First impressions count, even more so on your first day at a new job. Whether it’s navigating your way around the office, meeting all your new team members or simply trying to get your head around the organization’s culture, the first day can be a daunting experience. One of the jobs of the HR department is to ensure that a new hire’s first day is as painless as possible. In addition to that, keeping employees motivated and engaged with the company is key. Research has shown that when a new hire feels their employer is invested in and supporting them early on, they tend to be a more valuable member of the team. In addition, companies who implement the latest software for employee onboarding, have experienced a high degree of success.
Onboarding new employees
Onboarding, the process of integrating new hire’s into the company, can take many shapes and forms. For example, approaches include adopting a ‘buddy system’, where a senior employee takes a new employee under their wing and mentors their early progress. Induction weeks and even putting the process completely online are also common practices. Some companies may forsake onboarding programs altogether, choosing a ‘sink or swim’ climate for new recruits, with employee orientation being not much more than showing them where the bathroom is. Yet, as stated before, this approach is not recommended as it kills employee satisfaction.
Employee retention is found to be much higher when the onboarding process is memorable.
Companies with the best onboarding programs
So let’s take a look at some of the companies with the most successful employee onboarding programs.
Not only do they immediately make a new recruit feel welcome by giving them a goody bag (including a free bottle of wine), they send the new employee to ‘flight school’ to meet other team members. This is a week-long training course, which introduces new hire’s to all aspects of the company and gets them up to speed on everything. As the name suggests, this is a ‘school’ environment so employees are not alone. They work closely with other new teammates, which fosters a sense of camaraderie and unity.
This is a company that truly values onboarding new employees in the right way. So much so to the degree that they often fly new hires out to their warehouse in Berlin. Why? Well, they believe this provides new staff with the opportunity to become fully immersed in the company culture and ethos. New employees are given a chance to see how everything works, including new projects the company is developing. As far as onboarding programs go, they have one of the best ways in which they introduce staff into the business.
Here’s a company that takes an interesting approach to employee engagement. To ensure that anyone they hire is truly aware of the service they are offering, this house cleaning company makes all new hires undergo a cleaning boot camp. This involves all new workers getting down on their hands and knees to clean a toilet. The company’s objective here is to make sure that even if they aren’t cleaners themselves, they can truly empathize with the cleaning staff!
Google takes a less upfront approach than expected for a company of its size. Rather than flying employees out to some obscure lab, they have a subtle, but thoughtful, onboarding plan. They give managers five key questions, as a checklist, to ask employees the day before they start. This isn’t a necessity but rather used as a way of building awareness and making a new worker feel recognized and valued. What’s more, as opposed to simply being thrown an employee handbook, new staff are given a buddy, as well the opportunity to speak with managers in the form of a check-in three times within the first 90 days.
Meanwhile, at vacuum heavyweights Dyson, onboarding takes on a different look and feel. New engineers are told to take apart and then reassemble one of their products on the first day. This is not a test, so they aren’t fired on their first day if they can’t put a hoover together! Rather the task fosters a culture of product understanding. Dyson’s way of making sure their employees are truly knowledgeable of their products.
Having fully understood the importance of onboarding, and the lengths that top companies go to, to ensure their new hire’s experience is memorable, how can this experience be made easier for HR departments? An unfortunate by-product of hiring new talent is the inevitable pile of new hire paperwork that comes with it.
One way to counter this is through specific employee onboarding software. HR hiring managers spend hours tracking the progress of new employees. Questions that come up include: have they signed the correct forms, did they have the specific training, have we asked them their bank account details, etc. Yet, by adopting a specific onboarding software, handling these processes becomes much easier and quicker. Using software for onboarding helps manage procedures such as employee documentation compliance, background checks and progress reporting. Thankfully, when digitalizing your onboarding, you can ultimately save time to focus on more pressing issues. Perhaps most importantly, it removes the feeling of ‘endless bureaucracy’ from the new hire’s start date, giving them more focus on their actual work and integration into the company.
Digital Employee Onboarding
The benefits of digitalization don’t end with the HR office though. Traditional onboarding programs take place on-site in offices. Whereas, as we move ever further into a digitized world, the onboarding process for new hires is with computers.
Using an automated onboarding process means that a new hire doesn’t even need to set foot in an office. The digital process lets them become fully integrated into the workforce, learning the company culture from the comfort of their home. With a smooth, digital onboarding program, new hires can be shown all the information they need to make their first few days seamless. All this information can be regulated accordingly and kept up to the highest standard. Also, it can ease some of the pressure off the new employee. Thanks to digital tools, employees can take in all the new information at their own pace.
Using digital systems for your employee onboarding process allows new staff to have an impactful and beneficial initial experience within the company. What’s more, it ensures a smooth process without the extra hours, manpower and rigmarole of a traditional system. Not only does it save on time, but it also standardizes the experience across the board. As a result, this ensures that all new employees receive the same onboarding process. It also provides hiring managers with the means of tracking the new employee’s progress, well-being and effectiveness. Digitalizing onboarding is the way of the future. Are you onboard yet?
Contributed by Charlotte Stace; Edited by Tanya Lesiuk