Your startup is growing, and you’re adding new members to the team. Things are looking up! But there’s just one issue: you aren’t sure your onboarding strategies are strong enough to retain those new recruits you worked so hard to find.
We’ll be honest: it’s not easy to keep everyone engaged and motivated. However, with a little bit of effort, you’ll be sure to improve retention. Studies have shown that organizations with a strong onboarding process improve the chances of someone sticking around by 82% and productivity by over 70%.
So, how can you ensure that every new hire feels like an old friend from the beginning?
The answer is simple: give them a roadmap for success. If you haven’t created any sort of plan to welcome your new recruits, here is a blog to help you build that out.
On the other hand, if you’ve already got a foundation, keep reading for 5 hacks and trends for 2022/2023 that will help you take your onboarding from good to great.
1. Break the ice early🥶
Did you know that seventy separate studies have proved that feeling socially accepted is a deciding factor in a new hire’s success? That means one thing: you need to get your newbies acclimated to the group ASAP.
Buddy and mentor programs are great for establishing camaraderie, so make sure to group new employees together if they’re training at the same time. Ideally, you can also “assign” someone already on the team to act as a guide and resource for anything new employees might need.
Don’t fill your newbies’ calendars up completely (they may be introverted and need time to decompress), but invite them to shadow people and lunch with you/others; make it clear that they won’t be isolated.
It’s also key to talk about things other than work! Although it’s not necessary for everyone to be besties, keep in mind that it takes quality time (not just focused meetings) to build relationships.
In fact, a study by the University of Kansas found that it takes about 50 hours of time together to go from acquaintances to casual friends, 90 hours to become good friends, and more than 200 hours to obtain “close” or “best” friend status – so it’s key to book icebreakers in your onboarders’ calendars and kick off those get-to-know-you hours on day one.
@chrisdyer.com The best hack for onboarding! What you do matters right down to the first few hours on the job! #onboarding #recruitment #hiring #leadership #ceo #hr #remotework #hybridwork ♬ Paper Planes – M.I.A.
2. Provide the ultimate intro guide📝
We’ve all wished we had an Idiot’s Guide to Life at one point or another, right? Unfortunately, those don’t exist… but you can offer your new hires a guide to your company and their position. Create a booklet that caters to the incoming employee’s experience, goals, duties, and more.
You can start with a basic template and personalize it as needed so the employee feels comfortable and able to navigate their first week with confidence.
Make it easy to find answers to questions big and small, from “What are our core values?” to “What should I accomplish my first week?” to “How do I login to our systems?” to “What should my email signature look like?”.
Additional employee handbook ideas:
- Get to know you section with team member bios and anecdotes
- Pictures and stories from your last team builder/retreat, future plans
- Hall of fame highlight with big wins
3. Send them a preboarding kit🎁
With new hires comes a lot of paperwork… but before you overwhelm them with things to sign and pages to read, why not warm them up with some fun stuff first?
We recommend sending over (or if possible, personally dropping off) a welcome package stuffed with needed tech (prepped with programs and logins) PLUS swag and treats prior to your newbie’s first day.
So, what should you include? Company-branded water bottles, coffee mugs, t-shirts, pens and notebooks are always appreciated, especially when they’re inscribed with individual employees’ names. A personalized note from the CEO/other executives is a nice touch. A “cheat sheet” on perks and benefits plus how to use them could be useful.
Gift cards, plants, fitness gear, books, or other “stocking stuffer” type things are never a bad call, either – especially if they relate back to your company somehow. If you really impress your new hire, they may even share on social media (AKA: contribute to your organic recruitment marketing – big win!).
Thanks Infosys for the welcome kit😊
Finally got to see it 🤩..Though I got it one month ago in my home..
4. Make it a game🎯
Studies show that a company becomes 76% more appealing to employees when it offers additional skills training to the people who worked there. Trying new things is also a great way to build rapport with strangers. So, why not gamify your onboarding process?
There are tons of team-building activities that can teach new skills and get people out of their comfort zones. Whether you set up a Kahoot quiz, do an escape room together, or play trivia, your options here are pretty endless.
Try to host an event in your new employee’s first few weeks that’s informative but still captivating.. and remember to provide prizes and split employees up into unexpected teams for different activities. You can also give every day of onboarding a goal, and give out a small gift for every goal met or skill mastered along the way.
Games have some of the best onboarding flows
‘Time-to-fun’ is a key metric in game design relevant for all software. As apps that compete for free time, games deliver value quickly & unpack complexity slowly 🎢
Thread 👇 on onboarding best practices from games pic.twitter.com/tV0lQxRZZI
— Jon Lai (@Tocelot) June 1, 2021
5. Be generous + patient⏳
The biggest piece of advice we can give for employee onboarding? Do NOT underinvest in the onboarding process. All of this may seem like an excessive use of resources, but the cost of losing talent due to a poor welcome program is much higher in the long run.
Have a plan, use a checklist, stick to it, and help foster success within your team from day one onwards – and trust that results will come.
No matter what kind of company dynamic you have, it’s key to give your new hires time. Even with the most perfectly consistent, well-constructed, successful onboarding plan, employees are humans and will need some time to settle in and find their stride.
Still have questions about onboarding, how to create your strategy, or anything else hiring-related? Contact us! We’re here to get your startup growing with the right people.