Some companies tap into Facebook for this purpose, while others turn to a vendor to create an internal, customized portal with “a Facebook feel,” Vitale explains.
Onboarding portals provide new hires with the opportunity to familiarize themselves with management and various departments before their first day and afterwards. This is particularly helpful in decentralized organizations, she says.
New hires can complete electronic forms and paperwork via portals and ask questions that may arise, she says, noting that onboarding portals are efficient and help boost engagement.
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Some companies use onboarding portals to pair new hires with mentors by viewing employees’ skill sets, languages spoken, etc. in their professional profiles on the portal. Vitale says this is an overlooked opportunity in many organizations, but she adds that the use of social media should not replace face-to-face interactions.
“People can overuse it. That would be the biggest drawback in my mind,” she says. In addition, “you can certainly over-engineer it. That can be costly and time-consuming.”
Other drawbacks include the fact that new hires will have different comfort levels with the technology, Vitale says.
To help ensure success with social media during onboarding, she recommends identifying what your organization is trying to achieve with the technology and giving the portal a “new, exciting, and fresh” feeling. “Make sure the content is fresh all the time. Really monitor it, and do not let it die on the vine.”
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When benchmarking, Vitale advises companies against merely copying other companies’ portals. “Not all elements are for every company.”
If your company decides to work with a vendor to create an onboarding portal, Vitale suggests looking at ease of use and finding out how pleased the vendor’s customers are with the technology and service.