A great onboarding experience in five phases

When an employee starts working for a new employer, the first 100 days are crucial in setting the tone for the entire employee experience. This is the perfect time to draw the new hire into the company’ story: ‘Who are we? What do we stand for? What are our ambitions, and how can you help us to achieve these?’ It is essential that the image that was formed during the candidate journey is now confirmed, and that you retain and strengthen the interest of the new hire. Onboarding starts the minute the company and the employee sign the employment contract and continues through five distinct stages. Keep reading below to find out how you can apply these stages in your own organisation.

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1. Up to the first working day (bridging the gap)

There is often some time between the signing of the contract and the first working day. This period is a great opportunity to sustain the employee’s enthusiasm and prepare them for the first day on the job. Offer exclusive content about the organisation and what it is like to work there, and let the new employee get acquainted with future colleagues, over drinks, for example, or during an event. At the same time, be careful not to overwhelm the new employee with too much content.


2. The first day and week on the job

For a new employee, the first day on the job is always a mix of nerves and excitement. Knowing this, you can really make a difference by ensuring that, from the moment they arrive, everything is well prepared, and the new employee is made to feel welcome. A desk or workstation is immediately available, a work uniform (if required) in the right size is ready, there is a personal welcome message awaiting the new hire, as well as a computer with access to the right systems. The new employee is welcomed by a manager and a buddy or colleague has been assigned to give them a tour of the building on the first day (this person will also guide the new employee throughout the onboarding period). These are just some examples. For the new hire, the first week is mainly spent acclimatising, getting to know people, and sharing expectations.


3. The first thirty days

As a new employee, your first 30 days are all about discovery and finding your way around, as well as building an informal and formal network. A lot of companies organise an introduction day for new employees, during which they draw a diverse group of new hires into the company’s story. This is a nice starting point for building an internal network. Inthe 30 days that follow, the new employee learns the ropes, gets to know their colleagues and manager, and is given information about the ambitions of the company and the department.


4. The first sixty days

The next 30 days focus on personal and professional development. With an effective onboarding programme, you pave the way for the new employees so that, within 60days, they understand where the organisation wants to go and how they can help to achieve this ambition. The new employee learns how their personal knowledge and skills contribute to the company’s ambitions and how they can use these. In this period, the organisation also starts documenting the new employee’s performance for the performance appraisal cycle.


5. The first 100 days

The aim is to have the employee fully on board within the first 100 days, i.e., fully integrated into the team and able to contribute effectively to achieving the company’s goals. At the end of the 100 days, it is time for the first performance review and a look back over the onboarding period. Has the new employee performed and developed as expected? How do they want to develop further, and what do they need for this? This is also a good time to ask for feedback. How did they experience the onboarding period? Was it a surprise? Was there an aspect they didn’t like? Also take advantage of the employee’s fresh perspective:  ask whether anything in particular about the organisation really caught their attention. New employees can often see how things can be done differently or better, and these insights can help the company to work further on creating the best possible employee experience.


It doesn't stop after a hundred days. On average, new employees operate at their full potential after one year. Yes, good onboarding speeds up the process by which an employee integrates, but don't expect them to fully be integrated after a hundred days. Continue to listen to the employee and guide him/her where necessary. Continuously facilitate the dialogue to ensure that employees feel heard and valued.


Are you looking for onboarding advice? Feel free to contact us. Happy employees make change happen.

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Sascha Becker
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