3 Lessons from Microsoft’s Onboarding Procedure

An effective employee onboarding process is essential for the success of the recruiting process. A Glassdoor study has demonstrated that an effective onboarding process can significantly improve employee retention by up to 82 percent and productivity by 70 percent. Thus, it is important to ensure that the onboarding process is properly implemented to maximise the success of the recruiting process.

Microsoft, a major player in the digital world, is renowned for its productivity-driven, employee-friendly workplace. Start-ups and larger organisations alike are eager to emulate Microsoft’s progressive work culture, which starts with a carefully-crafted onboarding process.

An onboarding procedure helps new employees quickly become acclimated to the company’s culture and become productive members of the team. However, many remote-first organisations face the challenge of how to successfully manage virtual onboarding experiences.

Lukas Velush, Community Program Manager at Microsoft, has detailed how he and his team were able to create an excellent virtual onboarding experience for new employees at the firm in a recent article. By establishing a positive onboarding experience, Microsoft was able to ensure that new hires feel welcomed and valued, even when they are not able to physically join the office.

Three approaches to develop a successful onboarding strategy

  1. Onboarding procedure: Pre-boarding requirements

    The process of pre-boarding begins with the signing of a contract. It is important to ensure that the new employee has access to any necessary resources, such as systems, email, chat, project management tools, and educational materials. When it comes to remote onboarding, communication is even more critical, as it will help the new hire feel connected to the company’s virtual environment. Providing an effective pre-boarding experience helps instill confidence in the new employee, furthering their commitment to the organisation.
  2. Onboarding procedure: The onboarding companion

    Microsoft has implemented its “buddy program” for the onboarding process in an effective manner. Through this program, the company is able to provide organisational context, increase productivity, and expedite the onboarding process. By utilising the buddy program, a current employee is assigned to a new employee to provide guidance and support as they become familiar with the organisational culture and structure. This type of program is beneficial in helping to quickly orient the new employee and help them understand and feel more comfortable in their new role.

    Companies wishing to pursue a similar approach should determine which of their existing employees would be willing to take part in this program. An example of a successful buddy program that has been seen in practice is arranging meetings between team members, which could include outlining the expectations of the workplace and clarifying the reporting process.
  3. Onboarding procedure: Meet and greet

    As a part of the remote onboarding process, Human Resources managers often use product demonstrations, user-friendly games, and quizzes to encourage employee camaraderie and assist new recruits in adjusting to their virtual workplace. Interacting with other workers throughout the onboarding process helps new employees gain an understanding of company practices and build a sense of belonging to the organisation.

    Attending events that are specifically geared towards orienting new workers to the firm is a beneficial way to learn about the company, however, the most effective approach to helping new employees become integrated into the workplace is to have them connect with existing workers. By engaging in meet-and-greet activities, new workers can develop a sense of belonging in the virtual environment, and become acclimated to the system more quickly.

What is the significance of onboarding in the employment process?

A recent Gallup poll revealed that merely 12% of businesses are proficient at onboarding new hires. Companies such as Netflix, Twitter, Google, and Buffer, all based in Silicon Valley, have placed a significant emphasis on employee onboarding as part of their recruiting procedure. The success and contentment of their employees suggest that having a similar recruitment system is a desirable model to imitate.

Many onboarding and applicant monitoring software providers promise a smooth onboarding process, but there is much more to it than just filling out forms. The onboarding experience needs to be about more than just paperwork; it is about bringing together the beliefs and expectations of both the employer and the employee in order to create a harmonious workplace where each individual feels comfortable and able to contribute to the success of the organisation.

Onboarding is an integral part of the hiring process, helping employees to become familiar with their role, the company’s values, and what the organisation has to offer. This enables them to get a better understanding of the company’s goals, aiding them in their efforts to focus on the mission.

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