Hallie Condon leads an employee experience team of two people at Chili Piper, a leading inbound conversion platform. Her team handles everything employee minus talent development (they have coaches for that) – performance, employee onboarding, benefits, administration, employee relations, company communication, and even IT tasks because Chili Piper does not have a dedicated IT team.
When Hallie started at Chili Piper last year, there wasn’t a defined onboarding process. Some teams had spent time onboarding their teammates, while others had not, so communication with new hires was not standardized. One of her first projects was to streamline the process and replace the existing automation software.
“What’s important in preboarding and employee onboarding is that you know who to reach out to when you have questions. At Chili Piper, we don’t want to position ourselves as a traditional team. We’re a partner and a resource to the people who work here.”
This theme runs through all employee engagement automation at Chili Piper. Hallie’s goal is to automate notifications and tasks, but not communication. This is so she can encourage Chili Piper’s remote employees to chat with each other and her.
“When we bring someone on board, they receive timed emails from HiBob with information but they go out in my name. It looks like a personalised email from me so it gives people an opportunity to reach out and ask questions. It’s more work, sure, but it’s touchpoints and interactions that I wouldn’t necessarily have gotten otherwise because we’re not inviting those conversations.”
This leads to what some HR leaders term “positive friction”.
Sometimes, friction can actually benefit your organization if employees use it to ask questions and challenge the status quo.
As Trish McFarlane mentions on her blog, “Whether it’s friction about the way a process works, how a program is run, how customers are serviced, or how we take care of employees, these are the very times we do not want to coast. The only way to get ahead and succeed is to continuously evaluate the way things work, then make them better.”
This is not to say that Chili Piper lives a friction-filled life.
The team makes extensive use of HiBob, an HRIS solution, to automate information communication.
“HiBob can split the information up based on country. So, we use HiBob to post to people’s newsfeeds, emails, and Slack channels. The key is to think of what can be used to invite conversation and what can just be communicated. For example, for an employee’s birthday or work anniversary, the manager and I will receive a notification but it’s on us to send a personalized note. We do post on a common Slack channel so any employee can participate but we automate the notification, not the message to add that personal flavour. Similarly, for promotions – the CEO receives notifications so he can mention it in the weekly All Hands but we don’t automate communication about it.”
For everything else, like offboarding and manager upboarding, there are task lists.