While the employee onboarding process should instill confidence in new hires, it goes beyond warm fuzzies. You and your team are preparing the new employee for the reality of the job. Give them the wrong idea about your company or their position, and you will see a quickly exiting or disengaged hire. Aside from the critical steps of the employee onboarding process, your team should be using your company culture and values to inspire a unique experience. Don’t worry, bold doesn’t always mean costly. Read on to see some of our favorite employee onboarding ideas.
Onboarding Idea 1: Wow Them With Gratitude
According to Glassdoor, Apple gives employees 25% off Apple products annually and every 3 years, they can get $250 off an iPad or $500 off a Mac. Though a new employee hasn’t yet been able to contribute to company success, they have decided to bring their skills to your organization. That’s worth gratitude. Showing appreciation for that dedication immediately is one of the best new employee onboarding ideas.
If you have the budget, new technology will be impressive and help the employee do their job well. Grand gestures are great and can do amazing things for your employer brand reputation, but don’t fall for the belief that big ticket gifts are the only way to show appreciation. A clever coffee mug, some new shoes in company colors or even a small welcome muffin can have the same effect (just make sure they aren’t on a low-carb diet!) The new hire will feel like they are already a part of the team and have the option to start showing their pride off to family and friends. Arrange the swag on their desk so that it is the first thing they see when they get to their new desk!
Go bold on a budget: If swag is out of your budget, don’t worry. Small gestures can say big things, too. Build your new hire a “welcome to the team” Spotify playlist that is either played over the company’s sound system or is sent to them in a congratulatory email. Spotify is free to use and your team can work together to pick out the songs they believe accurately show company culture. Don’t forget to arrange a welcoming committee. Make sure someone is waiting at the door, ready to greet the new hire on the first day. It is a free onboarding idea that shows your team is friendly and excited.
Onboarding Idea 2: Be Action-Packed
While it’s important to build excitement, some of the best onboarding programs aren’t filled with fancy swag and expensive gifts. Instead, they are packed with trust and skill building. Giving your new hire responsibilities shows how much your organization trusts their abilities and experience. It will inspire accountability and build that habit of always challenging themselves within your walls.
Do note that along with pushing accountability, you should be granting permission for mistakes and questions. A new hire will feel overwhelmed if their assignments are massive and lack direction. They might even avoid approaching their manager or coworkers for fear it will show inexperience. Instead, remind them to ask as many questions as they need and direct them to the person who can offer advice on those uncertainties.
How to be this bold: Before a new hire’s first day, lay out the goals and responsibilities of their job. These elements probably already influence their training and onboarding. Now use them to assign a project the new hire can own. Provide a goal, deliverables and due date, then hold them accountable. It doesn’t have to be big, but it should follow your team’s established project process so the hire can learn to walk the walk within your company. Be realistic to their abilities, but expect greatness. Your confidence will give them confidence and the timeline and grace will allow them to make (and learn from) mistakes.
Onboarding Idea 3: Take Onboarding Outdoors
Though the new hire will need to get used to being productive within your office and work environment, the first few weeks can be overwhelming. Setting aside some down time in those first days is a great idea for new employee onboarding. Arrange a time or day that you and/or your department can take the new employee out of the office. For example, set aside a lunch hour where you treat the team to a nearby restaurant. If possible, walk together. Not only will it provide bonding time, walking outdoors boosts creativity and cognitive performance. One study found that those who spent their lunchtime walking in the park saw a 50% boost in creative problem-solving.
Go bold on a budget: Even if you can’t treat your new employee to lunch, you can set aside time for a 15 to 20 minute walk. Ask a few coworkers to join and make it a strategy meeting. Discuss current goals and encourage the new hire to offer insight or ideas. If you’re not too sure of the scenery or weather, take a break from all the onboarding and training to hold a meeting where everyone can stand up, stretch and talk. Just having the chance to step away from work and chat can do wonders for an overwhelmed new hire, and it will still give your team a chance to pick their brain for innovative opportunities while getting to know their personality. It’s a win-win.
Onboarding Idea 4: Feature the Future
Chances are your new hire has more than one skill set and more than a few professional interests. It might seem little now, but simply showing support for those interests is a great idea for onboarding new employees. It will establish your company’s devotion to employee development and show your new hire how your company helps employees avoid career stagnation.
In fact, 89% of employees want their company to support their continued learning and skill development. It’s another win-win opportunity for your organization. Your employee is more engaged with the knowledge that their employer sees growth potential while the company has access to continually developing talent. If your organization shows interest in their professional future, the new hire is more apt to envision their future within the company. Gift them with a stipend to use toward a conference or class. Or ensure they are well-versed in any tuition reimbursement your company offers.
How to be this Bold: Within the first week, schedule a sit down meeting between the employee and their manager. In this meeting, ask the manager to learn more about the new hire’s talents, interests and experiences. Encourage the manager to be actively listening so that he or she can provide projects or departments where those skills and interests could come in handy. Also have the manager consider a few areas they believe the new hire could help their own team and department. Discuss places the new hire can find useful webinars, tools, conferences and any other learning opportunities.
Onboarding Idea 5: Create a Survival Kit
The first day of any new job, even a great one, can be considered a game of survival. If not the first day, the first few weeks. No matter how exciting the process is, new hires are going to experience moments of hesitation or discomfort. Anticipate the uncertainty by creating a survival guide. Game developer, Valve, created a branded handbook filled with pages of humorous yet useful information on the company, team and policies. However, your survival kit could be anything from branded office supplies to a desk drawer filled with snacks and the new hire’s favorite candy. So many new employees are apt to wait until someone gives them permission to go to lunch. If you haven’t already invited them out for a team lunch, then pack a snack in that survival kit!
Remember, this surpasses a bold employee onboarding idea and moves right into an area of necessity. If a handbook filled with humorous quips around the rules seems like a massive undertaking, then at least have a basic handbook your new hire can refer to for things like dress code and vacation policies.
Go bold on a budget: Go digital if printing is too expensive. In fact, going digital in either case is great for the environment and allows your team to update policies easily. Plus, employees will have immediate access to the document. Also survival kits don’t have to include items. Your key to survival might be an employee-developed, company-specific keyword bank filled with slang and acronyms only personnel uses. Or build a bank of unwritten office rules that can be attached to the handbook.
Your new hire is establishing him or herself as an employee, so these first few days are paramount. If your onboarding process only includes the basic paperwork, you can bet it will be dull and leave the new worker wondering if they really fit the position after all. Don’t sabotage your hard work to get the new hire in the door or the opportunity to work with their skills. Use these simple yet engaging onboarding ideas to reinvigorate your workforce.