Ed Shepherdson
SVP, Enterprise Solutions

Topics

OnboardingGraphicMany organizations sell and support complex products or services. In these types of organizations, the knowledge to navigate this complexity is collected over time based on experience. It becomes easy to recognize the “star” performers. But what about new people? How do they make them star performers from the start, able to quickly contribute?

The process of onboarding is one of the most important functions your organization can perform. Most organizations likely have an onboarding program, but I would be willing to bet they don’t look at the effectiveness of that program as a key part of their business. They sometimes question what they are teaching, but probably aren’t looking making the program more efficient.

It takes time to try and catch up to the company “go-to” people – but successful onboarding takes more than time. It’s also increasingly complicated, as highly competitive organizations are inundated with unprecedented amounts of new information; new systems and waves of new products released every couple of months (or weeks).

Our research shows that the average employee uses 10-15 different systems to perform their job. Some of these systems are for capturing data, but most of them are for referencing existing information created by someone else. So the main question is: “Why do I need to know how to operate that system, when I am only using it to reference the content?” We spend 30-40 percent of onboarding time allotted to teaching how to use systems that your employees will likely only use to reference information and never use to create content. It is scientifically known that retention of information declines greatly when the content becomes repetitive as you try to teach technical use of many support based systems. You may remember why you need to go to that system, but you may not remember how to log on and how to navigate to that particular piece of information.

Onboarding sessions should focus on educating the “what” and “why” of your business – not the “where” to find it. Unified indexing technology allows for contextually relevant content to be delivered to anyone who asks for it, removing the need to for you to know where the information exists.

Here’s an example: if I ask to see similar sales order forms for product ABC, I don’t care what system the results came from if the content is contextually relevant. I can then simply read the content and make decisions in a fraction of the time. This works especially well in customer service. Access to relevant content, in the right context, can give the new agent information that they can use right away, without having to know all the background.

Hiding this content in the systems of record and rewarding those who can find it doesn’t make sense in today’s highly competitive environments. Through indexing this content we release this content, making it available to your new employees to act like your most experienced employees in a fraction of the time.

If you could reduce your time to productivity in sales, customer service, engineering and marketing, do you think it would contribute to the growth and competitiveness of your organization? Customers that are using Coveo’s Insight Solutions see savings of 30-50 percent of onboarding process allowing their new employees to become productive and contribute to their business in a fraction of the time.

About Ed Shepherdson

As the Senior Vice President of Enterprise Solutions, Ed Shepherdson oversees Coveo’s Knowledge 360 Solutions, with a strong focus on the company’s Knowledge 360 Solutions for Customer Service. Mr. Shepherdson brings 30 years of experience in the technology industry to his role with Coveo. Prior to joining Coveo, he spent 18 years at Cognos, now an IBM company, where he most recently served as Vice President of Global Customer Support. While at Cognos, Mr. Shepherdson also held a variety of senior positions in the company’s Research and Development and Applications Development teams. Mr. Shepherdson has also served as an Advisory Board member in several industry associations, including the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) and Service Strategies Corporation, which sets the standards for the Technology Services and Support Industry. Mr. Shepherdson holds a Masters Degree in Organizational Leadership and completed the Ivey Executive Program at the Richard Ivey School of Business at Western University. Outside of work, he is an avid golfer, enjoys watching Jr. hockey and spending time with his wife, son and daughter.

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