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Onboarding Strategy: 3 Quick Improvements to Make Now

Onboarding. You’ve been doing it for years, and we bet it goes something like this:

  1. You welcome your new hires to your organization.
  2. You tell them all about your mission and values. (Yawn!)
  3. You play a few role-playing games to “break the ice.”
  4. You take a tour of the office.
  5. You wave to Dave from Accounts. Dave waves back. (Hi, Dave!)
  6. You tell your new hires how wonderful they are.

Then you just hope everyone turns up for work tomorrow.

People told you this would inform and educate your employees. It would reduce staff attrition.

But, here’s the kicker: Most onboarding strategies follow the exact same pattern as above. And they’re seriously dull.

The result? Employees are suffering from “onboarding fatigue.” They know exactly what to expect because they experienced the same thing in their last job.

Mission and values. A few games. A tour of the office. Waving to Dave from Accounts…

Come on, you can do better than that.

Twenty-five percent of all employees leave a company within a year, and 20 percent leave within the first 45 days. Onboarding can reverse these trends, but only if you do it properly. And we bet you’re not doing it properly. Sorry.

If you really want to succeed, you need to think outside the box.

Here are three creative onboarding hacks that you need to incorporate into your business, like, now.

1. Gamification

There’s a certain point in the onboarding process where someone from HR says something like, “OK, it’s time to have some fun.” The problem is, new hires know what’s coming next, and it’s really not fun at all.

HR professionals always insist on role-playing games, where they split groups of new hires into small teams and get them to act out a certain scenario. Organizations have been doing it for decades, but do new hires actually enjoy it? We don’t think so.

There’s nothing wrong with incorporating interactive elements into your onboarding process, but you need to do something different. This is where gamification comes in. Most companies don’t use this technology for onboarding, so you’ll instantly engage your new hires.

Why not ask employees to download an app onto their smartphone that includes a digital checklist? New hires can tick off items as they complete them during training. Alternatively, employees can play training games on a tablet.

Research shows that organizations who incorporate gamification into their onboarding generate a 49 percent boost in engagement and a 36 percent improvement in turnover. Still, only 17 percent of companies use this technology.

2. Videos

People love watching videos. Around 1.3 billion people use YouTube alone. Incorporating videos into your onboarding process might seem strange. HR teams should teach employees about company values, surely? New hires can watch videos in their spare time, right? Not necessarily. Research from Gartner suggests that onboarding videos are the most effective type of video for organizations — more effective than product videos and sales enablement videos, in fact. What gives?

The truth is, videos will standardize your onboarding techniques and ensure you get your message across properly. Whether you want your new hires to know about your company objectives or labor relations policies, videos will explain everything in a clear, concise, creative way. Consequently, every single new hire will receive exactly the same message.

Want to create onboarding videos of your own? Projections, Inc. can help you with that.

5 videos that will improve employee engagement

Now that we’ve established you need videos, what should you include in your visual content? There are various things you can incorporate into your onboarding videos, but it’s always a good idea to check out the competition.

Recently, we published an article about what makes a great onboarding video. We looked at how some of the biggest brands and organizations engage new hires with their visual content. (Check out the article here!) This is what we learned:

You don’t need fancy graphics to get your message across. People respond to great content, not dramatic music or Hollywood-style action movie sequences.

A piece-to-camera is awesome if you want to tell your brand story and convey your values. Encourage your CEO to be a part of your onboarding video!

Animation works well if you have lots of information that you want to tell your new hires — statistics, data, numbers, that kind of thing.

3. Personalization

Personalization will help you achieve your onboarding goals. We know there’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach to onboarding, so customizing this process should produce explosive results. Onboarding a group of new sales agents will require a different approach to onboarding a senior manager, for example.

Tailor your onboarding to each individual. This might take you some time, but it could provide you with a return on your investment. Sure, standardized onboarding programs might work for some companies who just require temporary staff, but if you really want to reduce turnover, you need to customize content.

“To achieve personalized onboarding, initial assessments can be used to better understand an employee’s areas of excellence, areas of potential growth, and areas that need to be developed to ensure job readiness,” says the Association for Talent Development.

Related: The Employee Experience: The Path to High Engagement

Here’s how to personalize onboarding:

  • Send personalized emails to new hires before your onboarding event. When people arrive for onboarding, give them a handwritten welcome note.
  • Get to know your new hires individually. Ask them questions and boost engagement.
  • Provide new hires with individualized training based on their experience, qualifications, and goals.

All onboarding isn’t great onboarding. If you need to engage with new hires and prevent them from leaving your company, you should invest in new strategies that provide real value. Forget everything you’ve been told about onboarding strategies. Splitting your new hires into teams and playing a few games won’t do much at all. Gamification, videos, and personalization, however, will change perceptions toward your organization and result in confident, informed, more productive employees. Take it from us, we know!

About the Author Jennifer Orechwa

In over 25 years of helping companies connect with their employees, Jennifer has gained a unique perspective on what it takes to build a UnionProof culture. By blending a deep understanding of labor and employee relations with powerful digital marketing knowledge, Jennifer has helped thousands of companies achieve behavioral change at a cultural level.

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