Effective employee onboarding is about more than making them feel welcome. It can help employees feel like highly productive and valuable contributors to your mission and success from the start. Plus, when employees have a successful onboarding experience, they’re more likely to feel like members of your team, and this can contribute to employee retention.
Some of the best onboarding processes are unique, creative and a little bit unexpected. If it’s time to change up your onboarding program, you might find the inspiration you need from these 10 effective techniques.
Related: How to Improve Your Startup’s Onboarding Process
1. Get coffee
During a new hire’s first few weeks with your company, have them get coffee individually with all of their future team members. This works especially well with small businesses, where relationships are crucial. Enjoying coffee outside of the office setting helps to take some pressure off, letting a new employee communicate freely and get to know your staff in a low-pressure setting.
2. Send them on a scavenger hunt
Give new hires a list of tasks, like finding an employee who’s been with the company for over a decade or who likes to cook. This can make for a fun icebreaker activity. If you have multiple new hires, you can make this into a competition.
3. Schedule team meetings
Any new hire’s first day will most likely include meetings with human resources, orientation sessions and new-hire paperwork. But you should sit them down with different teams so that each member can introduce themselves and explain how they contribute. This is a valuable strategy in companies with many different teams that work together. New employees can simultaneously put faces to names and gain an understanding of how each group works internally, as well as how the company functions as a whole.
4. Take them to lunch
Have a new employee’s manager or team take them out to lunch during their first week. This can make for a valuable team-building experience, since you’re likely to see more of an employee’s personality and learn about their interests when they’re not physically in the office.
5. Schedule a happy hour
Create a more casual setting with a happy hour during an employee’s first week of work. Invite the whole team to the fun get-together.
6. Give them a meaningful gift
Give new employees something that ties them to the company, ideally some sort of gear or clothing that features your branding. If there’s a certain laptop bag or travel mug that all employees use, make sure the new hire gets it. You can even buy printed stickers and give them to new team members. These company-branded gifts can help bind an employee’s personal brand to the business, establishing a valuable connection.
7. Schedule a one-on-one meeting
During the first week, budget time for a new employee to meet with the CEO for a check-in. This will make the them feel valued right away, which can further help build their emotional ties to your organization.
Related: How to Breathe Life Into Your Formal Onboarding Process
8. Set them up right
It might sound simple, but take the time to ensure that employees are set up with all of the right software, a functional email account, login accounts and passwords and Slack channels. Ideally, do this before they arrive for their first day. If new employees lack these important tools, it can lead to frustration, delays and a slow start.
9. Help them set up their calendar
Navigating a new calendar isn’t always simple, so help with the setup to ensure that new employees have the tools they need to succeed. This is a great time to talk about meetings, conference calls, remote work, an employee handbook or any other helpful communication or information that new hires should have.
10. Give them some immediate goals
Don’t hold off too long before letting people get started in their new roles. Give new team members some immediate projects to work on and goals to meet. Even if these are smaller projects or part of a training program, employees will feel more useful and productive if they have work to do from day one. This also gives you a chance to learn about an employee’s work style and to give them some feedback and establish a working relationship from the beginning.
When you put some careful thought into your new employee onboarding process, you can transform it into a useful tool that helps you learn about who you’re hiring. Plus, your new hires can learn about your company and its teams. Workers can tell when their hiring process has been carefully planned. Remember, team members aren’t only focused on making a good impression. Many of the more savvy new employees will be looking to see if your company can make a good impression on them during the onboarding process, too.