You’ve hired an amazing candidate. You’ve provided a spectacular, memorable pre-hire employee onboarding experience. You’ve communicated regularly with your new hire to gradually onboard them, prepare their tools, connect them to their people, and overall make them feel like part of the team even before Day 1. Congratulations on a job well done!
But wait. Now the much-anticipated Day 1 has arrived. Your new hire has checked in – or shown up, or signed online. They’re sitting in your onboarding meeting – eagerly waiting on you to tell them what’s next.
So what IS next?
That first onboarding meeting with new employees is a foundational moment in their journey with your company. No pressure, but the stakes are incredibly high. You might have a perfect recruitment journey and amazing new hire communications, but this is the moment it’s all been leading up to. You want to set your employees up for success and you want their first impression of you to be amazing!
Okay, that is pressure. So yes, we lied. But you’ve got this. You just need to craft a solid onboarding meeting agenda that keeps you – and them – on track. And for that, you’ve come to the right place.
In this post, we’ll offer a few insights on how to create a well-structured agenda that leaves employees feeling like they landed in the exact right place!
The Importance of a Structured Onboarding Agenda
Thoughtful, experience-driven onboarding is especially important in a new hybrid work environment where organizations must support a mix of remote, in-office, and flexible work options for employees – and deliver three different kinds of impactful onboarding experiences simultaneously, all while ensuring a consistent, equitable experience, where no one is receiving additional perks or missing out on crucial information.
Experience-driven onboarding is all about putting people before the process. It focuses on human-centric ways to move the needle. Most employees aren’t yearning for more processes. New hires aren’t going to go home and tell their friends and family about all the great paperwork they filled in. But that doesn’t mean you can neglect process entirely.
As we’ve illustrated elsewhere, the four components of strong experience-driven onboarding are compliance, clarification, culture, and connection. They should all be present in your onboarding agenda.
Especially if your organization has a remote or hybrid work environment, or teams are scattered across different offices, the significance of a structured onboarding agenda cannot be overstated. It’s a pivotal tool to ensure every new hire, regardless of their work setting, receives a consistent, equitable, and comprehensive introduction to their new workplace.
The challenge lies in delivering impactful automated employee onboarding experiences that cater to these varied settings while maintaining uniformity in terms of perks and crucial information dissemination.
At the heart of an effective onboarding process is experience-driven onboarding, which prioritizes people over processes. This means creating memorable, human-centric experiences that genuinely engage new employees rather than just walking them through procedural steps. While the completion of necessary paperwork and formalities is unavoidable, they should not overshadow the need for a more holistic and engaging onboarding experience.
Key Elements of an Effective Onboarding Meeting Agenda
So what should the agenda of an onboarding meeting look like? Whether it is an in-person onboarding meeting or a remote onboarding checklist you are trying to craft, we suggest you consider five components.
Welcome and Introductions
The first step in an onboarding meeting should be a warm welcome and introductions. Show them you’re happy to have them onboard! Include introductions from team members and key personnel to establish early connections. Hand out any swag you have (or send it in advance) and generally make the new hire feel like they are the most important thing you have scheduled for the day. This sets a friendly tone and helps them feel comfortable and valued from the outset.
Administrative Essentials and Resources
Though not the most thrilling part of a first day, covering administrative essentials and getting people into the tools and systems they need is critical. Often there are signatures and forms that need to be done before anything else. This includes housekeeping like signing paperwork, forms, and compliance-related checklists – as well as going through key policies and relaying information that will help orient new employees. Review and ensure understanding of administrative processes, including time tracking, expense reporting, and communication protocols.
Company Culture and Values Overview
Once the mandatory checklists and signatures are out of the way, you’ll want to be sure employees have an orientation to your culture. An overview of the company’s history, mission, and values will help new employees understand what matters in your organization and how they can align themselves with your purpose and driving principles. Share insights into the company’s goals, strategic direction, and how the new hires’ role will contribute to your success!
Role-Specific Training and Expectations
Next ensure your new hire has the tools, resources, and information they need in their particular role. This includes clear communication of expectations by role, along with training on important processes or access to key information. Be sure to discuss expectations, key performance indicators, and how their success will be measured.
Benefits and Compensation
Detail the compensation package, including salary, bonuses, and any stock options.
Explain benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and other perks, and get any relevant forms shared or signed.
Tour of the Workplace
Give a tour of the physical or virtual workspace. You can even do this when someone is onboarding remotely, either virtually or by walking the camera around. Introduce them to team members they will be working with across different departments.
Interactive Onboarding Activities
Your agenda can include interactive elements like ice-breaker activities or group discussions to foster engagement. Encourage questions and feedback to ensure clarity and comfort.
Mentor and Buddy Programs
The first onboarding meeting is a great time to introduce mentor and buddy programs (if you haven’t already). If you can significantly enhance the onboarding experience, offering new hires a go-to person for guidance and support.
Next Steps and First Week Schedule
Outline the next steps in the onboarding process, including any upcoming meetings or training sessions. Schedule regular check-ins to provide support and gather feedback on their onboarding experience. Share the new hire schedule for the first week to help them get some structure and understand expectations. See more on this below!
A Sample Onboarding Meeting Agenda & Schedule for the First Week
Part of your first meeting agenda should be setting out expectations and structure for the entire first week at the company. Give employees a schedule of what they can expect and where they will be expected – including all-hands meetings, team lunches, 1:1 meetings, and more.
To help new hires avoid that drinking-from-the-firehose feeling, it helps to pace out activities over the course of the week. We suggest a cadence such as this:
Day One: Orientation and Compliance
Focus on orientation activities and compliance-related matters to ensure a smooth start for new employees.
Day Two: Integration into Teams
Encourage team integration by introducing new hires to their colleagues and explaining team dynamics and working styles.
Day Three: Deep Dive into Products and Services
Provide an in-depth overview of the company’s products and services, helping new employees understand what the company offers and its market positioning.
Day Four: Process and Tools Training
Dedicate this day to training on specific processes and tools that are essential for the new hires’ roles.
Day Five: Feedback and Social Integration
End the week with a session on feedback and social integration, encouraging open communication and fostering a sense of belonging.
Customizing Your Onboarding Agenda for Different Roles
Onboarding is not a one-size-fits-all process. Each role in your organization comes with its unique set of requirements, challenges, and expectations. Recognizing this diversity is key to designing an onboarding agenda that effectively meets the specific needs of each position. Be sure to customize your onboarding agenda to align with the distinct demands of various roles within your company. These customizations will ensure that each new hire receives the targeted support and resources they need to thrive in their new role.
- Understanding Role-Specific Needs: It’s important to tailor the onboarding agenda based on the unique requirements of different roles within the organization.
- Adjusting Timelines for Maximum Engagement: Flexibility in timelines can be crucial for maximizing engagement, particularly when dealing with diverse roles that may require different onboarding approaches.
Three Best Practices for Executing an Onboarding Meeting Agenda
Executing an effective onboarding agenda is crucial for integrating new hires into your organization. Here are three best practices to ensure your onboarding meetings are impactful and engaging:
1. Create consistency across departments
When it comes to onboarding, consistency is key. It’s crucial to ensure that the onboarding experience is uniform across different departments, reinforcing a cohesive company culture and values. This approach not only helps new hires feel part of the team from day one, but also sets a standard tone and expectation across the organization.
2. Incorporate engaging, memorable interactive elements
Onboarding shouldn’t be a one-way street of information overload. Spice it up by adding interactive elements like team-building exercises, real-time activities, or gamified learning modules. This strategy makes the onboarding process more engaging and memorable, helping new hires retain important information while also building connections with their peers.
3. Continuously improve your onboarding process
The world of work is always evolving, and so should your onboarding process. Make it a habit to regularly review and update your onboarding agenda, incorporating feedback from new hires and changes in the company or industry. This continuous improvement ensures that your onboarding process stays fresh, relevant, and effective, adapting to the ever-changing needs of your organization and its employees.
Setting the Tone for Success With Your Onboarding Agenda
A well-thought-out onboarding agenda is more than just a schedule of activities for new hires. It’s a critical tool that sets the tone for their entire tenure at the organization. By focusing on a structured yet flexible and experience-driven approach, you can ensure that new employees are not only well-informed but also feel valued and integrated into the company culture from day one. This not only boosts their morale and productivity but also lays a strong foundation for their long-term success and satisfaction within the organization.
The Enboarder platform empowers HR and hiring managers to help employees feel connected and prepared even before day one – sharing important information and ensuring that every employee feels connected, informed, and valued.
Contact us today for a tour of the platform – or read more about choosing onboarding software to support the new hire experience in our glossary!