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Onboarding new hires: Learning from the pros at LinkedIn and Etsy

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HR teams know better than anyone that first impressions count, and nowhere is this truer than in the world of employee onboarding.

Think about it: a new hire’s first days and weeks set the tone for their entire journey with your company. Get it right, and you’re on your way to building a loyal, productive team member. Miss the mark, and well, you might just be restarting that hiring process sooner than you’d like.

Onboarding is more than just a smile and a swag bag

Onboarding isn’t always smooth sailing. So, what are the roadblocks you might hit, and more importantly, how can you bulldoze right through them?

Information overload: How much is too much?

Ever seen a new hire’s eyes glaze over on day one? It’s probably information overload. You’re trying to equip them with everything they need, but it can be overwhelming.

The fix: Break it down. Spread out information over days or weeks. Use tools like Seraf for easy access to information when they need it, not just when you think they need it.

Cultural misfit: Square peg, round hole?

You’ve got a great culture, but what if your new hire just doesn’t seem to fit? It happens.

The fix: Start with culture fit during the hiring process. Once they’re on board, use buddy systems or mentor programs – like Etsy’s approach. It’s about making connections, not just introductions.

Remote onboarding: Out of sight, out of mind?

Remote work is the new normal, but onboarding someone you’ve never met in person? That’s a challenge.

The fix: Overcommunicate. Use video calls, virtual tours, online training. Make them feel part of the team, even if they’re miles away. Tools like Zoom and Slack can bridge that physical gap.

The role of technology in employee onboarding

Let’s take a step back and ask: What real value does technology bring to the onboarding process?

Start before day one: Don’t wait for the first day to start onboarding. Tools like BambooHR allow you to begin the process pre-arrival with paperwork, introductions, and schedules. This helps new hires feel prepared and reduces first-day jitters.

Personalize the experience: Each new hire is unique, and their onboarding should reflect that. Use tools like WorkBright for personalized onboarding checklists and tasks that cater to the specific role and individual needs of your new employee.

Make information accessible: Ensure that all necessary information is easy to find. Seraf, for instance, can be a valuable resource for new hires to quickly find answers to common questions and navigate company policies without feeling overwhelmed.

Foster connections: Building relationships is key. Encourage your team to use platforms like Slack or Microsoft Teams for casual introductions and conversations. These platforms can help new hires feel connected, even in remote settings.

Set clear milestones: Use a tool like Asana or to set clear goals and milestones for your new hires. This helps them understand expectations and track their progress in the first weeks and months.

Continuous feedback and support: Feedback shouldn’t just be a one-time thing. Tools like 15Five allow for continuous feedback and check-ins, helping new hires understand how they’re doing and where they can improve.

Offer comprehensive training: Ensure your new hires have access to necessary training to succeed in their roles. Platforms like LinkedIn Learning or Udemy for Business provide a wide range of courses that can be tailored to their specific job requirements.

Encourage self-service learning: While structured training is crucial, encouraging self-directed learning can be equally beneficial. Tools like Google Workspace provide a collaborative environment where new hires can explore resources and learn at their own pace.

Remember, the goal of these tools is to create a balanced onboarding experience that is efficient, personalized, and engaging.

Case studies: Successful onboarding strategies

Ever wonder how the big players nail their onboarding game? Let’s peek behind the curtain and see how some well-known companies are facing this crucial process.

LinkedIn: Connecting the dots from day one
LinkedIn is, above all, a networking platform. But how do they welcome their own new hires? It’s all about making connections from the get-go.

Before their first day, new hires are already in the loop with pre-boarding emails. And the first week? It’s an immersive deep dive into the company’s ethos and tools.

The key takeaway? Make your new hires feel connected and valued even before they step into the office.

Zappos: “Pay to quit”
You’ve probably heard about Zappos and their unique culture. But how do they ensure their newbies fit right in?

Their onboarding is a month-long journey, emphasizing not just the job skills but the heartbeat of the company – its core values. And the cherry on top? Their ‘pay to quit’ offer.

Bold, right? But it underscores their commitment to a perfect cultural fit. Think about it: how can you weave your company’s culture into your onboarding?

Etsy: Buddies make everything better
Etsy’s not just about unique goods; their onboarding stands out too. New hires at Etsy get a ‘buddy’ – someone to show them the ropes and help them settle in.

This buddy system is part of their broader onboarding that includes structured sessions focused on the company’s global impact and values.

The lesson? Peer support can be a game-changer in helping new hires find their footing.

What’s your takeaway?
Seeing how LinkedIn, Zappos, and Etsy tackle onboarding gives you a glimpse into the endless possibilities.

Inspired by these giants? How will you tweak your onboarding process? Maybe it’s time to think outside the box and add some of these proven strategies to your playbook.

Your onboarding blueprint: Crafting memorable beginnings

Remember, onboarding is more than a first impression; it’s the foundational step in building a committed and productive workforce.

Think back to the insights from LinkedIn, Zappos, and Etsy.

Each of these companies has a unique take, but their success boils down to a few key elements: making connections, embedding culture, and personalized experiences.

They’ve turned onboarding into an art form. And you can too.

Enhance your onboarding with Seraf – the AI tool making information accessible and onboarding smooth. Say hello to efficient learning and goodbye to information overload. Ready for happier, more productive new hires? Book a demo today.

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