One of my clients has an extensive two-day introduction program in addition to our onboarding app. I was actually curious how that went and what all the new employees go through. There was only 1 way to find out: join the onboarding experience. Fortunately, my client also thought it was a good idea. On November 1st 2022, I went "undercover" as a new employee.
I had chosen the role of internal communications specialist. With my background in online marketing and a master's degree in communications science, it's definitely something I can talk about during the introduction program.
Checklists, workshops and core values
It started with the onboarding app. A checklist of stuff to bring (sporting clothes ... oh dear), where to report and the arrival time. And a little hint of what to expect. Not too much because then the surprise would be a little off. I also had to fill out a questionnaire beforehand about my interests.
Upon arrival I was warmly welcomed and it turned out that I was assigned to a group based on my interest profile. I was among the "optimists" and thus I already got to know a number of people from different backgrounds and different teams. We were given five assignments related to the core values, which were run in short workshops of up to 30 minutes. From taking a picture in the building to a panel discussion on integrity.
The goal? Working together!
The CEO also stopped by for a College Tour: a chat with the presenter where the audience could also ask questions. It immediately indicated that onboarding is a topic that is supported by the management as well. The day ended with drinks, dinner together and for the "real" employees, even an overnight stay.
On day two I was woken up with a push message - I had to be on time, in a sporty outfit at the appointed place. There we were divided into new groups based on years of work experience. And attended a workshop on personal goals and went to interview each other. This way I also got to know this group better. After a good lunch, we went outside to do the activities. A true obstacle course where, again, working together is important to reach the final goal.
The elements of a good onboarding
Looking back on these days, I can name a few elements that made it a good onboarding for me. And that you can easily apply:
The combination of online and offline. Through the app you can give and ask personal information, but the connection was mainly made through the activities.
Different groups based on interest and experience - this way you already have a small network in the organization. At the table, the first appointments were already made!
Using employees as workshop hosts. It is tempting to outsource everything, but there are undoubtedly employees who are talented to lead such a workshop and they immediately convey the company's values.
CEO lecture tour. It builds support and also makes employees feel like they matter. The appreciation of a CEO who made time for the people of the company.
All activities had a purpose. Sometimes content, sometimes encouraging collaboration. Nothing was "casual."
After 50 days, there is an online return morning. Here you discuss your personal goals and how the first 50 days went. And at 100 days, there is even another face-to-face day at an external location. I have been invited to that as well. I'm curious!