webinar recap: onboarding, inboarding, and connecting people to purpose
Appreciation | August 29, 2016
Our latest webinar, presented by the ever-engaging Jeff Birk, Manager of Speaking and Training at O.C. Tanner, covered the common practice of onboarding and the not-so-common practice of inboarding. Jeff shared insights from well-known industry leaders and from the O.C. Tanner Institute’s own research on the subject of engagement, appreciation, and connecting people to their purpose.
Starting with the larger topic of appreciation, Jeff quickly narrowed his focus to address the importance of onboarding. First identifying the familiar pitfalls of a traditional onboarding process filled with forms and HR seminars—it’s boring, bland, and don’t forget boring—he then made the case that engagement, not orientation, should be the main goal of any good onboarding experience. He put the difference in stark terms, “Oriented people can take 6 months or more to reach full productivity, while engaged people can take just 30 days.” If you can connect people to purpose, you’ll get their full talent without having to wait for them to feel comfortable and engaged.
Take the recent Summer Olympics. Before Team USA went to Rio, they go through Official Processing. Here, they not only receive their uniforms and ceremony outfits (and their official team rings, manufactured and donated by yours truly), they get the chance to connect with their fellow teammates—and the larger purpose they are now apart of.
Continuing to extoll the impact of employee engagement on success, Jeff turned to Southwest Airlines CEO Herb Kelleher who famously stated that, “the business of business is people.” Meaning that if you create an environment where people enjoy what they do and feel connected to your mission, your vision, and your values, great things will follow.
But what do you do with current employees? Shouldn’t they get the same opportunity to connect with their purpose? That’s where the lesser known concept of inboarding comes into play. While onboarding is connecting new people to purpose, inboarding is connecting people anew to their purpose. Jeff spoke candidly to the audience, saying that, “as a leader, you are in a better position than anyone to identify and articulate the higher purpose of what people do within the organization.”
Onboarding and inboarding aren’t the only natural opportunities to connect your people to purpose and deepen their relationship with the company. Jeff gave three examples: when they apply effort, when they achieve results, and celebrating career anniversaries. There are many more, but these three illustrate just how important appreciation and celebration is to the concept of purpose.
Jeff ended the webinar on an powerful note, recounting another Olympic story: that of Alex Bilodeau, a two-time gold medalist in mogul skiing. The second time he won, Alex didn’t thank his sponsors or bask in the glory, he clicked off his skis and ran over to his brother, Frederick. Alex’s number one fan, Frederick suffers from cerebral palsy, and while he may not be able to pursue olympic dreams on his own, he can still achieve greatness and feel connected to purpose. As Alex put it, “He is my inspiration, and when I win, we both celebrate it together.” If we can capture even a tiny bit of that emotion and wisdom, connecting people to purpose won’t seem nearly as daunting.
Want to hear all of Jeff’s insights on onboarding, inboarding, appreciation, and purpose? Listen to the full webinar recording.