Welcome people well – then tell me

Welcome people well – then tell me

Synopsis: a short request for a practical change in language. Easy to make happen. Change ‘onboarding’ to ‘welcome’ then let me know.

In 2017 I wrote that there must be a better name for the process of welcoming someone to an organisation than ‘onboarding‘. Onboarding is a process. A welcome is something you experience. And I think we are possibly overusing using the word ‘experience’ at the moment – but it makes sense here and that is another blog.

I revisited that concept in a tweet last Friday and received this reply

I’ve completely forgotten how to embed tweets, so it says

in Spanish we say: “Plan de Acogida” which will be something like: Welcome Plan or Reception Plan…….!!

I love that because it does what it should do. It expresses a desire to welcome – then you just have to design/plan things congruent with that. I’d therefore like to encourage people reading this to stop using the word ‘onboarding’ and start talking about making people welcome. I’m encouraging you to actually make that change, not as a theoretical thing but as something you do this morning. You don’t get to talk about putting the ‘human back in HR’ or being more ‘user centric’ and keep using jargon.

Have you got their welcome sorted out? Will they feel welcome? If you think about it it touches on inclusion more than onboarding too. Will they feel welcome?

Obviously when I write here it isn’t with my work hat on, so this is encouragement from me, not my organisation.

I’d like – in fact I’d love – to tell our teams here that onboarding is out of touch and so we need to change our materials.

So if you do commit to make the change then drop me a note to say so… The first person has already signed up…



Unlimited Annual Leave

Unlimited Annual Leave

Contents: a short blog on why we need to keep a focus on the substance of what matters to people

I was on 5Live a couple of weeks ago talking about unlimited annual leave. When you give a radio interview broadly you get to answer the questions and then broaden things out a bit. Also if you are me you are very scared and slightly confused as to how you ended up on the radio.

We ran out of time so this is what I was going to say if the BBC hadn’t decided that somehow people would be more interested in hearing the national news at 10am rather than an extended interview with me…

“I’m glad more organisations are at least thinking about being more creative in the way they support their people. Of course I am. And I’m glad they are being more creative about it – and hopefully more trusting. These are good things. It would be cheap to knock them.

And yet… There is something gimmicky and headline seeking about things like this because all too often they are dealing with the frippery of people’s experience of work. They aren’t addressing the heart of what people would like improved. We live in a time of rightly heightened awareness of how unfair and dehumanising work can be – and so many examples of how it is for so many. A caller described this issue as a ‘middle-class problem’ and I’m inclined to agree.

It seems wrong to be talking about unlimited annual leave when so many people are working hard in unacceptable conditions with little job security and struggling to meet the rent or mortgage payments. It seems wrong to focus on annual leave when the duty of care for mental health and wellbeing that employers have is so manifestly not being delivered for millions of people.

So I can talk about unlimited annual leave and whether it is a fad or a good idea (or possibly both) but it isn’t the conversation that would concern most people. It isn’t the elephant in the room. People want fairness, dignity, security and transparency. That’s not about how many days they get off. It’s what happens on the days they don’t have off”

I’d have said that. But I didn’t get the chance so I’ll write it here.