Creating a Memorable Onboarding Experience

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” We’ve all heard this before, and it is true for so many encounters. Your first time as a customer in a new store may determine whether or not you shop there again. How well you like your first haircut at a new barber will certainly determine whether or not you go back.

The same can be said for new employees – the onboarding process is absolutely making a first impression on your new hire. You may be asking yourself what the difference is between onboarding and orientation. Onboarding is more than simply completing new hire forms, reviewing benefits and providing training. Onboarding describes the entire experience new employees have when they begin a new position. It means integrating the employee into the company. It encompasses orientation but is so much more.

Creating a memorable onboarding experience for your new hires will help your new employees understand your business, your culture, your values, and their role from the moment they step foot into their new workplace. Taking the time to create a thoughtful process will not only increase the new hire’s positivity toward the company but will also increase time-to-productivity.

Here are a few simple things to keep in mind when getting ready to onboard a new employee:

  1. Be prepared. Have everything ready for your new employee before she arrives. Make sure new hire paperwork is organized, her log on information is available, and her cubicle or office space is cleared out. The organization with these basic, day-one tasks will help the new employee see that you are organized in other aspects of your business as well, leading to a higher level of respect for you and the business.
  2. Be welcoming. Make sure other employees know the new hire is starting. If possible, increase staffing for the day so that you and other members of the team can pause from your regular duties to greet the new team member. Make arrangements for other members of the team to participate in the onboarding process, to show the new hire around or maybe take her to lunch. A small gift or a plant for her office might be a nice touch. Consider assigning a mentor to your new hire – a peer who will show her the ropes and answer questions she might not feel comfortable asking her manager. Creating a welcoming environment will set the stage for long-term employee engagement.
  3. Be transparent. Make sure your new employees understand the culture of your company. Share your mission, vision, and values. Help them understand how crucial their roles are to the overall success of the company. With this approach, your new employees will be more likely to personally “buy-in” to your company’s goals and mission.
  4. Be thorough. A new hire starts his journey with your company with many unanswered questions. Be thorough and provide as many answers to common questions as possible; however, do NOT overwhelm the new employee with too much information. Simple items that can sometimes be overlooked can be the most daunting to someone new – where to park, where to put personal belongings, where to find the restrooms, or when to expect a lunch break. Remember that employees are not likely to retain everything you tell them, so consider pulling out the most important policies and procedures and putting them in a format that is easier to absorb, such as in a PowerPoint presentation or in a New Hire Guide that the employee can take notes in and keep.
  5. Be consistent. Try to create a process that can be replicated easily so that each new hire can have the same positive onboarding experience. Consistency will also make the process easier for you as you continue to grow.
  6. Be creative. Remember, we said to create a memorable onboarding experience. More than likely, this is not your new hire’s first job. He or she has probably been through an orientation before. Find creative ways to make your company stand out.

Berger HR Solutions can help customize an Onboarding program that makes sense for your Company. Contact us for more information at or 410-695-9888.