Hi,

I know that a lot of companies give new hires access to the enterprise social network even before they join. Can some of you share your experience on this with me, so I can do what it takes to convince our internal systems team. I expect this to be a tough political battle, but not something we can't sway our way if there's enough evidence in favour.

 

Sumeet

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I think it's a great idea, but not sure how you'd implement it as you'd presumably need to be set up with the company email address or some login. I believe it's widespread amongst universities so that students make some friends before they even start!

Sumeet,

 

As I'm sure you already know, there is a large body of research that shows that the better someone is welcomed into an organisation the more likely they are to stay.  Good induction also builds employee engagement and there’s a clear link between engaged employees and organisational results.  According to Towers Watson, companies with high employee engagement had a 19% increase in operating income and almost a 28% growth in earnings per share.  So, first point to tell your stakeholders and sceptics is that “good induction is good for business.”

 

Now onto the issue of opening up the enterprise social network . .

 

Firstly it may not be possible to open the network to people who are not yet employees.  There are clearly issues around access confidential information, organisational policies, strategies and so on.  Yes it is possible to create a “new hire space” but those in your internal systems team may just be too scared to do this – just in case it all goes wrong; but there is another way!

 

Let’s assume that you can’t use your existing systems.  The next thing to do is develop (ideally using the many free tools available) a separate space for the new hires.  This should be branded to demonstrate it belongs to your organisation and also you should provide a number of pages of free-to-access information about the organisation so that the site acts as a beacon and advert for future new hires (another business advantage).  This site should be the space for new hires only, not for existing employees (more of this in a moment).

 

This space should contain information that new hires will find of use in their first two weeks of joining you.  Things such as access to the building, parking, meals, work times, social activities and so on.  NOTE:  This is a short-term place.  When they’re in, put them onto the main enterprise system.

 

Access to the system is via a username and password that can be issued with the formal letter of acceptance.  This ensures that only new hires gain access. 

 

Putting new hires in a space and expecting them to work it all out for themselves isn’t very productive so you can always add in some tasks, rather like quests in games, where the new hire has to actively seek out information.  The new hires should ideally be supported by online buddies (the only existing employees allowed in this space).  These buddies can then say hello, listen into conversations and be there to answer any additional questions the new hire may have.  One great thing to do here is to work with the new hire to ensure they know people that they should contact when they arrive who would be a real asset to them in their future role.

 

So, it is possible to build an efficient, safe and cost-effective space for new hires.  All the evidence shows that the more we do for new people, the more the organisation will be rewarded in the longer term.

 

Your pitch to any skeptics is that it’s cost-effective, confidential, and safe and builds all the right attitudes for the future.  I redesigned an induction programme many years ago to really engage with new hires.  We saw the benefits almost immediately and we saved £millions.  Now that’s a strong argument!

 

Really hope the above is of some help and please come back if I can help further.

 

Jonathan.

Hi Sumeet - I think Jonathan has pretty well summed it up - but I remember that Lars Hyland did a webinar about this where he demonstrated some pre-start sites/learning for Virgin and Sky. These allowed new starters to have a video about their department, and as Jonathan said, gave people tasks to do. I think on the one he demonstrated the new starter could see the other new starters and there was some type of leader board with all the tasks that had to be done before the start date. I thought that this could be utilised by getting some of the compliance knowledge out of the way before the delegates start - plus - if your LMS is able to do this - the trainer would then know if the delegates needed that training again or not (cutting down on induction time etc.).

However - those companies are in the business of media development and therefore were a media rich experience anyway! In our business, we just have a web page with some information about the departments on there. A bit dry and wordy, but it's something...

Good luck!

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