Technology talent continues to be one of the most competitive spaces to recruit and retain talent, leaving companies to evaluate and rethink their approach. Deloitte’s 2023 Global Technology Leadership Study found that offering a flexible/hybrid work environment is the top measure for retaining top technology talent. Still, something that most companies struggle with is creating a sophisticated virtual onboarding process for employees that have a remote experience.
A company makes a first impression on its employees in the first few minutes of their first day, so why not make the onboarding process memorable, impactful, and even fun? We created a gamified onboarding process to uplevel and streamline the process, ultimately setting talent up for success. It’s been met with overwhelming positive feedback, and we’ve seen it have a direct role in making a positive impact on our employees’ experience at the company. These tips are ones that I encourage leaders in all industries, but especially technology, to implement in their talent retention processes. Time to start playing!
Sometimes when thinking about the beginning of a new candidate’s journey, it’s helpful to look at the experiences of others. I have always found exit interviews full of valuable information to help up-level the company’s culture and the onboarding and hiring process. We received feedback that employees felt siloed on their own team, unaware of the projects, operations, and ownership of the teams in different departments. This made collaboration outside of specific teams difficult, and employees felt they did not have a full view of how their piece fits into the puzzle of the company’s success and goals. From this, we created a net-new onboarding process that would establish from the outset why their role mattered and show them how their talents would be utilized as a part of the fabric of our organization.
We thought of a unique way to implement it: a 10-level virtual video game. Our main goal was to ensure that employees had the opportunity for collaboration and training, encouraging observation and taking in surroundings from their first day on the job. This is demonstrated in Ware2Go’s proprietary gamified onboarding process, which mandates that all new employees be trained in every department at the company. Whether you’re hired for a technology role, a supply chain role, or marketing, each employee is given the resources to explore, learn, and gather a deeper understanding of the business. By offering this from the jump, we’ve found that our talent can establish a deeper purpose with our organization and have a more positive employment experience.
Before the pandemic, when in-office experiences were the norm, newer talent would more naturally immerse themselves in the business and have access to other departments and colleagues. This would spur personal connection and immediately help new talent better understand the larger business at play. In a remote or hybrid environment, if you are not structuring introductions or exposures to other teams in a new candidate’s onboarding process, they could be unintentionally left out of the important experience of building connections.
In our gamified onboarding process, as new talent progresses through each level, they are required to schedule meeting time with any director-level colleague in departments outside of their own. A recent employee shared that as a remote employee, “the onboarding map was especially important for me to get oriented to the organization and its team members.” We’ve heard this process provides clear guidance and structure, allowing our talent to learn about the organization’s structure, policies, and culture. But most importantly, it gives a clear opportunity to interact with colleagues outside their immediate team and gain a broader perspective on the organization, feel more confident in their role, and make new personal and professional connections that will be critical to their sense of belonging and success.
Onboarding journeys must promote collaboration and offer unmitigated support and resources to new talent. Allow your new employees to ask as many questions as necessary and encourage them to do so. By enabling collaboration and building relationships from the moment they walk through the door, they will have the confidence to use their ‘lifelines’ to help them learn the business and their roles and responsibilities while delivering high-quality work.
In a Ware2Go employee’s first 30 days, they will have met with a large percentage of the company, hosting multiple one-on-one conversations with managers and executives. This translates to greater company culture, as high-level staff are contributing to the experience of these new hires, inviting them to team meetings and opening their doors to any questions they may have about the company.
In creating unique approaches to your new talent onboarding processes, you provide a safe environment where employees can ask questions, make new connections, and fully immerse themselves as they explore this exciting new step in their career. Recruiting and retaining talent is critical to an organization’s success, and when you create a culture where talented people can thrive, you’re bound to get a high score and win the game.
Princess Newborn, SHRM-CP, is the senior director of people operations at Ware2Go.