18 Engaging Onboarding Process Examples to Welcome New Employees

Posted in Employee Experience

Learn a new approach to onboarding and get some practical onboarding process examples to wow your new hires.

My first job out of college was at a large, multinational company where a new employee could easily feel lost and overwhelmed – especially as a recent graduate. But this company was hyper-focused on creating an engaging experience with fun onboarding activities.

Case in point: Just a couple of months into the job, I was invited to a special three-day onboarding retreat where I met other newbies across different business units and learned more about the organization’s products and services. The best thing that came out of that experience was the friendships. Just last year I attended the wedding of a friend I met during that new hire off-site ten years ago!

Of course, not every HR team has the budget for such an extravagant onboarding process. And that’s OK. There are so many ways you can wow your new hires by connecting them to the people and resources they need to be successful. Fine tune that initial onboarding experience and you’ll reap the rewards – boosting job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and job embeddedness, according to a recent study (Bowers et al, 2023).

💡Learn how to design engagement programs that appeal to a multigenerational workforce and actually attract and retain talent.

A New Approach to the Onboarding Process

There are different schools of thought when it comes to the key components of an employee onboarding process. Back in the day, especially when more people were working on-site full-time, HR and people teams leaned heavily on a process-driven approach – an approach that was designed based on what the organization required rather than what the new hire needed. Which forms need to be filled out and signed? Which security training needs to be completed? And all of that is certainly important from a compliance standpoint. 

But today businesses need to take more of an experience-driven and human-centric approach to onboarding – with a new hire’s needs and expectations at the center.

Workplace relationship expert Dr. Tayla Bauer penned a report for SHRM laying out a definitive model for modern onboarding, known as the four Cs: compliance, connection, clarification, and culture. Here’s a brief summary of the four Cs:

  • Compliance – the most basic level. Legal forms, health and safety, compliance, etc.. The administrative stuff that nobody loves but does need doing.
  • Clarification – ensuring new hires clearly understand the job and what’s needed to excel. And the reverse, ensuring the organization clearly understands what new hires are here to do.
  • Culture – your collective values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. It’s the “vibe” – what makes the business tick, formally and between the lines.
  • Connection – the interpersonal relationships and communication network everyone (hopefully!) builds at work. Friends, advisors, confidantes: your people’s tribe.

Key Components of the Onboarding Process

But there’s one more critical component to onboarding – and that’s experience. Think of experience as the bow tying all the above 4 Cs together. By breaking up the onboarding process into bite-sized pieces, you avoid having your new hire spend their whole first day filling out forms. Now that’s a wow experience!

So what are some specific onboarding best practices you might want to include as part of your process? Here are a few:

Pre-arrival Preparations: Kick off with pre-arrival arrangements that make your new hires feel welcomed and valued even before Day 1. This might include a welcome message from the manager, introductions to the team, or a rundown of what the first day would look like.

Introductions to the Team, Company Culture, and Values: First impressions matter. Ensure your new hires are introduced to the team and immersed in company culture and values from the get-go. This fosters a sense of belonging and alignment with your goals.

Administrative Procedures: Yes, the paperwork! It’s not glamorous but it needs to get done. From tax forms to work authorization forms, ensure you have a streamlined process to get these administrative procedures out of the way efficiently.

Access to Resources, Support, and Feedback: Ensure your new hires have everything they need to hit the ground running – from access to technology and tools to knowing where to find help. A clear feedback loop (via onboarding surveys) is also crucial to help them adjust and thrive.

➡️ Steal our New Hire Onboarding Checklist. 😏

10 Examples of Onboarding Activities for New Employees

onboarding process examples

If you take some of the key components above and build out an onboarding timeline, here are some activities you might want to include:

Play Ice Breaker Games

You could design an escape room game themed around your company’s product, services, or history. Or try connection “speed dating” where you arrange quick, informal meetings between new hires and potential mentors. Enboarder’s Connection Networking Game is also a great way to use the power of play to quickly build genuine connections on your team!

Introduce People in Style 

Make your new hire’s arrival a celebration. Invite the whole team or company to show up at the front door the first time your new hire comes to the office and throw out some confetti. 🥳

Set Up Interactive Learning

Let your new hires shadow different roles throughout the team or engage in role-playing games to help them understand different aspects of the business.

Plan a Social Event/Lunch

During preboarding, ask your new hire about their favorite cuisine. Then on their first day you can take them out to a restaurant with options you know they will love. 🧑‍🍳

Gift Personalized Swag

You can also ask your new hire their clothing size during preboarding and prepare a care package filled with company swag and goodies.

Use Mentoring and Buddy Systems

Give your new hire a point person at the peer level who can introduce them to other people in the company and answer questions. Put buddy coffee breaks on their calendar to sprinkle in some social connection in the midst of onboarding.

Shine a Spotlight with Welcome Announcements

Share the news about your rockstar new hire both virtually and in person. If you use Enboarder, you can share their answers to preboarding questions via chat or email so their colleagues get to know them on a personal level. If you have digital signage, write a personalized welcome message for their first day in the office.

Show Them the Office Digs

The basics are super important! Slot in time for an office tour so your new hire knows where all the good snacks are and the closest restroom.

Support Safety Training

Whether it’s physical safety or cybersecurity protocols or a little bit of both, no proper onboarding is complete without safety training.

Get Them Jazzed About Health and Wellness

Make sure your new hires have all the information they need about health benefits and perks and any deadlines they need to meet for enrollment.

👀 Looking for more? Check out this blog with more creative onboarding ideas.

Real World Onboarding Process Examples 

Curious how to bring these processes and activities to life? Here are three companies that understand onboarding is all about the new hire experience. Use these onboarding process examples as inspiration for building a wow experience.

Ogilvy’s Digital Onboarding Journey

Ogilvy’s hiring managers are all about the onboarding experience. They’re using Enboarder to record fun, quick videos to send to new hires and keep them engaged during preboarding. 

Canva’s Experience-Driven Onboarding

At Canva, every new hire attends a week-long onboarding boot camp. And each week they receive a short communication with information about the company or a pulse survey to get their feedback about the onboarding experience. 

Arden University’s Onboarding Experience

New hires launched into Arden University’s award-winning onboarding workflow receive a new starter care package, links to learning and training, and early access to EAP –  and so much more!

OVO’s Connection Networking Game

See how a little gamification at OVO brought teams together in person and fostered a sense of belonging within the organization.

OVO’s Connection Networking Game: Building Bonds 🤝

Final Thoughts: Building a Thriving Workplace with Successful Onboarding

Hopefully the above onboarding process examples spark some ideas for how you can improve your organization’s onboarding experience moving forward. And if you’re having trouble deciding which components to choose, just use the experience and connection test. Ask yourself if the proposed communication or training is really delivering a wow experience for your new hire and helping them build connections. If the answer is yes, you’re on the right track! If the answer is no, get your copy of “The Modern Onboarding Blueprint” and see how you can drive more engagement during onboarding.

FAQ About the Onboarding Process

What is the ideal duration for an onboarding program?

From our experience, onboarding should last at least seven months – one month before the new hire’s first day and at least six months after. Read more here.

How can technology be integrated into the onboarding process?

Employee onboarding software can streamline the onboarding process to bring new hires into your organization smoothly while meeting compliance. Onboarding software supports consistent workflows, making the process easiest to monitor and manage. Learn more here.

What are some ways to measure the success of an onboarding program?

Track metrics like time to productivity, new hire retention rate, and employee satisfaction to determine your onboarding program’s effectiveness. Check out our onboarding ROI cheat sheet.

How can we ensure engagement in virtual or remote onboarding?

Technology is your friend. Remote hires will need hardware, software, and a secure internet connection to get started. They’ll also need a variety of tools and channels for training and communication – videoconferencing, messaging platforms, company intranets, onboarding tools such as Enboarder, and more. Use all available tools to help new hires get the information they need and communicate with colleagues, even if they can’t be face to face. Learn more about remote onboarding here, along with more onboarding process examples.

Become an Enboarder insider!