Mapping the Employee Journey: From Onboarding to Resignation

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In today’s modern workplace, it’s vital to understand the journey your employees go on. 

Not only is this key in terms of helping your employees to grow and develop but it’s imperative in terms of overall business success.

This journey is not just about processes and policies; it’s about the individual’s emotions, expectations, and engagement levels.

With that being said, below, we’ll map out the typical employee journey in full.

What is the ‘employee journey’

The employee journey can be best visualized as a roadmap, detailing every key touchpoint, experience, and milestone a worker encounters from the moment they join a company until their eventual exit.

The importance of understanding the employee journey

It’s vital for both employers and employees to understand the employee journey. There are numerous reasons why:

For employers:

  • Optimize processes – If you understand every phase of the journey, you can then refine processes effectively, from recruitment to retirement. 
  • Increase employee retention – A well-mapped journey helps identify areas of employee discontent early on. Addressing these issues proactively can reduce turnover and related costs.
  • Enhance your brand as an employer – A positive, clearly defined employee journey can become a strong selling point for prospective talent, establishing your company as an attractive place to work.
  • Create a feedback loop – You’ll have a structured framework for gathering feedback, which means management is empowered to make timely, data-driven decisions.
  • Growth and development – With clarity on how your employees progress through your business, you can invest effectively in targeted training and upskilling.

For employees:

  • Clear career pathway – An outlined journey will give your employees a sense of direction, helping them visualize their growth and progression in your company. 
  • Empowerment – Knowing the journey fosters a sense of ownership. Employees are better positioned to voice concerns, seek opportunities, and actively engage in their roles.
  • Personal growth – As employees understand the journey, they can identify areas of personal development, be it skills, relationships, or leadership capabilities.
  • Transparency and trust – A documented journey promotes openness, enabling employees to know what to expect. They’ll trust in your commitment to their well-being.

Consider creating an employee handbook

To further support these goals, having a comprehensive employee handbook is essential. It serves as a foundation for clear policies and processes, enhancing both the employer brand and the employee experience. You can use this employee handbook template to get started.

The power of preboarding

Preboarding is the phase that bridges the gap between a successful job offer and an employee’s first day.

Think of it as the prelude to onboarding, setting the stage for a new hire’s journey in your organization.

Importantly, preboarding is not just an administrative process.

It’s an opportunity to create the first real impression of the company culture, the teams, and the role itself.

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Especially for top talents, who are brimming with enthusiasm, this phase offers a window to channel their excitement and to ensure they feel valued and engaged even before their official start date.

Activities typically involved in preboarding

✔️ Paperwork

✔️ Setting up tools and systems

✔️ Initial introductions

✔️ Preliminary training

The impact of a smooth preboarding on the overall onboarding experience

By developing an excellent pre boarding process, you’ll set the tone for your employee’s entire journey with your business. 

This matters for a number of reasons:

  • Boost confidence – Your employee will feel prepared and ready to take on their new role. 
  • Create excitement – A glimpse into your company’s culture, values, and teams can amplify enthusiasm, ensuring new hires are eager to contribute from day dot.
  • Promote early engagement – New hires want to get started right away. Preboarding leverages this enthusiasm. It makes sure that new workers feel part of the team, even before they officially start.
  • Reduce first-day jitters – Being a new person is always daunting! However, when a new hire is already familiar with tools, systems, and a few faces, it can make the first day more productive and less scary.

The significance of onboarding

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” – How many times have you heard this quote from Will Rogers?

The onboarding process is basically your new hire’s introduction to your company. 

This initial phase has a big impact on how an employee perceives your business. Whether positive or negative, these perceptions often last.

Laying the foundation for a productive and engaged employee

Onboarding is not just about introductions and training. It’s about laying the foundation for an employee’s future with your company:

  • Relationship building – By introducing new hires to their teams you can create camaraderie, ensuring a collaborative work environment
  • Feedback channels – If you establish clear communication channels from the beginning, employees are able to voice concerns, ask questions, and seek guidance. This promotes an environment of continuous learning and improvement.
  • Cultural immersion – Onboarding allows new employees to dive deep into your company’s culture. Activities, team lunches, or group projects can give insights into team dynamics, company traditions, and the unwritten norms of your business.

Early days: Settling In

In the initial days, new employees are often raring to go but may also feel like a fish out of water. They have the skills and enthusiasm but may lack the specific knowledge and context to perform at their peak.

This is where training programs and mentorship come into play.

Customized training programs, which are tailored to the employee’s role, will enhance skills, help them get familiar with tools, and understanding processes.

Pairing a newcomer with a seasoned employee is also beneficial. Mentors can guide new hires through the intricacies of their roles and responsibilities.

Plus, by giving someone a go-to person for doubts, feedback, or even general company queries, you make the settling in process a lot easier.

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Maintaining engagement and motivation

Now that your employee is part of the team, it’s all about keeping those engagement and motivation levels high. We’ve identified three critical ways of doing so:

  1. Recognition and rewards – Employees thrive in an environment where their efforts are noticed and appreciated. Recognition and rewards send a clear message that your employees’ efforts matter. They also boost morale and encourage healthy competition. 
  2. Work-life balance and employee well-being – Rested and well-balanced employees are often more productive, innovative, and driven. Plus, they take fewer sick days and are more consistent in their attendance.
  3. The role of leadership and communication – Leaders need to articulate a clear vision, ensuring every team member understands and feels connected to the larger company goals.

Explore tools like Great People Inside Instruments to enhance your employee journey.

Continuous learning and skill development

Regular performance reviews and constructive feedback loops are critical. They help to align your goals with your employees’ goals, fostering a culture of mutual growth. 

Simultaneously, if you provide opportunities for employees to move up the career ladder and take on more tasks, there are two clear benefits:

  • You show commitment to your employees’ futures
  • You’ll have a more skilled workforce, which can propel your business forward

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Recognizing signs of disengagement

It’s often said that employees don’t leave companies; they leave managers or a toxic work culture.

An individual’s disengagement doesn’t just affect them but has ripple effects across the team and business. It can:

  • Drain morale
  • Reduce collaboration
  • Increase workload for others
  • Disrupt ongoing projects
  • Tarnish your work culture

Disengagement is like a silent alarm, signaling deeper issues in the fabric of your business, whether it’s leadership, work culture, or employee relations.

Recognizing and addressing it is not just about retaining an individual but safeguarding the collective spirit, productivity, and future success of the team.

Addressing concerns and providing support

It’s essential to establish open communication channels so you can truly understand and address employee concerns. Examples include surveys, one-on-ones, and robust feedback systems.

This will foster a transparent environment where employees feel valued and heard.

Receiving a letter of resignation

When employees want to leave, they’ll hand in a letter of resignation. You can see these letter of resignation examples to get an idea of what to expect.

While each individual’s journey is unique, there are common factors that often lead to resignation:

  • A perceived lack of advancement opportunities or role stagnation
  • Issues like unsupportive managers, toxic team dynamics, or an incongruent company culture
  • Insufficient remuneration or benefits compared to industry standards
  • Overburdening workloads or inflexible schedule
  • Sometimes, individuals seek fresh challenges, a change in career direction, or personal growth outside the current business

If someone wants to leave, it’s important to conduct an exit interview.

Direct feedback can reveal systemic problems or specific areas of concern that may have been overlooked.

Plus, learning why employees leave can provide guidance on how to better attract and retain talent.

Post-resignation: Offboarding and alumni relations

Even after an employee departs, maintaining a positive relationship can have benefits. Former employees can be ambassadors for the brand, vouching for the company’s values and work culture.

Such relationships ensure departures are amicable and open the possibility of rehiring should circumstances align.

To turn offboarding into future opportunities, you should offer one-on-one exit interviews, uncover possible areas for improvement in the business, reinforce confidentiality, and sign them up for your alumni program. In fact, a lot of people do the latter early on.

Conclusion: The cyclical nature of the employee journey

The employee journey isn’t linear; it’s cyclical. From the first introductions to offboarding, and sometimes back to a reunion, the journey is evolving all of the time. Therefore, understanding and perfecting the employee journey is something that requires your continual attention. It’s not a one-time thing.

Article By Kerry Leigh Harrison 

Kerry Leigh Harrison has over 11+ years of experience as a content writer. She graduated from university with a First Class Hons Degree in Multimedia Journalism. In her spare time, she enjoys attending sports and music events.

Re-Onboarding Your Return-to-Office Employees

At the beginning of the pandemic, employers quickly shifted almost every aspect of their business, including the onboarding of new employees, to take place remotely. Research from Glassdoor shows that organisations with strong onboarding practices improve employee retention by 82% and productivity by more than 70%. Yet, according to Gallup, only 12% of employees feel that their organisation does a great job re-onboarding employees — and this is under “normal” circumstances.

Now, as organisations look at returning to the office in some capacity during the months ahead, there is an opportunity for re-onboarding employees who started remotely. Doing so will help create a continued positive employee experience and help further socialise them into the organisation’s culture, given that this group of employees will likely not have met their fellow team members in person, nor likely have ever been to the organisation’s physical offices.

In looking at the group of re-onboarding employees, you may also include employees who started a month or so before the sudden shift to work from home, as their full onboarding experience may have been cut short, as well as include internal hires into new roles or transfers to new offices. For brevity, I’ll call this combined group “remote hires.”

In addition to other onboarding best practices, here are six strategies for re-onboarding employees who started remotely:

Allow remote hires to bond as a cohort

This group shares a common, distinctive experience — starting a new job during what is, hopefully, a once-in-a-lifetime global pandemic. Laurie Tennant, VP of People at Norwest Venture Partners, shared that her firm has had about 20 people who started remotely, ranging in position from Executive Assistant to Partner, across all teams in the organisation. She said, “You have an emotional resonance with your start-group that just kind of lasts” and shared that she is planning to do something special for remote hires where they all meet live to help form an affinity group of people who started during this time. Judy Parkman, Director of Human Resources as The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation also plans to organise an additional in-person lunch for remote hires with the foundation president, which was previously held virtually.

During these events, consider creating structured opportunities for remote hires to interact and get to know each other, such as ice breakers or “speed networking” activities, especially when there are multiple levels of the organisation represented or power differentials than can create feelings of awkwardness for individuals, regardless of their position.

Be mindful

Make an extra effort to help these employees feel particularly welcome, as if it’s their first day at the office — because it is! Consider leaving something special at their desk, be it a personal note, company swag, or other small gift. This is a nice touch that will go a long way in making members of this group feel valued, cared for, and recognised for having started a new job during a uniquely challenging time. Also, be thoughtful in making sure remote hires’ desks are located in an area where they will be able to naturally interact with other colleagues.

facility tours

Being new to an office can feel awkward and intimidating when you don’t know your way around — sort of like joining a new gym and not knowing where specific equipment is located or how a new machine works (in this case, it might be trying to figure out where the espresso machine is and how it works or how to get a FedEx package sent). In orienting remote hires to the physical space, conduct these tours in small groups to provide additional opportunities for remote hires to meet and get to know others. Show them not only where the office pantry, break room, restrooms and fire exits are, but other things like security protocols, conference room sign up procedures, helpful short-cuts and specific potential hazards or things to avoid, such as getting locked in the stairwell.

Communication and regular check ins

Managers of remote hires may take for granted that since these employees have already been on the job for some period of time that they’re already part of the team and don’t need assistance. Remind these managers that it’s their job to help the re-onboarding process for remote hires to make sure they are adjusting well to the new environment and have everything they need. Encourage them to take their remote hires to lunch and conduct a one-on-one with them their first week in the office, as would have been the case if they had initially started their job at the office.

Make sure managers and someone from HR is constantly checking in with remote hires in the weeks that follow. In many organisations today there are employee experience managers also plans to check in regularly with remote hires, which account for about 10% of their total employees. In addition, they should also assess what re-onboarding experiences may need to be conducted once back in the office based on what they hear from this group during these check ins.

Create a solid buddy system

Creating a buddy system can increase employee productivity and satisfaction. Remote hires are not only working at a new company, but also will be working in a new situation once people go back to the office, which can make them feel insecure. Aim to pair remote hires with more tenured employees who are familiar not only with the physical office, but also the office culture, as this can be a key source of support for remote hires helping them to navigate new dynamics once they are back at the office, even if they only return onsite a few days a week.

Consider assigning them two buddies — one who is on their team who has a good understanding of the remote hire’s role and manager, and one who is not on their team to help broaden their internal network and provide useful context outside their department. Ensure that these buddies understand how important their role is in the remote hire’s experience coming into the office and in helping them to understand how “in office” culture might be different than virtual culture.

Create informal team-building opportunities

Creating opportunities for people to get to know each other better will help all employees to reconnect after being remote for over a year but will also help remote hires, in particular, to socialise and get to know both new and seasoned employees in a more relaxed and less intimidating environment. For example, Norwest Venture Partners are planning to do a summer picnic and a voluntary opening over the summer for anyone who would like to come back to the office before their official open date in September. This gives remote hires the option to get to know the office and other colleagues in a less hectic or intimidating environment. The firm also plans to hold open houses at their offices once they officially open to create more opportunities for employees to mingle and get to know each other. Of course, other activities can also be planned with your more immediate teams, such as team dinners or informal outdoor barbeque.

While going back to the office will be an adjustment for everyone, it will be an entirely new experience for remote hires. Don’t squander the opportunity to create a great employee experience and use the strategies for re-onboarding your remotely hired employees.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

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