Lift your Onboarding Game

Group of college students in the university amphitheatre, they are sitting and listening to a lecture. 


As a HR Consultant, the number of talented employees that tell me they are actively looking for an exit strategy from their current companies continually surprises me. Any great Talent Acquisition strategy can be rendered useless without equal concentration being paid to talent retention. So, what can a company do to minimise risks of losing internal talent? Well, there are many options, but I always find the beginning is a good place to start any journey.

Most HR professionals can easily argue that effective onboarding improves retention rates significantly. Just as with people, companies don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression. Here are four ways to ensure a new recruit’s first encounters with their new company are memorable for all the right reasons:

#1. Begin before day one. Everyone remembers his or her first day of school. You’re nervous, you hope you’re wearing the right outfit, and you have fingers crossed there is someone to eat lunch with. A new-starter’s first day on the job can be just as daunting. Sending a pre-boarding welcome email, including relevant reading materials and answers to frequently asked questions can create some familiarity that will ease first day jitters. This simply process will give new-starters the chance to acclimate themselves with the company and come into the business with more comfort and confidence.

#2. Turn Senior Leadership from ghosts to real people. Executive presence is a potent way to demonstrate that people matter to an organisation. Kick off your induction presentation with an Executive welcome. This gives leaders a chance to meet the newest talent coming into the business, and a chance for new hires to see how their respective roles and departments fit to a bigger picture.

#3. Make the learning interaction. Onboarding should be an interactive experience that engages new-starters to learn the about the company, organisational culture, and future goals in a lively enthused way. The more engaged anyone is in a topic, the more likely they will retain the more of the information being presented, so here are a few simple ways to build an engaging Induction presentation:

  • Build a good rapport quickly using ice-breakers
  • Check understanding with an energetic verbal quizzes
  • Get everyone up and moving doing role plays
  • Have participants mark self-work assignments
  • Discuss their successes and struggles during the Onboarding process

#4. Pay attention to production quality. Being meticulous about the logical progression of the induction presentation agenda, session transitions, breaks, activities, and speaker coordination, ensures new hires focus less on logistical details and more on the content being delivered. The production quality of the induction presentation and overall onboarding experience is the difference between just another corporate training session and cultural immersion.

These four tips will set the course to infuse organisational culture throughout the onboarding experience. Keep the momentum flowing by identifying opportunities to incorporate cultural elements throughout the new-starters probationary period. A few suggestions to consider are:

  • Company “all-hands” events to introduce new-starters
  • Video testimonials from clients and partners
  • Have various internal stakeholders introduce company vision and values
  • Bring in subject matter experts to give real-life examples of what it’s like to work in particular roles
  • Hand out marketing material (notebooks, water bottles, hats, etc.) that new hires can use to proudly represent their new company to family and friends that will be waiting to hear of their experience on the “new job”.

There are countless ways to welcome a new-starter into an organisation. The key is to remember that a new-starter’s curiosity and engagement in their new company is probably the highest it will be during their tenure during the first days and week on the job. I’ve seen time and time again how a strong onboarding experience makes for higher job satisfaction, better job performance, greater organisational engagement, and reduction in occupational stress and intent to quit during the initial 90 days of employment. Putting effort in on the front end will positively impact retention on the back end.

If you would like some help in building a world-class onboarding programme, WINC consultants really shine in employment arenas. We pride ourselves on being our clients’ most valuable partner in the attraction, retention and engagement of their current and future employees. We offer quality end-to-end strategies and solutions including creative, digital, research, planning and communications within the Employer Brand and Employee Engagement specialities.

Find out more about what we do on the WINC website – and keep up-to-date with our latest insights on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.