The Manager’s role is critical in the onboarding process
Updated: Mar 31
Interview with Paulin Larsen Berglöf, CEO and founder, Whippy
What does Whippy do?
Whippy designs structured onboarding processes with customized content that is focused on both the employee and manager experience. The onboarding processes are created in external technical solutions and platforms.
Does onboarding and introduction mean the same thing or are there differences?
We used to talk about introduction but today, we use a new terminology with terms such as employer branding, retention and onboarding. The difference between introduction and onboarding is mainly that introduction was a more analog process. Analog in the sense that it included a lot of physical material such as employee handbooks. It also included physical introduction days which were aimed at getting the employee up to speed. There was a lot of one-way communication. The introduction was also often limited to a few days time. Onboarding, on the other hand, should be a more digital process and with two-way communication. The employees should be able to share their reflections, ideas and thoughts about the business as you can learn a lot from new employees. Onboarding should also be conducted over time, up to 12 months, as 12 months is the average time to get a new employee completely onboarded. Therefore, you need to plan ahead; for example what will happen during the seventh month and not only during the first week.
Why was Whippy founded?
Whippy was founded out of a frustration. We worked closely with companies but in other areas that were related to onboarding, such as recruitment and organisational development, and we stood on the sidelines when it came to the actual onboarding of new employees. We saw that companies put a lot of time and resources into recruitment but once the new recruits started, it did not turn out as expected. Expectations were not always held, employees sometimes left their jobs early and there was often a lack of culture integration. Conclusively, the recruitment became very expensive as people dropped out. We started Whippy as we know how critical the first months of employment are, both to the new recruit and to the manager.
The founders of Whippy, Paulin Larsen Berglöf and Ida Garamvölgyi, both run additional businesses within recruitment and organisational development and saw a gap in the market when it comes to the onboarding processes within companies. Ida often saw that companies with a good vision but in the ending lack a plan, time and knowledge to manage new recruits in their new roles and Paulin met managers that understood the value of onboarding but lacked the time and the right tools to succeed.
Why is onboarding important?
Today, there are a lot of requirements on employers. As an employee, you want to fit with the culture and have a leader that you actually want to follow. You want to have fun along the way and almost experience your employment as a journey. We can also see that companies put a lot of effort into attracting new employees. Looking forward, we believe the focus will shift onto retaining them.
When it comes to withdrawals, as many as 1 in 5 will quit their jobs within the first 45 days. Paulin predicts that in the future, companies must focus even more on retaining the employees you have attracted and recruited.
There is often talk about managers’ lack of time. Why should managers focus on onboarding, too?
The benefits are many but primarily to retain new employees. Of course, you want more employees to feel satisfied with their onboarding journey and to feel ready to fully take on their role. How employees experience their first time of employment and how they talk about it externally is an additional reason why, as it affects the employer brand. Studies (Gallup 2019, Creating an Exceptional Onboarding Journey for New Employees) indicate that the manager’s role is critical for how the new employee experiences the new workplace as an engaged manager indicates that you are important to the company. We have seen this in practice with our customers as well - what has been most appreciated in the onboarding is the manager’s active participation in the process.
Paulin’s recommendations to managers who are onboarding new employees:
People work for people Objectives and tasks are often prioritized over culture and values, which are often neglected. However, if you as a manager include how employees should experience and become a part of the company’s culture and values in your strategy, the incentives to stay increase. Also, think about how you want to be perceived as a manager as leadership plays an important role in why people stay within a company.
Confirm expectations Make sure that the employee’s expectations are aligned with reality and encourage the employee to ask questions and to reflect on their new experiences early on. One of the top 3 reasons for early quits is that the reality did not live up to expectations.
Physical meetings Even though the onboarding process is mainly digital, physical meetings cannot be completely disregarded as they build a strong relationship between you as a manager and the new employee. However, you do not need to have several long meetings - rather, they should be well designed and with relevant content.
Utilize past experiences The window where a new employee can see the company with fresh eyes is short. Make sure to utilize this window by capturing the employee’s unique experiences and ideas. This can contribute with valuable insights and new perspectives.