Here’s how to get better at onboarding

It starts before Day One.

Jo Deal

Hybrid work has some distinct advantages when it comes to onboarding.

Photo: LogMeIn

Jo Deal is the chief human resources officer at LogMeIn. She is responsible for leading global people strategy with a focus on attracting, developing and engaging talent.

The desire for change that sprung up during the pandemic resulted in the highest attrition levels in decades and a fierce war for talent playing out in the market. The Great Resignation forced managers to suddenly make hiring their top priority, and recruitment partners became everyone’s best friend as leaders scrambled to replace key roles within their teams.

In a candidate market, the competition is tough, and we’ve seen many examples of extreme cash and equity packages being thrown around to tempt new hires. Many in-demand workers can negotiate a decent rise to their earnings during such a hot market, but as is often the case, it is not just about the money. The culture of a company and how someone is welcomed, as well as other non-monetary benefits (such as flexible work), have become key to keeping those new hires. There is no shortage of evidence that a key part of attracting new hires is incorporating some form of hybrid working strategy.

Whether in person, hybrid or fully remote, onboarding is an opportunity to show off company culture and to make someone feel welcome and engaged, which will inevitably lead to quicker productivity and satisfaction. Here are six ideas that can help you ensure your onboarding is great.

It starts before Day One

Onboarding really begins with the candidate experience and leads into their new-hire experience. There can be a gap between the time an offer is accepted and the time someone starts, and planning for connections and outreach can help reassure a new hire that they have made the right decision. They may be getting counteroffers or face pressure to stay in their current role during those days and weeks, so don’t miss that opportunity to remind them why joining your company was a great decision and get them acquainted with members of their new team.

Virtual offices have democratized the first-day experience

We used to have a great Day One experience for those who worked in our HQ office: a morning with fellow new hires building a new cohort and learning about important aspects of #logmeinlife. These sessions included learning about benefits, accessibility to our 24/7 IT support and our culture, values and volunteer programs. At lunchtime, a member of the executive team would join the group and share their experiences, give an overview and hold a Q&A session. In other offices around the world, local versions of this happened, but once we were all virtual, we could suddenly provide everyone access to HQ executives and increase exposure to our senior leadership team, no matter where anyone was based.

Planning makes perfect

Delivering a great first day is crucial, and part of that is ensuring equipment is ready and available. That became more challenging when people weren’t coming into an office, but with good lead time and a great partnership with our friends in IT, we still ensure everything has arrived in time for Day One. Nobody wants to be at their desk on their first morning with no access to email or systems. Part of guaranteeing that experience was HR and IT coordinating with hiring managers on specific start dates. The Day One experience is not just about having a laptop and email access set up, but also being part of an immediate network of other new hires.

Reimagining the welcome gift

Providing a gift was easier when large numbers came to one location and folks could choose their company gift from a selection. The cost of shipping welcome packages to 800-plus new hires’ individual addresses last year, plus the environmental impact, meant it was time to reimagine our approach. Nowadays, gift cards can be used digitally to buy lunch or coffee for new joiners. Alternatively, companies with strong corporate philanthropy programs may offer a gift in the form of a donation to a charity of choice. There are also recognition platforms we use for all sorts of employee appreciation, and through that, we give a new hire their welcome points, which can be saved or can be spent on Day One. It is a small gesture, but always appreciated.

It doesn’t end on Day One

Effective onboarding can be spread out over 30 days, with additional steps in months two and three. In these past few years of juggling pandemic life and work, we know people must adjust their schedules and be a bit more flexible, so providing them with information that they can consume in an on-demand, self-paced manner is an important addition. Frequent check-ins and ongoing introductions to people inside and outside the immediate team bring opportunities to meet new people and make new connections.

One day, we will be together again

Meeting fellow colleagues in person is always nice if you can pull it off. Even if everyone on one particular team is hybrid or fully remote, there may be local hubs of employees that spring up. Introducing new hires to other colleagues with whom they may not work directly, but share geographic proximity, can help form new relationships and networks within the company. We have all missed social events during the pandemic, but with a little creativity, those events can be organized outdoors, in parks or walking trails or, in the case of one of our offices, in the office car park as a breakfast tailgate event!

The Great Resignation has led to a great amount of hiring. The market shows no signs of slowing down, and nobody wants their new hires circling around and becoming part of their resignation data. Delivering great onboarding means thinking through your approach carefully, as it can have a significant and positive impact on the longevity, productivity and engagement of all the great new talent you are welcoming into your company.

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