Why do you believe that onboarding is essential for new employees?
When people hear “onboarding,” they often picture the new teammate walking into the office, meeting the staff, going out to lunch, setting up the computer, and so on. Actually, this “orientation” is just the first step in onboarding, which is a multifaceted process. For example, if we compare onboarding to attending a movie, orientation would be the concession stand, while onboarding would include getting to the theater, buying concessions, and watching the movie, as well as post-movie discussions.
The truth is, most of us want to know why our work matters and want to understand the context as it relates to our community and the whole organization. Many want to understand how their work impacts the world and the environment. Onboarding is the tool that engages new teammates. Our goal is to help them be productive as soon as possible, reduce the frustration that comes with not knowing where to find important tools and resources, share the Evonik culture, and develop connections beyond the immediate team.
What motivates you to work in onboarding at Evonik?
One of my favorite experiences at Evonik is seeing how much employees are encouraged to grow with lateral role changes as well as vertical ones, or by trying something entirely new. So although I spent most of my career in Talent Acquisition, which I loved, I had the opportunity to grow into other HR roles. I took the opportunity to advance my career to the next step that followed my expertise: from hiring to onboarding.
I love that we offer virtual onboarding, which includes an executive welcome - live, not recorded. After that, the heads of various departments provide the context and connections. These are also live, not recorded.
After one particular call, we received feedback from a new teammate saying that “having a panel of experts meeting with the group made [him] feel valued.” In an organization with approximately 35,000 employees around the world, for individuals on a video call to feel valued makes all the difference.
It seems like creating the onboarding experience is complex. Who is involved in the process?
Locally, there is the employee’s manager as well as the buddy he/she/they are assigned. We also expect the team to provide a welcoming environment and additional support. Other supporting groups include HR, ESHQ, and IT (yes, all the acronyms!).
Onboarding uses electronic tools to help everyone quickly find resources, in an effort to reduce frustration and fatigue. We don’t want an inspired moment of contribution put into neutral while someone spends an hour finding the tool they need to advance their work. Virtual onboarding introduces our internal social network, as well as teaching participants how to use it. When we use other (external) social media, such as Facebook or Snapchat, we do not think of it as “networking”; we are sharing with friends. That is how we want new employees to feel about our social media tools and group activities. We want them to see Evonik as a way to grow their circle of friends.