Here’s how Zotec Partners transformed their onboarding approach to a bold and welcoming virtual experience.
by Jennifer Weldy, Sheila Stern
September 7, 2021
Beginning a new job can be scary during normal times, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, interviewing, hiring and onboarding with a company became a new experience for everyone. It was quickly apparent to the talent professionals at Zotec Partners we needed to evaluate our traditional onboarding practices to create innovative virtual ways to welcome new team members and create a stronger sense of belonging on our team, while managing uncertain business disruptions and change.onboarding
For Zotec’s people and culture team, the migration of team members into remote roles was the catalyst to think differently and explore new possibilities of an augmented onboarding experience and new team engagement. The first day is critical and we want our new team members to feel excited and supported as they begin their careers with us. With that in mind, we launched the redesign of our traditional New Employee Orientation program to enhance, advance and transform our onboarding approach to include bold, welcoming and high-impact features to wow our incoming team members.
Compass guides the way
We gathered select team members, hiring managers and passionate people from across Zotec to creatively enhance the New Employee Orientation program. This eclectic team delivered innovative ideas, diverse perspectives and functional insight that quickly revealed we should focus on creating an experience that empowers new hires beyond the first-day orientation. This discovery process led to creating new hire roadmaps designed to guide team members through pre-boarding activities, day one onboarding and the first 90 days at Zotec.
Once we defined the major milestones and touchpoints for the onboarding journey, the people and culture team redesigned the new hire experience into what we now call Compass. Compass delivers the most meaningful experience for team members in an engaging manner that connects them to the company, their teams and our focus on compliance excellence. During Compass, Zotec officially welcomes new team members through a virtual experience that includes:
- Leader-led discussions that explore our origin story, current news and culture of belonging
- Activities that reinforce and personalize Zotec 5 P’s in a way that evokes a sense of welcome and connection: People, Passion, Persistence, Perspective, Predictability
- Team activities spaced evenly and often within every discussion to enhance engagement through chat, word clouds, polls and games
- Videos and scenarios that inspire small group discussions
- Professional supplies, technical equipment, lunch and Zotec gifts delivered to their door for first-day fun
Reimaging Compass helped us reinforce our commitment to provide an exceptional first-day experience that inspires new team members to be excited and ready to join their department the following day. As part of the continual improvement processes, we measure each aspect of Compass to ensure new hires understand our employee tools, processes, technology and mission to serve our clients and their patients. To date, more than 400 team members have graduated Compass, of which 96 percent say the program exceeded their expectations.
After transforming Compass, Zotec focused on the next part of the roadmap: 30-60-90-day onboarding plans. First, we identified our teams with the highest talent acquisition and growth. Then we launched a listening campaign to understand the most valued skills and relevant learning needed to support new hire success. An important aspect of the discussion was determining and negotiating the expectations of new hire “time to competency,” the point in time a new team member is considered self-sufficient.
After listening, we generated a heatmap of learning needs and created curated learning paths using our content library. These learning paths became new hire 30, 60 and 90-day learning plans and are now integrated into 70 percent of our departments.
The evolution of department learning plans is ongoing and we continue to discover more about the real-world effectiveness of the 30-60-90-day path to competency. Through continued evaluation of the program, we learned to be flexible and understand that not all teams and team members onboard at the same speed.
For the client-facing and technology teams, we adjusted the new hire plan to extend to 100 days to accommodate the complexity of the work. In contrast, our operational teams required a 60-day plan which ensured a faster track to role independence. This flexibility in planning revealed another surprising aspect for our new hires – they felt their onboarding was personalized to meet them in their understanding of our business. Through onboarding plan personalization, we reinforced our diversity, inclusion and belonging efforts to our time to competency to ensure every team member felt valued and welcome.
There are more changes on the horizon for improving Compass and new hire training plans. Our people and culture team is exploring how to continue providing learning-in-the-flow-of-work opportunities through the first year of learning. We are focused on designing an integrated learning experience that reinforces our commitment to our team members and their successes, delivered at just the right time.
The road less traveled
Our journey to providing exceptional new hire experiences has required immense dedication and commitment across the organization. The Zotec leadership team continues to endorse and champion innovative actions that reinforce our status as an exceptional place to work and build a career. Through our discoveries, we have designed a flexible program to ensure new team members understand their performance, careers and learning plan expectations from their first day. As we recognize and measure the meaningful outcomes of Compass, we continue to empower a highly motivated team of innovators, collaborators and doers who contribute to the success of our business, clients and patients we serve.