Name of Organization/Company: KnowBe4, Clearwater, FL USA
Category: Onboarding Professional of the Year
Lyss Madden began her career at KnowBe4 as a recruiter, but what set her apart from the rest was her passion for creating an unforgettable candidate and employee experience. When the idea of an onboarding position was created, Lyss’s managers immediately thought of her as the perfect fit because of her creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, and her ability to build relationships with employees. When Lyss was promoted in July 2018, she built the entire onboarding department from scratch, with one main goal in mind: ensuring that each employee had an unforgettable experience. Since 2018, Lyss has successfully onboarded over 1,000 people. As the organization has evolved, so has Lyss's role in onboarding. Since her start in this department, she has received three promotions and is now Director of Global Onboarding for all offices. Lyss set up KnowBe4’s onboarding experience to be conducted virtually, in person, or in a hybrid environment. She runs onboarding for all of our 11 offices globally; from Brazil to Australia, the Netherlands to Japan, and everywhere in between. She has also trained and continues to manage a team of onboarding specialists across the world. Her passion for excellence and creating an industry-leading employee experience are unparalleled!
In January 2020, Lyss implemented “Employee Manager Meetings'' so that each new employee could meet their manager and learn more about expectations in their role. In February 2020, Lyss implemented KnowBe4’s first-ever “Annual Onboarding Day” to give all employees who were never able to experience onboarding a chance to go through it themselves the week of their work anniversary. In March 2020, the company was sent home due to COVID-19. Lyss was tasked with pivoting onboarding to a virtual environment while ensuring that it still incorporated KnowBe4’s amazing culture. Some of the biggest challenges she faced were working with IT to make sure all new hires received their equipment and had an adequate home office set up before their start date, and moving everything online including lunches, trivia, and the scavenger hunt in which new hires get to meet over 30 executives.
Lyss is also a crucial part of the team that runs the summer internship program. Once the pandemic hit, Lyss had to simultaneously pivot the entire internship experience to be virtual. With 21 interns eager to start their positions, Lyss knew that canceling the internship program was not an option- many students rely heavily on both professional experience and monetary income. She reworked all of the social activities to include dozens of virtual team building activities, such as an escape room, murder mystery party, t-shirt design activity, and a weekly “Coffee Corner” which closely mimicked the experience of meeting up with colleagues in the office for coffee.
As organizations continue to navigate the unprecedented global pandemic, making new hires feel welcome in their roles during the onboarding process is more critical than ever. Through her efforts of pivoting onboarding to a virtual setting, Lyss successfully evolved the program, keeping new hires connected to KnowBe4’s company culture in a new, interactive way. She did this by adapting our unique program to the work-from-home environment. Highlights of her efforts include our KnowBe4 scavenger hunt, fun ice breaker games, and virtual coffee get-togethers. These activities, spearheaded by Lyss, give new hires from around the world the opportunity to get to know one another, bond and connect. The onboarding process that Lyss has created has similar elements to the onboarding of many of the most highly rated tech companies, all combined into a one-of-a-kind, industry-leading experience. Like Zappos, all KnowBe4 employees receive the same onboarding experience, regardless of title. This allows new hires from all different sectors to get to know each other within the organization and feel equally valued. Similar to Palo Alto, another leader in the cybersecurity industry, KnowBe4 is experiencing incredible growth. In order to evolve with expansion, KnowBe4 utilizes similar collaboration tools for the onboarding process, which enable employees to stay engaged in a highly interactive environment. Through virtual changes, uncertainties and organizational growth, one thing has remained constant under Lyss’s leadership; keeping new hires meaningfully connected through a unique and fun onboarding experience, representative of KnowBe4’s company culture.
As the workforce continues to evolve, it is apparent that Lyss’ leadership not only makes an impact on the organization but also on the candidates themselves. Lyss excels at making others feel like a part of the organization from day one of the onboarding program. It’s no wonder why Glassdoor and anonymous new hire surveys are flooded with positive onboarding reviews. One candidate says, “I have worked at several different companies over my working career and the onboarding at KnowBe4 hands down is the best I have experienced! With a company of this size, it is really important to get employees grooved in as quickly as possible so that they feel a part of the team right away. At KnowBe4 you feel this from day 1!” The attachments of Lyss’s work include a YouTube introduction video, blog articles featuring onboarding initiatives, Glassdoor reviews from new hires, and anonymous new hire survey feedback. A recent email filled with praise from KnowBe4’s new Director of Sales LATAM says, “I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for a tremendous onboarding session last week. You made me and the rest of the new hires feel very welcome and made it a very enjoyable week with plenty of learning. I have worked for many Fortune 500 companies, and I can safely say, this is by far the best onboarding experience I have had - hands down!” These articles, reviews, and links support Lyss’ dedication and exemplary leadership as Director of Global Onboarding.
Onboarding Highlights: https://vo-general.s3.amazonaws.com/a1ab4161-9c30-4e28-88fc-d6ad384e3fe2/4f571278-d373-4ea5-abc6-5dc9aa29c9cd?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAJ4PRWO26HAX3IOCA&Expires=1720390196&response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3D%22Alyssa%20Madden%20Onboarding%20Highlights%20.pdf%22&response-content-type=application%2Fpdf&Signature=KwGvlyM1NX%2F3wDJFZx1mKoU13rw%3D
OnBoarding Shoutouts: https://vo-general.s3.amazonaws.com/a1ab4161-9c30-4e28-88fc-d6ad384e3fe2/d2022e7b-cbad-4b6a-9720-d45615fba383?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAJ4PRWO26HAX3IOCA&Expires=1720390196&response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3D%22Alyssa%20Madden_%20Onboarding%20Shoutouts.pdf%22&response-content-type=application%2Fpdf&Signature=0u9l6kTmg64d5VISBFVXCvYDZMc%3D