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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

New Hire Onboarding Blog or Social Network

Just wanted to through an idea at everyone that came up during several discussions today at DevLearn ...
How about asking select new hires to keep an inside the firewall blog as they begin their jobs at your company?
If they come into the company in waves, how about providing them a discussion group or better yet a social network tool that has good discussions as a means of communicating with each other and with coaches?
Is this already being done all the time? If not, why not? This seems painfully obvious.


Anonymous said...

We are looking into both options at our company. The new hire training programs are in the middle of being revamped, the new version will include both blogging and discussion boards. I think it is about time we have a online social network for employees.

Anonymous said...

We piloted this, but it failed in a control environment.

Anonymous said...

I'd go a step further and say that social networks should just be standard fare inside an organization. Why only connect newbies with each other via discussions, blogs etc...? How much more powerful to use this technique to connect newbies to old salts who can ramp them quicker and be invigorated by new ideas... And yes, this is being done successfully. Also in reverse for retention and alumni networks. Here are some recent blogposts on related subjects:

I also think this entire discussion should be extended to recruiting as well. Who is a telented Gen Y going to work for (or with)? A great company with no social network or community-type of interaction or one that has it? Since 70% plus of Gen Y's updated their MySpace or Facebook page daily, I think this is self-evident. In the coming talent wars, this is going to a required element for companies serious about recruiting top-tier talent.

By the way Tony, I am at conference. Sorry I haven't tracked you down. I was with clients over last couple of days.

Lee Kraus said...

Emily makes a good point. It isn't about giving them a tool or putting them in the social network. New employees that have a blog will blog about their new job, publicly if their company will let them, privately among peers if they won't.

Creating a "structured" framework for social networking to address a specific learning need is probably only going to work if the learner doesn't already have a network and even then it may not be linked to the outside value of the internet, so it is diminished. I just think it can't be controlled or pointed or aimed.

If you set up a network for new employees, when do they get to talk to the rest of the company? Could you encourage new employees to blog. Yes, that would be great.

Guy Boulet said...

You can provide them with a fully equiped coffe room, but you cannot force them to drink coffee. In other words, it might be a good idea to have social networking tools available, but it does not necessarily mean that they will use them.

As some brings their Starbucks Coffee at work, some will use their own social networking tools because this is where their social network actually is. I think the enterprise should not waste money on reinventing the wheel, they should rather foster the use of existing tools for those who wants to use them. For others, they just don't use them because they simply don't need them.

Robert Becker said...

I designed a related concept, not technology dependent though. It was an orientation program called MY STORY BEGINS,for a global apparel company. It centered on keeping a physical, handwritten, private journal for the first year of employment. See the rationale for "Pages" in Cameron's "The Artist's Way at Work" for background on this concept. I think blogs and social networking may not be the perfect way to assimilate new employees, though they have many other uses (see Fifth Discipline and Cluetrain Manifesto for classic inspiration).
Apart from orientation, I believe an untapped and very promising dimension of social networking by employees is for BRAND BUILDING. Everybody assumes that customer relationships are paramount to brand building. Creating a platform where employees can socialize with customers, in a brand savvy way, may help them grow into the high-potentials that everybody wants them to be.

Anonymous said...

This is a great idea, we have looked at different options re blogs and also possibly using external tools like Facebook and giving new hires a pre-induction with the opportunity to go in and have a look around at maybe a company area. This has all been discussion only though, a more extreme but fun option could be giving them induction on a second life island and using the social networking facility in there, I think the concept of island is a great visual clue to how starting somewhere new 'feels.
We sometimes get new hires in hundreds on some weeks so having the opportunity to start trying to your way around the culture of a large organisation is a great one and social networking tools, even internal ones like new hire wikis or team spaces seem to lend themselves well to it.

Tony Karrer said...

These are great comments!

@Kat - I would be curious what the specifics are of your plans.

@David - I agree that this would work to help get communication going with others in the organization. It might be a way to get some of the mentors to champion these techniques in other places.

@Lee & @Guy - I wonder if the fact that someone already has a blog means that they would be unwilling to pick up an internal blogging tool if it was presented as a way for them to connect with people in the org and help the org in the process. I agree that it would be nicer for them to use the existing tool, but that likely will cause a lot of issues.

I wonder as we look at more possibilities if those don't make it harder for us to adopt a simple but workable solution.

Anonymous said...

Seems like a waste of time to me. To create a good blog that people will actualy read takes a lot of time and effort that perhaps could be better spent actualy doing their jobs. In addition all the time it takes to filter through other people's blogs and read them for a few choice nuggets of information (lets face it a lot of it will be worthless babel) takes even more time. Doesn't seem like a good use of resources to me...

Tony Karrer said...

Anonymous - the purpose of the blog would be to take advantage of the experiences of a new hire and also have them get help from other new hires and other people in the org.

But, I'm glad to see a contrary position. Maybe this doesn't make much sense.

Unknown said...

Could become another Facebook?

Since the advent of social networking sites in 1997, the phenomenon has taken the world by storm. Once called a passing fad social networking is now a thriving business, in 2006, alone it garnered over $6.5 billion in revenue, while the three biggest players, connected over 280 million subscribers in a way never known before to society. This form of connection has drawn the globe closer together than anyone ever predicted.

Just a few years ago,, solely dominated the social networking site market with almost 80% of the social networking site market but now websites like Facebook entered the social networking site race becoming the 8th most viewed website in the U.S. according to web measuring traffic site which originally started at Harvard University , later extended to Boston area schools and beyond has mystified many naysayer's with its explosive growth over the last three years and an astounding asking price of $10-$15 billion dollars for the company. But who will be next?

Who will carry the torch into the future?

With the rapid growth of the likes of MySpace and Facebook the burning question on everyone's tongue is who is next? As with any burgeoning field many newcomers will and go but only the strong and unique will survive. Already many in the field have stumbled, as indicated by their traffic rankings, including heavily funded with its former founder at the helm, and with its ridiculous Web 3.0 slogan. There are many possibilities but it is a dark horse coming fast into view and taking hold in the social networking site market at the global level that has us interested the website - Less than a year ago, this newest contender directed at 25 to 50 years olds graced the absolute bottom of the list with its website ranked at a dismal 5,000,000. With not so much as a squeak this rising star has come from the depths of anonymity growing an eye-popping 10,000% in less than one year to make itself known worldwide now sporting a recent web traffic ranking in the 5,000 range.

Understanding the Market

When people in the United States hear about Facebook and other services such as MySpace the widely held belief is that these websites are globally used and are as synonymous as Google or Yahoo in regards to having a global market presence. This idea is completely misguided. Now it is true that both of these social networking giants are geared to service the western industrialized cultures but when it comes to the markets of the future, the emerging markets, they have virtually no presence. The sites themselves are heavily Anglicized, and Facebook in particular has an extremely complicated web interface that eludes even those familiar with the language, making them virtually inaccessible in other parts of the world even where English is the main language.

Our interest in Vois is global and geopolitical. Simply, Vois understands this lack of market service and is building its provision model on a global research concept developed by Goldman Sachs a few years ago. The concept is basically predicated on the belief that beginning now using current economic models and continuing those models over the next few decades will lead to a major paradigm shift in the world regarding nations who are current economic leaders like those being the USA and the other members of the G-7 and those who will become dominant in the world economy mainly the BRICs. In the Goldman research report Goldman highlights the fastest growing nations and has dubbed them with the two acronyms BRIC's and N-11. BRIC standing for ( Brazil, R ussia, India and China) representing the fastest growing economies and N-11 or what are being called the Next-11 representing the next 11 countries to emerge as future important economies such as Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Turkey and Vietnam. This approach has already been implemented with some success with companies like Orkut, who has over 80% of the market share in Brazil and large holdings in India and Eastern Europe . Other providers such as Hi5 have the world as their focus and are making great strides in global market share while Facebook builds itself into a niche provider wholly unready to take on the world.

A Growing Presence

As Vois breaks new ground in the world market pursuing previously ignored demographics, they afford themselves the opportunity of tremendous growth unfettered by the giants such as Facebook and MySpace. While cultivating this new user base, Vois will also be able to monopolize on their business revenue strategies, creating an area of commerce that will make their site increasingly attractive to business and users the world over. This concept, dubbed sCommerce, allows the subscriber to promote themselves in both personal and a professional fashion while giving them the option of setting up shop on the site. This approach will allow business owners to target their market in a way never before allowing them to focus on interested groups of individuals while providing follow-up without having to commit to wasteful blanket campaigns that are typically the order of the day. This newfound border will allow Vois to explore new revenue models while provide a tremendous service for both their regular subscribers and business subscribers alike. With all this going on, rapid traffic growth to the site, we pose the question - is Vois the next Facebook, it sure looks like it but only time will tell….

Anonymous said...

I am an Expert Advisor for the Human Capital Institute on their Comprehensive Onboarding and Career Transition panels. This question has been raised on several of the webinars and Innovation Tour events that I've participated in.

Some companies provide access to a restricted blog to specific employee cohorts, (i.e. hire date, department, length of hire), and believe that it's a great way to accelerate the socialization process.

It's especially useful for members of global and/or virtual teams that collaborate through groupware tools.

I've also advised some of my clients to use restricted blogs to connect peer onboarding coaches with new hires, and also to create learning communities such as managers with less than one year in their new role.

Tony Karrer said...

Mark - thanks for chiming in. Do you happen to have any links to posts or articles on this?

Anonymous said...


Happy to provide a complimentary white paper titled "Comprehensive Onboarding Beyond-The-Line-of-Sight" written after a presentation for the Human Capital Institute.

It should be posted to the "Resources" section of by Monday, May 19th.

Anonymous said...

The days hiring and orientation are mainly called as onboarding. There are many onboarding companies which develops and uses onboarding software for its HR purposes. Some of the companies include Silkroadtech, Enwisen, Taleo etc.

automated onboarding said...

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