Blog Post

    How to build and launch a digital onboarding program in just 3 months

    “How to create an onboarding plan?” If you work in HR, you’ve likely asked yourself this question, maybe you’ve even typed it into Google in search of inspiration. Unfortunately, many of the available resources are great at teaching you what goes into a good onboarding program but stop short of explaining how to implement that program in your workplace.

    With more than 10 years in the onboarding game, the Talmundo team saw it as our duty to fill the gap and put together a step-by-step guide that walks you through how to build and launch a digital onboarding program.

    Let’s get onboarding!

    But first, the 6 C’s of onboarding

    A successful new hire journey is built with the 6 C’s of onboarding at its core: 

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    Is your new hire legally ready to represent your company?
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    Does your new hire fully understand the job and what is expected of them? 
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    Will your new hire feel like a part of the family when they arrive at the office?
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    Can your new hire navigate the spoken AND unspoken aspects of your company culture?
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    Does your new hire feel empowered to perform to the best of their abilities?
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    Have you circled back to ensure your new hire is thriving in their role?

    As we walk through this 5-step guide, we’ll be keeping these principles front of mind to ensure that we’re building a GOOD onboarding experience for our newest joiners.

    Step 1: Audit your existing onboarding program

    Most organizations onboard new hires, in one way or another. Whether your existing set-up is an informal series of welcome rituals or a more complex set of checklists and processes, it’s important to get to grips with what’s currently in place before you can move forward.

    A great way to develop an overview of your live onboarding practices is to map your existing assets to an onboarding checklist. This way you can see what you have, and what you might be missing as part of a standard onboarding program.

    We’re looking for things like:

    - Established new hire rituals like welcome drinks or first-day office tours
    - Checklists for HR or Managers on how to manage the new hire processes
    - Formalised meetings, training or learning platforms dedicated to new joiners
    - Pre-start emails that are regularly sent to new hires in preparation for their arrival
    - Equipment lists set up to cater for a new hires employment needs (laptop, key card etc)

    Once you’ve brought together all of your existing onboarding elements, it’s time to sort them into three different categories; Keep, Upgrade and Delete. Keep anything that is already working, Upgrade anything that has potential but isn’t performing as best it can, and Delete anything that’s holding you back.

    Step 2: Map your new onboarding program

    Once you’ve put all of your existing onboarding plans under the microscope and made some tough decisions, you’re ready to start mapping your new onboarding program.

    The best way to tackle this is to align different new hire activities to onboarding milestones across the new hire timeline.

    There are seven key new hire milestone moments that span the entire new hire lifecycle from preboarding (before your new hire lands on day 1) to basic productivity (around the three-month mark) to full integration (12 months).

    Here are some examples of the types of activities you should be looking to deliver at the different milestone moments:

    Before they start (preboarding)

    Here you want to provide content and activities that ease your new hires' fears and prepare them emotionally (and legally) to join your organization:

    - Share an office plan beforehand - extra points for a 3D video!
    - Prepare their email and IT access
    - Send an “ambassador pack” with their business cards and some other goodies
    Day 1

    The first day is all about making a killer first impression. You want to wow your newest recruit with a truly special day that balances experience and information:

    - Leave a welcome note/sign/balloon and company swag at their desk
    - Assign a buddy for the day to show them around the office
    - Provide a cheat-sheet of contact information for all their team members
    WEEK 1

    Your recruit’s first week needs to prioritize the human connection. Time with their colleagues and manager/s is a must to help them find their footing in these early days on the job:

    - Set up an informal goal-setting meeting with your new hires manager
    - Hold an icebreaker team-building session with your new hire's team
    - Celebrate your newbies first week with a celebratory morning tea
    month 1

    A new hire’s first month is a great time to be checking in on your new hire to ensure they’re continuing to have a good experience with your organization. It’s also the time when you want to start challenging your new hire a little more:

    - Hold an informal, two-way performance review
    - Invite new hires to work for a day or two from another office location to help them start building up their wider company network
    month 3

    By month three, your new hire isn’t feeling all that new any longer, but there’s still a lot to do to get them ramped up and ready for a long, fruitful career with your organization:

    - Schedule a comprehensive review of the achievements and milestones from the last 3 months
    - Collect feedback on your new hire’s onboarding experience for future improvements.
    month 6

    Half a year in and your new hire is close to an organizational expert. But don’t stop yet, there are still a few more moments for you to make the very most out of their onboarding experience:

    - Set up a senior management conversation where your new hire has the opportunity to speak with the CEO, bringing their ideas to the table outside of any usual hierarchy
    1 YEAR

    You’ve made it! The 1-year mark is when you can finally look back and consider your not-so-new-hire, fully integrated. Just a couple of housekeeping activities to wrap up:

    - Look over performance milestones past and future and set new records
    - If your superstar employee has already been promoted, it’s time to crossboard them for even greater success!

    As you map your proposed onboarding activities across the new hire timeline, remember to consider the 6 C’s of onboarding from earlier. Each activity you plan should align with at least one of those pillars to ensure you’re delivering a journey that delivers results.

    Step 3: Get buy-in from onboarding stakeholders

    As with any major process overhaul, getting buy-in from organizational stakeholders is key to the success of your project. Onboarding is no exception to this rule, so it’s time we looped in the relevant people.

    There are 3 main groups of onboarding stakeholders you’ll need to seek support from to get your new hire program over the line.

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    So much of the day-to-day delivery of the onboarding process falls to managers. And aside from the new hires, they are the ones with the most to gain from a successful program. Getting your managers onside early, understanding their needs and developing an onboarding program that solves key problems and saves them time will make your MVP in their book for years to come.

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    Recent Hires

    Recent hires are your window into what is working and what is lacking. Having recent, first-hand knowledge of your existing practices, they are an excellent source of ideas and feedback that can help you develop an onboarding program that gives new hires what they actually want.

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    Senior Management

    Your Senior Management team are likely the gatekeepers of the budget & resources needed to make your onboarding program plans come true. Communicating with them early about the scope and direction of your project will give them the confidence they need to support your project. 

    Without solid backing from decision-makers, your grand onboarding plan is dead in the water. Convince them with our deep dive blog: Making the business case for digital onboarding.


    Step 4: Choose your digital onboarding tool

    With support from your onboarding stakeholders in the bag and resources and budget secured, it’s time to choose a digital onboarding tool that best suits your needs.

    Choosing the right tool can make or break your onboarding program. First of all, you need to decide if you need a fully-fledged purpose-built solution, or if a more general tool will suffice.

    If your organization has fewer than 50 employees, and you’re not planning on hiring more than a handful of newbies in the next 12 months, a bespoke digital onboarding tool is likely more than you need right now. A better fit may be using other tools, like Slack, to create a semi-automated onboarding workflow that eases some of the burdens for HR and managers.

    If you’re a bigger organization that’s hiring regularly, a purpose-built tool is a no-brainer. If this is you, there are a few things you want to be on the lookout for in a digital onboarding platform:

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    A tool that integrates with your existing HR tools is always going to make for a more seamless experience for both HR and new hires alike.

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    The ability to report on the success of your onboarding journey is crucial, how else will you know if your investment is paying off?

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    A personalized, branded experience will feel more unique to a new hire and make them feel more connected to your organization.

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    New hires need to be able to access your onboarding program when they want, where they want and how they want. That means cloud-based, mobile-friendly and easy to use.

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    In-app Content Creation

    You don’t want to have to use another tool to create surveys, infographics and articles for new hires. Choosing a tool that has these functionalities built-in will make life for HR a lot easier.

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    Task & email automation

    The ability to automate tasks and email prompts for both managers and new hires will go a long way in streaming your onboarding platform, ensuring things don’t slip through the cracks.

    If you find a tool that ticks all of these boxes, then you’re well on your way to launching your brand-new onboarding journey!

    Step 5: Time to implement your onboarding journey

    This step is a little more up in the air, depending on what tool you have chosen to deliver your onboarding journey.

    If you are part of a smaller organization using something like Slack to coordinate your onboarding, we’d recommend taking a few weeks to set up your different onboarding elements, testing them with two or three colleagues of differing tech abilities. This way you can ensure your new set-up works for all people.

    If you’re working with a purpose-built tool, you’ll likely have a dedicated customer success team helping you with your every onboarding move. 

    At Talmundo, our team works closely with you to ensure your onboarding journey is structured, seamless, and fully integrated into your organization’s existing HR setup. You can rely on our extensive industry experience to transform your paper processes into a digital masterstroke that will delight new hires and impress managers.

    Bonus: Spread the word

    Congratulations! You’ve launched your new onboarding program. Now we need to tell the world…

    Your onboarding program is more effective if your entire organization stands behind it. That means they need to know about it, understand it, and LOVE it. It means transforming them into onboarding ambassadors.

    One of the Netherlands’ largest (and oldest) banking institutions, ABN AMRO, threw a week-long company-wide celebration to launch its new onboarding journey in style. And while you don’t need to go THAT hard, we highly recommend sending a company-wide email at the least…!


    What’s next?

    Building and implementing a new hire onboarding program isn’t easy. But if you break things down, draw on your existing resources, secure buy-in and choose the right tool, things won’t be all that hard - we promise.

    Want help taking your new hire onboarding plans to the next level?
    Speak with one of Talmundo’s onboarding experts today and discover how our future-proof platform can make your new hire journey the stuff of legends.

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    Topics: Onboarding , Featured
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