5 ways to simplify staff onboarding with Yammer

Onboarding is generally recognised as one of the most important methods for ensuring your new hires not only settle in well, but also that they stay at the company. A solid and well planned onboarding process can boost staff retention rates and improve employee engagement. With the costs of replacing staff being excessively high (up to 50% of their annual salary according to some estimates), ensuring your new employees are given a warm welcome, have everything they need to do their jobs and receive support and feedback over the first year or two of their job is crucial.

Onboarding is increasingly common in modern organisations. Nonetheless, it’s not a simple process and involves serious planning and time commitment. According to research by the Aberdeen Group, the top challenges for onboarding are as follows:

onboarding with Yammer

As the graph shows, companies really struggle to find the time and resources to provide new employees with the information and tools they need. Successful onboarding is fraught with difficulties as time pressures can be a real obstacle to socialising the new employee.

The traditional approach to onboarding is as follows:

  • In advance of the employee’s arrival, inform them of their start date and give them all the advanced information they’ll need for day one.
  • During day one, give them the tour, complete as much paperwork as you can, introduce them to an ‘onboarding buddy’ and set them on their first basic tasks.
  • Over the course of their first week, have lunch with them, introduce them to colleagues around the company and allocate time for them to complete training manuals
  • Over the following months and years, provide them with regular feedback and meetings to discuss progress.

While this method is fine, it’s also pretty cumbersome. In theory, it should be easy. In reality, introducing your new employee to everyone, getting them to do the training manual and ensuring they fill in all their forms actually turns out to be very time consuming. There are a lot of processes that have the potential to break down or remain incomplete.

How technology can help

Yammer is Microsoft’s Enterprise Social Network, and as a social network, it can play a big role in the socialising side of employee onboarding. Yammer has the potential to help a lot with the whole process; let’s look at five simple steps you can take with Yammer to simplify onboarding.

  • Create a new starters group

One of Yammer’s outstanding features are its user groups. Anyone can create a group, join one (unless it’s private) and leave when they like. Each group has its own mailing list and provides a newsfeed and comments section where members can discuss group related topics. Having a ‘new starters’ group in your company’s Yammer environment is highly beneficial. Your new hire(s) can use the space to ask questions, introduce themselves and meet other new starters. Because groups work a little like a forum, your new starters can also find answers to questions that other new starters have asked in the past – meaning they can find information quickly without constantly feeling as if they’re pestering colleagues.

  • Build a profile

Yammer is so good because it brings the social aspect of work to the Intranet – a feature which was sorely missing in the Intranets of the past. With a profile image, an ‘about me’ section and information about their skills, your existing colleagues can immediately make topic of conversation, breaking the ice with the new starter. And of course, he or she can use Yammer’s search tool to find out about their colleagues too, prior to a meeting or phone call. A simple yet valuable feature.

  • Provide training and preparation videos

One major aspect of onboarding is training and preparation. In the past, this would involve stuffy manuals or a rather outdated VHS about company goals. Yammer brings all this into the 21st century. With digital training manuals, searchable ‘how-to’ content and up to date videos from your CEO about the vision for the company, Yammer makes onboarding a whole lot smoother.

  • Feedback regularly

Too many organisations see onboarding as a process that lasts, at most, for the first week of a new employee’s time at their company. However, a truly engaging onboarding process should last a lot longer if you really want new colleagues to settle in to their role more permanently. Once they’ve got the basics and know how to use the photocopier, then the real onboarding begins. Regular feedback is a key part of this, and Yammer excels here. With ‘praise’ and ‘like’ features, Yammer means you can quickly and easily highlight your new employee’s good work and help them feel valued.

  • Join relevant Yammer groups

All too often, new hires are added to numerous different mailing lists – many of which are completely irrelevant to them. This is just confusing, and scrolling through lengthy email chains is pretty unproductive. By letting new employees choose the groups they want to follow – whether it’s the HR department’s ‘how-to’ group or the 5-a-side football team – Yammer helps employees get more from the company by targeting areas relevant to them.

If you’re interested in how Yammer can help your new employees get more out of their job, contact us today.

Tim Wallis

Tim Wallis

CEO and Founder

Tim is the CEO of Content and Code and founded the company in 2001. As CEO of Content and Code, Tim focuses on corporate strategy, client and partner relationships, and has overall responsibility for driving the growth of the company. Tim founded Content and Code so he could help transform organisations to be more responsive, more competitive and engage their employees to better realise business goals.

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