Window Nation is a rapidly growing home improvement company. From its roots in Maryland, they’ve expanded westward to 12 states. Not only is Window Nation opening two to three new markets per year, they’re also expanding existing branches. That equates to having to onboard up to 17 people twice a week. With a vibrant home improvement market, it’s urgent to get employees productive and in front of customers ASAP, without stumbling through the process.
Window Nation’s HRIS Administrator, Faye Goldberg, knew from her early career in recruiting how vital the new employee experience can be. “We’re experiencing massive growth,” she began. Since joining the firm four years ago, Window Nation has quadrupled in size. Onboarding had already gone virtual before the New Employee Onboarding portal, but it was very manual. Faye explained, “Our process entailed a Teams call with someone from HR in presenter mode talking at our new employees, with very little room for interaction.”
Facilitating meetings for different job roles and different time zones was “a scheduling nightmare.” Plus, employees hungry to get to work were held back by the minutiae of paperwork. “Having that many people start at once and chasing down their I-9s and tax forms have been a little like pulling teeth,” Goldberg admitted, “especially when onboarding remotely across the country.”
Enabling a Solution
With Microsoft's New Employee Onboarding (NEO) utility, customized by the productivity pros at Enabling Technologies, Window Nation is improving the consistency of their new employee experience, and saving hours of HR department personnel time each week.
“NEO has automated everything that HR needs from Employees,” said Goldberg. NEO incorporates Microsoft 365 services like SharePoint Online, Teams, and Power Automate. Now, Window Nation provides a series of online welcome videos, job aids, forms, and templates. All documents that are needed for payroll, profiles, and benefits are listed as tasks on a custom site for each employee. “We have tasks for everything, customized for specific job roles,” she continued. Employees work through their list at their own pace. Even with employees in the office and some in the field, NEO allows Window Nation to give them a similar experience and complete their training no matter the role or location.
Creative Content Design Leads to Elated Employees
Window Nation realized that documents and pdfs weren’t going to catch the interest of its dynamic workforce. Goldberg got creative, with videos, moving pictures, and flipbooks. “I would recommend anyone building a site like this to provide their content in multiple mediums,” she advised.
“We wanted to make sure that employees were truly guided through the site, so the voiceover videos provide a brief introduction of what they can expect on each page,” she explained. Each task shows an estimated time to complete so that people can select something to watch, read, or complete during short windows of their workday. They’re shown how to use their healthcare apps, submit tax forms, and view their leadership team’s messages. Employees are prompted with quizzes to break up the learning process and complete a survey about their first week and their experience with the process.
“Overwhelmingly, our new associates are saying this portal is easy to navigate, and they are coming away with a much better understanding of Window Nation as a whole,” Goldberg claimed. “They know where to turn if they have any questions.”
Organizationally, Goldberg continued, “We’ve also gotten insight into different departments, how they onboard, their style, and what the employee’s experience truly is as they join that department.”
Simplified Construction and Administration
Window Nation was introduced to NEO by Enabling, who has helped with several Microsoft 365 and Azure projects. Enabling’s SharePoint and employee experience professionals were ready to help plan and then support Window Nation’s efforts. “At the start,” Faye explained, “the Enabling team gave us a wonderful, comprehensive list of the assets and content that would easily plug into the templates they gave us. That allowed us to create everything we needed, and when we were ready to build the site, we could drop in everything we created. From there, we had more space to start customizing the site to make it function in the way that showcased Window Nation’s culture.”
Built on SharePoint, but with the complexities hidden, NEO doesn’t require deep expertise. “I had very little SharePoint training and experience coming in,” said Goldberg, who had dabbled some. “SharePoint is one of those things you can grow with,” she said, “and Enabling was always available and ready to help whenever we got stuck, so that was wonderful for us.” When she needed to backfill her handling of NEO, Faye explained, “I was able to sit with my counterpart, who had never touched SharePoint before, for 40 minutes, and she was able to pick it up with no problems.”
Since Window Nation’s employees are on the go, Goldberg is working with Enabling to implement a chatbot. “We want employees to make stronger connections on day one through Teams,” she said. “We want to link our NEO site with Microsoft Teams. Our chatbot will give them access to their task list, information, and to check things off directly via Microsoft Teams without having to log in to SharePoint.” Since the staff is already using Teams, this single pane of glass will continue to optimize the employee experience and provide a place to continue to nurture their employment.