First impressions are felt for years, not weeks, and by teams, not just individuals. Employee onboarding is the first step in building a high-performing company culture – you have one shot getting it right. Research by the Boston Consulting Group found that out of 22 HR practices, onboarding has the 2nd highest impact on employee engagement. But, with employees swapping the company office for the home office, how do you still ensure a great onboarding experience in a remote-first workplace?
In the largest work-from-home experiment the world has ever seen, onboarding new hires remotely have its challenges. From making new employees feel comfortable to building an understanding of the culture and how work gets done, connecting at a human level can be difficult. To foster more human connection, HR and People leaders can create touch points throughout the onboarding journey, helping set up your new hires for success.
1. Employee Orientation
With so many workers starting jobs remotely, logging in on the first day and struggling to navigate a new workplace without the benefits of meeting coworkers in person can feel isolating. If done well, employee orientation can still help new hires feel welcome and help them understand your company culture. Icebreakers and intros are a great way to welcome employees and allow your recruits to get to know each other informally.
💡Employee Onboarding Tip: Virtual icebreakers like asking new hires to share a photo of their family or pets or using polls for Two Truths and a Lie can help lighten the mood and encourage bonding right from the start.
Highlighting your company culture and how work gets done is one of the most important sessions of orientation. New hires tend to bring their values and beliefs with them, as well as values learned from previous workplaces, so being clear on company culture on Day 1 will help ensure cultural alignment.
Every company’s orientation will look a little different, but one element every orientation should have is the interaction between the speakers and attendees. A good balance between lecture-style sessions and interactive sessions will help keep the attention of all the attendees. Ensuring new hires can ask questions throughout each session is one way to do this.
💡Employee Onboarding Tip: Bring new hires on stage for face-to-face Q&A or turn on anonymous Q&A to give new hires the ability to ask questions openly, without the fear of repercussions, embarrassment, or ridicule.
2. Product Demo
All new employees, from BDRs to marketing managers, have to be trained on your product to do their jobs well. It should include a deep explanation of the product, starting with its history, and how pricing works and ending with a deep dive into what the product does. Ensuring alignment on what your products are, how you make money, and why the company exists will help decrease the new hire's time to impact. Think about it like this – at the end of the demo, they should be able to explain what the company does to their parents.
💡Employee Onboarding Tip: Don’t just rely on the onboarding team to host all the onboarding events, bring in a product manager to deliver more product-specific training. This also allows new hires to meet more colleagues whom they may not typically interact with.
3. Virtual Meet and Greets
Before getting new hires ramped on projects, get the new employee to focus more on relationship building. Strong coworker relationships are critical for creating connections and a sense of belonging. People are no longer casually bumping into each other by the watercooler, so dedicated time for new hires to connect with coworkers on their team or cross-functionally should be set aside.
💡Employee Onboarding Tip: Finding common ground is the quickest way to foster connection. Use breakout sessions to match people according to their locations or shared interests.
You can also help employees connect by hosting employee events. Celebrating your new hires by hosting virtual cooking classes or virtual happy hours gives them the opportunity to bond over new cooking or mixology skills. They can use Q&A to ask the chef or bartender questions and jump over to the lounge room to share a meal or cocktail.
4. Virtual Session with the CEO
Set up a virtual meeting with the CEO a few weeks into the onboarding journey. Use it as a forum for them to get to know each other and for the CEO to reiterate company culture and values. Hosting the event a few weeks into onboarding gives employees time to marinate on all the information learned during orientation. Therefore, the CEO should be instilling purpose, reiterating the values and company goals, and sharing their personal stories behind what they do and why.
💡Employee Onboarding Tip: Make the session with the CEO feel informal and host a coffee & chat. Email Starbucks gift cards in advance and invite them to grab a cup of joe before the meeting begins.
5. Announce New Hires in Your All-Hands Meetings
Your new hires have the chance to meet their managers and teammates early on, but most of the company may not know who they are unless you make an official announcement. Announcing and celebrating new hires to the entire organization can be done in an all-hands or town hall meeting. Jump-start the bonding process by giving the whole company a sneak peek into their new coworkers’ personalities and interests.
It’s stated that 86% of people make the decision to stay with a company long-term within the first six months [Aberdeen Group]. HR and people leaders have a short amount of time to create an overall positive impact on new employees. By creating several touch points throughout the 30-60-90 day onboarding process like the ones listed above, new employees will feel more included and part of the company from Day 1.
Welcome is employee event software designed to support your employee lifecycle. Onboard and engage new hires, gather the company for an all-hands meeting, or support employee coaching needs, all in one, highly energizing platform.
Start designing a better company culture for your team today. Contact us below for a demo or to find out more!