Improving onboarding. What socialization traits signal that someone might quit?
Guided interaction can help you improve your onboarding. Lack of knowledge about company goals, values, and history may indicate someone's about to quit. Defining the Zone of Proximal Development.
I recently read Krystal Higgins’ book “Better Onboarding”. It focuses on Product Onboarding, but I believe the same ideas can be applied to Employee Onboarding.
Some of my favorite parts of the book:
A great definition of onboarding
“onboarding isn’t a single moment, or a single feature, or a single flow. It’s a process that connects many activities, over time, to bridge the gap between trying a new product and becoming a core user of it. Tutorials, videos, setup flows, slideshows, and signup flows may all be a part of that journey, but none alone are the journey.” 1
A big challenge when onboarding someone is “the paradox of the active user”
“new users were motivated by the specific goals they wanted to achieve, not by the larger potential of the technology. They were uninterested in taking time up front to learn about all the features they might benefit from in the future when there were actions they could definitely benefit from immediately. As a result, each person’s understanding of what this software was capable of was often limited to the tasks they did first. Rosson and Carroll called this a paradox because people could get more from software if they spent time learning about it up front. However, we can’t design for this because people don’t behave in such an idealized way.”
The book presents a solution called guided interaction. It defines guided interaction as:
“[weaving] guidance into the key interactions of our products so new users can immerse themselves in our experience, and have the support they need to be successful”
The author also shares a handy visualization of Onboarding Actions (below) where you:
Define your Core Use (e.g. places one order every week, pushes 5 commits per month).
Set your entry situations (which is an entry point + the context of the user at that point).
Work from the center to the edges defining what needs to happen so that a user navigates from the entry situation to the desired Core Use.
What socialization traits signal that some might quit?
“For this review the following six dimensions of organizational socialization were conceptualized and developed”2
Organizational Goals and Values
For 5 years the researchers kept in touch with a group of people that worked in Engineering or Engineering Management jobs. They found that a low rating on Organizational Goals and Values and History in one year “may signal readiness to move to another organization” in the following year.
Organizational Goals and Values were defined as “learning of specific organizational goals and values. […] also extends to unwritten, informal, tacit goals and values espoused by members who are in powerful or controlling positions”
History was defined as “how an organization’s traditions, customs, myths, and rituals are used to transmit cultural knowledge and perpetuate a particular type of organizational member”
The Zone of Proximal Development (aka the ZPD).
“The zone of proximal development is the distance between what a person can do with and without help.” 3
Learning happens in the space between what is too easy and what is too hard. This might intuitively make sense to most people, nevertheless, it is nice to know how
the cool kids educational researchers call this space, the ZPD.