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Top 7 ways to build the best onboarding programs + examples!

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Executive Summary: Welcoming new members to a team is more than a mere formality; it’s a pivotal moment that can shape their entire journey within an organisation. Beyond the standard orientation procedures, the best onboarding programs act as a gateway to integrating new hires into the fabric of a company. This blog delves into the significance of onboarding programs, shedding light on their multifaceted importance and offering insights into the art of creating the best onboarding programs.

A new employee’s first days on the job are like the start of a new chapter, and the best onboarding programs set the scene for their story. The best onboarding programs are very well-designed. More than a checklist, they are like orchestrated performances that cultivate a positive and lasting first impression. Research shows that 92% of business executives believe engaged employees perform better, boosting the success of their teams and the outcomes of their organizations. When new hires feel welcomed, informed, and valued from the outset, the stage is set for a harmonious relationship with the organization.

📣 Message for the reader

People forget nearly 90% of what they have learnt within just 7 days, unless the concepts are reinforced. That’s why employees swamped with documents, presentations, and classroom sessions are not likely to learn much.

However, time constraints make it difficult to reinforce vast concepts.

What can you do instead? Arm your employees with one concept at a time. Studies show the human attention span is only 8.25 seconds, so keep your training concise.

RapL is your software for that.

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What the best onboarding programs achieve

Employee retention and productivity

Employee retention is a challenge many organizations grapple with. However, the seeds of longevity are often sown during onboarding. The best onboarding programs are comprehensive. They not only acquaint employees with the nuts and bolts of their roles, but also instill a sense of belonging and purpose. When employees feel connected to their work and understand how their contributions fit into the broader organizational picture, they are more likely to stay with the company and flourish.

Cultural integration

Organizational culture is more than a buzzword; it’s the heartbeat that pulsates through every facet of a company. The best onboarding programs serve as a conduit through which new hires are introduced to this culture. Beyond rules and regulations, it’s an initiation into shared values, collective aspirations, and the unspoken nuances that define the company’s identity. The best onboarding programs ensure that every employee becomes a custodian of the organization’s cultural legacy.

What do the best onboarding programs involve?

  1. Orientation: The best onboarding programs focus on comprehensive orientation. This initial phase serves as a narrative, unfolding the story of the organization. From the company’s humble beginnings to its present-day standing, employees should leave the orientation with a profound understanding of the company’s history, structure, policies, and benefits. It’s not just about presenting facts; it’s about creating a narrative that new hires can emotionally connect with.

  2. Job-specific training: While a broad understanding of the organization is crucial, the best onboarding programs also zoom in on the specifics of each role. Job-specific training should be tailored to the unique demands of each position, offering a deep dive into the technical aspects, skill requirements, and day-to-day processes. The best onboarding programs ensure that new hires are equipped with the tools they need to navigate the intricacies of their roles.

  3. Introduction to tools and systems: In the digital age, proficiency with tools and systems is paramount. The best onboarding programs include a meticulous walkthrough of the technological landscape within the organization. From communication platforms to project management tools, new hires should feel adept and comfortable with the digital ecosystem they’ll be navigating daily.

  4. Mentorship and buddy programs: Learning doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and the transition into a new work environment can be daunting. Mentorship and buddy programs play a pivotal role in smoothing this transition. Pairing new hires with experienced colleagues fosters a sense of camaraderie and provides a lifeline for questions, concerns, and the inevitable uncertainties that come with a new role.

  5. Feedback loops: Communication is a two-way street, and the best onboarding programs encourage dialogue from the very beginning. Establishing feedback loops, whether through surveys, one-on-one check-ins, or group discussions, creates an environment where new hires feel heard and valued. This continuous feedback mechanism not only aids in refining onboarding, but also cultivates a culture of openness and transparency.

Top 7 ways to build the best onboarding programs

  1. Personalization: Each employee is unique, and their learning preferences are as diverse as their backgrounds. Recognizing and embracing this diversity is key to building the best onboarding programs. Personalize onboarding programs and tailor them to individual roles and learning styles. A one-size-fits-all approach may inadvertently alienate certain employees, hindering their ability to assimilate into the company effectively.

  2. Interactive learning: Learning is not a passive process; it’s an engagement of the mind and senses. The best onboarding programs go beyond the mundane and incorporate interactive elements. Simulations, game-based learning, rich multimedia content, and scenario-based learning not only make the onboarding experience more enjoyable, but also embed information in a way that resonates with the employee. Remember, the more engaging the onboarding program, the more likely the information will stick.

  3. Continuous improvement: In the dynamic landscape of business, change is inevitable. The same applies to onboarding training. The best onboarding programs are regularly fine-tuned and improved. Conduct periodic reviews to assess the effectiveness of training materials, update content to reflect evolving organizational dynamics, and ensure that onboarding remains a well-synchronized process.

  4. Integration with company culture: Company culture is not a tagline; it’s a living, breathing entity that shapes daily interactions and decisions. The best onboarding programs enable seamless integration into this culture. Encourage participation in team-building activities, company events, and social gatherings from the onset. When new hires feel part of a community, they are more likely to embrace the values and ethos of the organization.

  5. Technology adoption: In a world where technology is omnipresent, leveraging it helps build the best onboarding programs. Digital upskilling platforms, virtual training modules, and on-demand resources provide flexibility and accessibility. Coupled with smart features like AI-based spaced repetition, and scenario-based learning, technology-enabled onboarding is simply a strategic move. This not only accommodates different learning styles but also sets the stage for a tech-savvy workforce that is ready to embrace the digital future.

  6. Cross-functional collaboration: Building on the notion that no employee operates in isolation, the best onboarding programs actively promote cross-functional collaboration. This involves introducing new hires to various departments, encouraging inter-departmental communication, and providing opportunities for collaborative projects. By doing so, onboarding becomes a holistic experience, instilling a broader understanding of the organization’s interconnectivity. This collaborative approach not only enhances teamwork but also empowers employees to see the bigger picture of their contributions within the entire organizational ecosystem.

  7. Inclusion of real-world scenarios: While theoretical knowledge is essential, the best onboarding programs go a step further by incorporating real-world scenarios. This involves training employees on situations they might encounter in their day-to-day work. By immersing them in practical, job-related challenges, onboarding becomes not just a theoretical exercise but a hands-on experience. This approach enhances understanding, problem-solving skills, and the ability to apply knowledge in real-world contexts, ultimately fostering a more capable and confident workforce.

3 examples of the best onboarding programs

Renowned for its comprehensive onboarding program, Google ensures that new hires undergo an exceptionally detailed orientation, providing profound insights into the company’s mission, values, and culture. Each new employee is paired with a designated “buddy” who serves as a mentor, assisting them during their initial weeks. Google places a significant focus on offering new hires immediate involvement in meaningful projects, promoting open communication channels with both managers and colleagues.

What sets Google’s onboarding experience apart is its dedication to cultivating a sense of community and driving innovation. The company incorporates numerous team-building activities, fosters a culture of collaboration, and grants access to resources that facilitate continuous learning and development.

Adobe opts for a structured and personalized onboarding experience for its new employees. The company provides an all-encompassing orientation program that acquaints newcomers with its products, services, and overall culture. In line with many companies on this roster, Adobe assigns mentors to guide fresh hires through their initial weeks, offering support and addressing any queries that may arise. Additionally, the company actively promotes ongoing learning through a variety of training resources and developmental opportunities.

Adobe’s onboarding process distinguishes itself through its emphasis on creativity and innovation. The company nurtures a culture that celebrates individuality, encouraging employees to bring their unique perspectives and ideas to the forefront, thereby fostering innovation within the organization.

Netflix provides a distinctive onboarding experience, centering it around the company’s culture of freedom and responsibility. New employees are welcomed with an extensive onboarding package, which includes a handbook outlining the company’s values, culture, and expectations. They place a strong emphasis on empowering new hires to take ownership of their learning journey and make contributions from their very first day. The company actively cultivates a culture of continuous feedback and learning, promoting open communication channels and regular check-ins.

Netflix is committed to employee autonomy and trust. The company values and nurtures a culture of freedom and responsibility, allowing new hires the freedom to contribute their unique perspectives and ideas without being bogged down by excessive bureaucracy.

Crafting the best onboarding programs is an art that requires thoughtful consideration, personalization, and continuous refinement. By investing in the onboarding experience, organizations lay the foundation for a workforce that is not only skilled in their roles but deeply connected to the values and aspirations of the company. In this delicate dance between the old and the new, onboarding emerges as the choreographer, orchestrating a symphony that resonates with every employee, old and new. To start building your own onboarding program, contact us at

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