New Hire Orientation Ideas to Engage New Employees Beyond Day 1

New hire orientation ideas are indispensable to drive employee engagement beyond day one. 

First impressions will be created on day one of your new hire orientation program. Introductions and hand-holding, but what’s next? What approaches can companies adopt? What methods are being used? Who can be leveraged in the organization for orienting new hires? These questions and other initiatives surrounding new hires can be addressed effectively with the help of a new hire orientation map.

new hire orientation ideas for new hire map

TouchPoints of the New Hire

A new hire’s early experience is highly influenced by his peers, managers, subordinates, the HR team members, and the organization’s top management either directly or indirectly. This new hire orientation map depicts the various touch points for the new hire during the new hire orientation process. An onboarding manager’s approach and initiatives should take into cognizance all touch points. We look at some ideas.

New Hire Onboarding is a Two Way Street

Employers should be open to accepting ideas and opinions from the new hires.

  • Organizations like Google, Zappos etc. have Chief Culture Officers whose primary function is to gather the thoughts of employees, especially new hires and work on assimilating them into their companies, based on its merit. The openness and team spirit showed by top management is an incentive for new hires to continue to stay with their jobs.
  • Integrate feedback sessions, formal and informal into the onboarding schedule. Arrange structured meetings with peers, managers, HR and training managers who in turn, collect feedback and update the new hire of the status.

Help the New Hire Hit the Ground Running

Effective New hire onboarding has learning and training and employee engagement programs integrated into its structure. All new hires, fresh graduates, and laterals need some form of training to help them assimilate into their job and start contributing at the earliest.

  • Informal Learning is more effective – Create a setup where the new hire is able to learn through observations and by participating in the group discussion with peers and managers.
  • Learn at your own pace – While instructor-led training programs are effective, new hires must be provided access to various online resources so that they can learn at their own pace.
  • Leverage Technology – Given the attention span of today’s younger workforce, an innovative approach to learning is a must. Enterprise gamification, for instance, is emerging as a popular method for onboarding activities and employee engagement. Cap Gemini’s enterprise gamification consulting paper highlighted the InMobi case study in which the Mindtickle Gamified social learning platform was used for new hire onboarding.
  • Pay attention to sales – for a sales-specific onboarding checklist, take a look at this specialized resource to optimize their learning and ramp time. 

Engage the New Hire

Early engagement of the new hire is critical to the success of the new employee orientation program. Employee engagement is no longer just about motivation to contribute as an individual but to be aligned to employer business goals and customer requirements.

  • Early engagement – Involve the new hire in group activities with peers.
  • Frequently schedule team lunches with senior members frequently.
  • Organize team building activities involving other team members as well.
  • Aligning the new hire with the company goals and customer needs (if in sales and marketing) at the earliest is critical for their performance.

Look out for Leaders

Companies are always scouting for that special talent with leadership abilities. Onboarding managers and senior leaders should leverage the onboarding phase to identify this talent and fast track them into the organization’s existing leadership development programs.

The line of Sight – Career Decision, Not Just a Job

Popular question managers ask their new hires, “Where do you see yourself in the next 2 years, 5 years?”. An onboarding program provides an opportunity to gauge the long-term goals of the new hire at the earliest. Onboarding managers can team up with manager and peer-mentors during the new hire orientation program and help the new hire make a career decision.

Organizational Socialization

A study by SHRM Foundation titled Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success refers to organizational socialization as one of the approaches to onboarding. According to this study “Every organization has its own version of the complex process through which new hires can learn attitudes, knowledge, skills, culture, and behaviors”.  While onboarding researchers term this as organizational socialization, the basic idea is to ensure that the new hires feel welcome and are prepared enough to make contributions at the earliest. Employers of choice have recognized the possible role of peers, managers and top management in helping an individual contribute to a company’s growth – another testimony to Organizational Socialization.

So, what new hire orientation ideas does your organization implement after day 1? What has worked, and what hasn’t? Do share in comments.

Does Your New Hire Orientation Program Include Pre-Onboarding?

new hire - Mindtickle

Pre-Onboarding is a big miss when it comes to a new hire orientation program. Organizations have a tremendous opportunity to address their recruitment, retention, and productivity challenges by leveraging pre-onboarding.

Do you remember the moment when you received the final offer letter of your first job? Chances are that you are reliving the moment as you read this. A brand new job also generates similar excitement. It is this excitement that is omnipresent during the pre-onboarding phase- the phase between a new hire’s offer acceptance and her joining. Smart organizations can leverage this feel-good atmosphere to their HR advantage by setting the tone for the upcoming new hire orientation program. Is your organization taking advantage?

Sustain the Excitement – They impressed you, now it is your Turn

Pre-Onboarding  is a golden opportunity to sustain the euphoria of a new job. Questions and doubts abound at this stage for a new hire. Answering these questions and creating structures for addressing their doubts is a good first step to keep the conversation going and keep them excited. A new hire orientation program usually addresses this, but organizations have an opportunity to start early with pre-onboarding. By simply engaging with the new hire periodically during the pre-onboarding phase, employers can sustain the enthusiasm and eagerness of the new hires.

  • Help them Search – New hires often search for information about their employers on the internet. Be proactive and help them look at the right places. Providing links to blogs, announcements, company policies, and procedures and newsletters via email would set the ball rolling.
  • Bring them In – Guest level access to the organization’s enterprise social network could do wonders. If your organization does not have one, create a group on public social networks like LinkedIn as a means to introduce the new hire to the rest of the team.
  • “I Belong Here” – Socialization is an integral part of a new hire orientation program; socialize early by inviting them to team building activities. If the location of the new hire is a constraint, arrange for online participation.

Manage Uncertainty – Will the New Hire finally join?

The latest Aberdeen report “Onboarding 2013 – A New Look at New hires” reinforced its earlier finding that organizations believe that about 90% of employees decide to stay within the first year. While this statistic has been the driving force behind organizations taking up new hire orientation program seriously, there are instances where a new hire, even after signing on the dotted line, decides not to join. Over the last few years, organizations have been witness to a trend where new hires do not turn up even after accepting offer letters. And this is where pre-onboarding can play a critical role.

From a new hire’s perspective, the pre-onboarding phase of new hire orientation program also brings about a sense of anxiety. Constant communication between the organization and the new hire can help contain this anxiety. By initiating a few simple actions, a new hire onboarding manager can not only counsel the new hire, but also deduce with confidence if they are at risk of losing the new hire.

  • Schedule Interactions – Structured calls to discuss the new hire’s job and role will help orient the new hire towards the organization’s business objectives early on.
  • Paperwork – The Aberdeen 2013 research suggests that getting the new hire to complete the tactical aspects (forms and tasks) in a timely manner helps him contribute to business driven projects at the earliest. This step may be boring, but initiating and completing it brings in a formal sense of belonging.

ROI – Help new hires get Productive at the earliest

In the book “The First 90 Days” Michael Watkins puts the break-even point of new hires at 6.2 months. According to the book, new hires consume value for the first three months and only then begin contributing. Research from Aberdeen also indicates it is because of this that only 62% of new hires meet their first performance milestone on time. Thus, pre-onboarding offers a wonderful opportunity to further shorten this 6 month period.

  • Let the Training Begin – Incorporate learning during this phase. Utilize this time to share research in the form of published documents and white papers, in a consistent manner.
  • Understand the New Hire – This transitional phase can be a good time to identify what resources can help the new hire when he starts working. It helps the managers identify the right mentor to be assigned and helps the mentor prepare for the new hire. Frequent interactions can help the onboarding manager identify the special qualities the new hire may possess. Identifying these qualities can help the onboarding manager map goals and targets for the new hire.
  • Great Expectations – The new hire can also utilize this pre-onboarding phase to understand the expectations from the organization. This prepares the new hire and improves the chances of contributing productively to business objectives.

Is your Organization taking advantage of pre-onboarding? If no, why? If yes, what worked and what did not?

Onboarding Managers: Look Beyond the New Employee Orientation Checklist

Onboarding programs should move beyond merely completing a new employee orientation checklist. Today, onboarding managers need to conduct a well-designed, centralized, and cohesive orientation program, well beyond the scope of a new employee orientation checklist.

Let’s look at the six ways to create a great atmoys to sphere where new hires feel that they are a part of something special.

1. Send a welcome kit

Making good first impressions applies not only to blind dates and clients but with new hires as well. Putting together a welcome kit will ensure a new hire feels welcome and valued. The kit should contain:

  • Welcome letter
  • Directions to the office
  • List of restaurants, banks, and entertainment in the area
  • A schedule for Day 1
  • Name and contact details of the assigned mentor

A continuously updated new employee orientation checklist should make this task easy for onboarding managers.

2. Day 1 celebration

A small celebration makes an employee feel welcome. The simple process of having the workspace ready with phone connections, PC/laptop, an email account, and a bag of snacks communicates a great deal – especially on the first day. Involving senior members in team-building activities and lunch with the team will increase the new hire’s comfort level.

3. Mentor program

A mentor or buddy can act as the go-to person for the new hire and guide them through filling out forms and understanding benefits and company policies. The role of the mentor should continue until the end of the new employee orientation program. Companies like Motorola give the mentors access to hiring data, which helps the mentor assist the new hire with the necessary tools and resources required to make him/her productive from the start.

4. Share your organization’s goals

It is essential to share your organization’s goals for the near future and highlight the expectations from the new hire by defining his role in achieving this goal. Establish the fact that the employee and the employer grow together.

5. Focus on the skill set

All Employees, new hires, and laterals alike are constantly, are looking to improve their skill sets. A clear roadmap with training programs scheduled during the coming months that are integrated well with the new hire’s performance management plan will indicate to the new hires that the company will take all efforts to increase their skill set and contributions in an organized manner.

6. Ask for feedback

A new employee orientation program is not a one-time event, but an ongoing process. Feedback plays an important role here. Provide a timeline for new hires indicating when and how their inputs will be taken. Ensure to act on the inputs given and communicate to the new hire that the issue is being addressed or has been solved.

Helping to create a great workplace is very appealing – especially to managers and leaders who are aware of the benefits that come with great workplaces. The Aberdeen Report 2010 survey revealed that the initial experiences of a new employee have a direct impact on an organization’s productivity and profitability. The report also states, “Make a good impression and you can be considered an employer of choice.”

The new employee orientation checklist is definitely a good start and onboarding managers would do well to adopt all or some of the above-mentioned tips to enhance the onboarding experience.