Build an Onboarding Experience that Creates a Lasting Impact

HR Generalist Molly Brady is the mastermind behind POP’s highly customized (and fun!) onboarding process.

HR Generalist Molly Brady is the mastermind behind POP’s highly customized (and fun!) onboarding process.

When POP began crafting an onboarding process for new hires, they quickly realized that a one-size-fits-all method wasn’t going to cut it. Why? As a digital marketing agency with over 100 employees—a solid mix of both contractors and full-time hires—their approach to onboarding required that they take a unique and creative perspective.

On creating role-specific onboarding paths…

HR Generalist Molly Brady intuited that while some aspects of the onboarding process were vital for all new hires (like instructions for submitting a timesheet or introductions to key stakeholders), there were still many parts of the process that needed to be customized to fit an employee’s particular role and type of employment within the company.

While full-time employees were likely to need information about enrolling in benefits, performance reviews, and long-term goals of the company, “it was clear to us very early on that contractors would have a different experience than full-time employees because they have a much shorter lifespan. It’s important to get contractors set up with the most important and relevant information right off the bat.”

“We knew we needed to shrink the onboarding timeline [for contractors], because ramping-up needed to happen in the first 48 hours after a contractor was brought on.”

So how is POP optimizing contractors’ experience and making sure they feel ready to contribute to the team in a condensed amount of time? Since they often have only 24 hours to ramp up a new contractor, task-based reminders move the process forward quickly. These changes have alleviated several hours a week of manual checklists and countless back-and-forth emails.

Molly Brady
“With contractors you’re paying by the hour, so time is money. But how we introduce ourselves to the contractor is just as important as how they perform their job. If we don’t get that experience right the first time, they won’t want to work with us again. Donut allows us to automate and be consistent, so we can focus on little details and personal touches.”
Molly Brady

Identifying and isolating which information should be considered “essential” for employees was just one piece of the puzzle in designing a great onboarding experience. How can you keep employees engaged and communicate the most pertinent information at exactly the right time?

On incorporating culture into the onboarding process…

One of the ways Molly accomplished this was by centering POP’s onboarding process around the things that create lasting impact and are unique to their company culture. Structuring the onboarding experience around employee happiness has allowed POP to open up a whole new layer of culture-building.

“Donut alleviates the weight of the operational burden on managers, and instead allows them to work on ensuring that the onboarding experience is positive.”

In addition to stemming the fire hose of information that new hires typically receive with just-in-time prompts and reducing redundant emails to managers, Molly uses Donut to collect feedback from employees and managers about how new hires are adjusting during their first 90 days. That’s given her the bandwidth and knowledge to strategically create some fun and useful content aimed at helping new hires feel at-home faster. Think: nearby food trucks, a map of the office (because who doesn’t hate getting lost their first week!), and upcoming relevant training opportunities.

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In this way, employees are made to feel welcomed and valued, they receive the information they need in a timely manner, and they are encouraged to think about their long-term career growth—changes that have caught the SVP of Operations’ eye.

On optimizing for long-term growth…

Her solve for thinking about long-term employee development? A notification around the two-month mark in Donut that reminds employees about their upcoming performance review with a breakdown of the schedule, as well as a link to relevant internal content. The goal is to demonstrate POP’s investment in the new hire and help them see the path forward. Plus, it gives employees an opportunity to start thinking about important topics ahead of time.

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“Performance reviews are tricky because they’re not something you want to talk about on someone’s first day. But if you wait too long and get beyond the 90-day mark, employees may begin to think we’re not invested in their development.”

Molly says, “I don’t think people realize how incredibly important onboarding is. All of the research shows that the first six months is when employees decide how long they are going to stay at a company. If we can’t nail down the ultimate experience for employees, then we can’t keep the best talent.”