From the minute a new hire steps through the front door, they’re forming an impression of their new employer. Too often, they’re simply handed a binder full of documents to read alone in a barren cubicle, put through a meeting or two and are then expected to hit the ground running without an understanding of their place in the organization.
According to employee recognition company O.C. Tanner, 60 percent of organizations fail to set concrete goals or milestones for new hires. In a separate analysis, Harvard Business Review found that almost a quarter of organizations have no onboarding process at all. How an organization presents itself to new hires in the critical first few weeks on the job can spell the difference between an engaged, loyal worker and one that walks back out that door in six months. A lack of onboarding processes can cost an organization time and money through lower productivity and morale.
According to some estimates, companies with an onboarding process turn in 50 percent greater new hire retention and productivity while manager satisfaction also increases by 20 percent when direct reports have formal onboarding training. Further, a study of the onboarding process at Texas Instruments found that employees who went through an improved onboarding program were fully productive two months faster than employees in a traditional program.
A streamlined, interactive onboarding program was rolled out, quickly immersing new employees in the mission of the firm and creating a sense of belonging.
Clearly, starting employees off on the right foot is paramount to an organization’s long-term success especially for global organizations like Mastercard. With more than 13,000 employees across the globe and healthy growth from new hires and acquisition teams integrated into its ranks each year, making workers feel connected, engaged and significant from day one is especially critical.
“When a new member joins our team it’s our goal to set them on a path to sustainable success by giving them a clear basis for understanding their roles within the company and how they can contribute,” said Jawanda Staber, Vice President, Learning & Development at Mastercard. “The sheer amount of information new hires encounter can be overwhelming so we want to ensure the experience we provide is clear, cohesive and complete.”
It is also important for Mastercard to offer an onboarding experience that embraces, celebrates and leverages technology while engaging employees with a human touch.
“We wanted to build an orientation that was unique, engaging and compelling: an easy-to-use digital onboarding program,” said Janice Burns, Mastercard Chief Learning Officer. “We hoped to accelerate employees’ time to contribution while creating a sense of organizational connectedness and belonging.”
In 2016, Mastercard partnered with GP Strategies to launch “Welcome to Mastercard,” an online learning pathway that offers an interactive introduction and overview of Mastercard as part of the company’s “Getting Started at Mastercard” onboarding program.
The ambitious goal for the pathway was to tell Mastercard’s story in a way that enables new employees to connect the company’s business strategy and areas of focus with what they do in their new roles while providing a clear line of sight to how they contribute to the success of not only their teams but also the organization as a whole.
The “Welcome to Mastercard” onboarding pathway is a concise, interactive introduction to the company that offers new hires a broader understanding of their roles and vision of their future at the organization.
“We needed to stick to essential information with the goal of keeping the material bite-sized for better retention,” said Jawanda Staber. “It was also imperative that we presented the information in a way that sparks curiosity and aids retention. GP Strategies understood the importance of these requirements and made sure that all content was clear, interesting and vivid.”
An additional aim was ensuring the delivery of the program was sufficiently engaging and could effectively convey the essence of the Mastercard brand and the intangible spirit of the organization.
With these goals in mind, GP Strategies helped keep each element short and sweet, paying close attention to the length of videos and articles used while ensuring the overall layout was consistently concise and engaging.
The pathway included a number of core elements including a corporate overview, industry introduction and information on Mastercard’s value to partners and stakeholders through the award winning “Employees Driving the Global Enterprise” (EDGE) program. New hires also view an engaging video of the company’s history and along with an interactive timeline, are given a deep dive into how Mastercard makes money in a dynamic presentation from the chief financial officer. The pathway also gives new hires a high-level overview of the company’s overall products and solutions.
Perhaps most importantly, the onboarding program immerses new hires into the driving principles of the company’s rich culture.
“GP Strategies’ understanding of social apps and eye for design were extremely helpful in the design of the pathway,” said Janice Burns.
To promote interactivity and engagement, the “Welcome to Mastercard” pathway was delivered in partnership with a curated technology platform which allowed participants to search for, share and track all aspects of their learning. They also have access to multiple learning resources that include courses, videos, articles and professional white papers.
New employees received an invitation link to the pathway on their third day and were asked to complete the learning within 30 days.
Mastercard saw a dramatic increase in employee engagement and alignment to the overall mission after just four months.
According to post-program surveys, conducted after the first week and the fourth month of the employee’s hire date, 89 percent of respondents felt the “Welcome to Mastercard” pathway supported business learning, while 85 percent felt confident in their ability to contribute after four months.
Further, respondents indicated that the pathway helped them feel equipped for success, prepared to add value in their new roles and aware of the career possibilities during their future with Mastercard.
“It’s not good enough to ask new hires to spend time completing the pathway; they also need to enjoy the experience of the program,” said Chad Dally, a Vice President at GP Strategies. “If employees are feeling connected to the space, the people and the work, they will thrive in their jobs.”
To supplement the digital experience, Mastercard introduced additional resources to help hiring managers create an effective and engaging onboarding experience for new team members.