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William is CEO of Tincup & Co.

Most employers care about their new employees.  Like duh… of course they do.  In my humble opinion, you can judge the quality of a company in the way they onboard new talent.  The process, the content, the vibe, etc… if your onboarding regiment sucks… you should probably fix that… like right away fix that.

But let’s assume you’ve nailed onboarding for a moment.  You’ve cooked a thoughtful procession for the newbie.  You want them to arrive at a high level of productivity – quickly AND in the process, you want them to feel special… like they made the right decision to be with your firm, etc.  In relationship terms, we’re past the romance phase and now squarely in the honeymoon phase.  And, it should be blissful.

Stated, covered and I’m sure we all feel the same way.

So, why don’t we take a similar approach when we launch new HR Tech within our organization?  I mean, we spend SO much time, money and energy in selecting the “right” HR Tech… onboarding of users of the software seems to be an afterthought.  I just don’t get it… again; we’re typically “good” at onboarding.  Why do we forget best practices of how we onboard employees when it comes to new performance management software or payroll software or succession management software, etc?

We’re smarter than this.  Every single HR pro cares about user adoption.  Every HR Tech vendor cares about user adoption.  It’s in our combined best interest to care about people using and/or leveraging the software we spend so much money on.  So why don’t we collaborate more as it relates to onboarding new users?

Okay, let’s review some best practices…

Make it special – turns out, you are changing things for folks.  No matter what… users did things a certain way before and now it will be different.  Different is probably going to be better but don’t underestimate the fact that change sucks of 99% of your folks.  So, purposely make the onboarding experience special.

Make it memorable – I’m a fan of doing out of the box things for users.  I want users to understand the new software… I also want users to care about the new software… the brand and values of the software.  Think – if you are implementing Workday… I want all the new users of the software to fall in love with Workday… emotionally connect with both Workday and the software they create.  I think memorable events can be heavily branded with the new HR Tech… in this instance, swag is a good thing.  However memorable is concocted… memorable beats the alternative.

Leave a lasting, positive memory… I’m that guy… I want people to talk about how they were onboarded for years to come.  And I don’t think this is optional and/or a nice to have… I think onboarding new users of our software are critical.

If you can, think about onboarding new users in the way that marketers think of one-to-one marketing.  Deeply personal.  Turns out… no one wants to feel like they are one of 750,000 that received an email campaign.  News flash.  Folks want to feel like you are talking to them (and in some ways only them).  So, in onboarding… how can we create that feeling?  Simple tip… think of the two tasks that they do the most… old way / new way… and talk directly to them about things you know they will care about.

Rome indeed was NOT built in one day so start small and collaborate with your technology partner to create onboarding programs that will resonate with your audience (read: your employees/users).  Last note on onboarding new users… have fun with it… life is way too short.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWTe1x4JaLQ[/youtube]