How can your onboarding process support employee engagement from the outset?

A key part of employee engagement is not only finding the right people in the first place but also providing an effective onboarding process which creates engagement from the point of making a job offer.

Our Learning and Development Advisor Ellie Steinfeldt explains: “It’s important not to overlook the importance of onboarding. It helps to create engagement from the outset, reduces new job anxieties and helps employees to feel part of the company culture from the moment they are appointed. It also benefits the business by supporting new employees to get up to full productivity much quicker and improves staff retention rates in the long term.”

Onboarding goes beyond just an induction process. It should start from the moment someone accepts a job with you and continue beyond the more formal induction, which is often predominately focussed on practical elements and training. Investors in People has created a helpful article about the difference between onboarding and induction. Here are some of our own tips for employers and a few examples of the processes we have put in place here at Pure.

Plan ahead

Spend time reviewing any onboarding processes already in place, and anything else you could introduce before you are at the point of welcoming new recruits. The easiest way to do this is to put yourself in the shoes of a new starter. What would you want to know before your first day on the job? How would you want to be communicated with? Think about different ways you could engage new starters, share information and make things personal to them. Consider how you can make the process as interactive as possible, enabling you to gain the information you need from them at the same time as giving them all the information they need from you.   

Start from the moment of the job offer

Communicating regularly with a new employee while they are still completing their notice period will help to maintain their engagement and make them feel part of the team before their first day with you. Here at Pure, we invite our new starters to come into the office or out for a drink to meet the team before their first day. The person who will be line managing them also keeps in touch via regular emails throughout their notice period and encourages them to ask any questions they may have before their start date.  

A couple of weeks before they start

Make sure your new employee has everything they need well ahead of their start date so they have time to read, plan and prepare. We send our new starters an email around two weeks before they are due to start with us which reconfirms their start date, the office they will be working in and the time they should arrive on their first day. The email also lists the documents they need to bring with them on their first day and includes a link to our bespoke on-boarding page.

Consider creating a dedicated onboarding platform

We wanted to give our new recruits a dedicated space where they could find all the key information they need and make this available to them before their first day. We’ve set up a dedicated onboarding microsite which helps our new employees to get a better understanding of our culture and to build a connection with their new colleagues before they even start. Here are just some of the things it includes:

  • Information about our learning and development team, their manager and the managers in each of the other offices. It also includes a link to information about all employees - what they do and which office they are based in.
  • A video about what it is like to work at Pure, that highlights our values, our company culture and our charity work.
  • A list of all the benefits available to Pure employees.
  • Recommendations for lunch places near each of our offices.

It also features a new starter video which offers all of the information they might need to know for their first day, including who to report to, who the fire marshals and first aiders are, the office administrators, how to contact IT support, where the toilets are, what is available in the kitchen and working hours.

Make it personal

Personalising the onboarding process as much as possible will help to make the new starter feel valued and make it more effective. For example, in the lead up to new starters joining us, we use our onboarding microsite to ask them to complete a learning styles questionnaire and a ‘previous experience’ questionnaire. This helps us to tailor our training approach for their induction based on their preferred learning style and enables us to identify any particular areas within the induction schedule that would be worth focusing on or where we may not need to go into so much depth.

The first few days

Even with a well-considered onboarding process, the first day in a new job can be daunting for many people. The impressions they form in their first few days are likely to significantly impact how engaged they feel in the long term and whether they decide to stay with the organisation. Try to balance formal paperwork, introductions to systems and processes with more ‘human’ elements, such as introducing them to everyone and giving them time to get to know the people they will be working with. This will help put the new starter at ease and ensure they feel welcomed to the business.

In their first few days at Pure, our new recruits are given an induction folder with a comprehensive learning and development programme for their first month. They also have a one-day induction with our Chief Operating Officer who will tell them more about how the business started and our values. Alongside this, they are given a £10 lunch voucher to use on their first day and their own copy of our Pure Book. This little book has been created to capture the essence of working at Pure, our history, culture and values, in a fun, welcoming and friendly way. Most importantly, make sure new employees know who they can approach with any questions or concerns, and where they can find them, and ensure their line manager is checking in on them regularly.

For more advice or support with your recruitment, onboarding and induction processes contact your local Pure office.

About Ellie

Ellie joined Pure in June 2015 after applying through our Graduate Training Programme and now works in the internal Learning & Development team. Ellie has an MSc in Occupational Psychology and her passion for working with and understanding people led her to a career in Learning and Development.

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