The first 90 days of employment are critical for both the employee and employer. Your new hires want to prove themselves and make a good impression. At the same time, as an employer or manager, you want to get your new employees up to speed quickly and help them feel secure in their role and place in the company.
There’s also the added challenge of onboarding employees in a remote or hybrid work environment. Remote employees often feel less connected, lonely, and isolated than their onsite counterparts. Additionally, our research shows that nearly 3 in 5 employees would consider leaving their job if they didn’t feel connected at work.
Knowing this, your employee onboarding program or strategy can be a make-or-break factor for employee retention. Around 40% of employee turnover occurs within the employee’s first year with the organization, and it can cost one-half to two times the employee’s annual salary to replace them.
But studies show that an effective onboarding program can increase retention rates by 50% among new recruits and productivity by 62%. Plus, employees who have a positive onboarding experience are almost three times as likely to feel prepared and supported in their role, boosting their confidence and work performance.
To set your new hires up for success, we recommend following these four key employee onboarding strategies:
Strategy #1: Create a warm welcome for your new employee
Don’t wait until your employee’s first day to start onboarding. You can begin as soon as your new hire signs their offer letter. Use the time between the offer letter and the first day of work to make your employee feel welcome and reaffirm their decision to work with your organization.
When the offer is accepted:
1. Have a celebration call from the interview panel and leadership team with the new hire when they have accepted the position.
2. Send a welcome gift box to the new hire’s house before the first day of their job. Or, consider sending a Blueboard onboarding gift! A gift makes a wonderful first impression and—if it’s a Blueboard experience—you’ll give your new employee the opportunity to try something new, relax, and indulge before transitioning into their new role. Sharing their onboarding experience could also help the new hire bond with their teammates.
3. Email a “what to expect” note 48 hours ahead of their first day. This is a great time to communicate structure and confidence, clarify what they’ll need for their first day, and share any other crucial last-minute information.
On their first day:
4. Have a designated person greet your new hire either in-person at your reception desk or virtually via a video call or Slack message.
5. If they’ll be working onsite, decorate the new hire’s desk, and have everyone in the office or their surrounding team write a welcome note.
6. Make your new employee feel a part of the team with company swag (e.g., t-shirts, stickers, pop sockets, etc.).
7. Make sure they have access to necessary tools and technology to show that you’re prepared for them to be there.
8. Create an agenda for the first week with key meetings, training, and calendar invites.
After the first 30 days of employment:
9. Send your new hire a survey about their 30-day onboarding process, so you can further learn from their experience. Even if you don’t currently have a designated onboarding program, a survey will help you see what worked well and what needs improvement—which can help you build a more formalized process.
You can see what questions we serve new employees in our own Blueboard 30-day onboarding survey here on the live form.
Strategy #2: Improve employee retention by encouraging meaningful connections and relationships
Building workplace connections should start as soon as a new employee accepts their employment offer. But your organization needs to continue to support employees in creating these connections throughout their tenure at your company.
When the offer is accepted:
10. Send on-demand content connecting the new hire to your company’s culture, mission, and core company values.
In the first week:
11. Build connections with the new hire and the employees around them with a buddy system.
12. Plan 1:1s with both immediate and cross-functional teammates to create relationships early.
13. Connect the new hire with employee resource groups, affinity groups, and other clubs.
14. Train your new hire on how your company communicates via Slack, email, etc. This is especially valuable for your remote employees.
During the first 30 days of employment:
15. Encourage new employees to attend company events and gatherings.
16. Make time for non-work conversation and small talk during 1:1s and team meetings. This can lay the groundwork for deeper conversations and connections later.
17. Use apps like Donut to connect new hires to employees outside their departments.