Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Silliness of the Virtual

"... nothing says “we don’t care” like a company saying “We’re so sorry” in an automated tweet"
 -  Dr. Mommy blogger Kim Garst

Google the phrase "people who love their jobs" and you will get a gazillion results.  Seriously, I was shocked at the number of hits, what with all of the people who say they hate their jobs.  Apparently there are many to love what they do!   :)

While the answers vary, you will find one common theme among most every answer.   People who love what they do have a connection to the people that work with and genuinely love to work with them.  There is a human connection.  We are social animals and for all the penetration of social media we need that proximity.

Which is what drove me to this post.  I got a couple of spam emails that proclaimed, "The Benefits of Virtual Onboarding!"  Huh?  What is wrong with people today?   Onboarding is a process of socialization.   People forget it really has only one goal: to make the employee come to the conclusion, at the end of the process and on their own, that they made the right decision to take that job with that employer.

Think about how much you invest in hiring someone.  Even in the best scenario - after you consider salaries or commissions and other costs - you are going to dole out tens of thousands of dollars.  Factor in how much time and salary you spend before they are really 100% productive.  One VP was famous for saying it cost a company $300K for each new employee.

Contrast that with a Silicon Valley top 20 I spoke with a couple of years ago about their onboarding program.  Over and over again the concept of virtual came up.   "Can't we do this online?"  "What about videos?"  By the end of the conversations I was convinced they just didn't get it, and someone at the top was probably screaming about cost savings and "spending too much time on travel."

One of the best programs I ever designed was a simple Orientation program.  It takes and entire wee and we teach no on the job skills whatsoever.   We spend an entire week building relationships, learning about the culture and the company, diving into the value messaging surrounding our products, and answering questions.  In short, it's all about the new employee.

Nobody is productive their first week on the job, and what's the cost of a plane ticket compared to a six figure salary?  Onboarding programs are an investment in people.  Treat them that way and you will see the ROI in spades.

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