Organizations need to focus on new ways of working in the modern era of hyper connectedness and collaboration. The pandemic forced entire employee populations to work remotely. Overnight itself, organizations realized the need to adopt the digital-first mindset to keep their workforce engaged and aligned. They needed to embrace digital to reinstate the focus on employee experience along with accelerating business outcomes. Enabling a new digital operating environment became a priority for enterprises, as they aimed to support employee careers, manage talent, and lead through empathy in a continuously evolving workplace, transformed by the pandemic.
In an insightful session at People Matters TechHR India 2021, Abdul Jaleel, VP, Employee Experience- India at Adobe, Yuvraj Baghwala, VP Global HR, Shared Services at Genpact and Guru Vaidya, Manager, Solutions Consulting at Adobe Systems shed light on how they embraced a digital first mindset to deliver unique customer and employee experiences.
Going digital at Adobe
Being a digital tool to the core, Adobe is an experience enterprise that charters growth in internally engaging and managing employees. To add on to the digital edge and enhance employee lives through digital experiences, the HR and business leaders at Adobe started looking at opportunities to enhance employees’ experiences by leveraging technology.
Abdul Jaleel, VP,Employee Experience- India at Adobe, stated that the key question leaders asked was, “How do we continue to make sure that we have an opportunity to make every employee touchpoint digital, yet keep it personable?”
While the digital-focus was always core to the Adobe ways of working, the beginning of the pandemic added to the momentum of digital-first. Adobe developed an internal motto of Digital by Default wherein every touchpoint and every journey for an Adobe employee was designed to be digital, while ensuring it remained personal. Thus ushered in a true blue digital-first mindset.
The problem statement of onboarding effectiveness
In March 2020, when everything went virtual with lockdown just overnight, Adobe was at the peak of hiring activities. While many new hires were at different stages of completing their onboarding experience, suddenly there was no access to physical infrastructure such as face-to-face meetings etc. While leaders mulled over how to address this new challenge, they decided to use the default go-to tool of email for connecting with new employees.
From keeping employees engaged, to continuing to assure them that everything would be fine, and guiding them through the onboarding experience, email was extensively used. However, email as a medium was leading to a lot of to-and-fro and confusion, often limited by its text-based options. It was seen that the quality of experience for the new hire and the onboarding SPOC were suboptimal. Adobe decided to relook at their existing Adobe technologies, so as to leverage an efficient, digital, data-compliant, secure and scalable solution.
The solution of digital tool, Adobe Sign
After much exploration and deliberation, the team arrived at Adobe Onboard, a solution built on Adobe Sign, which most of us are familiar with using as a different application. The idea was to create a Day 0 customer for the employee experience. Adobe Onboard had the capability of a new-joiner-new-hire platform which could act as a single-communication platform for every new hire to log into, using digital media. Built on a mobile-based app, it simultaneously provided a complete dashboard view of joining processes for both the new employee and the onboarding SPOC. Right from activities, to their completion status, to acting as a guide, it provided an opportunity to interact on a real-time basis.
Creating the aha onboarding experience: key outcomes
Adobe Onboarding had the potential to create a wow experience for onboarding SPOC by automating and streamlining transactional processes. For example, the e-filing process is managed by creating a folder, which is then automatically created after the new-hire forms come in, and gets auto-uploaded to the cloud. In the manual process the onboarding process owner had to ensure each and every form was checked, but Adobe Sign provided the advantage of already being authenticated through Aadhar authentication.
All in all, the tool helped Adobe save close to 900 man hours on 1000 employees so far. The effort of the onboarding team has been optimized to be close to 76% of the earlier hours as workflows moved from manual to cloud-based.
At the employee-end, the experience for new hires was great. Single-point enhanced the experience at the moment of truth for the new joiners i.e. when they come in touch for the first time with the enterprise. The delight quotient for new employees went up, because the tool was user-friendly, easy to navigate, seamless, intuitive, and friendly.
Extension of services: the real success paradigm
As Adobe went about real use-cases of this digital tool, one of its early key clients was Genpact.
Yuvraj Baghwala, VP Global HR, Shared Services, Genpact, shared, “The beauty of Adobe Onboard was that within a week’s time we signed the contract and started virtual onboarding when the pandemic struck. We had a lot of people - 40,000 employees in the company with 200,000 instances of usage and such a scalable tool was the obvious choice for the onboarding moment of truth”.
Genpact saw a positive impact. Thanks to its ease of use, tasks that used to take 90 min now started taking 20-25 minutes. So much was the advantage of Adobe Sign that they extended it to other use cases i.e. transition of almost 70,000 people to remote working in the form of shipping of desktops, laptops, paperwork etc. Yuvraj stated, “It made a big difference in our ability to provide a consumer-grade experience to employees in an easy-to-implement manner”.
While tools such as Adobe Onboarding can provide the tech leverage, onboarding remains a high-touch priority. HR leaders must keep in mind the aspect of cultural onboarding. Digital platforms must have avenues to inculcate the people-touch, such as channels to engage the new hire with the manager. Capabilities should be built in for leaders spending time with new-hires, values session, etc., almost like an in-person connect. Any incoming employee has to see and imbibe the organizational values.
The new hire experience must have the right blend of people and platforms, related to pre, post, and actual onboarding. Above all, it can add true value only when integrated with HRMS, only then can onboarding be a key driver of employee longevity and productivity.