Research Study

Onboarding Unveiled

We’ve researched and reviewed the induction processes from a number of industry leading companies, to pull back the curtain on what makes a world class Onboarding Experience.

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What do they do?
  • Google’s onboarding has a focus on casual and creative energy and promotes a family-like team, whilst also ensuring that employees feel supported from day one.
  • The process promotes involvement and engagement and encourages employees to ask questions and share feedback throughout.
  • Whilst also offering onboarding programs and resources tailored to different roles and departments, Google educate employees on their culture and values.
  • Much of the Google onboarding process takes place face to face – for example, every new employee has an in-person orientation and an office tour – but there are still lessons to learn.

How do they do it?
  • Preboarding – Important resources are shared and standard set up tasks completed before day one
  • Buddy System – New employees are paired with a more experienced colleague who shows them the ropes and supports them in a more informal manner
  • Role Based Content – The onboarding process includes a healthy balance of company-level onboarding and role-level training
  • Meaningful Nudges – Employees get a nudge after two weeks to encourage them stay engaged with the onboarding and to the communication channels open
  • Feedback – New starters are encouraged to feedback on the onboarding process which helps to shape it for future employees

What do they do?
  • Netflix adopt a “welcome home” approach, ensuring employees feel secure and grounded stepping into a new workplace before integrating them over time.
  • Everything is geared towards making the starting process as smooth as possible – this includes having the desk and laptop set up before arrival, and providing onboarding resources over time to avoid overloading the new hires. Each new hire is also given a committed mentor who is readily available to provide help and answers.
  • Removing as many early road bumps as possible also gives Netflix space to get new employees involved with key projects and tasks early. This approach shows new hires that they are a valued member of the team straight away whilst also benefiting the company.

How do they do it?
  • Avoiding Overload – Information is given to new employees in manageable chunks once they have had time to settle in
  • Practical Onboarding – Early involvement in projects is included in the onboarding, giving new hires a chance to contribute without throwing them in the deep end
  • Resources – A library of blog posts and resources is available to all Netflix employees including content aimed specifically at new hires
  • Single Source of Truth – Netflix distribute a digital document which contains information on their values, culture, and rules of the road for all employees

What do they do?
  • Like many large companies, Aviva’s onboarding process was inconsistent, largely paper and email based, and a huge drain on personnel resources. To rectify this, they created an online onboarding portal which could be accessed by all new employees, anywhere in the world.
  • The portal is split into three sections; About Aviva, Your New Role, and Day One & Beyond, each one delivering a different content set. Elements of the portal are also highly personalised as, being a global company, it would be impossible to create a one-size-fits-all approach.
  • Whilst the portal forms the backbone of the onboarding process, Aviva mix in face-to-face interaction through interactive induction sessions by senior leaders and peers.

How do they do it?
  • Personalisation – Employees are invited to the portal via a personalised email which gains them access to a bespoke site built around their location, language, role, manager and more
  • Networking – New starters are linked to their peers and given a buddy to guide them through the onboarding
  • Human Touch – Digital experiences can sometimes feel isolating but the Aviva portal combats this through the inclusion of instant messaging, an events calendar, and a book of contacts
  • Curriculum – All of the training that a user will complete in the portal is mapped out and explained from the start which helps avoid overloading the new starters and gives them a clear understanding of what’s ahead

What do they do?
  • Autism Unlimited (AU) exists to support and empower those living with Autism, by opening the door to a world of opportunities and possibilities through their unique programme of education, care and support.
  • As such, finding the right people and ensuring that they had a fantastic onboarding experience was of paramount importance. Their process focuses on embedding employees into the charity before day one, enabling them to have an immediate impact, and ensuring they stay.
  • AU launched a digital portal mid-pandemic to great success – now it is by the side of every new hire (their manager and buddy) at every moment that matters, reducing anxiety and carefully guiding every new hire through tailored onboarding journey – a journey that’s as supportive and inclusive as possible, particularly to those with autism.

How do they do it?
  • Digital Portal – The responsive web based approach is always available, accessible on different devices, and can be updated as and when needed.
  • Video Testimonials – Short recordings of current employees talking about their experience at AU helps new starters feel at home
  • Community – The digital portal includes social areas such as an events board and a social wall which embed new employees in the culture straight away
  • Instant Messaging – All employees have access to a custom instant messaging platform which new starters build can use to build their network
  • Checklists – Both employees and managers have checklists which allow them to track progress through the onboarding process

What do they do?
  • Amazon are one of the worlds biggest employers, with a constant and diverse stream of new starters joining their warehouse staff.
  • By opting for a fully digital solution, Amazon ensured that their onboarding process can be easily shared with a large number of people, without needing to rely on in-person training.
  • The experience includes a large amount of crucial training (eg Warehouse Safety) but also educates new starters on Amazon’s history, culture, and values. It also includes an FAQ page and contact information should new starters have any questions.

How do they do it?
  • Clear Training Plan – The training is split into distinct modules and the path through them is laid out for the user immediately
  • Accessibility – The digital onboarding experience can be accessed on any computer or phone and has multiple language options
  • Micro Engagements – The onboarding content is sprinkled with mini-quizzes to keep users invested and switched on
  • Gamification – Learning games, a badge system, and positive reinforcement throughout the process breaks up the training and boosts engagement

What do they do?
  • Every DHL employee is given access to their internal Learning Management System (LMS). This primarily functions as a library for role based learning, but also includes training around core company topics that all employees need to be familiar with.
  • Given the importance of this online training, part of the DHL onboarding process is dedicated to getting their people familiar with the LMS and engaged with the essential learning.
  • DHL created a number of learning games to help communicate company values and teach new hires key behaviours – for example a quiz game about DHL’s sustainability commitments.
  • They also commissioned a Game Hub and leaderboards which gives their users the ability to create a user profile and see themselves ranked against their peers.

How do they do it?
  • LMS Integration – The onboarding experience is integrated into the wider DHL Learning Management System where it can be accessed at any time
  • Gamification – Using games to communicate key information helps to keep users engaged and also gives them extra motivation to learn the content
  • Community – Employees from across the world are ranked on the same leaderboards and filters allow users to compete with their peers
  • Self Led Learning – Whilst the learning and games are made available to new hires straight away, they are allowed to approach them at their own pace as they get embedded into the company

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