04 Dec 2015 19:44 IST

Digitising corporate on-boarding

The idea is not to replace human interaction with the digital on-boarding framework, but an approach that embraces the benefits of both   -  Shutterstock

To effectively engage with the digital generation, moving to virtual reality is a good option

The rite of passage from being a student to a suave successful professional is fraught with mixed feelings — excitement, fear, challenge bravado and what not. Since the time of the baby boomers to the digital natives of today, nothing much has changed on this front.

Band-aid approach

This also includes the band-aid approach of organisations towards on-boarding new talent, especially campus talent. While conceptually, on-boarding is acknowledged as a stepping stone to creating long-term engagement, it is often reduced to a mechanical platform used to provide a touristy view of the organisation’s history, mission and values, business landscape, multitude of presentations, prescriptive speakers, and so on and so forth. The result is an overwhelmed campus hire, who continues to reside in an extended college world, waiting for the next set of instructions.

Reality bites hard as soon as the on-boarding/induction sessions are over. It’s an alien world out there —deadlines rule the roost, busy managers are with limited handholding bandwidth, multiple personalities have to be dealt with, living on limited finances and dealing with personal and work demands… the list goes on…

The world has changed dramatically in the last decade with the explosion of smartphones, and social and mobile internet are rapidly contributing to a new digital behaviour. Engaging this digital generation requires us to rethink the way we position on-boarding for campus hires, and the way we aid their transition from the campus into the corporate world.

Digital on-boarding

Creating a digital campus talent on-boarding platform requires a product development approach with the following objectives:

Scenario based gamification

The ability to participate virtually, a la Xbox kinect

Instantaneous feedback

Multi-tiered rewards and points

Learn-do-learn approach to grooming

The idea is not to replace human interaction with the digital on-boarding framework, but an approach that embraces the benefits of both.

The key to digitising the approach is to map the entire framework to the on-boarding lifecycle — a true virtual reality session that puts the candidate in every situation within the organisation, starting from the recruitment stage to customer billing stage.

Two-way game

Behaviours are nurtured through a series of real-life simulations, starting with elementary things like swipe-in/swipe-out, elevator behaviours, team meeting behaviours, dressing and business etiquette. The platform provides the option for the individual to play his role and get instant feedback from the system on what is appropriate and what is not.

Having it enabled on tablets/I-pads/mobile or wearable devices is more a choice of technology and investments. The key is to provide a reality check of a world that they would breathe, live and manage with, in an emotionally safe, non-threatening way, using virtual reality.

Campus to corporate transition is a two-way game. Having worked on both sides of the fence, business as well as HR, I can firmly state that attitude, more than aptitude, is the X-factor for success. The development of corporate survival skills has to be enabled through a multi-pronged approach — like they say, a diamond has to be polished to show its shine. The corporate world has to own up its responsibility towards effectively transitioning campus talent into its world — what better way to achieve it than in the language of the digital generation?

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