Talent Onboarding: Looking at Hala Newbie

June 6, 2024 thehrobserver-hrobserver-Hala Newbie

Cast your mind back to when you joined somewhere new; take the job you are in right now. Do you remember how you felt? Most likely a wave of emotions: excitement, inspiration, overwhelm, all the nerves whether good or bad.

Partnered with these emotions were probably a lot of questions: What is the team like? What is the office like? What will my first day look like? Will I be included?

Whilst the employee experience has changed as we know due to COVID and the introduction of Gen Z into the workforce; we have all established that employees are looking for so much more from their companies – a place that matches their values, has flexibility and ultimately is a place they feel they belong. 

According to Deloitte, belonging can lead to a 56% increase in job performance, and yet a study by Zavvy in 2023 says that 40% of employees feel isolated at work – not the feeling we’re going for. Harvard Business Review states that companies with a strong corporate culture see a 4x increase in revenue growth compared to companies with a weak culture.

The problem: How do we bring that feeling of belonging into place in a hybrid workforce? 

The first few days into a workplace reveal so much, they set the tone. The problem is that 88% of companies don’t onboard their newbies very well, which is prime time to ignite that feeling of belonging along with a whole heap of other emotions like inspiration, motivation, and happiness.

 Imagine the opportunity being missed in these first few days when newbies can learn about the company values and history, the flexibility of work opportunities, and how they can get involved in the company day to day life to avoid the feeling of isolation and being excluded. 

The idea: Setting The Tone 

Employee experience starts at the interview but what about the first few days? We have had a lot of fun at Publicis Groupe thinking about all those worrying thoughts, feelings, and questions to create a journey that helps to navigate the first week of newness and answer some of those questions. 

We researched how we could improve our onboarding process so it didn’t feel like you were being thrown into the deep end of your role but could absorb the information you needed to know, felt reassured, and inspired, and ultimately, you felt like you belonged. 

We understood to execute this, we needed to kick off pre boarding from the moment the employee accepted our offer right up until the end of their probation period. Senior leaders are known to need more information when it comes to onboarding and a buddy is always helpful. 

The execution: Introducing Hala Newbie 

At Publicis Groupe in ME&T, we developed Hala Newbie – our onboarding program to allow everyone the time to ease into life at Publicis. Learn about our history, the mantras, our global stretch, capabilities, and then all the nitty gritty things like IT, platforms, processes, etc. 

We wanted to roll this out to seven different markets and get the balance between online and offline onboarding mirroring our hybrid workforce. We added a cultural immersion flair and of course a little bit of magic along the way in forms of engagement and fun interactions. 

The program would impact so many different areas of the business whether it be those supporting employees with their visas, the operational team that communicates with the newbies before they join, CEOs, managers, recruiters, and more.

We also knew that the program was not going to just launch, we would need to phase it out slowly, allowing the business to adapt to the change from newbies showing up any day to showing up every Monday with set times to allow the business to have more structure and our newbies the time to be sponges. 

The Result

We are coming up to one year since launching our program and the early data looks promising with the average score of Hala Newbie being scored by newbies at 4.5/5 stars. We have onboarded more than 600 newbies in seven different countries, hosted 42 batches, and over 90 stakeholders to make this a success. 

We are still learning and adapting to create the perfect process but the feedback has been phenomenal with newbies stating “No other company I have been in has had an onboarding experience like this”, “the magnitude and size of the capabilities of the company, the services are awesome.”

We have even included our re-hires in this, one of them taking the time to write “The Hala Newbie program is exceptional, leaving an indelible mark on recruits. From day one, it becomes evident that Publicis is more than just a company; it’s a visionary force.”

Hala Newbie welcomes newcomers with the group’s unique culture of innovation and collaboration. What truly stands out is demonstrating this organisation’s commitment to staying ahead of the curve in the dynamic world of marketing and advertising. 

One of our most recent newbies shared about the program: “It is not only its exceptional content but also the sense of community and belonging that it fosters, and it is uniqueness. In an industry where comprehensive onboarding programs are scarce; this program stands out as a beacon of excellence”. 

If that doesn’t light a little spark in you, I don’t know what will. Ultimately newbies know everything they need to know to set them up for success allowing them to have all the feels and know that they belong. 

Hannah Wells

Senior Manager, Community & Engagement at Publicis Groupe

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