Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Onboarding that Welcomes and Inspires

When people look back on experiences, they rarely remember what was said or who said it. Instead, they remember how they felt. The same principle can be used when onboading new employees. Think about the process that is currently in place at your company. Ask yourself “What is the emotional takeaway for new employees during the process?” “Are these the emotions we want to leave them with?” If your answer is no, it may be time to revise your process. Creating an emotionally positive onboarding experience for new employees not only increases retention rates, but in a chain reaction, increases customer satisfaction as well.

Ideal emotions you want to elicit in your orientation process include feelings of being welcomed, comfortable and secure, proud, excited, inspired and confident. The Ritz Carlton inspires their new employees by conveying two important messages: “you’re lucky to work here” and “we’re lucky to have you.” Their orientation video explains what it would mean to be the top 1% in various fields while showing images of Bill Gates and Tiger Woods on screen. The video then goes on to emphasize that being employed with the Ritz Carlton means they are among the top 1% in the hospitality industry. It gives the employees a sense of pride to work for the company, while also making them feel wanted and important.

In their orientation videos, Texas Roadhouse conveys the “lovefest” that is their company. They include clips of humanitarian projects, memorable quotes from employees and excerpts from a Managing Partner Conference. The running theme for their process is “If you love your people, they’ll love your customers.” Their videos and orientation program communicate that this company loves their employees and that it is not the average place to work.

Southwest Airlines is another company that understands the importance of designing its employee orientation and onboarding process with the goal of creating positive emotional experiences. Cheryl Hughey, Southwest’s director of onboarding, explains their mindset, “ If you want them to stay, if you want them to become engaged, you need to make sure you do the ‘feeling’ part of the process, and you do that by showing them how they will make a difference, giving them examples of how their fellow employees make a difference, making them feel welcome.”

Orientation and onboarding processes that include an emotional approach lead new employees to feel, respected, valued and inspired, and directly improves employee motivation, productivity and customer service. To accomplish this during your process, remember these four items: Everything matters, think experience, what’s the emotional take away and what’s the perpetual take away?

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