Montreal-based software company GSoft is launching a new product aimed at making the employee onboarding process more engaging and consistent with the new normal of hybrid and remote work.
Softstart is a platform that allows human resource and employee experience professionals to connect new employees to their colleagues, company processes, and company culture, regardless of their location.
The platform uses embedded video, centralized documentation, and automatic tracking of onboarding progress.
Guillaume Chalifoux, Director of Acquisitions at GSoft, said that the company identified a problem that many businesses have with onboarding new employees.
“What we saw is that the onboarding phase in companies was most of the time overlooked. It was done in an unofficial, unstructured way. And most of the time it was taken care of by HR departments. It was something that was more about compliance, making sure the contract is signed, the new employee has their laptop and he or she will be ready to go,” he said.
But in reality, once the contract is signed, the true onboarding experience involves connecting with people, mastering new work tools and understanding the environment of a new workplace, he added.
Softstart updates outdated onboarding methods like generic spreadsheets, PowerPoints, and emails with tasks new employees need to complete. And now that remote work has put a damper on in-person collaboration, engaging onboarding experiences are even more important to help new employees feel connected to their workplace.
How Softstart works:
New employees are invited to join Softstart via messaging platforms such as Slack. Once in the platform, employees are met with a “to-do list” that includes lots of resources.
“So you go through different activities, but we don’t throw you one month of activities at once. We start with a few, we don’t want you to be overwhelmed…And the first thing you’ll notice is that for each activity, you’ll have plenty of resources like documents and videos,” Chalifoux said.
One of the first things employees often see in the platform is videos from executives and team members introducing themselves in a series of short video clips.
Chalifoux said by looking at data submitted anonymously by employees globally, Gsoft was able to discover that a large number of them missed face-to-face connections during the pandemic.
“The notion of smiling completely disappeared. So we bring it back with Softstart and it makes the world of a difference to be welcomed with a smile. Creating great connections breaks the ice.”
The Great Resignation
Chalifoux also said that platforms like these, and stronger, interactive employee engagement is vital to retain employees. In early 2021, U.S. employees began to voluntarily leave their jobs, driving a phenomenon known as The Great Resignation”. In November of 2021 alone, 4.5 million workers left their jobs, according to the U.S. Labor Department’s latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover report.
A report from Computer World cited lack of benefits, lack of work-life balance, and unhappiness with how employees were being treated as some of the reasons for The Great Resignation.
Chalifoux spoke with employees who have gone through rocky onboarding experiences, and discovered that in some instances an employee didn’t receive a work laptop for the first two weeks and had to use their own, which wasn’t powerful enough to install the software needed to do their jobs. In another example, one employee felt that their team members almost “forgot” about them after one onboarding session.
“When a new employee joins a company, there’s a critical moment where you need to show you care. It makes a complete difference. If you join a company and everything is structured, you feel welcome,” he said.