Where does employee experience start and employer brand end?


Employer brand is usually the domain of Recruitment, and employee experience belongs to… well, that’s the issue, isn’t it? It belongs to everyone. Employee experience is our perception of company culture.

So the short answer is: the two are intricately intertwined and begin way before a new hire shows up on their first day. Wait until then and you miss a crucial window for shaping newcomers’ expectations, and heaven forbids there be a disconnect between your recruitment brand and their employee experience. That usually means you’re not delivering on your recruitment promises.

The HR Congress Blog is proud to partner with Talmundo for the upcoming Congress and brings you a very recent success story from the onboarding specialist:

Talmundo sat down with Xavier Baechler, HR Director, PMO HR Operations at Firmenich to discuss the challenges of creating a global new hire welcome program that more consistently shapes their employee experience across the globe and does not rely solely on each hiring manager’s natural people management skills (or lack thereof).

Firmenich’s Backstory

As the largest privately owned company in the perfume and flavour business, Firmenich has always had a rich history to share with their employees. Working for Firmenich implies fully buying into their brand story, while upholding company standards worldwide.

As often happens, especially in global companies, Firmenich had a semi-structured and often adhoc set of procedures for those first few weeks, that varied between countries, offices and even departments. Lack of alignment in their onboarding and HR processes sometimes meant some new hires received no introduction into company culture at all, while all of the logistical elements including new hire’s desk and computer fell in the hands of local managers with no standard system in place.

The Benefits of Onboarding: Welcome Your New Hires or Else

To sum up the findings of our research on onboarding, employees with a formal onboarding program experience a 54% increase in new hire productivity, letting companies retain 60% more new employees long-term, in comparison to organizations with no formal onboarding process in place.

With most of your new hires deciding whether to stay or leave long-term within their first year on the job, one would think there is no better time to start properly engaging them than on the first day on the job. Wrong. Onboarding is more effective when it starts before they show up on Day 1. But if your onboarding program is 100% offline or is based on your intranet or LMS then how does it start before they do?

Save Time & Promote Your Brand

The joy of making part of your orientation process digital means that this is no longer an obstacle. No longer do the new hires need to bug the next-door-cubicle-neighbour for directions around the office, and all company policies are delivered to them in an orderly and timely fashion. And any feedback they may have in those first weeks and months goes directly to their line manager (or HR if it needs to be escalated). Sounds dreamy already, right?

 Quote by Xavier Baechler: “As soon as the Onboarding App went live, it sold itself – it was that easy to implement”.

Little does it have to do with magic – making sure the information and necessary documentation for your new hires represent your company culture they way you want it to and stays applicable across divisions and borders is up to you.

Firmenich’s New Onboarding Strategy

1. Reinforce Company Culture

To make sure new employees understand what Firmenich stands for before they come into the office on their first day on the job, Firmenich uses Talmundo’s Onboarding App. Accessing the information in the app from any device allows new hires to get all the information they need on the go and whenever is convenient for them, letting them browse around the company’s story and getting contact information of their future teammates. And after they are done browsing? They can test their knowledge of Firmenich with one of the quizzes and feel extra confident getting ready for their first day at work.

Connecting with new hires before they even start their new job allows for creating a deeper understanding of Firmenich’s practices, history and ethics, both reinforcing the employer brand and creating a foundation for a lasting bond with every new Firmenich employee.

2. Face-to-Face on a New Hire’s First Day

Having more consistent involvement of managers with every incoming employee has been the crucial point of focus for Firmenich. And once a new hire begins, the onboarding experience continues in person with the main touch points structured by the app. By sending notification messages to managers, the company can make sure managers are following through with the one-to-one meetings and help managers with tips and best practices for those conversations.

However, face-to-face time is only as valuable as the information you have at hand. Simple pulse check surveys are released to new hires so they can provide feedback on the different phases of their employee experience, allowing both managers and HR to be informed if anything goes astray in the process.

3. Keep the H in HR

Using an automated onboarding solution creates an engaging and efficient system for information delivery. However, to create continuous employee engagement and grow brand ambassadors in the future the human touch is still required.

Quote by Xavier Baechler: “Onboarding very much depends on the individual managers involved, not only the structured approach from HR”.

Integration of onboarding processes may start with automated solutions, but it depends on promoting an onboarding-mindful mindset as part of your organization’s ethos. Connecting employees and their managers through Talmundo allows Firmenich to do just that, establishing communication lines between employees and making sure they do connect in person when at the office.

How should you approach selecting an automated onboarding solution for your company?

With a myriad of different software options focused on a number of HR processes at once, you can get easily carried away by the process of selecting, buying and implementing HR automation software. Xavier’s advice for picking the perfect onboarding solution to represent your company is to focus on 3 main factors:

  1. maturity level of the software,
  2. complexity of implementation,
  3. and pricing.

 When picking between a broader HRM or LMS and best-in-class niche onboarding solution, another important point to consider is whether your organization is starting with onboarding from scratch or already has a structured (although mostly offline) process in place. A solution provider specialized only in Onboarding can better help you work through the restructuring or creating an onboarding process that puts employee experience at its center while still getting the administrative compliance under control.

What to expect next when your automated onboarding system has already met your expectations?

Making sure Firmenich’s company culture is delivered through even more country- and office-specific content is the next challenge. Once an automated solution is in place to take care of all the basics, there is no limit to your content imagination. Creating a 360 video to take your new hires around their future office? Sure! Sending them a welcome video from their CEO? Easy! How about creating a whole welcome music video from their future teammates? Think big, think creative and the right delivery tool will make sure your efforts are not left unnoticed by new hires.

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