11 Tips for Creating the Ideal Employee Onboarding Program


Mike FratesiDirector of Product and Field Marketing at GuideSpark

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

When you hire new employees, do you throw them into working or do you have a period of orientation?

Article 4 Minutes
11 Tips for Creating the Ideal Employee Onboarding Program

Today, more companies are opting to have a new employee orientation that’s meant to showcase everything the employee needs to know in order to work effectively with the company. However, for businesses who are wanting to truly retain these new employees, this orientation needs to be entertaining while also educational.

3 things you should never do during employee onboarding

There are a few things that employers need to remember about orientation to avoid overwhelming employees on their first day, including:

  1. Don’t overwhelm new employees with facts and figures you expect them to remember. This is so overwhelming it can actually cause a person to regret being hired in the first place.
  2. Videos that are boring and long are so in the past. Showing these can make your company look as though they have no idea how to communicate with its employees.
  3. Don’t make employees simply sit in a boardroom for 8 hours and listen to one person; this can be overwhelming and boring, and your new recruit will just stop paying attention.

Sadly, these are typical of employee onboarding programs, which is why many businesses need to revisit this process and change things up.

How to improve your employee orientation program

First and foremost, ask yourself: What do you want new employees to walk away with knowing after the new employee orientation?

When you have your answer, you’ll have a better understanding of what you need to do to get new employees ready to work for the company.

Additionally, here are some great tips that you can integrate into your new onboarding program:

Welcome new hires

Have a meet and greet with the department the new hire will be working in and let new employees and old employees mingle. This will help new employees feel more comfortable with who they’ll be working with. Go a step further and assign a ‘mentor’ employee to look after them.

Take them on a tour

Don’t just sit there in a boardroom, take all new employees on a tour of the facilities so they know their way around. And pay close attention to individual departments that may be of interest to them.

Make it a celebration

Make the orientation day a day of celebration. Consider this; when an employee leaves, you often have a leaving party. So why not have a welcome party complete with cake for the new employees? It shows employees that the business cares about them and wants them to feel welcome.

Educate in short bursts

Keep educational segments to 20 to 30 minutes in length. The average attention span of someone is about 20 minutes, so instead of packing all this information into a two hour lecture, break it up. Do a segment for 20 minutes, then have everyone stand up, take a tour, or even a snack break.

Keep it educational

While we often want to make these as fun as possible, remember that you do need employees to know what is expected of them, as well as informing them of pay, benefits and other important pieces of information.

Introduce them to their managers

Allow new employees to meet the person they’ll be working directly under. Supervisors can give a few educational points about what the employee will be doing and answer any questions they might have.

Show them how to use key software

Highlight which employee communication software your company uses and show them how to use it. It’s important to encourage an open line of communication among everyone, especially those who are new to the business.

Add in some team building activities

If you have a large group of new employees, you could also consider adding in some team building activities. This can be a great way to not only build trust, but to make the orientation a bit more memorable.

Provide printed materials

Give employees printed materials that go over the same information you provided during lectures. That way, employees can always look back at them when they have a question.

Don’t be restricted to one day

If you have a very in-depth employee orientation, consider doing this over the course of a few days. Many companies do a morning of orientation, and then let new recruits go to their mentor employee for the rest of the day. The next day, they tackle another portion of their orientation. This method also helps to ensure new hires aren’t being overwhelmed with information.

Find the right experts

Invite workers from specific departments to give an overview of their role so the new recruit has a better understanding of the day to day running of the job. Have HR professionals highlight the benefits they’ll be getting, while supervisors can lay out what they expect.

Final thoughts

For companies who have an inefficient onboarding program, this could be one reason why they lose new hires so quickly. It can be overwhelming for new hires to listen to a constant stream of information they’re expected to remember. With these tips you can make the new hire feel more like family, rather than a number in the hiring pipeline.

Mike Fratesi

Mike heads corporate and field marketing at GuideSpark, an employee communications software company. He has over 15 years of experience in the communications, collaboration, and employee engagement markets. Mike has a passion for bringing new products to market. Prior to GuideSpark, he led product and marketing teams at Cisco and Dolby. Outside of work, Mike enjoys being outdoors and exploring California with his family, listening to live music, and cheering on the Cubs. 


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