Bringing on new employees comes with its challenges, so it is crucial to invest time and energy into cultivating a positive onboarding experience for everyone involved. Here are some of our tips to help navigate onboarding a new team member.
A simple, fun way to welcome your new hires on their first day is with an onboarding kit–with things like laptop, notebook, pens, employee handbook, water bottle, stickers, etc. It’s a more personalized way to provide them with their necessities and some branded merch, and it helps give them a better feel for the company values and culture.
Of course, throwing the company logo on a cheap product is not the point, but if you choose higher-quality and/or thoughtful swag, this will communicate a lot about who you are as a company and show your employees that they are appreciated right from the get-go. For example, if you are a company that values sustainability, providing new hires with a good quality, branded water bottle reinforces that value. Plus, who doesn’t love swag?
Another tip for onboarding is to start people midweek, rather than on a Monday. The first few days of a new job are full of information and introductions and can often be a bit overwhelming. Starting midweek is a good way for new hires to ease into the job, take in new information and decompress over the weekend before starting refreshed and energized for their first full week.
When a new hire first arrives in the office, it can be helpful to assign someone to show them around and make introductions. This can be the HR manager, their manager or even an unrelated colleague that they wouldn’t otherwise speak with on their first day. Many new hires might take the initiative to introduce themselves to everyone, but it’s a nice courtesy to take them around and show people that you are excited they’re on board.
TrainYo VP of Sales Tom Slocum says,“When you’re coming onto an established team, it’s hard to jump in there, but if you’re assigned a buddy, you have somebody to relate to.” Having that peer group improves a feeling of belonging, which reduces turnover.“I’ve heard from so many people, the reason they stayed at their job was their hiring buddy.”
Planning a social activity outside of the office during an employee’s first few weeks is also important for integrating them into the social environment at work. It allows them to speak with more people–some that they may not work directly with–and to feel like they are already a part of the team. Whether it’s a dinner or something more active like bowling or mini-golf, it will help your new hires to feel welcome and facilitate positive company culture and camaraderie.
It is essential to note the difference between orientation and an onboarding program. Conducting a weeklong orientation is important, but it cannot be stressed enough that the onboarding process needs to continue well beyond this. A 2014 study by BambooHR revealed that“31% of employees left a job within 6 months of starting, and 68% of those left within the first 3 months” citing poor onboarding and the need for more effective training as reasons for leaving.
Gamify the Onboarding Process
One more tip for improving employee onboarding is gamification–”the use of points, badges, leaderboards, or other elements of what we generally know as“games” in tasks that already exist to motivate participation, engagement and loyalty.”Gamify onboarding tasks by assigning points/badges, or running friendly competitions between new hires. This will raise the stakes and encourage new hires to stay more engaged in the overall onboarding process. Studies have even shown that gamification increased productivity during onboarding by 90%.