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Establishing Trust and Authentic Collaboration Through Onboarding

Employee Onboarding Sep 2, 2019

According to a recent study by The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the average cost of replacing an employee is equal to 6-9 months of that employee’s salary.[1] With such a staggering incentive to retain new-hires, it’s no surprise that companies place a great deal of focus on perfecting their onboarding processes. Organizational and technical onboarding - familiarizing a new-hire with overall company policies and the expectations of their role - are important facets to tackle. But with 40% of adults reporting feelings of loneliness, social onboarding - making sure that a new-hire feels a sense of belonging to a community and company culture - is demonstrating to be equally important for employee retention.[2]

In this blog post, we outline a few reasons why establishing relationships based on trust and authentic collaboration is important to an organization’s onboarding goals.

An Engaged Workplace Has Far-reaching Benefits

The benefits of having an organizational culture go beyond just the baseline of making sure all employees feels accepted. On a large scale, it can prove to be a significant factor in maintaining and improving workplace safety. As demonstrated by a recent Gallup study, organizations that had employee engagement scores in the top quartile of those included had 70% fewer safety incidents compared to organizations in the lower quartiles.[3] One of the common factors identified among high-scoring organizations was that employees felt their opinions mattered. Not only did leadership teams listen to the employees on the front lines, they actively made sure to take action based on the feedback. This signaled a culture of open communication between hierarchies, and initiated a positive feedback loop of continued dialogue between all levels in the organization. Millennial employees have especially been observed to expect more open communication between supervisors and coworkers than previous generational cohorts.[4] While this forthright attitude may initially be viewed as disrespect for seniority and structure, long-term aggregate data seems to indicate positive benefits to open communication, in their ability to reveal common goals and missions that motivate employees in their day to day work.

Open Collaboration Needs to Be Actively Encouraged

Communication is key to maintaining a collaborative workplace. Teams of employees working together, especially when coming from a diverse set of professional and cultural backgrounds, have the potential to work toward greater common goals by drawing upon a larger pool of perspectives and accumulated knowledge. Establishing a work environment where all ideas are welcome to be shared, and communicating this through effective onboarding can help new-hires feel they are welcome to form collaborative relationships where their contributions provide value. While passive initiatives such as open-door policies can serve as instruments to promote communication and transparency, it needs to be tied to a greater push at an organizational level in order to truly be effective and result in positive outcomes. In the end, action can only be taken on information that is plainly shared, and the dangers of silence outweigh perceived fears of wasted time.[5]

Authenticity and Candor Can Reveal Greater Understanding

The first few weeks at a new job are often a stressful time. New-hires feel the pressure to put on a professional mask, and prove to their new colleagues that they are able to handle their new roles without stumbling. When resources are tight, the traditional onboarding mindset will put focus on the essential requirements needed to adequately train a new employee to fit into the predefined requirements of a job as soon as possible, with no direct regard for the social side of the process. But newer research reveals long-term benefits of encouraging new-hires to express their genuine, authentic selves in the workplace - such as higher levels of job satisfaction, positive growth, and reduced levels of stress and anxiety.[6] This goes in line with maintaining a culture of forthright candor, a collaborative element advocated by former Pixar President Ed Catmull, who credits it as central to the Braintrust meetings that helped develop some of the studio’s greatest work.[7] In addition to creating open discussion and discovering truths hidden behind professional veneers, candor can build trust and further strengthen a new hire’s sense of belonging. Since first-impressions with other team members can often set the tone for future interactions in the workplace, it’s important that onboarding activities not only include opportunities for participants to interact and network with other team members, but to encourage doing so while putting forth their authentic selves. A recent Cornell University study revealed that “socialization focused on individuals’ authentic identity led to greater customer satisfaction and over 33% greater retention during the first six months on the job”.[8] In the long term, encouraging individuals in the workplace to engage in authentic-self expression is beneficial to both the happiness of employees and the organization as a whole.

Many enterprise organizations are already successfully utilizing Goosechase to kickstart personal interactions and initiate authentic social interaction during onboarding. See how it works and create your first game, or contact us directly to learn more about how we can integrate into your current onboarding process!

What is Goosechase?

Goosechase is an online platform that helps organizers create and run digital scavenger hunt experiences for team building, learning, public engagement, or a variety of other events. Sign up and try creating a free recreational game, or contact us to learn more about our enterprise solutions!

  1. Financial Wellness: Is it worth the work ↩︎

  2. To Retain New Hires, Spend More Time Onboarding Them ↩︎

  3. Engaged Workplaces Are Safer for Employees ↩︎

  4. Millennials in the Workplace: A Communication Perspective on Millennials’ Organizational Relationships and Performance ↩︎

  5. Good Communication Goes Beyond Open Door Policies ↩︎

  6. Authenticity in the Workplace ↩︎

  7. Inside The Pixar Braintrust ↩︎

  8. The Powerful Way Onboarding Can Encourage Authenticity ↩︎


Eric Chiang

Product Manager