Recruiting new employees only to have them leave after a few months can be disheartening. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that employee turnover can reach up to 50% within the first 18 months of employment. The rehiring process can be financially taxing for employers; hence, it is why it is extremely important to take steps to boost employee retention.
This is where onboarding comes in. Glassdoor found that great employee onboarding can boost employee retention by 82%. Coming up with more creative and innovative onboarding ideas is the first step to improving the existing program. There are a variety of onboarding activities that you can organize to balance out the monotony of paperwork.
The process of onboarding often continues for a year to ensure that new employees are well-integrated into the company structure. The best onboarding activities are structured, creative and productive instead of focusing on administrative work alone.
Revamp your onboarding program and you will spot an immediate improvement in employee engagement.
Today’s employees want job opportunities that allow them to grow and pursue different paths in their careers. They prioritize options for growth when choosing their new workplace. Continuous virtual training is an excellent way of upskilling and reskilling valuable employees so they can progress within the company. Since virtual training is consistent and easily accessible worldwide, it is easy to keep updating it.
Best Onboarding Activities for Your Employees
New employees want to learn about the company, pick up new skills and interact with their co-workers during the onboarding program. Unique onboarding ideas coupled with fun onboarding programs will give you great results.
1. Cover all the basics before the first day
The basics of onboarding might not be exciting, but they are essential. Initial paperwork and employee handbook distribution should be complete before the new employees’ first day, so they are well-prepared to navigate their roles within the organization.
Moreover, employees feel reassured if their new employers get in touch with them before the first day. They will feel less stressed if they are informed about the company’s expectations beforehand. Communicating with their managers and co-workers also helps new employees feel comfortable on their first day.
A short welcome message or video can do the work. Just shoot a non-formal welcome video introducing yourself and the team and send it to the new hire’s mobile phone.
2. Schedule a team meeting
It is important for the new employees to feel included within their team even before they begin their official duties. Arranging a video call or a lunch with the rest of the team members is a great way to help new employees learn more about the people they will be working with.
Video meetings have become incredibly popular due to the Covid-19 pandemic and they are an effective tool for facilitating team communication even when the members are not in the same room. They will also have the chance to ask any question they have and clear their doubts.
You can use popular virtual meetings apps like Zoom, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts.
3. Organize an office tour
Knowing the organizational layout and their workspace allows employees to be more efficient and productive. Once the new employees are on board, you can organize an office tour for them. It is one of the best onboarding activities. During this tour, they will become more familiar with the layout of the office, which will boost their confidence when they arrive on their first day. In case the employee cannot be physically present for the tour, virtual tours are an excellent alternative.
You can create an office tour using Bites. Shoot a video of the office, add a welcome note and flashcards with some key points you want to highlight. You can also add a chat to answer any questions that may come up.
4. Provide them with a partner
It is easy to feel friendless as the new employee in the office. New employees benefit from having a partner or buddy who will support them and answer their questions initially. Buddies are tasked with befriending the new employee and establishing an emotional connection. As a result, they tend to be more approachable.
As per HCI, 87% of organizations feel that the buddy program can speed up new hire proficiency during the onboarding process. If you are unable to implement a buddy program for some reason, you can select a point person who will provide the new employees with the necessary guidance.
5. Invite them to informal gatherings
Formal gatherings allow new employees to get network and get acquainted with their superiors. However, informal events are where employees feel comfortable getting to know their co-workers.
Invite the new employees and let them experience the company of their future co-workers unofficially during happy hour at the bar or a weekly team lunch. Encourage them to be true to themselves instead of putting on the office persona for a genuine bonding session.
6. Virtual training games
Gamification is one of the latest trends in corporate training. Training employees through fun games can be refreshing and they will engage more with the content. They are challenging enough to motivate employees to perform but they do not lead to unnecessary stress. Quizzes, for example, are a great way of testing your employees’ knowledge without coming across as overbearing.
7. Organize a scavenger hunt
Onboarding scavenger hunts, one of the most creative onboarding ideas, can be an effective learning experience for new employees. Usually, the scavenger hunt consists of tasks and activities pertaining to different areas of the company. Not only do the new employees get the chance to interact with older employees, but they can also communicate amongst each other and build a rapport.
A scavenger hunt allows new employees to learn more about the other departments and their employees. This proves to be helpful in the future when they have to cooperate on a project.
8. Friendly initiation
Expecting new employees to perform their best on the first day or even in the first week can cause too much stress, which hinders productivity. It is crucial to keep expectations in check and make the experience fun and light-hearted instead. Being lenient and giving them the time to form good first impressions can prove to be beneficial in the long run. You can also introduce them personally to superiors and their team members.
New employees appreciate having mentors who will guide them through the ins and outs of the workplace. A mentor can impart valuable lessons and encouraging advice when the new employees need it the most. Moreover, mentors can teach specialized skills and prepare their mentees for the next step in their career trajectory.
10. Distribute onboarding kits
When welcoming new employees, make them feel like they belonging by gifting them company swag in their onboarding kit. Organizing the kit thoughtfully by taking their likes and dislikes into account will make them very happy.
11. Ask them for ideas and suggestions
You might have designed a perfect onboarding program with a lot of time and effort but there is always room for improvement. The most valuable feedback comes from those who are being onboarded. Ask for their feedback and suggestions for improvement so that you can update and optimize the program accordingly.
12. Set goals
Have a chat with the new employees about their career goals and expectations from the company. They want to know that you care about their progress. Prepare a list of their short-term and long-term goals based on the conversation so they can follow the outline. Some employees even prefer making daily checklists when they are starting a new job.
Bites is a modern training solution that allows you to deliver lessons to your employees on various subjects through short videos. It promotes microlearning- learners are able to digest the information little by little and hence retain it for much longer. It is easy to create your own videos and stitch together a playlist to share among the new hires.
Videos also happen to be an effective tool for teaching more technical skills and connecting with the learners. Bites allows learners to leave their feedback and encourages healthy discussion. You can track everyone’s progress with the help of the analytics dashboard.