New Hire Orientation Ideas to Engage New Employees Beyond Day 1

May 6th, 2016
Abhishek Ballabh
Abhishek Ballabh

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.