November 15th, 2017 | Debbie Lamb, Sterling Talent Solutions

Setting the Stage for Success: Who is Getting Onboarding Right?

New employees are a business’s biggest investment and they must be treated as such. First-day gifts and get-to-know-you games will drive measurable business outcomes and make a new employee feel more welcome to their new teams. Employees who go through an effective onboarding program become more productive quicker and put out more valuable work. Organizations with a standard onboarding process experience 54% greater new hire productivity and 50% greater new hire retention. Employees who go through a more focused and detailed welcoming experience are more likely to be enthusiastic about their organization and ultimately can become brand ambassadors. This will ultimately translate higher productivity and better results for the bottom-line.

When onboarding goes well, the benefits of increased employee engagement directly impacts organizational success. When onboarding goes badly, employee morale and engagement is at risk. The 2016 Talent Board North American Candidate Experience Research Report describes strategic onboarding as including the following:

  • Forms Management: Ensuring new hires have filled out the correct forms to stay compliant and begin business-driven projects quickly.
  • Tasks Management: Making certain that new hires have everything they need and have met the right people.
  • Socialization: Keeping new hires informed of the company culture and looped in with their manager and team.

Onboarding is just not a function of the Human Resources department. It takes a village to onboard a new employee. Good onboarding requires input from many different members of an organization from leadership to site leaders to IT and even marketing.

Who Is Doing Onboarding Right?

There are many well-known companies that have empowered their HR departments to do more than push paper on their employee’s first day. They show how onboarding can showcase company culture, encourage employee engagement and build loyalty from the start. Below are just a few examples, but there are many more companies that are doing it right!

  • Netflix: Get Working: Netflix makes sure that a new hire’s technology is set up on the day the new hire arrives so that they can jump into their work right away. Top executives of the company, including the CEO, meet and welcome all the new hires. Netflix gives new hires the opportunity to be involved in large projects right away and make an impact on the company.
  • Google: Join the Class: New hires at Google are called “Nooglers” and start a whirlwind orientation the first day. They get some great swag, including a Noogler T-shirt and meet their “class” of fellow new hires. They are also paired with mentors to help them learn the ropes. And of course, Nooglers get to partake in the famous food in the Google cafes.
  • Birchbox: Calling Card: The curator of beauty and grooming products equips each new employee’s desk with the technology essentials, plus a candy bowl and a special callout: a handmade welcome flag that proclaims, “Hi. I’m new. Come say hi!”
  • Fog Creek: Transparency Works Through Technology: Software developer, Fog Creek, uses tools such as Trello to onboard their new hires. The tool shows a full list of the first few weeks of tasks for both the new hire, their hiring managers and their new team. The process is transparent, and everyone knows what each person needs to do on their task list and when that task is due.
  • Bonobos: Fact and Fiction: In keeping with the clothing retailer’s cheeky attitude, every new employee’s tenure starts with a little tease. Prior to the new person’s first day, the hiring manager emails the entire company an introduction, complete with brief biography and photograph. The tease is a game called “Two Truths and a Lie.” Of three “facts” included about the new employee, only two are true. To uncover the lie, employees must meet the rookie. The first person to spot the lie snags a $25 store credit.
  • Warby Parker: Literary Legacy: This maker of prescription eyeglasses gives a copy of Jack Kerouac’s Dharma Bums to each new employee because the book inspired the company name. Rounding out the Warby Parker welcome kit are a gift certificate for a free eye exam, two pairs of glasses (one to keep and one to give away), the company founders’ favorite snack food (Martin’s Pretzels) and a gift certificate to a Thai restaurant — because it harks back to the company’s early days in Philadelphia.
  • REI: Get Your Hands Dirty: A perennial on Fortune magazine’s annual list of the 100 best companies to work for, the outdoor gear purveyor initiates new retail employees into its culture by including an outdoor service project in its employee orientation.
  • Zappos: Bet You Won’t: Always the HR groundbreaker, the online retailer offers all new hires who complete its training program $3,000 to leave. That’s how highly the company values a good cultural fit

Memorable Onboarding Engages New Hires

Memorable onboarding programs get new hires engaged in their work from the get-go, which extends throughout their employment with the organization. Companies with highly engaged and happy workers have higher rates of customer satisfaction and fewer errors. Learn how to transform onboarding from a cumbersome, paper-laden process to one that engages top talent from the get-go by downloading Sterling’ eBook HR’s Guide to Onboarding: From Decision to Day One and Beyond.

Download the Complete Guide to Onboarding

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