Employee onboarding is a hot topic, and rightfully so. There are best practices, comprehensive guides, and a lot of great ideas on how to ensure that onboarding at a new company is seamless and helps the new employee get off to a great start. I was recently asked by a lawyer friend why we started Kordami and, more specifically, what a comparison I could make was that would help him understand why what we’re doing is important.
After thinking about it, I realized that an easy real world comparison would be helpful for a lot of folks and ended up settling on Whole Foods vs. Blue Apron to explain the difference between the two approaches.
Whole Foods has endless possibilities. This is attractive in theory but can be overwhelming and stressful from a practical standpoint. You have to make sure you’re not forgetting ingredients, you have to pick between tens of similar looking cuts of steak, and you have to make sure that you’re getting enough of what you need (despite not often knowing what “enough” looks like). You also have to choose what you want to make in the first place, settle on a recipe, and bring a list to the grocery store. Unlike Blue Apron, Whole Foods doesn’t have directions or helpful steps, it’s simply a repository of options with no ability to help you organize or prioritize them.
With Blue Apron on the other hand, you get a meal that you selected from a limited series of options packaged and sent to you as raw ingredients. The ingredients are pre-measured, clearly labeled, and come with helpful written and visual instructions on prepping and cooking the dish. The end result is that you walk through the steps, everything is easily accessible, and you end up making a delicious, stress free meal without ever feeling lost or forgetting something. Blue Apron sends multiple meals at a time, so as you go from meal to meal you don’t have to keep going to the store or have a ton of ingredients sitting around.
What Blue Apron has done for cooking is what Kordami, and the entire movement around better employee onboarding, is doing for onboarding employees. It’s important because a clearly defined, explained, and stress free process creates a better end product that’s more fun to work towards. It also takes less total time which means you can get to the end game (food or a fully onboarded employee) faster which is better. The organized and step by step nature of it means that the end result is be better than a less organized process.
I’ve been at companies where employee onboarding is done in a Whole Foods sort of way: “the options are endless!” “Pick what’s best for you!” “Self-directed onboarding.” All of these things sound amazing and for some people that form of onboarding works fantastically. For most people though, they want directions, clarity, and to be helped through the “best” way to do something at a new company. Creating those guidelines is comforting rather than limiting and having an organized, structured process means that employees are happier and ramp up faster because they’re focusing on excelling rather than figuring out what exactly it is that they need to excel at. Ultimately, we’re helping companies be Blue Apron rather than Whole Foods when it comes to employee onboarding. We’re taking all of those great options and possibilities and helping companies build a structured path that will make onboarding fun, easy, stress free, and, most of all, productive for their new employees.
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