When Employee Onboarding Becomes a Feeling

August 2019

“Welcome to CRX” – more than just words?

“Welcome to CRX!” – a phrase that one can hear regularly in our office. Ever since I have joined the team, this conceivable simple expression has caused many hours of consideration and passioned debates. And rightly so, as various studies have proven that a well-established onboarding process for new employees is an indisputable competitive advantage. Nevertheless, many companies still regard the onboarding process as a mere inconvenient fact of business.

In this text we will look at how German companies treat the employee onboarding process today and what the market considers as best practices. Furthermore, get an insight into how we at CRX strive to go one step further by transforming the onboarding process into a feeling. Data proves the value of an effective onboarding process

Employee Onboarding at CRX

At CRX, our onboarding process goes beyond the very first day of work. Contrary to StepStone, I would even argue that the pre-boarding phase already starts during the recruitment process. Already at that stage it is an opportunity to clearly explain what the potential newcomer can expect from the role at CRX, his or her colleagues and the working environment. The more specific we are at the beginning of the process, the less events of early fluctuation we will encounter in the long run.

As a global Fintech, our new colleagues often have to relocate to our headquarter in Munich. In order to make this transition as easy and smooth as possible, we have developed a welcome booklet, which provides helpful guidelines and tips across a wide range of topics such as visa-related questions, apartment search, and health insurance advices. Furthermore, our monthly after-work team events can be used as an informal and fun occasion to meet one’s future colleagues. We also invest into all the smaller behind-the-scenes processes, such as technical onboarding, the monthly newcomer announcements to the entire company or a small welcome gift, in order to help set the course for a smooth start.

Of course, all of this can have a great impact for your new employees. But what we have learned over time is that especially the initiatives that involve direct, personal contact are the most important ones. One of the initiatives that was born out of this realization is “CRXlink”, our buddy program, where each new employee is matched with a more experienced colleague to make the transition to the new team, environment and office as smooth as possible.

One of our most valued initiatives is our “CRX Onboarding Week”. Here we conduct introductory sessions by all teams over a five-day period in order to give our new employees insights into the different departments, their responsibilities and a first overarching product overview. Next to a pure information exchange, the purpose of these onboarding weeks is to establish a first platform for exchanging ideas and discuss how everyone can and will contribute to the CRX story.

Throughout our onboarding phase we ensure that the old and new colleagues within CRX are properly connected, personally engaged and truly integrated. And it is exactly this approach that enables us to transform a rather structure-oriented and fact-dense onboarding process into a dynamic, compelling, and meaningful exchange.

In order to evaluate and quantify the current status quo of companies’ onboarding processes we can look at a study conducted by StepStone, a German online job portal provider, released at the end of 2018. In this study they consulted a total of 13,000 managers and an additional 2,000 recruiters and hiring managers and the verdict is clear: much still needs to be done!

Current shortcomings are best illustrated by the worryingly high number of newcomers leaving a company during their probation period. Whereas recruiters have estimated the fluctuation of “early leavers” to be less than 5%, alarmingly 3 out of 10 survey respondents have done so in the past. To better understand why a new employee would decide to leave a company shortly after having opted to join, we need to take a closer look at the entire onboarding process and understand how it can affect an employee’s decision process.

Another important aspect is looking at each onboarding process step individually. Contrary to the common believe that onboarding reflects only the physical event of getting the newcomer “up and running” on the first day, it actually begins long before the newcomer enters the office for his first day of work. According to StepStone, the “pre-boarding” phase starts with the contract signature. It is good practice that employees can address topics to their new colleagues before their start day, however, study results show that only 45% of new employees were given the chance to ask questions to their new team lead in advance, and only 41% to consult the HR department.

The following “welcoming” phase is described as the first working days. True to the phrase “the first impression counts” not only direct colleagues but also colleagues from interfacing teams should take their time to simply say “hello”. Although this is self-evident for some companies, almost half of the interviewees stated, that their team lead and HR manager did not take enough time for them on their first day of work.

The time span between the first day and the end of the probation period is described as the “onboarding” phase. Here, it is all about a sustainable introduction to the field of responsibilities as well as social integration. Again, many newcomers come short during that period: Only 38% state they have been involved in an introductory session.

The ultimate goal of our employee onboarding process

The onboarding process at CRX has been developed over time and continues to be improved and expanded based on our colleagues’ feedback, latest insights and techniques. We learned that it is the power of simply providing initiatives for personal exchange what really makes an onboarding process a success (yes, it can be as easy as it sounds!).

By delivering this, we believe that we are one step closer in transforming the onboarding process into a feeling – where newcomers can actually feel “at home”.