Five ‘Forbes Approved’ Ways to Make Your Employee Onboarding Stand Out

In the corporate world, first impressions do count. Want proof? Just chat to the analysts at HC Online, who report that 90% of employees decide whether they’ll stay with a company within the first six months of starting. This is where onboarding plays an all-important role in retention, satisfaction and ongoing engagement.

With this in mind, settling for a run of the mill onboarding process is selling your business short. Instead, with a little imagination and some bona fide inspiration from the big guns, you can treat your new recruits to an outstanding onboarding experience.

To start, let’s take a look at some ‘best in class’ examples. From Wall Street to Silicon Valley, these globally recognised companies sure know how to WOW their new hires.

  • Facebook enlists all new engineering recruits in a six week long onboarding ‘boot camp’ which unlocks access to the company’s entire web coding database. Started in 2009, it was initially set up to help retain the culture of the engineering team. Today, Facebook’s engineer boot camp offers new recruits a chance to decide how they want to contribute to the company, provides an internal support network and above all, creates a sense of unity.
  • More than just free makeup samples, L’Oréal offers a new recruits a comprehensive onboarding process lasting for two years. According to the company, the part integration program called L’Oreal Fit radically reshapes the way new hires join the company, and helps to build incredible engagement from day one.
  • Up and coming cloud infrastructure firm Rackspace takes an upbeat approach, and inaugurates incoming employees with a four day long onboarding extravaganza. Think games, costumes, dancing and more. Of course, this high energy approach isn’t for every organisation but it does illustrate the value of thinking outside the box when it comes to onboarding.
  • Texas based tech firm Bazaarvoice sends all new hires on a weeklong scavenger hunt, which is designed to immerse them in company culture and industry jargon. Want to find out more? Check out one employee’s first-hand experience with the Bazaarvoice scavenger hunt here.
  • Prior to their first official day, Ernst & Young signs all new hires into its purpose-built onboarding portal. Here they can take a virtual tour, read through Q&As and find out more about the company. It’s polished and professional, but still offers new recruits a low-key introduction to the company before they hit the accounts books.

Feeling inspired? You should be! With the right approach, onboarding can become a powerful training, engagement and productivity tool. So how can you follow in the footsteps of companies like Facebook, L’Oréal and Ernst & Young? Read on for our guide to making your employee onboarding process stand out from the crowd. Forbes worthy? We definitely think so!

1. A meaningful intro to workplace culture

Beyond corporate mechanics, workplace culture plays an important role in the employee experience. This means that in their first few days, purposefully introducing new hires to workplace culture is a must. For example, say you manage a juice bar that offers your customers a colourful, fun and upbeat experience. Or maybe you work in healthcare, where transparency, efficiency and patient satisfaction are paramount. Whatever your workplace values, a structured cultural immersion process will help your new hire understand and embrace the quirks that make your company unique.

2. Official mentorship programs

Integration is a critical part of the onboarding process, and will directly affect how a new hire feels in their first few days (and weeks) on the job. Immerse them from day one by pairing them up with a mentor or buddy. If it’s a serious commitment you can even consider reimbursing the buddy with protected time from their duties. After all, they’re carrying out legitimate work on behalf of the business. Looking for inspiration? Check out these ‘best practice’ buddy ideas from some top performers: At Google, all ‘Nooglers’ are assigned a mentor to help speed up their orientation and fast-track productivity. IBM’s Royal Blue Ambassador Program pairs up new recruits with a mentor for 30 days, while Qualcomm runs its mentor program for a full year. All are great examples of how an official mentorship program can help to get a new employee up to speed, as well as verse them in workplace culture and provide that all-important sense of comradeship.

3. Follow up

Failing to follow up on onboarding processes is one of the biggest HR faux pas in the book. No matter how lofty your intentions, an onboarding plan will fall flat if there’s no continuation. Stay in the loop by continually checking in with a new employee, and sourcing feedback. This will help you keep tabs on their progress, as well as ensure they’re receiving the support and education they need to hit full productivity. Schedule official meetings, even if it’s something as simple as a chat in the back office. This proactive approach to onboarding will help keep your new employee engaged and motivated, throughout their journey to full productivity.

4. A collaborative approach

All too often, onboarding can fall heavily on the shoulders of the manager and the new recruit. Experts suggest that instead of isolating the experience, onboarding should be seen as a team sport. For example, a floor manager may be a retail employee’s main point of contact. But the new hire could also benefit from direct access to the national HR team, the regional manager and other internal contacts. Not only will this provide your new hire with a strong support network, but access to the wider team will also give them a good sense of value and belonging.

5. Clearly defined goals and objectives

When showing new recruits the ropes it’s easy to stick to a ‘training only’ mentality. But if you really want to take your onboarding to the next level, clear goals and objectives should be incorporated into the process. Start small, with things like sales targets, KPIs and independent tasks. As your new hire learns the ropes you can set higher targets, and give them more autonomy. Of course, you’ll need to make sure your newbie has the tools, equipment and knowhow to achieve these goals. Regular check-ins will ensure that you’re seeing things from their perspective, and can make changes if necessary.

The final verdict

Keeping your new hires engaged from day one is no easy task, and one of the best opportunities to get them hooked lies within the onboarding process. While many companies settle for the absolute basics, a strategic, multi-faceted onboarding process could play a pivotal role in helping you retain, and engage your employees.

Want to know more about how to bring your onboarding process up to par with the likes of Google, Facebook and other big guns? Get in touch with our customer service team today to chat about how Ento can help bolster your onboarding experience. Packed full of staff centric features, it simplifies engagement with a suite of instant communication tools that are accessible from anywhere, at any time. As well as empowering new staff from the word go, Ento also supports ongoing engagement and streamlined communication. This means happy managers, happy employees and above all, happy customers. And who doesn’t want that?

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