10 Ways to Create the Best Employee Onboarding Experience

by Srikant Chellappa Apr 19,2022

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

Providing your new hires with the best employee onboarding experience is one of the surest ways to ensure their long-term productivity and loyalty to the company. Achieving the best employee onboarding experience isn’t easy. Your company will have to put in a lot of work towards making onboarding a more effective process. Luckily for you, our guide on the 10 ways to create the best employee onboarding experience will provide you with the knowledge you need to give your employees the onboarding experience they deserve. 

What is an employee onboarding?

Employee onboarding is the process through which new employees are integrated into an organization. Employee onboarding activities help employees learn about the organization and understand their place in it. Don’t confuse onboarding with orientations. Employee orientations include only basic bureaucratic information, such as the company’s on-paper profile. Onboarding is a more in-depth process that helps employees become active parts of the organization and recognize the company’s values and work culture. Employee onboarding is a very important process because it dictates how effectively your employees become a part of your organization. 

The ideal onboarding experience will transform new hires into instantly committed and motivated individuals who will fully devote themselves to your organization. The benefits of highly motivated and committed employees are fully self-evident. Ideally, you want all your employees to experience the ideal employee onboarding experience. Keep reading if you want to learn how to create the best employee onboarding experience. 

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Why is a good onboarding experience necessary?

The best employee onboarding experience will immensely improve the probability of your new employees remaining long term with the company. Glassdoors completed research that states that providing excellent employee onboarding experience increased retention rates of new employees by 82%. Another study by Kronos found that longer onboarding experiences resulted in better employment engagement. Nearly 57% of participants in Kronos’ study stated that their greatest issue with onboarding was over-tasked managers in insufficient onboarding time. The other leading cause of employee dissatisfaction with employee onboarding was by lack of consistent company-wide application, which was pointed out by 47% of participants. 

What these studies empirically prove is that effective onboarding is vital for successful integration of new employees into your organization. It’s not possible for new employees to become a part of your work culture if they’re not given the proper onboarding experience necessary to familiarize with the company. When you properly onboard your new employees to the company, you’ll have provided them with all the information and knowledge they need to immediately become active participants in your company and act productively. Onboarding removes much of the problems in your new employees’ adjustment period in the company. For those reasons, if you want your company to successfully hire new employees, you need to prioritize providing them with a good employee onboarding experience. 

The 10 ways to create the best employee onboarding experience

Now that you have a good idea of what an outstanding employee onboarding experience looks like, it’s now time to get some practical advice on how you can turn your company to provide good employee onboarding experiences. 

  1. Make your onboarding experience inclusive

We live in a multicultural society, so it’s inevitable that your employees will come from a host of different backgrounds. You need to accommodate new hires from all of these backgrounds by assuring them that your company is only concerned with productivity. You need to encourage employees, especially those from a minority background, that your company is a progressive entity that is fully committed to making everyone a part of the company. The best way to do this is to train your managers to understand diversity and to treat all employees equally, regardless of their background. Your managers should be provided with proper diversity and sensitivity training so that they don’t offend members of minority communities, especially. 

2. Integrate innovative content on your onboarding

Giving conventional presentations and video conferences over applications like PowerPoint and Zoom is a dull approach. While PowerPoint and Zoom work to convey the information you want to your employees, they are not the best ways to do so. You’d be much better off integrating in-person presentations with video-conferencing software. You want your employees to remember your presentations, and you want them to fully appreciate your company’s uniqueness. One of the best ways to personalize these onboarding sessions is to have your CEO or other high-ranking managers personally talk to your new hires. You could also have senior members of your company’s management have small discussion groups and personal sessions with your employees to help them better understand the company and gain inspiration from your best leaders. 

3. Treat your employee like you treat your customers

Your employee onboarding experience should have the same level of concern with quality as you would with customer service experience. Your company needs to ‘market’ itself to your new hires. They need to feel that they’re the ones benefiting from being able to work with you, and not the other way around. There are different ways to achieve this. For example, if your company provides high-end customer service, then you should build your employee onboarding experience around a similar concern with providing new hires the best onboarding experience. You need to design every aspect of your employee onboarding experience towards maximizing employee comfort and interest. Make sure that your new employees have every service and opportunity afforded to them so that they feel important in your organization. 

4. Put new hires in age appropriate or post appropriate groups

One of the best ways to make new hires comfortable in your company is to provide them with socializing opportunities with one another and other employees, like we said above. One of the best ways of doing this is to divide your new hires into small groups of between 3 to 6 people and have them spend a few hours with each other every day before or after work. The benefit of these group exercises is that your employees will understand each other better and develop better social bonds with one another. This tip only works well if your company hired multiple people simultaneously, though.

5. Integrating Physical Activities in onboarding

According to some researchers, the most memorable events for most people involve high-adrenaline experiences. You might make onboarding a high-adrenaline or exciting experience by providing your new hires with physical activities. For example, you could host a company marathon, have a scavenger hunt, or a friendly soccer match. There are many activities you can choose from. Make sure that you choose an activity that your employees actually enjoy doing so that they get the most benefits from it. 

6. Have your onboarding process reflect at the end of the first year

A good employee onboarding experience is an investment that can pay dividends for a very long time. For that reason, it may be desirable for your employee onboarding experience to last for a long duration of time. Also, if your company has a particularly complex or difficult work culture, you could even have the onboarding experience last for an entire year. While this sounds like a long time period, it isn’t unusual for large corporations to have onboarding periods that last this long. Through a long onboarding period, you can provide your new hires with a type of ‘story arc’ that takes them from start to finish in integrating with a new company.

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7. Have them feel celebrated

Human beings naturally like to feel celebrated, and you can take advantage of that fact by providing your employees with celebrations upon joining your company. You want your employees to feel that they’ve done the best possible thing with their lives by joining your company. To achieve this, you could have your company’s existing employees sign digital or real-life welcome cards that are shared with the new hires. These cards are a small, but effective way to welcome the new employees on board your organization. 

8. Encourage Network building

One of the most important goals of new employees, especially those at a lower level, is to build personal links with important people in your organization. One of the best ways to take advantage of this is to provide one-on-one chat opportunities for new employees. Give them the chance to speak with more experienced employees and learn from them. This experience is invaluable for new hires since they’ll learn a lot about your company and benefit from access to new information. 

9. Have clear SOPs and easy accessibility to information

The worst employee onboarding experiences are when employees are provided with disorganized and conflicting information. Your new employees need to feel a sense of comfort and ease from the onboarding process, and that’s only possible when you have them eased into it. For that reason, your employee onboarding experience should be standardized for all employees. Every new hire should have the same positive experience. So create an SOP on how to provide employees with onboarding experiences beforehand to avoid unnecessary drama or problems later on. 

10. Ask for feedback 

Receiving feedback is essential for improving employee onboarding experiences in the future. You need to always ask your employees what they thought of the onboarding experience after it’s concluded. You should survey the new employees after they’ve fully onboarded, and you need to provide them with plentiful opportunities to voice their perspectives on your company. This data should then improve employee onboarding experiences for the future. 

In conclusion, successful employee onboarding experiences are vital for integrating new employees into your company. The best way to improve your company’s onboarding experience is to prioritize employee comfort. Your new hires need to feel appreciated in your company, and you can follow the ten steps we’ve highlighted above to make them feel that way. 

Want to know how Engagedly can help you mange your remote employees better? Request us for a demo.

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Srikant Chellappa
CEO & Co-Founder of Engagedly

Srikant Chellappa is the Co-Founder and CEO at Engagedly and is a passionate entrepreneur and people leader. He is an author, producer/director of 6 feature films, a music album with his band Manchester Underground, and is the host of The People Strategy Leaders Podcast. He is currently working on his next book, Ikigai at the Workplace, which is slated for release in the fall of 2024.

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