September 1, 2023

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Recruiting: Park Passes and Employee Onboarding – Where Preparation Matters

Hosts:

Episode Highlights

Pre-boarding & Onboarding New Employees

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5:30

What Happens if an Employer Does Not Have an Efficient Employee Onboarding Process?

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6:22

Why an Efficient Employee Onboarding Process Is Important

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9:03

How Can Employers Improve Their New Employee Onboarding Process?

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11:50

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Join us as Cory and Marc embark on an enlightening journey, exploring the synergies between two seemingly distinct worlds, unraveling how advanced preparation optimizes experiences, minimizes disruptions, and sets the stage for positive impressions. Discover how the careful planning of national park entry can mirror the strategic design of pre-boarding and onboarding new hires, creating an environment where everyone benefits.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or an HR professional aiming to enhance your employee engagement strategies, Ep3 is your guide to unlocking the power of preparation. Tune in to explore the incredible links between park passes and employee onboarding, and discover how these shared principles can elevate your experiences in every realm.

Episode Transcript

Welcome to another episode of Hitchhiker’s Guide to Recruiting. I’m Cory Kazmierski. Joined here as always with my co-host Marc Dobkin. It’s our monthly series where Marc and I are going to guide you through exploring the landscape of job and employee search terrains. Yeah Marc, I know, we were just talking a little bit catching up.

I know we were both in Montana a little bit here and had a good conversation about some of our adventures recently and how that can kind of relate to employee onboarding for both employees and employers. Some of the ways that they can benefit new employees in their onboarding process.

So, before we get into things, would love to just hear a little bit about your trip to Montana. Yeah, for sure. So, I mean, first of all, it’s nice to actually be in our office where we have better recording here. Yeah, a little different than the backyard in the garage. Yeah. Yeah.

Yeah, the quality here is a little bit better in our office, so, yeah. Anyways, I mean, obviously I was, recently in Montana, got back last week. I was up there for about a week with my, wife and kids, so, 10 hour drive from Boise to Northern Montana. Yeah, it is really nice. We stayed sort of close to the Canadian border, just miles south of it, and a place called Eureka.

We were actually in a friend’s, cabin up there for the week on a lake. It was really great. Beautiful weather, kids enjoyed the lake. I mean, the best thing for me is just being outside in the woods. Smelling the pines. There’s really no better spot. Yeah, that sort of like rejuvenates my soul to smell that.

I mean, I wish I could live in it full time. Oh, it’d be awesome. Yeah. Thank God for Yankee candle. Yeah. The only thing that I’ll say sucked about the trip was the wildfires. We actually had to take a few detours on the way up there. And, the visibility was just terrible at times. I mean, our second day of the 10 hour drive, our second like leg, was five hours and full five hours up to Northern Montana was just blanketed in smoke.

I mean, couldn’t even see a mile, so. Yeah, it’s awful up there right now. Yeah. Yeah. It was bad. So, still beautiful aside from the smoke, but. Yeah, I wish I could have seen you ’cause I know you were up in Montana and we were just hours away from each other. Tell me about it. Yeah, pretty close.

Yeah, we just finished a short weekend trip to Glacier National Park. So yeah, just a few hours from you. Kind of dealt with some of the same experience smoke wise. It didn’t seem to be as bad, as maybe what you experienced, but, certainly a drastic drop in visibility compared to what we could have been both inside and outside of the park.

But yeah, I mean, solid trip overall it was nice to cross another national park off the list. Got to experience some of the great mountain peaks and lake views that you see in all the photos online. So I just feel like that’s one of the most pictured, national parks. So it was nice to finally see some of those, views in person for sure.

Yeah, I’m jealous. It’s definitely on my list. One I haven’t checked off yet. I’ve been to so many national parks and Glacier’s one of ’em that I haven’t been to yet. I’m really jealous. But I heard there’s kind of like sort of some registration system there or something. Tell me about that. I’m interested in knowing more about it.

Yeah, definitely. So, yeah, I mean, it seems to be implemented in a couple national parks now, but Glacier is a big one. And thankfully we looked into this beforehand, but there’s a pass system that you have to do to access some specific roads in the park. There’s one main road that goes across the whole length of the park.

It’s like 50 miles long. And there’s a pass that you have to register for months in advance, ’cause they sell out almost instantly, that give you access to that road between the hours of like six o’clock in the morning and three in the afternoon. You can go in before or after that timeframe, but to use that road during that specific timeframe you have to have one of those passes.

So, a lot of areas of the park that aren’t accessible without it. And each kind of corner of the park also has its own day pass that you have to get in order to access it. So, one of those things where if you had no idea about that you could kind of just show up and almost get turned away, or, be told, “Hey, you got to come back after three o’clock.”

Something like that. So kind of an interesting system. It helps keeps the crowds down a little bit, but, definitely caught us by surprise when we first heard about it. Wow. So, I would imagine, if you don’t have that pass, you just don’t have access to certain parts of the park.

And if you are not prepared beforehand and have that knowledge of getting those passes, then you’re out of luck, essentially. Right? Yeah. You’re not seeing a lot of the park. Yeah. Like I said, if you show up after 6:00 AM and you try to get access, you’re getting turned away and being told, “Hey, you can’t come back till after three o’clock.”

Gotcha. Okay. Interesting. So this is what sort of brings us to the topic of this conversation today, right? Sort of prepping new employees, before they even start. Sort of pre-onboarding, and the onboarding process, I guess is what we want to talk about here. And what happens if an employer, is unprepared for getting that new employee started.

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I mean, there’s a lot of parallels I think we can make here. And yeah, I mean, a smooth onboarding experience, it not only helps I think companies get the most out of employees, but it really makes a great experience on an employee and makes them more, I guess interested in the role upfront and someone that hopefully will stay long term.

Absolutely. So I guess we could sort of talk about like what the situation would look like if an employer didn’t prepare an employee before their first day. And within those first days on the job. It’s super important. For example, how often have you guys walked into a new company or a new role to come to find out that your company email address hasn’t been set up yet, right?

You don’t have your access card to gain entry into the building yet, or access for the programs or maybe sites you need, to do your job effectively. Yeah. No better way to show your new employee that you’re interested in having them work for you.

Yeah, I mean, like leaving your employees scrambling to figure out who to go to and what to do isn’t a good look for an employer. I’ve started with employers that established the onboarding process really well. They connected me with the right contacts internally into the organization.

Such as benefits, HR let me know who to go to if I had a technical issue. They sort of streamlined the job. And then within those first few days, but then I’ve worked for other employers where none of that happened. I just started on that first day and they were scrambling to get me the access card, access to the programs I needed to successfully do my job.

I didn’t know who to turn to for help, and I’d just be kind of sitting there wondering what to do, right? Totally. Have you ever had a situation like that yourself? Yeah, very similar. Yeah. I’ve had both, kind of both ends of the spectrum like you said. I’ve had experiences where companies sent me a ton of information, connected me with the right people before I even started on day one.

I came into day one knowing, okay, like, “Hey, here’s the questions that I have. Here’s who I know I need to talk with.” I had company email working and receiving company emails before I even started. And then, yeah, I’ve had the same thing where I’ve walked in on day one and no email set up.

I’m talking to HR and I’m doing things that all could have been prevented and established before even starting on day one. Yeah, and it might not seem like such a big deal to have all of these things in place and ready for that new employer, but it really sets the stage for a rough onboarding experience and a initial training experience and can really cause delays and frustration.

So, I guess let’s talk about why it matters, why all of this stuff is important. I mean, the first impression with a new employer is incredibly important. I mean, how do you think that sort of impacts the employee experience? And what about employee morale and retention? What are your thoughts there?

Yeah, totally. Yeah. I mean, like I said, getting locked out of the building before you even start is, what a heck of a first impression. But it does happen and we hear about it all too often. I forget the exact numbers, but I’ve read multiple articles in the past, I think from like Forbes, Harvard Business Review, things like that, like a smooth, solid onboarding process and gaining employees attention and showing them, “Hey, here, you’re valuable. Here’s how we’re going to get you set up for success in the first 30 days.” A solid onboarding process like that improves employee retention. I think it’s somewhere like 60 to 80% of employees will stay. For a year to three years, and I forget, like I said, the exact numbers, but those retention rates kind of hover in that 60 to 80%, as long as they’ve had a good onboarding process. Absolutely. I believe that 100%. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, like I said, it just shows like, Hey, you’re excited that this person is coming to work for you, and like, here’s the ways we’re going to set you up for success within the organization.

I’ve also seen different studies that show, I think it was only like 10 to 15% of employees that were surveyed actually feel like they had a solid onboarding. So I think there’s a lot of organizations out there that really are dropping the ball in different ways. And I think, using different tools like surveys, after the first 30 days, 60 days, something like that is a good way to measure that.

But, it’s something that I think is a big problem in a lot of organizations and something that I think, to your point, not just onboarding once you start. But some of those pre-onboarding things need to be looked at better by organizations and have a more streamlined process. Yeah, right. I mean, a positive onboarding experience isn’t just a warm welcome, it’s an investment in your team’s future. If well executed, it really boosts employee engagement, productivity, retention, can help new hires understand the role in the organization. Aligns them with the company culture and sets the right expectations from day one. Plus it’s an opportunity to really build a strong relationship with that new employee.

So, you know, don’t miss out on that opportunity. Well let’s talk about how employers can kind of fix that. There’s a couple of things I’m thinking about, sort of pre pre-boarding transparency is one. Even before, I’m talking about like right after the offer stage. Or even like in a job description or in the first conversation within a potential candidate. Have a clear timeline of the hiring process and communicate to that candidate, what that looks like.

That’ll sort of set the right expectations and the timeline as far as the hiring process goes. And you can even discuss what those first few days on the job would look like in that conversation. But, you know, I think there are things that all employers need to do, to really kind of set a standard here.

Like anything that can be done before an employee’s first day, should be done before that first day. Absolutely. The access card entry, for example. Anything that requires the employer to sort of assist that employee, should be done in those first few days, before getting that employee into their sort of job related functions.

Yeah, absolutely. Not being proactive with these steps really creates a disjointed sort of learning journey where the new employee gets really confused. I’ve had that happen myself. I didn’t know what I was doing in those first few days, and it didn’t really give me a high regard for the company itself.

So it really creates a bad situation for the employer. So, I mean, what are your thoughts on sort of fixing this? Yeah, definitely. Yeah. I think just having one or two people internally kind of have those streamlined processes down. Like you need to have people creating these processes, these procedures of how to properly onboard somebody, making sure those things are relayed to-

if you’re in a hiring manager capacity and you’re hiring for a new employee, like you should have to follow these same procedures and policies as the rest of the organization.

I think it’ll help streamline things internally. And really put everyone in the right place to follow those same steps. And to your point, I’ve had multiple companies that I’ve worked for. I come home from work the first day and my wife is like, oh, how’d the first day go?

It was mostly just paperwork. It’s like, well anything paperwork wise, like, why couldn’t we get those things figured out prior to day one? A lot of that kind of stuff I feel like could be set up and accomplished before even getting somebody started. So just kind of making those policies and procedures.

“Hey, this chunk of information’s going to come out right after the offer letter.” Like, here’s your onboarding welcome email. It has different links for all the different paperwork we’re going to need set up. Here’s how we gain access to our different systems internally. Let’s make sure all these are set up before day one. So that when you are arriving on your first day of work, like you’re not going to just jump in and be heads down into the computer working hard day one, I’m guessing.

But you are on the right track of like, “Hey, let’s start learning the systems and how we go about things internally,” rather than spending your whole first day on paperwork or getting access to the gym or something like that.

Internally, like with your access card. Right. I think something else, employers could do is sort of an assessment or a survey, after a candidate’s gone through that onboarding process in those first few days. Something that I think Hirewell, did very well, was sent out some of those assessments to improve the onboarding process.

That happened after I was hired on. I think I may have seen a couple of assessments or surveys go out, regarding this subject ’cause we’re always trying to better ourselves with that onboarding process. Absolutely. So I think that’s incredibly important because and very critical, that way, if done correctly, it should identify areas of improvement.

It’ll assist you, the employer, in knowing well ahead of time what sort of programs, employees should be given access to, what access levels they should have in the system. It can give an overview of the first few days and weeks responsibilities, feedback from the candidate as to how the process was and what could be done better.

So, basically, a top tier pre-boarding analysis can also dive into like initial assessment of training needs for an employee as well. So, get your employees feedback about the onboarding process and continue to do that all the time and continue to up upgrade your onboarding process and continue to improve every year.

Absolutely. Yeah, I mean, I think communication is key and that goes along with those surveys perfectly. Like if you’re sending out and getting that feedback from your employees, like you’ll clearly see what went well and what didn’t go well, and you’ll have a good understanding of what to change, as you continue to hire.

But I think it’s all about communication and just being as upfront and transparent as possible. For sure. Cool. Sounds good. Well, great conversation Cory. Yeah, I’m glad we’re able to catch up on some of these things and yeah, I wish we could have seen each other in Montana, but, definitely want to make it back out there to Glaciers, so hopefully next time we’re out there, we’ll be able to get together again. Yeah, I’ll join you there for sure. Awesome. Well, yeah. As we wrap up another episode of Hitchhiker’s Guide to Recruiting, keep in mind the trails we tread in the wild mirror, the past we forge in our careers. Stay curious, stay adaptable, and always remember that every step counts.

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