5 Ways to Create a Great Onboarding Experience

Onboarding serves the obvious purpose of getting new hires up and running, understanding their role, and contributing to your organization as quickly as possible. The less obvious goal of a great onboarding experience makes new hires feel included in ways that enhance engagement, employee retention, and long-term contribution.

Here are 5 easy-to-implement ways to create those kinds of great onboarding experiences--the kind which helps grow mutual, long-term success for your existing team and your new hires.

Make the Mundane Memorable

There are lots of legal components to starting a new employee--tax forms, employment agreements, employee handbook reading, required safety training, etc.

To make those important, but repetitive tasks simple, operate from a new hire checklist or a digital HR system. You cannot skip any of these steps! But you can make them as smooth and painless as possible.

Then, add a personal touch right away.

A personalized welcome message, small welcome gift (like branded merchandise), or a welcome lunch with new teammates can go a long way toward making new hires feel personally greeted, not just an item on a checklist.

Provide the Big Picture and Points of Coordination

Onboarding generally includes some sort of tour: “Here’s the restroom,” “here’s the break room,” etc. But what it really takes for someone to feel oriented to a new space isn’t just these physical components.

Think of a “tour” as being three levels:

  • The physical space and meeting of people IRL.
  • Tour of the organization, including the organization structure, the products, ideas, or goods created, and how the new hire(s) fit in that overall structure.
  • The tour of the communication tools: email, software tools, etc.

New people don’t just feel a little lost or disoriented when they're wandering around looking for the bathroom; they can also feel a little lost when looking for how to ask a question and of whom.

Mistakes get made. An email gets sent for something that is generally done in Microsoft Teams as a chat. Then the new hire feels awkward.

Save some of those feelings of frustration, isolation, confusion, or isolation by orienting new hires on all three of these levels as part of the onboarding process.

Get Comfortable with Inclusion During Onboarding

Every new hire needs to feel like they can genuinely contribute as quickly as possible.

No one wants to feel like they're on the sidelines. Whether they are in customer service or the new marketing director, new hires bring their own experiences to the table. They want to feel like a valuable part of the team.

Onboarding which includes expectations and guidance from the get-go goes a long way toward increasing comfort. In order to provide this inclusion and comfort, the new hire process should include:

  • Casual meetings from the start, like manager coffees or walk-and-talks.
  • An immediate contribution or project, something that the individual can do already or learn to do quickly so that they feel like their input is valued.
  • Feedback includes acknowledging contributions, not just critiques or criticisms for at least the first project or two.
  • An ongoing mentorship/feedback process from someone “in the know.” Feeling like an “insider,” even if it just means invitations to high-level meetings, can provide a feeling of inclusion.

Treating a new hire like they are already a valuable member of the team can make onboarding a huge success.

Ask for Feedback on the Onboarding Process

Honestly, we need fresh eyes on our own processes.

When we hire someone, it’s a vote of confidence in their abilities and potential, so we should ask for their feedback.

Throughout the onboarding process, or at least after the first 90-days of employment, we should survey our new hires and find out what has or has not worked, in terms of orientation and onboarding. What is going well? How could it go better? What do they wish they had known on day one?

When we ask for and incorporate feedback, we also model a healthy growth mindset in our organization. In turn, we then encourage employees to feel comfortable receiving feedback themselves.

Make Learning an Ongoing Experience

An ideal onboarding experience goes smoothly, but should also be ongoing. Learning doesn’t stop after 30 or even 90 days.

Ongoing microlearning experiences can enhance employee understanding and engagement in organizational growth. Those employees which feel they can connect to your company’s purposes will best contribute to success.

So at Arist, we make microlearning simple.

Whether orienting a new hire to your company culture or training managers in new procedures, our revolutionary, mobile-based eLearning platform makes creating and implementing ongoing learning easy and fun!


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