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Employee onboarding doesn’t get the attention it deserves at most organisations.

In fact, it’s reported that just 32% of companies have a formalised onboarding process. Talk about a missed opportunity. Good talent is hard to come by, not to mention costly to recruit, so doesn’t it make sense to clinch the new hire deal with an engaging onboarding experience?    

Time to get serious about onboarding

A recent online post by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) rates onboarding high on the list of 2019 New Year’s resolutions shared by HR professionals.  As it should be, considering 54% of organisations with a formal onboarding process experience greater new hire productivity and 50% experience greater new hire retention. Those are solid reasons to get serious about formalising an onboarding program that’s specific to your company and your industry.

First impressions matter

Let’s face it – the whole onboarding process can be onerous and nerve-wracking from the very beginning. Here you have a new recruit, first day on the job, feeling a little nervous, excited and unsure of protocol in this new environment. The first place she lands is HR, confronted with a stack of paperwork for commitments ranging from non-disclosure agreements to health benefit declarations. There’s no time or mental space to read the fine print, so questions linger. Medical aid covers what? Compliance training is when? She’s not feeling confident. And that’s just the paperwork.

Then, it’s lunchtime. Is she greeted at the door by her new manager and taken to lunch with the team? Or is she pointed in the direction of the company lunchroom and left to her own devices? How you handle the process speaks volumes about your corporate culture, values and way of working; all potential deal-breakers if there’s a mismatch between candidate perception and daily reality. And yes, it does matter. SHRM reports that 69% of new employees are more likely to stay with the company after a great onboarding experience.

Get an onboarding edge with gamification

Gamification can make the onboarding process a whole lot easier and less stressful. Fun, even!  How about pre-boarding? Send new recruits a link to your onboarding platform to complete the administrative details a week before the official start date. It’s a practical solution to the information overload of day one at a new company. Plus, it builds anticipation and gives a welcoming sense of connection with the company.

Gamification can take onboarding from an intimidating paperwork exercise to a compelling, personalised experience of your employee value proposition. Give your new employees a virtual experience of company culture, use collaborative challenges to open dialogue with other new hires, create a friendly channel of interaction with HR systems and processes. Gamification gives you lots of creative license to show the human side of your organisation. And from a management perspective, a gamification platform lets you collect all the new hire information you need with minimal effort and seamlessly integrate the data with your enterprise HR systems.

Engagement from day one

Gamification works on basic human drives, variously described by a number of motivational theorists, but defined by Psychologist David McClelland as basic needs for achievement, power and affiliation.  Stimulate those motivations with game mechanics and you’ve got strong engagement with your message.

  • Create an electronic list of new hire forms and offer the visual satisfaction of ticking them off as completed. Add a few congratulatory messages of encouragement along the way and chatbots to answer questions.
  • Challenges and quests can become immersive experiences in company culture. Active discovery is a lot more fun, interesting and effective than passive learning from a video or even a live presentation.
  • Role playing offers an excellent opportunity to learn without fear of failure and to benefit from constructive feedback. Structured as a group activity, it fosters collaboration and a sense of identity with the company.
  • Design your program to require levelling up, that is, successfully completing specific tasks in a prescribed order before advancing to the next level of responsibility.
  • Recognise progress and reward achievements to make a clear connection between personal and organisational goals. Even token rewards, like a free coffee voucher, are fun, effective reinforcements.

Upgrade the experience

Stand out in the competition for top talent. Gamification can turn traditionally ho-hum HR functions like onboarding, training, and benefits management into engaging activities. Recruit and retain the best with a first-class employee experience.