July 5, 2023
Consider this: many major life decisions are made after having a trial of what’s to come:
- marriage is often preceded by a long-term relationship
- relocating to a new city can follow numerous exploratory visits
- making a major purchase, such as a car, is often decided after a test drive.
The process of taking a new job, another significant life decision, can also provide some glimpses into what to expect, as you meet potential colleagues for interviews and visit the office for on-site conversations. Yet, collectively, these instances might only account for a handful of hours. Meanwhile, the decision you’re about to make could shape a significant portion of your career, potentially spanning years.
It begs the question: shouldn’t you have more than just a glimpse before deciding to commit to a new job?
Enter the concept of the digital workplace preview, a behind-the-scenes experience that allows potential employees to truly understand and appreciate what working at an organization is like.
Why should employers bother?
Attracting new talent to an organization is no small feat. The process involves sifting through a sea of candidates and matching them against an often ambiguous job description. But before the arduous recruitment journey for a specific role even begins, there lies the challenge of marketing the organization itself.
Why should this matter to employers? Recent studies offer some compelling answers. For instance, 75% of active job seekers are more likely to apply for a job if the employer is known to actively manage its brand1. Furthermore, an impressive 92% of people would consider a job change if they were offered a role at a company with a distinguished reputation2.
In other words, before the ‘who’, it’s crucial to address the ‘why’. Why should potential candidates choose your organization over countless others? What sets your workplace apart? One answer could be to extend your digital workplace and offer a preview — a behind-the-scenes experience for potential employees. This isn’t just about attracting talent — it’s about doing so cost-effectively. A robust employer brand, showcased through initiatives like digital workplace previews, can reduce the cost per hire by as much as 50%3.
By providing potential employees with a taste of your work culture, you’re giving them compelling reasons to choose your organization. In a competitive job market, this proactive employer branding can be the deciding factor for many job seekers, making it a worthy investment for forward-thinking companies.
Start before they search and apply
Even though large corporations typically provide comprehensive Corporate and Careers websites that allow interested individuals to learn about the organization and explore job opportunities, these platforms often fall short in establishing a connection with potential employees.
Consider the increasingly popular concept of a ‘talent community’. A simple online search reveals that many companies are investing in these platforms, but are they truly cultivating a sense of community? In most cases, these talent communities merely serve as platforms for candidates to submit basic information and resumes, in exchange for future emails about potential job matches. While this serves a purpose, it doesn’t quite foster the community-like atmosphere the name might suggest. Imagine if our concept of a talent community could be transformed into a ‘lite’ version of an organization’s digital workplace.
Picture this: a curious potential candidate is granted access to a curated section of your digital workplace. It’s a space where they can explore public news updates, engage with thought-provoking articles penned by your senior leadership, and dive into exclusive pages featuring key information. They come to understand the core values driving your organization through its mission statement, familiarize themselves with the leadership team by reading their bios and thought-leadership pieces, and fully appreciate the distinct value of your organization’s culture.
In this way, you transform a recruitment platform into a window onto the day-to-day life of the organization, giving potential joiners a real feel for the organization even before they apply. By allowing potential talent a sneak peek into the workings of your organization, you pave the way for trust, transparency and a profound connection.
Elevating the onboarding experience
The digitization of onboarding has recently been a focal point for many organizations. However, this ‘extended digital workplace preview’ presents an opportunity to streamline onboarding tasks while nurturing the bond with a candidate who has decided to join your organization.
Apart from the access they had as a candidate, the scope of information accessible to them could expand once they agree to come on board. This might include a limited search or chat experience, where new hires can ask questions about the onboarding process or expectations for their first day.
To gain familiarity with the team they are joining, they could be granted access to profiles of their immediate team members, giving insights into their colleagues’ names, titles, experiences, interests and more. This kind of detailed social employee profile can further foster a sense of connection and ease integration into the team.
Those joining as hybrid or full-time office employees could also unlock a virtual office experience (possibly powered by immersive devices like Meta’s Quest or Apple’s Vision). This would allow them to virtually tour key areas of the office, such as the lobby, cafeteria, gym, collaboration rooms, and even a typical office floor plan. Such a tool could help to alleviate first-day nerves and create a comfortable transition into their new workspace. By extending the digital workplace preview into the onboarding process, organizations can make a new employee’s initial experience more engaging, welcoming and efficient.
This isn’t ‘goodbye’, it’s ‘see you later’
During their tenure, an employee will experience the full scope of the digital workplace. But when the time comes for them to pursue new opportunities elsewhere, the digital preview from their ‘search and apply’ phase can be revived, adapted and even extended for the offboarding process. For example, the organization could create a memorable snapshot of the employee’s journey by showcasing their work profile and summarizing their experiences during their time at the organization.
Moreover, the platform could serve as a virtual ‘farewell board’ where colleagues leave their parting messages or ‘thank you notes’. This digital keepsake can be a space for the future alum to revisit and reflect upon their fond memories of the time spent with the team.
Finally, the news section from the ‘search and apply’ phase can be modified to highlight key events that transpired during the employee’s tenure. This might include memorable company moments such as a transition to a new CEO, a major employee campaign or the introduction of a new product or service. In this way, the organization’s narrative becomes a part of the employee’s journey, creating a lasting bond.
Why employers should bother
By extending your digital workplace to include a behind-the-scenes experience for potential employees, you’re not just fostering a deeper connection with them — you’re transforming the way talent acquisition operates.
The approach merges the realms of recruitment, onboarding and even offboarding into a seamless, enriching experience that goes beyond just job roles and descriptions. It builds transparency and trust through the entire process, making the potential employee feel valued, informed and engaged right from the start.
As you move forward, remember that your digital workplace is not just a tool for collaboration but also an instrumental platform that showcases who you are as an organization and why talent should choose you. It’s time to lift the curtain and let talent behind the scenes to experience the unique journey you offer.
140+ Stats For Companies to Keep In Mind for 2021 (Glassdoor) https://www.glassdoor.com/employers/resources/hr-and-recruiting-stats/
2Better Manage Your Online Reputation to Attract Talent (HR Daily Advisor) https://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/2019/11/01/better-manage-your-online-reputation-to-attract-talent/
3The Ultimate List of Employer Brand Statistics (LinkedIn) https://business.linkedin.com/content/dam/business/talent-solutions/global/en_us/c/pdfs/ultimate-list-of-employer-brand-stats.pdf