Imagine you have just secured your dream job: a managerial role at an up-and-coming company you’re passionate about. After taking a two-week long vacation (to the Bahamas? to France?), you turn up to the office on the first day, all excited. The paperwork and conversations with HR are a blur: you’re just happy to be here. And then you’re taken on a walk around and are introduced to a hundred different faces. The euphoria is quickly replaced by panic: how are you ever going to remember who everyone is and what they do?
Life can be pretty overwhelming for any new hire: you are excited to hit the ground running, but end up spending weeks, or even months, figuring out who you are working with. This is especially problematic if the new role is a managerial one: the new hire wants to instantly command the attention and respect of her staff with clear direction, but not knowing who to direct can easily trip her up. And what if the organization fails to take the step of introducing the new manager to everyone? Studies have highlighted the failure to provide such initial support as a common mistake in onboarding.
This brings us to the one thing new hires cannot live without: an effective company directory.
Call it a directory, call it an org chart: every new hire needs an easy reference point that tells them everyone’s names, titles, and departments. However, the version of the directory that exists in most companies today lacks the necessary features that allow hires to seamlessly transition into their new roles, causing months of confusion and discomfort.
Sarah? Which Sarah?!
If your company has more than 50 employees, odds are there is going to be at least a pair of coworkers with the same first name. Here at Lua, we have two Sarahs (well, one is Sara, and one is Sarah, but you’d never be able to tell in conversation.)
Let’s say you need to talk to Sarah in Accounts. As a new hire, it’s crucial for you to be able to quickly narrow down who the Sarah’s are, and which departments they are in, to avoid any mix-ups. An effective directory needs to tell you 3 things to hit the target: (1) name, (2) department, (3) role. Any less, and the new hire would probably be left floundering.
Having photos makes it so much easier
Even if you did know exactly who to reach out to, it would still be a struggle finding her if you could not recognize her. Company directories today are often just long lists of names and contact information: you might be walking around the 5th floor asking for “Sarah Magier in Accounts” for a long time.
Having a directory with a photo right next to each coworker’s name and title makes it much easier to head directly towards the right person. Or, if you’ve never met Sarah, it avoids the awkward moment when you do meet and neither of you recognize each other. The most effective directories are right on hand when you need it, for easy access wherever you go.
Who’s that new guy again? He’s not on my org chart
Many companies resort to circulating and updating an org chart with faces and roles on them. Org charts provide some clarity to new hires, but in an effort to economize on paper these often end up being a mass of barely visible headshots squeezed onto a single sheet. Depending on the quality of the printer/photocopier, new hires might not even be able to understand much of the chart.
Maintaining org charts also becomes a full-time job: whenever there are changes in staff, or even promotions, someone needs to get the new photo or title, update the chart, reprint it and recirculate it. This takes weeks: resulting in a new hire basically remaining anonymous until everyone gets the updated chart.
The solution is easy: instantly sync new changes across every user’s directory. This ensures everyone has the latest version, right when the change is made.
Give me one second to run back to my desk…
Even when there are legible, well-updated org charts or directories, these are often accessible only through your desktop, or worse, tacked to the wall at your desk. To get something done, the new hire needs to navigate the unfamiliar office layout, get to the desk, remember the instructions to logging into the directory, and find the right person to reach. This takes away chunks of productive time each time. Especially when organizations in every industry are going mobile, employees are going to be further away from a desk than ever, and they need to be equipped with a convenient way to reach coworkers from anywhere.
With the ubiquity of mobile devices, an effective directory should be available and synced across any platform, with the option to reach contacts in one touch, without digging for contact information or entering email address and numbers.
Only 30% of global executives surveyed have found their organization’s new hire onboarding process satisfactory. Having an effective, always-updated directory on any device would go a long way to ensuring that every new hire integrates seamlessly into their new environment, and flourishes!
Lua’s People tab addresses all the above, and more! If you found what you read interesting, you might want to read more about Lua’s company directory features here. Comment below if you’ve got any tips on how you’ve helped new hires settle in, and keep your eyes peeled for Part 2...