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REINVENT Onboarding: A new definition for a new decade

By Jesse Finn

Onboarding is here to stay. In fact, 77% of professionals believe that onboarding is more important than ever. But like every great change-maker, there is a big difference between doing it, and doing it well.

Every company onboards. A few have fully-fledged strategies to engage and inspire onboardees throughout the new hire journey. Many utilize a series of orientation activities and check-box training modules. And 22% have no formal process in place, relying on existing staff to ensure new hires are ‘shown-the-ropes’.


Almost a quarter of companies say they don’t even have a formal program.

Regardless of where your company sits – the first step towards world-class onboarding is to REINVENT your journey for a new decade.

What does ‘reinvent your onboarding’ mean?

We’re talking about taking what you’ve done in the past, and turning it on its head with fresh, engaging ideas.

Start building strong onboarding stories, tailored to your new hires’ needs. Start creating journeys that are experience-based, content-driven and consistently delivered across different departments and locations.

Why reinvent?

Easy. Because besides the positive emotional impact it will have on your employees, good onboarding makes great business sense.

Companies with best-in-class onboarding programs retain up to 91% of first-year employees – compared to 30% at organizations with poor or informal programs.

Additionally, new hires that experience great onboarding become productive 34% faster, and are 33% more engaged than their (n)onboarded counterparts.

How do we reinvent?

When it comes to good onboarding, a content-driven approach that puts experience at the forefront is the way to go.

Why? Because that’s what your new hires want. Most of us spend more than 8 hours every day engaging with digital content, and when that content is poorly delivered, almost 40% of us tune out.

Providing your onboardees with well-crafted inspiring stories, video introductions from key company influencers and compelling testimonials from existing staff will give their role context within your organization and lend humanity to a process that can otherwise feel disconnected.

Start by taking stock. You know the saying – there’s no need to ‘reinvent the wheel’. It’s likely that many of the pieces of your onboarding puzzle already exist within your company – they may just be hidden, under-utilized or due for a face-lift.

Sound good?

Building a strong onboarding story

Think about the kind of story you want to tell your new hires and visualize how that story could be told at each stage of the onboarding journey.

Start from the ground up:

  1. Identify the tone of your journey. What do you want it to feel like? Professional? Casual? Somewhere in-between?

  2. Ask your existing hires what they would want to know if they could re-onboard at your company. What content do they wish they had been given?

  3. Break big pieces of content like manuals and long-form training, into bite-sized chunks and drip-feed them throughout the onboarding timeline.

  4. Think about how your brand plays into this. Is everything in your brand style? Does it LOOK good?

  5. What are the unspoken rules of your company? How do you convey these?

When reinventing your onboarding story, keep this in mind from a recent Thrivemap survey into employee satisfaction:

48% of workers left their job because it didn’t align with their expectations.

In a highly competitive market, companies are doing everything they can to attract top talent, sometimes even being less than transparent about their company culture and the nature of the role they’re offering.

It’s a short-sighted strategy that will ultimately cost you when that talent walks right back out the door – so set clear expectations and be honest.

Tailoring your journey

Next, we need to think about how to personalize your journey. Not every new hire needs the same things at the same time, so you need a strategy in place that can effectively deliver different information to different people at the relevant moment.

Consider the following:

  1. Is your onboarding content available in multiple languages?

  2. Can you filter out information that is not relevant to your new hire? Or does every onboardee get the same package?

  3. Can you involve your new hire in the process? Have them film a video introduction before they start, so the team can get excited about their arrival.

  4. Is your journey reciprocal? Can your new hire provide feedback on their experiences throughout the onboarding timeline?

  5. How does a new hire ask questions? Directly with HR? Through a FAQ portal? Maybe you need a Q&A chatbot?

  6. Does your onboarding involve your new hires’ key contacts? Do they have a buddy? A mentor? Manager support?

Personalizing your journey ensures new hires aren’t overwhelmed with information that isn’t relevant to them, and creating a two-way dialogue will allow you to make adjustments and identify areas where you can improve.

Delivering consistency across different departments and locations

Lastly, it’s time to consider how you will deploy your onboarding journey across different departments and locations.

44% of HR Managers believe the biggest obstacle to effective onboarding is inconsistencies in application throughout their organization – so this one is important!

Think of it as personalization on a bigger scale:

  1. Do you have different onboarding journeys for different departments? If not, why not?

  2. Are heads of departments involved in the onboarding journey? Do they have content that is specific to their team members that you could use?

  3. Are there site-specific questions for your different offices? Do you need to compile a Q&A list to preempt these questions in advance?

  4. Can you filter out information not relevant to particular sites and teams?

  5. Is each office using the same branded templates? Or are they mixing, matching and causing confusion. Can you standardize this?

  6. How do you gauge the effectiveness of your onboarding across different locations? Is everyone using the same indicators?

Consistency is the key here. You want your onboarding to be in sync across all teams and locations. So think about how you can centralize your resources and ensure that everyone is on the same page.

The takeaway?

Reinvention doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a dedicated HR team, a lot of thought and no shortage of creativity. It’s also only one part of the puzzle.

First, you REINVENT your journey. Then you AUTOMATE your process and finally, you gather insights to ELEVATE your business.

Remember, best in class looks like this:

An experience-based, content-driven journey that is personalized to the onboardee and consistent throughout your company.

We’ve spent over 8 years helping the world’s leading enterprise companies reinvent their onboarding. And we’re here to help you too. Join our free webinar and let our onboarding specialist, Steve Stoop, show you how to reinvent your new hire journey for success!

If you need assistance with onboarding, contact our team today!

Jesse Finn is the Community Content Manager ar Talmundo, an employee onboarding solution for HR teams which allows businesses to create a custom self-service platform for new hires, where they can view content relating to the company and their role, complete onboarding assessments, view progress, communicate with colleagues, access roadmaps, fill in online forms, and more.

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