEO of Kudoboard, a workforce appreciation Solution. Today, we are going to be discussing the challenges of onboarding in a remote world. Aaron, thanks for taking the time. How are you.

Aaron: [00:00:36] Doing well, John, thanks so much for having me.

John: [00:00:39] I appreciate it. Let's get right into it here. How can HR leaders improve the onboarding experience in 2022 and as we head into 2023?

Aaron: [00:00:49] Sure. You know, we think about this a lot, both in terms of our own employees, but then also the product that we offer. I think one of the big things up front is setting clear expectations for employees about what that onboarding process is going to look like when people are starting a new job. There's just so much uncertainty in terms of like what is good look like? What am I supposed to be doing here, things like that. And so to the degree that you can give people clarity on, hey, here's what the onboarding process looks like, here's what we're expecting from you. I think that's huge and just gives people a lot of comfort as they're transitioning into something new. The second thing that we think about quite frequently is how do we get feedback from people after they've onboarded to make sure that the process is sort of continually improving over time? So, you know, hey, maybe we weren't perfect on day one, but we learned what we did wrong so we can do it right the next time. And the final thing that we think about internally and also sort of connects to what Kudoboard does more generally is how can we add these little moments of delight for people as they're onboarding. So what Kudoboard is, as you mentioned, sort of a workforce appreciation solution. It's used for all sorts of stuff. One is sort of as a replacement for the card that's passed around and signed. And one way that it's used in onboarding is oftentimes organizations will allow the new team to sort of write a welcome note or add some videos or gifs or whatever else, and it gets delivered to an employee on their first day, you know they open up their inbox and they have 25 different not so fun tasks to take care of. And then one sort of fun thing that just kind of adds that little moment of delight makes them feel like they belong, etc.

John: [00:02:30] I mean, it's a great solution and it's a great tool. And I like the comparison that you said instead of, you know, everybody passes the card around. Back when I was working in the office, I absolutely remember those days for all kinds of occasions. But along those same lines, how can HR leaders provide support to new hires that are maybe onboarded strictly through digital or virtual?

Aaron: [00:02:52] Yeah, I mean, it's something we are a fully remote team, I think across 14 or 15 states now is something that we think about quite a lot. And there's a couple of things that we do internally. So one is there isn't sort of the quote on quote water cooler conversation that occurs anymore. And so thinking through how do we create these connect these sort of connective tissues between employees that wouldn't otherwise happen is definitely on our mind. And one of the ways that we do it and I certainly stole this from some job that I had a long time ago, was to think about like, how can we connect someone with a buddy? Or it's someone basically who they can they may have something in common with, or it could be a good sort of resource for them, but they're not necessarily in the same department or working with them on a project. So it's trying to create these connections between people when they wouldn't otherwise sort of organically happen unless you were in the same place. I think at larger organizations that oftentimes takes the form of like employee resource groups and things like that. But I think sometimes that smaller organizations, we have to be a little bit more thoughtful about how we sort of manufacture it.

John: [00:03:58] Excellent. You mentioned earlier this idea of you're always trying to improve the onboarding process. When do you consider the onboarding process to be complete and that the employee is no longer a new hire and now just a full term, full length member of the team?

Aaron: [00:04:13] Yeah, great question. You know, I wish there was sort of a simple like, Hey. 3.25 months and you're good to go. I think it tends to be. Position to position in some ways. So when we think about our sales team, there's oftentimes sort of a six month rant before we expect them to be sort of fully hitting quota and things like that. For other positions, it may take less time to get sort of the full knowledge base of what they need to do. But that said, I do think that there are certain. Like touchstone cultural elements that we want all our employees to sort of be aware of and to have just just have that that piece and we try to get that taken care of in the first month. So it doesn't mean that they're necessarily going to be fully ramped on their everything they're going to do for their job. But hopefully they feel like they kind of understand what the board's about, what we're what we're striving for, why we're all together in about a month. I think beyond that, people start to feel like, hey, you know, it's three months in, it's four months in. Are we still onboarding? It can feel a little redundant when it drags like that. So that's the way that's sort of the general timeframe we try to think about it.

John: [00:05:26] Well, I appreciate you sharing your insight today, and I think that with so many hiring challenges out there right now, everybody says that the way to keep talent is, you know, you start from the onboarding experience. So I hope that everyone watching today takes your advice and can hopefully enhance their own experience.

Aaron: [00:05:43] Well, thank you, John. I really appreciate the time once again.

John: [00:05:45] Thank you, Aaron. And thank you, everyone for watching. This has been another episode of HRDTV.