Blog Post

    The four prongs of EXCEPTIONAL employee onboarding

    You probably already have a reasonable employee onboarding program. Which is a shame. Because reasonable isn’t exceptional.

    Exceptional employee onboarding is proven to enhance your brand, drive engagement, increase productivity and boost retention. And it’s simple, if you use the right tools.

    Exceptional employee onboarding has four prongs (or 4 C's). Like this.

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    Prong 1

    This is the sort of stuff you’d put in a first day welcome pack. Like:
    Many businesses start and stop here. This is where you give new hires the basic info they need to navigate your business.  

    • Organizational hierarchy
    • Map of the building
    • Important email addresses
    • Important phone numbers
    • Equipment like phone, laptop, keys
    • Parking permits and info
    • ID card
    • Employment contract
    • Benefits document
    • Company policies
    • Rules and regulations
    • Employee handbook
    • Company factsheet
    • Forms you need signing
    • Log-ins for intranet, email, etc.
    • Bookmarks for important online info 

    Automate and deliver much of this info before your new hires’ first day. This means they don’t waste their first several hours – or days – learning the most basic of ropes.

    So they can become productive faster. Which is, after all, why you hired them.  

    And it means you spend less time chasing endless paperwork and more time adding social, cultural and emotional value through the other three prongs of onboarding. 

    Or, you know, doing any of the other million-and-one things on your to-do. 

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    Prong 2

    This is where you empower new hires to perform their best in their function. It’s the spark that lights the performance bonfire.

    Functional employee onboarding involves three things:

    • Formal training
    • Goal setting
    • Performance check-ins
    Scenario 1 - NOT empowered

    You hired Marketing Manager Mike for his SaaS expertise. He’s a great hire and you’re excited to see him boost your free trial conversion rate.

    But he focusses his energy on acquisition. He achieves some great results – but they’re not the results you needed. He doesn’t have the anticipated business impact, which causes disappointment on all sides.

    Mike ends up frustrated because he feels you don’t value his expertise. He becomes demoralized, and his work ethic and performance suffer. And ultimately, perhaps he becomes one of the 25% of new hires that churn within their first year.

    Which isn’t just frustrating for you - it also costs you around 21% of his salary. Not good.

    Scenario 2 - Empowered

    On Mike’s first day, he and his boss sit down and discuss various challenges the department faces. Mike understands that acquisition is important but it’s secondary to increasing free trial conversion. 

    They discuss where Mike can add most value, and collaboratively set three, six, and nine-month performance targets aligned to the business’ goals. He’s assigned a job mentor for on-the-job training plus a targeted training session all about your current free trial set-up.

    Mike immediately focusses his energy on your free trial conversion and achieves some quick wins. (Nearly 80% of new hires that hit early performance metrics had formal onboarding training, so that’s not a surprise.)

    Those early wins give Mike confidence, which works like a snowball effect for later goals (that’s why the 60% of businesses that don’t set short-term goals for new hires, should.) And regular check-ins surface any improvement areas, to keep Mike on track to smash later targets.

    Overall Mike feels valued and engaged knowing he’s contributing positively to the business. It’s win, win, win for Mike, the business and you.

    That’s why the second prong of employee onboarding matters.

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    Prong 3

    This is where you
    help new hires integrate into your business and make friends. Which mightn’t seem like HR’s responsibility, but it definitely is.  

    Or at least, it should be if you care about happier, more engaged employees who perform better and stay with you longer.

    Because 70% of employees rank having friends at work the most important element of a happy work life. And close work friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50%. Which matters because happy employees are 20% more productive than unhappy employees. 

    Plus, a feeling of belonging is closely connected to sense of purpose. Which is a mega-watt tool in your arsenal because it saves you money on recruitment, cuts your wage bill, boosts your employer brand and powers better performance. Just check this out.

    Which all means this: the social prong of employee onboarding is absolutely, totally, completely vital. A quick first-day office tour and introduction-overload won’t cut it.

    Instead, create opportunities for your new hire to connect with current employees before their first day.

    That’s something Talmundo’s onboarding platform makes simple. Build a hub to introduce current employees, using testimonials and employee stories to break the ice.

    And think offline too. Could you organize a pre-start social for your new hire to meet the team out-of-office? That’s a fantastic way to boost engagement during their notice period: the highest risk time for drop-outs. 

    Then once they start, make social onboarding a priority. Look for ways to encourage socializing across your business, like a buddy or mentor system, collaborative projects, communal meetings, and communal breaks.

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    Prong 4


    Onboarding and workplace culture are – or should be – closely entwined. Which seems obvious, when you say it aloud. But you’d be surprised how many businesses still don’t actively onboard into their culture.

    They onboard into their office, sure. They tell new hires, ‘office hours are 8.30am until 5.30pm’ and ‘Sally Jones is your HR point of contact if you need help’.

    But new hires are left questioning, does that actually mean 5.30pm?

    • Will I be judged negatively if I leave?
    • What if I need to leave early some days?
    • Is working late encouraged or discouraged?
    • And what if I say the wrong thing to Sally?

    Doesn’t her partner work somewhere in the business? I don’t want to offend her by airing concerns about her friends.

    Cultureboarding is about explaining the difficult-to-explain stuff that makes your company what it is.

    It means letting new hires peek behind the curtain. Telling them your values and mission, with tangible examples of how that works in the office. Showing them what your office environment is like – before their first day so they know what to wear, what time to arrive, and whether to bring lunch.

    Spreading the responsibility for onboarding outside HR is important. HR only have one perspective. Diverse perspectives from colleagues, mentors and managers are puzzle pieces that complete the picture of your culture for new hires.


    Is your employee onboarding program good enough


    The first prong of employee onboarding is important. But it’s certainly not the end-point. If your business is guilty of stopping here, you’re missing many (or most) of the benefits of onboarding.   

    Like the impressive improvements across productivity, retention and engagement customers like Bacardi, Deloitte, KPMG and BNP Paribas Fortis have enjoyed with Talmundo.

    So what are you waiting for? Try our onboarding solution and start building the EXCEPTIONAL new hire journey your company deserves!New call-to-action

    Topics: Onboarding
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