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What's the #WOLAN Onboarding Method & Is It Right for You?

December 20, 2016
5 min read
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Performance Management, Supercharged


There has been a lot of discussion around the importance of employee onboarding, and honestly, we’ve been a big part of the noise too. If you’ve paid even a second of attention to all the hum, you probably know why those first few weeks of introductions are so absolutely important. If not, well, here’s a little synopsis, organized onboarding programs have been shown to improve...

  • Retention rates by 25%
  • Time to productivity by 60%
  • Overall customer satisfaction by 53%

If you haven’t implemented an employee onboarding program, we’re guessing the reason is a lack of resources. There isn’t enough time, manpower, direction, expertise, understanding of your organization, etc… Whatever the reason, leaving your new hire to fend for themselves is detrimental to your talent and business. That’s why there are constantly new ways to approach the process. One such response to the challenge includes connecting a new communication technique and technology.

CC-Click-ToTweetBird-01.png Organized onboarding programs improve retention rates by 25% and more. Read about it here: 

The #WOLAN Method

Working Out Loud in A Network (#WOLAN), a framework created by Lesley Crook, focuses on changing workplace behaviors with more open and digital employee communications via enterprise social networks. The result is reduced email traffic, but increased understanding and better connections between employees and leadership on all levels.

Similar to social networks used in personal life, ESN adoption fosters conversations between employees of all skill sets in a far reaching capacity. The platform preserves history of these interactions so that they can be referenced again in the future either for a refresher or for new team additions who will benefit from the information the same way as those who took part in the original conversation.

CC-Click-ToTweetBird-01.png Where do you stand with #WOLAN on the benefits of implementing ESNs to lower email traffic? 

Of course, ESNs have become a rather well-known and widely used tool for many organizations across multiple industries. #WOLAN combines ESNs with John Stepper’s Work Out Loud method, a practice that changes the way we approach relationship building and knowledge sharing. Work Out Loud encourages people to “lead with generosity, investing in relationships that give you access to other people, knowledge and possibilities,” instead of networking for personal or professional gain.

Tech, Talk and Onboarding

Using #WOLAN means a more fluid and realistic introduction to a company. For experienced employees, the communication provides a pulse of the organization, notifying them on what their coworkers are doing, what projects the department is balancing and challenges being faced. The tool also provides a place for discussion, giving workers a place to ask other questions or offer advice. Used effectively, ESNs can provide a culture sharing opportunity, too. Coworkers can be lighthearted or constructive depending on the current need.

Today’s worker relies heavily on email. In 2015, the average office worker received 121 emails each day. That alone can raise multiple concerns. For one thing, employees strongly desire work-life balance, yet cannot totally disconnect from their work when email is now pushed straight to our mobile devices. In fact, 50% of Americans check their email while in bed. The sheer volume means a greater chance of missing something urgent, especially when delivered outside of an employee’s office hours or during extended time off.

With the #WOLAN method, urgent or not, posts and conversations take place in a virtual meeting setting, allowing all employees to see the questions and answers. From day one, new hires will begin to see how discussions progress, the strengths of their colleagues and even get to experience the culture of their new team. ESNs in a startup might include office jokes, while a more corporate atmosphere sticks to sharing pictures of the potluck and daily words of wisdom.

Too Much Tech?

As with any technology or new approach to old problems, there are bound to be some non-believers calling “trend,” and their attempt at quality control is absolutely necessary as the market continues to fill more and more tech. Why? Because what they say and think are exactly the things going through the minds of some of your employees.

For example, #WOLAN requires a great deal of reworking in the way you approach your day to day work. Some employees will be excited by a new tool that gives them room to spread their wings and try something new. Meanwhile, some employees will already be overwhelmed with the tools their position requires them to use. A new ESN is yet another username and password to remember, app to download and avenue to check.

Additionally, #WOLAN requires workers to communicate and collaborate. While some employees crave collaborative work environments, others would rather remain silent and observe. For those who aren’t so keen to converse small meetings and email conversation might be their preferred collaboration method. #WOLAN would mean stepping out of some comfort zones.

As with any talent management process, the best onboarding solution for your team is something only you and your employees can decide. Your unique organization has changed with each hire, exit and promotion, so the best program for your friend’s company might flop within yours. One thing all organizations can agree on: designing an effective and organized onboarding program is important.

ClearCompany’s employee onboarding software replaces clunky processes with a more streamlined solution, easing candidate experience and administrative work. See how onboarding works with ClearCompany’s onboarding software! View case study.

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