Three onboarding ideas you should steal

Onboarding box by Ogilvy and Mather

Can you help us with the welcome kit for our new employees?

We hear that question quite often. ‘Of course’, we reply. Of course. Although we have loads of great ideas for welcome and starter kits, we first need to pause for a bit.

There’s an ancient Frammean proverb that states ‘We first need to understand what help your new employees and what your brand stands. Then we can ideate and create more impactful onboarding materials.’

Over the years, I have experienced various onboarding processes and observed closely how my ex-colleagues at Deloitte redesigned an employee onboarding for Australia’s biggest teleoperator and their new starters.

Here are my three learnings and ideas to steal:

1. Great onboarding starts before day one

One of the most impressive tactics I have seen is to connect with your new hire before they start working for your company. Making them feel welcome and included. Building the excitement they have made the right choice.

This item could be as small as sending a small gift card to your company’s store and asking to think suggestions to improve the customer experience. Or it could be a simple handwritten card explaining some of the following:

  • How excited the team will be to have her or him on board
  • Contact details; where, when and who to meet on Day 1
  • How to get to the office with public transport or where to park a car
  • What documents to bring or if you ask to bring a computer
  • What the first day will be like
  • And most importantly, emphasise diversity and inclusion; their uniqueness will help your company to reach new heights

However, if you pay attention to details and use your creativity you can create an even more magical experience.

The idea to steal from Nestlé:

Nestlé’s HR team surprised their new starter with birthday flowers before she even had started working for them. Their manager realised the new employee was turning years before the start date and decided to act elegantly. Love the personal touch.

Flowers from Nestlé
Onboarding box by Ogilvy and Mather

2. Excite, educate and eliminate stress

First days and weeks at any new job are always hectic; filling paperwork, grasping new information, setting up workspace and computer software, learning new ways-of-working and meeting new people. And writing notes of the names you quickly hear but don’t quite get – Do you spell his name ‘Tyronne’, ‘Tyron’ or ‘Thai-Ron’ you keep thinking in your head.

As there are so many things happening at once during office hours, a great onboarding experience is recognising that not everyone takes in information the same way or pace. Giving each new hire the time and space to digest all new information about their role, expectations and the company is one of the best ways you can make someone feel welcome.

Therefore, it’s essential to think about what information they can consume on their own time. Instead of creating employee handbooks, t-shirts and other swag for the sake of it, we should think

  • Ideas that can be carried home or read during ‘own-time’
  • Worn proudly by every team member
  • Materials that are useful for your employees if not daily at least every week at their job? E.g. notebooks and water bottles
  • Crystalising the message: How do you want to convey your company culture to this new employee? What should this new employee know about your company?

Things that truly authentically promote your values and brand. Remember, that great items – and experiences – tend to be shared in social media by the new starters which automagically promote your brand as an appealing company and employee.

“We took it a step further and asked how do we get new employees to actually read the book and take note of Ogilvy’s rich heritage? Our answer – make it tangible. Every new employee has the opportunity to embrace these values, every day.”

Onboarding box by Ogilvy and Mather
Onboarding box by Ogilvy and Mather

The idea to steal from Ogilvy & Mather:

Advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather and their South Africa office created an Induction Box around their founder David Ogilvy. The founding fathers of advertising.

Every detail of this box tells the new starter something about the iconic agency and encourages team members to think outside the box. They really emphasise their values and the ‘Ogilvy Way’ which is based on David Ogilvy’s The Eternal Pursuit of Unhappiness (or Divine Discontent) book and his 8 Creative Habits.

3. Help to build relationships and a map forward.

Onboarding kits and materials can also guide the new starter on their first few weeks. Teach something about surroundings, the importance of note-taking, who-to-meet or visualise a to-do-list. Onboarding materials become almost like a game the new starter needs to finish and take in.

Joining a new company can be nerve-wracking for anyone. Walking into an environment where everyone is already connected and engaged with each other takes guts, so we think it is really important to let our new hires know right out of the gate that we are happy they’re here.

– Karen Seketa, VP of Talent at Element Three

Element Three onboarding kit
Element Three onboarding kit

Although this post looks at the onboarding only from material and swag perspective, it is critical to think it from a holistic perspective. What do those first days and weeks look like? We at Framme are currently working on our employee experience because honestly, it is fairly average.

We are also happy to bounce ideas with your onboarding kits and materials but only if the following conditions apply;

  • Let’s make your onboarding concept and idea well-thought,
  • If you are a bit unsure of what that could be, we and/or an agency from our network can surely help. However, if we can’t come up with a great concept and materials together…
  • We don’t want to create junk swag for the sake of it. Those things will just end up in the bin.

The idea to steal from Element Three

Element Three created an onboarding box that contains explanations for each item together with a list of to-dos for the first few weeks.

Element Three onboarding kit