You’ve just invested a considerable amount on recruiting the perfect candidate to join your company. The last thing you want to happen is for that new employee to 1. feel underwhelmed and unsatisfied or 2. not even start the role! Recent findings show that one in five UK employees stay in a job for less than a year and nearly two-thirds (63%) of new recruits quit before they even started.¹

Like a first date, or a first order, first impressions really do count and if you aren’t able to offer new employees the attention they deserve, they may well look elsewhere. By providing an employee onboarding process, where your new starter feels comfortable, included and confident, they are much more likely to be committed for the long term. In fact, 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboarding.² Not only will a great onboarding process improve retention, but it is shown to help increase productivity by over 70% too.³

onboarding a new employee

What is employee onboarding?

You may have heard the term on-boarding and wondered what exactly does it mean? Employee on-boarding is the process in which new starters gain the information and skills needed to transform them into top performing staff members. And by that we don’t just mean emailing or handing out company literature and, it goes beyond the initial orientation day. It’s a clear, defined and structured process that will continue to help new team members to understand the brand culture, how things work in their role and to feel valued in their team.

Why is employee onboarding important?

As mentioned above, getting onboarding wrong or not investing in it can lead to costly repercussions. Having spent the money to recruit a new employee, (not forgetting the time and resources needed to train and bring them up to speed), you don’t want that person to be unproductive because they are unsure of their role or worse, leave early. Having a good employee onboarding policy will not only help to improve retention, it will also help new hires reach their full productivity quicker. Less time spent trying to figure out their role and environment, and more time spent bringing value to the company.

It is even more critical to consider your onboarding process if you are working remotely and have virtual teams across different locations. Being unable to communicate with your new employees in the normal face to face manner, means a structure onboarding process needs to be in place to ensure new starters feel welcomed and confident in their role.

When does onboarding start?

Onboarding should start as early as the recruitment stages, when a candidate is researching and thinking about working for your company. Ensure your policies, values, culture and team is clearly portrayed in all recruitment touch points – so they have a clear sense of your company and the role.

5 Creative ideas for onboarding a new employee

So where to begin with planning your onboarding process? We spoke to Tim Elgar, Head of Culture and Leadership at Twinkl Ltd to ask for his expert advice on onboarding best practices. Tim has simple yet aspiring ideas that could be applied to businesses of any size and introduced to both start up or long established businesses. Here are his top 5 creative onboarding ideas:

1. Welcome message pre-first day

Before the new employee starts, send them a personal pre-recorded welcome message.  It can be a quick 30 seconds filmed on a phone from the Head of Department or from the individuals team or line report. Let them know you are looking forward to them starting and welcoming them to the team.  Additionally, you could have a pre-recorded welcome message from the CEO that is sent to all new starters, so they are connected and feel welcomed.

2. Team breakfast 

Getting to know each other on a personal level is an important part of settling in. Why not have breakfast together as a team and throw in a get to know each other icebreaker?  This is a good first week activity.

3. Have a getting to know you lunch with the CEO

Do this every few months with all the new starters in this period. Its great for the leadership to show an interest in each new starter and for them to share a little of their own and the company’s journey.

4. Random act of kindness

People generally love a gift. But rather than (or as well as) the day one onboarding welcome pack – why not give them a personalised gift after their first week and you have got to know something about them.  They are not expecting it and it will exceed their expectations.

5. Well-being chats

Two weeks after the new team member has started, give them the chance to speak to someone (who is objective) about how they are settling in. At Twinkl we have the luxury of a well-being coordinator. However this could be someone from a different team, or the last ‘new team member’.

As Tim mentions above, a great way to help a new employee get acquainted with your company and feel instantly valued is with an unexpected gift. If you are looking for a gift or an onboarding welcome pack, we can help you source quality, thoughtful branded gifts or an all-in-one pack that will convey your company ethos whilst helping to onboard your new employee with success.

Call our expert team on 0114 275 4150 or email us.

You may also be interested in our related blogs:
Please note this blog has been updated from the original post in Oct 2019.

¹ (Cezanne, 2019)

² (SHRM, 2017)

³ (Glassdoor, 2015)