Human resources practitioners look for methods to make the traditionally boring process of new hire onboarding a little more exciting.
While we are limited in finding ways to make completing compliance documents such as W-4 and I-9 forms enthralling, here are some suggestions on how to add a bit of fun and excitement to your company’s onboarding program.
- Ask your current employees what they remember about their onboarding process and what they liked and did not like about it. Incorporate their suggestions into your new program.
- Create a “Day in the Life Of…” video, recording employees and managers at work, having fun, and working collaboratively to show how your company works and plays hard. This will show new hires the energy of your organization. Keep it real and sincere by showing the true spirit of your organization.
- Break the new hire orientation process up into several days over the first few weeks. No one remembers everything from his or her first day of work, so providing bits and pieces over a new employee’s first 30 days, for example, will provide a better rate of retention and get new employees interacting with one another more quickly.
- To make the new hire paperwork a little more exciting, use colored paper for certain documents. Try green for payroll documents, yellow for personnel documents, and blue for medical documents. This gives a little more life to the mountains of dull black and white documents that new hires must complete. Include your company logo and use a friendly, casual font for the documents.
- Provide your new hires with some company “swag.” A company T-shirt, pen, coffee mug, key chain, tumbler, or other swag makes them feel welcome and part of the team. Consider including a “welcome aboard” card with the team’s signatures on the inside. These items can be purchased inexpensively from various online vendors.
- Take a photo of the new hire, or ask him or her to bring in a photo, and post it to your company’s newsletter, bulletin board, or intranet site. Ask the new hire to provide you with a bit of information about hobbies and interests outside of work. This is a great way for company employees to recognize the new hires and start conversations.
- Schedule a meet-and-greet with the new hires and company president or CEO. Have the company president talk about how the employee’s role in the company is critical to the success of the company. This may be done by holding an informal meeting with snacks and beverages or as an offsite breakfast or luncheon.
- Assign a “buddy” or “mentor” to each new employee so he or she has someone to go to besides the supervisor for answers to questions, for guidance in transitioning into their new role, and to help become immersed in the company.
- If your company offers an intranet site, or an online employee self-service site, allow the majority of new hire documents to be housed in a specific “new hire” section so that employees can complete new hire forms online and provide electronic signatures. This is acceptable for the majority of documents, including the W-4 and I-9 forms. Work with your information technology (IT) team to set up such a program.
- Provide your new hires with a “company survival document.” This is a document that provides information on who the employee can turn to for business cards, office supplies, ergonomic workstation requests, computer issues, benefits questions, payroll questions, business expenses and reimbursements questions, and any other questions that are frequently asked by employees.
Studies show that employers who take the time to effectively onboard their new hires receive the rewards of higher employee job satisfaction, greater organizational commitment, lower turnover, and higher performance levels. Creating an onboarding program that truly expresses the culture of your company and allows for immediate new hire engagement is critically important. Remember that the way you treat employees during the first few days or weeks of employment will leave either a positive or negative impression, so creating a well-planned onboarding program can be key to your success in engaging them more quickly in their work and retaining them in the company.