Why New Employee Onboarding Must Include an Engaging Employee Welcome Experience

May 2022 — By T.J. Duane

These days, employee satisfaction and retention are hot topics after a historic exodus from the job market in 2021. And with 9 out of 10 HR leaders concerned about additional turnover at their organizations, it’s no wonder companies across the U.S. are scrambling to find solutions – and find them fast.

In an increasingly competitive job market where openings greatly outnumber candidates, employee engagement is at the forefront of conversations amongst HR professionals and executives. Some of these employee engagement benefits include:

  • Lower employee turnover
  • Improved job satisfaction and morale
  • Enhanced productivity
  • Increased profitability and customer loyalty

The First 45 Days are Critical for New Employee Engagement

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, up to 20 percent of turnover takes place in the first 45 days. Employee engagement and retention go hand-in-hand.

A recent ADP Research Institute report uncovered that employees in the U.S. who are strongly connected to their workplace are 75 times more likely to be engaged in it. That engagement leads to the investment and commitment needed for overall employee and company success.

How should HR managers inspire incoming employees to develop those connections to your organization and one another?

Traditional HR Strategies for Employee Engagement

Traditional HR strategies for employee engagement with new hires include:

  • New employee orientation
  • New employee onboarding and training
  • New employee welcome email from manager
  • New employee event or happy hour to say welcome to new employees
  • Company or team swag

However, in an environment where workplace culture plays a critical role in employee engagement and retention, these generic, rinse and repeat activities for employee engagement will no longer suffice. New employees have many options, and a 2021 Gartner Survey found that more than half of job applications are considering a minimum of two jobs while you’re waiting on a response. Employees have the upper hand in today’s job market, and with more choices than ever, you truly have one chance to make that critical first impression.

How to Improve New Employee Engagement

Here are a few strategies for employee engagement and retention at your organization:

Customize New Employee Experiences

A generic new employee welcome email or orientation packet makes new employees feel like they’re just another number. Learn about what they like before they even start, so you can create a much more personalized welcome experience. Do they love Starbucks? Welcome them with a gift card in their new corporate-branded mug. Enjoy reading? Buy them a motivating book for their first day alongside their new hire welcome packet. Make them feel like they mean something to your organization from the moment they step inside (or log on virtually!).

Prioritize Growth and Development

Training shouldn’t stop with new employee orientation or the first week of new employee onboarding. Show new employees you also care about their growth and success as individuals, not just more numbers to help you achieve company goals. Create more custom learning paths that are relevant to their interests and career goals.

Build Engaging Activities for Employee Engagement

Beyond traditional happy hours and surface-level introductions, employees really want to get to know each other and their teams. By creating more multi-dimensional activities for employee engagement, your new employees will feel a greater personal connection to your organization, whether they work from your office or their homes.

Promote Meaningful Communication and Dialogue

Most companies will have a Slack channel where employees can make small talk and ask quick questions. Though companies may view this as sufficient employee communication, it’s not meaningful. Especially when there are so many messages back and forth that employees can’t keep up or ever go back through past conversations to develop authentic personal relationships with their peers. By using tools that foster authentic relationship-building and communications, companies can better bring together and engage new and diverse employees.

While all of these initiatives may sound great, how do you curate more relevant experiences for your new employees when you don’t know much about them besides their names and title?

Say Welcome to New Employees with a Customized BrightCrowd Welcome Book

In this current environment, organizations of all sizes must shift their approach to employee engagement and retention to be successful.

Companies who use BrightCrowd as a way to say welcome to new employees see high employee engagement levels from the day they begin. BrightCrowd welcome books focus on the whole person narrative. It’s not about bringing together a diverse incoming group of associates, interns, or employees via their job titles and teams. Forget the typical bio data; BrightCrowd allows new employees to develop meaningful relationships by focusing on the “me” outside the office. And employees are responding. Law firms who’ve recently launched their summer associate books all have greater than 90% participation from invitees. Our community-building welcome books are a powerful complement to your new employee onboarding process, connecting colleagues across teams, divisions, and geographic boundaries. Enhance your new employee welcome reception or new employee kick-off meeting with a welcome book that helps eliminate those first-day fears associated with not knowing anyone.

Beyond the employee engagement benefits, BrightCrowd also provides HR managers and leadership teams with a wealth of knowledge about their new employees that can be used in curating welcome experiences. With this approach to whole-person data, employers can ensure that those critical 45 days (and beyond!) include more individualized experiences, rather than a generic experience that feels out-of-touch.

If you’re ready to prioritize employee engagement and retention and your organization, then you’re ready for BrightCrowd. Contact us today for a demo!

T.J. Duane