Ways to Increase Engagement During Employee Onboarding - new employees shaking hands on first day in the office

Ways to Increase Engagement During Employee Onboarding

David Malmborg
August 29, 2022
October 9, 2022

It's an employee's first day, and they are experiencing jitters and excitement. After a week or two, that feeling fades, and HR leaders face the challenge of keeping employees engaged throughout the rest of the onboarding process.

The Nivati HR Leader Brain Trust group came together and determined four key ways to improve engagement during this stage.

The Brain Trust events are a place for HR executives to develop new solutions to modern HR challenges. Below are some challenges that the group has voted to try and solve. To join the group, sign up here.  

July Brain Trust Mural

Ideas From HR Leaders on Increasing Engagement During Onboarding

Here are the top four tips from our group of HR leaders from around the country on boosting engagement during onboarding:

  1. Hold regular meetings to check in
  3. Help them build connections
  5. Teach them the ropes
  7. Give them swag

1. Hold regular meetings to check in

Set time on your calendar or the HR team's HRIS system to periodically check in with new hires and see how they are doing. This will help them feel cared for, seen, and more comfortable as they settle into their new role.

"Have new hire start check-in conversations with new manager post-signing offer leading to the day before start." - Rikki

"Formal Touch bases with employees at specific points in the first week, 20 days post-hire, 60 days, 90 days, 60 months, etc." - Amber

"Our OD team reaches out to our new hires when they hit certain milestones. At the same time, we have automated reminders through our HRIS to touch base with their new hires during those milestones." - Shawn

"We think about pre-boarding as a critical piece of the overall onboarding process! This means that we start engaging with new hires as soon as the offer is signed so that they stay engaged in the opportunity and excited to start their journey with us!" - Sara

"Working to create personalized and intentional touch-points for managers and HR to interact with new hires from offer to 1 year." - Virgilio

2. Help them build connections

Taking time to introduce your new employee to their new coworkers can help take some stress off their shoulders. Introducing them to employees in other departments is a great way to make valuable connections that may not occur organically.  Let employees know who they can reach for help or support with specific issues.

"Set up get-to-know meetings with peers and business partners for each new team member to help build relationships." - Kendall

"Warm welcome, introductions, establish mentor/buddy, set expectations for the initial period." - Laura

Ways to Increase Engagement During Employee Onboarding - new employees shaking hands on first day in the office

3. Teach them the ropes

New employees have a lot to wrap their heads around, including the company culture, new expectations, new coworkers, a new manager, and more. You can help reduce stress and increase engagement during onboarding by planning training sessions and providing resources to help employees ease into their new jobs.  

"Discussion about organization values, reinforcement through job-related activities." - Ashley

"We quiz our new employees on some of the material." - Al

"We have recently designated onboarding days on a reoccurring basis to ensure that all new hires are introduced to the company and our culture in a consistent manner, covering items like our mission, vision, and core values. In short, we facilitate a New Employee Orientation that brings our new hires up to speed in short order with team-building activities and providing a perspective on how the corporate office supports our front-line employees and what that looks like." - Brian

4. Give them swag

Swag items like t-shirts, water bottles, notebooks, and stickers with the company logo can boost employee pride in their new employer. Wearing a company t-shirt, for instance, can increase feelings of belonging and "fitting in," which can help employees stay engaged instead of stressed.

"Breakfast or lunch (delivered for remote employees) and swag!" - Suzanne

"Swag is the way to go." - Kenneth

For more tips for HR leaders, check out these blog posts:

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David Malmborg
David Malmborg