Rethinking and Redesigning Onboarding

This is my second blog from my experience at the Elliott Masie’s Learning 2014 conference in Orlando this year (you can see my previous blog Rebranding Learning here).  For this blog, I am going to talk about the Rethinking and Redesigning Onboarding session I attended. First of all, here is the synopsis:

Although organizations are busy investigating new learning technologies and methodologies, the world of onboarding interventions hasn’t changed much. Now, many companies are seeking new ways to structure new hire experiences and help current employees transition to new roles. This group of diverse learning professionals will share their organizations’ latest onboarding innovations. We’ll explore how they leverage a variety of technologies and holistic approaches to improve and scale the onboarding experience.

Although there were a number of speakers at this session, the representative from Accenture had the program that was the most mature and what I would like to talk about in this blog (they also recently won a 2014 Brandon Hall Gold Award for Best Onboarding Program).  At Accenture, they break the onboarding experience into 3 phases:

  1. Pre-Joiner (before you start)
  2. New Joiner (your first 12 months)
  3. Year one
  4. Pre-Joiner

Once you have signed your offer sheet, you still have a gap of leaving your previous job before you start at Accenture.  To help you start getting up to speed, Accenture has created a site called Countdown to Accenture where you can start learning more about Accenture before you begin.  Not only does it have information about the company history, it also starte the onboardning experience by listing information for new hires such as “getting Ready for Day One” and “Your First Weeks and Months”  Here is a screen shot:


Feel free to take a look at the site above as it is open to the public.

And for those of you who are mobile, well, they have their own mobile app called Accenture Sky Journey where you can learn more about what Accenture does:


They feel very strongly about having new employees coming into the organization with an awareness and comfort of the new employer.

  1. New Joiner

Your first 12 months are what they call 52 weeks of training; though actual in the classroom training is only 1-2 days total.  But, when new employees start, they are immediately assigned a buddy (the buddy can be on your team or someone who has volunteered to the buddy volunteer program – at the local office level).  All of the speakers spoke about the buddy program and the importance of having engagement from leadership.  In this situation, you have employees (buddies) who are dedicating their time that; although taking away from their day to day work, it really helps in securing more talent long term.

They also have a portal for new hire to track their progress and which houses information that they need (such as “who to contact”, “secutiry”, “IT”) so the information they need to navigate in the company is available to them.  It is also a place that both the hiring manager and employee can view together so if the new hire needs to take online courses or attend sessions, they can both track the progress.  This also allows the new hire to see their tasks for their first twelve months in a sefl-study mode.

  1. Year One

After an employee has finished year one, they are encourage to share their stories about their experiences.  A few different methods they use are:

  • Blogs – encourage employees to write a blog or post a guest blog on the onboarding blog page
  • Blog Interviews – for those who might not be comfortable blogging, they can be interviewed by a blogger
  • Interactive conversations – these are videotaped conversations with year one employees that discuss their experiences/stories


To ensure the program is effective and giving value to the organization, the onboarind program is measured.  There are a few ways they measure the program success:

  1. Retention rates – based on employees who go through the program vs those who did not in the past or currently (this is measure at the office, country and organization level)
  2. Engagement survey – Global survey pulls our data for new hires that have been with the organization 1 month, 3 months, 6, months, etc
  3. Site tracking – usage of their internal portal and pre-joiner sites/apps (how many hits, time on site, etc)

So, my last takeaway from the session was that, although it all sounds great, there is a large amount of work that is done to start and maintain a robust onboarding program.  Leadership engagement is extremely important as is buy-in from all levels in the organization (those who are are maintaining content, updating systems, allocating resources such as buddies and even managers allowing new employees to spend time in the program).  But, for those who have been measuring, they are seeing an increase in time employees are staying with the organization and feel that their onboarding programs are playing a part in this result.


One Response to Rethinking and Redesigning Onboarding

  1. Pingback: Mobile Learning: Good, Bad & Ugly | Inside Social Media

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