Toolkit: Our top 20 tips for the perfect onboarding experience

69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboarding.

Society for Human Resources Management

We all want to give our new people a great onboarding experience so work with your managers to get cracking with these top tips:

It’s always better if it’s owned by managers and employees, not HR

  • Follow up as soon as possible after they’ve accepted the job with some/any(!) communication from their manager. e.g. “We’re so happy you’re joining us! Why not come to our drinks on Thursday night to meet the team?”
  • Our role in HR is to create the environment for a great onboarding experience, but not to do everything.  The actions of the manager will have a big impact on the new starter’s experience so it’s a good idea to encourage your managers to lead it.
  • If you want to set the tone early on that you treat your people as adults, then be clear that you expect them to ‘own’ their onboarding experience – taking responsibility for and asking for what they need. Point out where they can find things out, what’s important for them to know and who they should meet and let them get on with it – at their own pace and in their own way.

It starts before they start

  • Get email address, tech, logins etc sorted in advance, so that it’s ready on day one or even before
  • Give access to your intranet/comms platform before the new starter joins so they can start learning more about your organisation (they may never have the time again!)
  • Send links to paperwork they might need to complete, videos, useful apps and answers to new starter frequently asked questions  
  • Set them up on any internal platforms (slack, HR systems etc)

Make it social

  • Use an app like Looop (Learning Management System) to curate basic new starter training in bitesize form.
  • Challenge yourself on mandatory training and information giving – is it all really necessary for their role and if it is, how could it be delivered in a more exciting way? Try a ‘scavenger hunt’?
  • Ask the team to send the new starter a LinkedIn request with a warm ‘hello’ message
  • Send an automated message to remind the hiring manager to set up the first day (Google says it gets new hires up to speed 25% faster)
  • Find the new starter a buddy or a mentor that can help them settle in
  • Set up a dedicated group on your comms platform (e.g. Facebook Workplace) for new joiners to share info, chat, ask questions
  • Put a balloon that says ‘hello, I’m new’ on their desk to encourage colleagues to say hi.

Make it special  

  • On day one, put a thoughtful gift on their desk, their favourite bottle of wine, a cake, etc.
  • If you have the budget check out our favourite apps to create a personalised onboarding experience: Strayboots, Enboarder, Eloomi
  • Use ‘stay interviews’ in the first few months “has the role lived up to your expectations?  “What could we do to make you want to stay here”
  • Invite new starters to do you a review on Glassdoor  

Get rid of Probation

  • Probation periods are designed to catch the tiny percentage of people who won’t work out. Radical we know, but why not ditch the probation period which has a negative impact on a new starter’s experience. Instead encourage managers to have more frequent check-ins in the first few months to help them settle in or nip any performance concerns in the bud.
  • Give any benefits you offer from day one rather than after a certain length of service. If you’re worried about the risks of this, look back over your data – how many ‘probationers’ did you actually get rid of? We bet there’ll be very few!

Download top 20 tips for onboarding here

Good luck!

Have your own onboarding ideas? Why not share on our discussion forum

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