When the request came to transform the monthly in-person onboarding sessions to digital we were not surprised. Despite the global pandemic, our client has maintained their swift pace of global hiring and the desire to integrate new employees quickly and efficiently.
Our priority, as described by event manager Sheri Collier, “adjusting the delivery style while conveying the company culture and ensuring the same level of attendee engagement”, had not changed. Our challenge was how to achieve that priority consistently – around the globe, on a digital platform, 50 times annually for 50 to 300 attendees per session.
The team helped shift the usual four full days face-to-face event to a three-day digital event with three to four-hour delivery windows per day. To lessen digital fatigue, content is delivered in digestible segments, with ice-breaker moments, pauses and a give-back to keep it fresh.
Along the way we learned some important best practices.
As with any complex event, solid communication is paramount. When you shift to a digital platform you must include technical support options in your planning. Attendees will need help accessing the platform and familiarizing themselves with special features. Critical to your success is live chat, moderated Q&A, and easy access to two-way communication on logistics of the sessions.
Our global client is orienting new employees around the world, in geo-hubs from UK to Bangalore, Beijing to Palo Alto. Central to their orientation is introducing company culture, including modules around company history and values, while highlighting company initiatives.
Some onboarding modules were converted to online learning and development programs, accessible in advance of the session. This allowed for questions to be incorporated into a Jeopardy-style review game at the end of the onboarding event.
The beauty of a digital approach is the variety of tools available to enhance attendee engagement with your content. Speakers no longer need to be local. And gamification, audience participation and presentation enhancements all can be stacked onto platforms to scale with the event.
It is easy to imagine that new employees might have difficulty getting to know each other in an online environment. Creating multiple entertaining segments to support engagement and connection goes a long way toward breaking the ice and helping people to relax.
Also, of interest to new employees was the opportunity to engage directly with company leaders. We found people were far more willing to ask questions with a digital platform by using chat or a moderated Q&A tool.
As in face-to-face meetings people in digital events must get up and move. It is important to find ways to translate this need to video as attendees get to know each other. This is a place where we’ll continue to develop ideas. Successful concepts so far – a dance party and stretch exercises!
Let life happen
Ensure the facilitator sets the expectation with the audience from the start that this is an interactive session and screens must be on for collaboration. Do not focus on wardrobe, quarantine hair or fashion. Instead embrace that we are all adapting and managing our work from home life as best we can!
And the best news?
The digital solution the team developed and deployed will be incorporated into all future onboarding, even when meeting and travel restrictions are lifted.
Our digital global new hire solution includes:
- Registration, website design & development
- Communication & support with new employees from registration to course completion
- Develop & manage digital platform delivery
- Attendee support via live chats, real-time
- Attendee engagement – gamification, CSR opportunities
- Project & budget management