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Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Have Mastered Employee Onboarding, and You Can, Too. Here’s How

67 percent of high-performing companies have a structured new-hire onboarding process.

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BY Adam Robinson - 29 May 2018

Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Have Mastered Employee Onboarding, and You Can, Too. Here's How

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

When you're competing for tech talent in Silicon Valley, it's an all-out war to hire and keep your best team. Whether this war is won or lost often times comes down to a company's ability to onboard employees properly. In fact, one 2017 study by the Society for Human Resource Management showed that on average, 17 percent of new hires leave their join the first three months.

It should come as no surprise that the leading tech companies in the U.S. have taken new employee onboarding to the next level. By looking at the best practices of some of the fastest-growing companies on the planet, you can pull together ideas that will help you take your company's onboarding program to the next level.

Google: Team-centric onboarding

For most large companies, new hire onboarding is a centralized affair. The HR department coordinates large monthly onboarding events where hundreds of recent hires are pushed through a rote process of paperwork completion and employee handbook reviews. *Yawn*

Google takes a different approach, and delegates onboarding down to the team level. The company once famously explained that it "lets the inmates run the asylum," in a nod to their bottom-up approach to just about everything they do. Google is a company that implicitly trusts its individuals to do their best, and their onboarding approach is yet another example of that philosophy in practice.

The net impact of this approach is that onboarding is slightly different from one team to the next. But, true to Google's data-driven ethos everything is measured, the best process is identified and a new onboarding baseline is set.

Key takeaway: How can you break down onboarding tasks and assign them out into your departments?

LinkedIn: It's all about you

With 10,000 employees and over 30 offices scattered around the globe, LinkedIn has chosen to focus their new hire onboarding on making sure that the individual understands:

  1. What their next ninety days will look like.
  2. All of the benefits and programming available to them.

First, LinkedIn provides new team members with a "New Hire Onboarding Roadmap," which clearly lays out the next twelve weeks of their life at LinkedIn and articulates exactly what's expected of them. It also gives them everything they need to know to successfully execute this roadmap, because at LinkedIn, the onus is on the new hire to navigate the roadmap to completion. It's all part of building the ownership mindset that LinkedIn credits in part for its growth over the years.

LinkedIn invests hundreds of millions of dollars each year on employee perks and benefits, but found that new hires were insufficiently trained on how to access those benefits, and failed understand fully what was available to them. That's why it spends an outsize portion of the onboarding process explaining the benefits programs in detail.

Key takeaway: What percentage of your new hire's time is spent searching for basic information?

Twitter: From 'Yes to Desk'

Twitter's onboarding process is a carefully choreographed dance that follows 75 distinct touch points between the new hire, the HR team and the hiring manager. The focus of this process is to deliver an exception experience to their new team member from the moment that they agree to join to the moment they show up for work on day one.

Think about the last time you accepted a new position. Remember that time between offer acceptance and your first day? Feelings of excitement, elation and apprehension combined with anticipation were all running through your mind. Twitter has made the very intentional decision to ensure that period of time is a fantastic experience so you can hit the group running.

They don't leave it to chance: your equipment, phone, systems access and workspace are all meticulously provisioned in accordance with their process. "Sorry, your laptop isn't ready yet" isn't something you'll ever hear as a new hire at Twitter.

Key takeaway: How are you making Day One great for your new hires?

The best company cultures begin with exceptional new hire onboarding. To be the best, learn from the best.

What are you going to change about your company's new hire onboarding process?

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