On-boarding - improving the People Experience

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A phrase that’s almost as old as time itself: “You never get a second chance to make a great first impression”. 

So, if we all know it, why do companies miss out on getting the on-boarding process right for their new hires?

First impressions count, and future-looking organisations are aware that the first impression a new starter has of their new employer is critical to improving turnover rates and their employer brand. In today’s competitive environment, support for new starters is not only provided during the initial recruitment efforts but also through a clearly defined on-boarding and integration process.

On-boarding is the period from offer of employment through to the first 180 days at an organisation.  Often acknowledged to be a challenge for experienced hires at all levels (excluding graduate intakes) this period of on-boarding has impacts on short term retention as well as impacting the time taken for your new starter to be fully productive or generating revenue for the organisation.

On-boarding is no longer a ‘tick the box’ activity, where it used to be a process of new starters filling in forms, completing tasks or training and the socialisation of new starters into the culture of the organisation that hopefully is being shown in its best light.   It has now evolved into an integrated experience where getting it right means an organisation receives optimal ROI from its commitment of time and resources enhancing the on-boarding experience.

Whilst “fixing” your on-boarding program takes time there are some key steps you can take to get started on the right track.

Fix the basics:

  • Remove unnecessary processes and procedures – how lean can your process go?

  • Use technology that’s main purpose is to connect your new starter and provide them with the essential tools to integrate them quickly

  • Ensure that the position descriptions you use in the recruitment process actually reflect the role the new starter will be performing, there’s nothing worse than the reality not living up to expectations

Build knowledge:

  • Half the battle for new starters is knowing who’s who – consider how you disseminate information via your intranet, a buddy program or the Performance Manager, where you can create easy access to key information

  • We know that purpose-led organisations build engagement, so ensuring that new starters understand the strategy and goals of the business creates buy-in and excitement - and it lasts.

Create an experience:

  • People don’t want to sit and hear from one person, or worse watch loads of PowerPoint slides trying to digest everything – you need to create an experience they will remember.

  • With more and more people mobile or remote working sometimes you might need to consider other options for getting information to your new starter – consider video link or a technology platform to contact people in real time

  • For those in the office, create an interactive experience which really shows what your organisation is about – people remember information when it’s delivered in innovative and fun ways – the sky’s the limit think creatively!


If you are looking to revamp, revitalise and re-brand your on-boarding approach contact us to discuss how we can work with you to create the experience that really does give the right first impression.


Zoe Penman