Starting a new job can be intimidating and stressful for any employee, but especially so for new grads making the transition out of college. Companies with onboarding processes that set their employees up for success from day one will find their new employees are happier and more likely to stay – which is especially important as entry-level employee turnover can cost somewhere between 30-50% of the employee’s annual salary.
Entry level roles are critical for developing work skills that will help you succeed throughout your entire career. If your organization doesn’t set you up for success from day one, it’ll be more challenging to navigate the working world, and more difficult to progress throughout your career. Luckily, that’s not a concern with these 15 companies. Each of these organizations ensures that their new employees experience robust onboarding and training programs, making sure you are prepared to do your best from the start.
At Bazaarvoice, a digital marketing company, every new employee attends onboarding classes at their base in Austin, TX. These classes can include anywhere from five to 25 people, and involve employees from all levels – even C-suite executives. To make a new hire’s integration into the company more fun, they have an onboarding scavenger hunt. This game allows new hires to get to know other employees, learn about the company’s culture and values, and get used to the day-to-day environment. Some of the tasks include shadowing a call with a client, setting up a video meeting with a remote co-worker, and answering company trivia questions. The new class of employees then also gets to introduce themselves at a team snack break, and company-wide global video call. Lastly, Bazaarvoice uses employee feedback to always improve the onboarding process and create a better experience.
Buffer, a social management software, stands out for creating a supportive new-hire process even with their entire workforce being remote – they still make their onboarding personal by utilizing a three-buddy system. In the first 45 days, the three buddies repeatedly check in with the new hire: the Leader Buddy, Role Buddy, and Culture Buddy. These buddies allow the new employee to feel connected to the team, interact with people from different departments, and learn a lot more about the day-to-day life at Buffer. The new hire is also part of the company’s weekly pair ups, where they get to have a video meeting with a random employee to go over what they’re working on, support each other, and form friendships.
New hires at DigitalOcean receive the VIP treatment to help ease their transition into the new role. Because the first day of a new job can be a source of anxiety, DigitalOcean created as seamless of an experience as possible. New hires are greeted with a balloon at their desk, a handwritten welcome note, a bottle of champagne, and some DigitalOcean merchandise. Even the small things like making sure a new employee’s computer and company email is completely set up and functioning can make a big difference on the first day.
They also provide a clear, thought-out plan for the employee’s first 90 days: what they should achieve, what people they should meet, so they know what’s expected of them and how to begin. This process makes the transition much easier, and ensures employees are set up to do their best in the first few months of the role.
The Human Resources team at eventbrite “pride themselves on the standout employee experience” that they’ve created at the company. Eventbrite’s main goal is to connect new hires with everyone in their organization immediately upon hire: the HR team places new hire profiles around the office so everyone can quickly learn the names and faces of new hires. Each quarter, the company hosts new-hire socials, saying that these socials allow new employees to feel like they’re a part of the company. Named one of the best places to work for both millennials and women in 2015, Eventbrite prides itself on being able to “maintain its brand character and integrity” as it has expanded internationally, all due to its exceptional onboarding program.
Google found a way to increase efficiency of new hires (or as they call them – Nooglers) by 25% through sending a simple email. The Sunday before a new employee’s first day, their manager receives an email including a five step checklist. The steps are “1. Have a role-and-responsibilities discussion. 2. Match your Noogler with a peer buddy. 3. Help your Noogler build a social network. 4. Set up onboarding check-ins once a month for your Noogler’s first six months. 5. Encourage open dialogue.” This checklist is simple, and leaves space for managers to use their own creativity, but still puts emphasis on guiding the new hire. By giving managers simple guidelines like this, not only did they see new hires become more effective, they also saw less turnover.
Issuu has a unique onboarding process for technical hires. First off, they make sure every new hire flies out to visit the Copenhagen office, which is especially important as the majority of the team is remote. Instead of assigning a new engineer to a specific team, they have them spend a few days with each team and decide which one fits them best. This allows for new employees to see where they can contribute the most, and test their skills in different areas. With the new hires starting their career in-office, meeting everyone, and also participating in after-work activities, they’re able to bring that community feeling back home with them. It’s also beneficial to let new employees see firsthand how their other team members work, and allow them to ask all the questions they’re bound to have in their first few weeks.
This software company understands that the most successful onboarding processes begin before the new hire’s first day, and are written down to easily refer back to. Kayako actually uses Trello (mentioned above) to similarly lay out their process and resources, but also uses their HR platform’s onboarding kit to easily go over all the details like code of conduct and benefits. Access to the HR program is sent out two weeks before the employee starts so the employee can familiarize themselves with relevant material and come in confident on their first day. Once the new hire arrives, their first day consists of warm welcomes and a team lunch. Kayako also ensures the materials their new employees need like laptops, headsets, etc. are all set up and ready for them, and sends them some company swag to get them excited.
Poorna Udupi, an engineer at Netflix, talked about his onboarding experience with the popular streaming service in a Quora conversation board. Udupi said that he received an offer letter at the end of his second interview round, complete with a compensation package, citing a quick hiring process. Within his first few days at Netflix, Udupi was given a dedicated mentor and participated in an orientation program that allowed him to meet other coworkers and learn more about the company. New hires are also able to meet with CEO Reed Hastings within their first quarter of hiring, in a “small, informal group setting to get to know each other.” Udupi noted as well that new hires are given significant responsibility and are able to make a solid impact from the start, saying, “four months after joining, I saw my work being used by tons of Netflix customers.”
At PURE Insurance, new employees are set up for success from day one, thanks to thorough onboarding and training programs. Before even beginning training, new hires are sent weekly emails to help them integrate into the organization and prepare for their training program. The company also began offering virtual office hours during the pandemic, allowing new employees to ask questions and learn more about the company and get connected to their coworkers.
New hires in the Member Advocate role partake in an extensive, paid training program that sets them up for success. During the comprehensive, three-month program, Member Advocates learn everything they need to know to work full-time in the position, while developing strong working relationships with their cohort—and of course, having fun! Member Advocates are fully trained on PURE’s products, solutions, and practices, as well as on the world of high net worth property and casualty insurance. They also obtain all necessary state licenses and designations. Even employees with no prior background in insurance are well prepared to provide excellent member service upon completion of the program. Learn more about Pure Insurance.
Quora focuses on creating an efficient and action-driven onboarding program for their new hires. Every new employee is paired with a mentor who provides one-on-one assistance and guidance. Management at Quora proactively understands that mentors will not be able to keep up with all of their responsibilities at work while also onboarding a new employee, so they respect that mentors will lose around 25% of their output. This takes the pressure off mentors to balance too much at once, and allows them to create a better experience for the new hire. New employees are also given a clear set of projects to start with, including a manageable project they can complete by the end of their first week. This helps new hires get right into making valuable contributions without feeling overwhelmed. New hires additionally are given 10 onboarding talks over the first few weeks where they receive training and learn more about how to be successful at Quora.
Schneider Electric has numerous awards recognizing their workplace environment. Comparably shows that 81% of employees with Schneider Electric expressed satisfaction within their first ninety days of onboarding with the company. In a company blog post, Chief Digital Officer, Peter Weckesser, talks about the virtual onboarding he experienced when he joined the company in 2020. Weckesser says that during his first few weeks with Schneider Electric, he found himself “immersed and connected in the company – even more than would have been possible otherwise.” He also said that, despite social distancing and restrictions, he was “more connected, reachable, and flexible,” during virtual onboarding.
Point-of-sale software company, Square, believes in a strong workplace culture. Isabelle Bicaci and Brielle Rajkovich, two Square employees that launched their first onboarding program, described the company’s so-called “coffee culture,” saying that it allows employees to feel open to ask questions and have conversations with anyone in the company. New hires at Square experience a fun onboarding program, with Square saying that “an employee’s first week should be delightful.” Employees starting at Square start later on their first day, meet with members of the executive team in “coffee culture” inspired chats, and receive free shirts, books, and stickers to make them feel more welcome.
At most schools, new teachers get virtually no training or support, making the first year famously challenging. Success Academy, a nationally renowned network of 47 public charter schools in New York City, has entirely upended this model. SA doesn’t require a background or degree in education — instead, they immerse new teachers in a summer training intensive and provide daily coaching, weekly training and development, and close team collaboration throughout the year, as well as all curriculum materials. With these layers of support, newbies quickly master key skills like public speaking, data analysis, strategic thinking, and project management and have an outsized impact on their students. They are also set up to seize the many opportunities for swift career advancement at SA, both in and out of the classroom. Five to six years after starting, these formerly inexperienced teachers may be leading as school principals, helping design curriculum for the entire network of schools, or running training for hundreds of SA educators! Learn more about Success Academy.
At Trello, they focus on creating an easy to follow checklist for new hires with every job-related logistical item and business requirement. And since list-making is their company’s specialty, it only makes sense that they use their own program. They create two lists: one of “To-Dos” for the new hire, and a “Before First Day” list for the onboarding crew. They also provide Trello boards like “Who Do I Talk to About…?” as a resource for common questions a new hire might have. Their “Who’s Who” list also takes the pressure off the often anxiety-inducing task of remembering everyone’s name who you meet in your first week, by providing the entire company directory with photos of everyone’s face. Employees at Trello even say they still refer back to their onboarding board to check logistical details or company benefits, so it’s a great resource they can always have.
Warby Parker management vowed to make new employees feel special no matter how large the company grows. They step up their welcome packages by including a copy of Jack Kerouac’s Dharma Bums, where two of the characters are the company’s namesake. This helps new employees feel connected to the roots of the business and shows them the heritage of the company. They also implement the balloon at the new hire’s desk strategy, and encourage employees to stop by and introduce themselves. On top of that they have new hires introduce themselves at company-wide meetings to ensure everyone has a chance to meet. Lastly, Warby Parker puts an emphasis on having senior level management involved with training new employees, including the co-founders. They do this to show the new hire how important they are to the company, and because they believe the information holds more weight and authenticity when coming from the founders.
With all of the time and effort put into recruiting great candidates, an effective and unique onboarding process is essential to retaining new employees. To help new grads – and any employee – start their career at your company on the right foot, be sure to invest in an onboarding process that excites, prepares, and welcomes candidates all at once.