Sometimes Digital is the most human solution…

How it feels to be the new kid

Plan International are advancing children’s rights and equality for girls in over 75 countries. Creating this kind of impact, often in challenging environments, takes a massive global effort from a team that is super aligned to the organisation’s purpose and safeguarding standards. And with new people joining the team all the time, it’s essential they are able to contribute quickly and stay motivated.

I don’t know if you have joined a new team recently. Something weird happens as the anticipation of your exciting new opportunity gets muddled with feelings of anxiety about whether or not you’re up to it. There’s new ropes to learn, new names to remember, new cultural norms; lots to read and so much that’s written between the lines. In fact, 22% of staff turnover occurs within the first 45 days so it’s important to get your new people to fall in love with you.

Peer pressure

A good induction programme is like positive peer pressure. It persuades people to stay. It has the potential to provide purpose and the power to empower. According to SHRM, “New employees who went through a structured onboarding program were 58% more likely to be with the organisation after three years”. Some culture-driven companies like Zappos and DHL Express (who’s Certified International Specialist programme famously motivates their 120,000 employees in 220 countries) put induction high on their agenda and reap the rewards in terms of engagement. A great induction leaves new joiners saying things like:

  • “I feel like I’ve come home”
  • “I know why it’s important for me to be here”
  • “I’d like to get stuck in and stay the course”
  • “I feel like I belong”

But the reality is that Induction is not always your organisation’s priority; there aren’t stacks of cash to invest in onboarding, and it can be a challenge to organise inductions when new hires are joining in different places at different times. Yet, when it slips down the priority list, “50% do not find meaning or significance in their current role quickly”. So the challenge is to find a simple, cost-effective and sociable solution that crosses borders, languages and time zones!

Getting your fix

Plan International are keenly aware how valuable a good induction programme can be. Although they have many success stories from corporate inductions past, they have a desire to refresh their induction, offering to make it more consistently productive, relevant and inspiring.

Feedback from existing Plan International team members confirmed that positive induction experiences drove high levels of connection and helped enable people to do their jobs well and quickly. But it was difficult to deliver a consistent experience across the globe. Ownership occasionally got confused, meaning individual inductions fell by the wayside; whereas the best induction experiences were consistently on-brand yet flexible to individuals.

So, we started by creating an induction framework that outlines the ideal induction experience and ownership at three levels – Global, Regional and Local; and organised outcomes under three participant-centric headings – Build Pride, Feel Connected, Know I am Supported. These outcomes covered every relevant emotional and practical measure from, “I feel part of one global organisation” to “My devices work and I have all the system logins”.

Creating a new induction habit

Plan International’s transformative work provided the inspiration for the solution. Their campaign to bridge the gender Plan international Girls get equal campaign digital divide as part of their Girls Get Equal campaign emphasises the power of digital in driving connection over disconnection; of enabling support networks and building pride and empowerment.

So we asked ourselves, what if you took those principles of connection, support and pride and applied them to induction?

Taking their outward focus as inspiration, we imagined a digital global induction experience that brings together new team members and existing employees all over the world. An experience that helps embed their values and strategy and provides essential learning and harnesses motivation… that makes induction an organisational habit.

The result is a global induction programme delivered entirely through the Workplace by Facebook platform. The programme is called One More Reason, which directly links to their “100 Million Reasons’” global strategy, and reinforces the message that every new person who joins the Plan International team provides another reason to invest in Induction.

To communicate the digital Global Induction approach around the organisation, we made an animation showing how a new-hire in Bangladesh, Syeda, interacts with her One More Reason programme. You can see from the film how it makes her feel connected, supported and proud to be part of this incredible organisation. Watch a snippet of the animation by clicking here. 

Why it’s addictive

This digital induction model is a great example for any organisation, those who are large and global enjoy huge benefits and cost-savings:2 people watching Plan international induction video

  • Support is high – The platform approach makes the induction programme completely inclusive because everyone has the same access to tools, resources and people (and the translation function removes any language barriers). Leaders and influencers become much more easily accessible to new starters too.
  • Ownership is clear – At Plan International, the global Comms and People teams curate content and conversations, while bots serve reminders and tips. Local and regional offices close the learning loop with ‘in person’ induction activity tailored to each individual’s location, role and team.
  • Engagement sky-rockets – Participants have the power to own and shape their own induction experience, taking part in groups, polls, quizzes, live-streams and of course, uploading their personal stories and creating their own conversations. Existing staff are part of the induction experience too, which has enormous collaboration and engagement potential.

The side effects

We’ve all got digital habits, whether it’s reaching for your phone as you wake up or Instagramming your lunch. We get a psychological kick from what it offers – personal validation, connection, inspiration, new opportunities. It becomes addictive because it feeds a desire. We don’t yet know the outcomes of Plan International’s digital induction approach because we’re still building the prototype, but the hope is that connecting with (and within) new starter groups becomes an addictive new habit for the organisation!

Get in touch with NKD if you’d like to talk about the power of digital solutions in driving human connections in your business.