Effective onboarding means making an emotional connection with our new starters. Here’s three practical ways to achieve that.

Emotionally connecting with new starters is incredibly important to the onboarding process. Here in Part Two of my discussion on the subject with David Larter we look at some tips on how to go about this. David joins me from Jolly, which makes it easier for companies to sort and distribute high-quality branded merchandise to their team and customers.

I have looked at different aspects of onboarding in previous podcasts and posts, because it is such an important component of employee engagement. Have a look at my podcast Episode 6: Getting New Hires Up to Speed Quickly, and also my previous post on Standardising Onboarding

You can find the first part of our discussion on emotionally connecting with new starters here. In that discussion, we started to talk about David’s experiences with great onboarding, as well as onboarding that perhaps wasn’t so fantastic

David gave a great analogy of being on an aeroplane and looking at the flight map details on the screen in the back of the seat in front of you. When you start at an organisation, the onboarding process should be like having a flight map – you need to know exactly where you’re at, where you’re going and when you can expect to arrive. It reduces the anxiety of onboarding. So welcome back, David. 

What are your top tips on what people can practically do to improve their onboarding programme?

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Clear Messaging

David: Let’s go back to the aeroplane analogy (I feel like that’s working well!). When you’re on a plane, and you’re about to go through turbulence, and the pilot says, ‘Hey, we’re about to experience turbulence, please return to your seat and put your seatbelt on.’ People might still feel a little bit anxious, but the message from the captain really helps put people at ease, it’s much better than just experiencing the turbulence with no warning. 

‘People might still feel a little bit anxious, but the message from the captain really helps put people at ease’

In this way, I’m a big fan of selling the vision and the mission and what we want to do as a business. In the interview process, I usually say, ‘here are all the reasons why Jolly is great. And also, here are some of the things that we’re not so great at,’ or ‘here are some of the things that I think you should be aware of in terms of the environment.’

People need to have the complete picture, nothing in life is all good or all bad. So having the full picture is really important. 

Mapping the Experience

Second to that, it’s important to map out the onboarding experience, which means outlining the touchpoints you want to cover, which allows you to create a repeatable process.

There’s great technology available that can improve efficiencies and deliver a great candidate and onboarding experience. We use project management tools like, monday.com, which map out all the action items we want the new recruit to complete in the first 30 days. 

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Welcome Kit

And sending them a welcome kit is another great idea.

Karen: Yes, tell us about the welcome kits that you create at SendJolly.com for your customers.

David: They’re curated for each organisation so it varies across the types of roles that they’re hiring and the type of business they are. Are they technology roles? Are they a creative-style company? It’s about understanding the message that they want to deliver.

It’s about understanding the message that they want to deliver.’

For example, one gift that’s really popular (not necessarily for onboarding) is a beautiful bonsai growing kit for an anniversary. It includes a little bonsai seed kit with a nice watering can and a pot, with a thoughtful message, such as ‘We’re looking forward to growing with you.’ It’s about trying to understand the message that we want to deliver. 

Another popular item is our fully customisable notebooks. What I love about them is the ability to bring in the company’s mission and vision, both on the inside page and each of the insert sleeves. 

The key is to think about the message that you want to resonate with your new startup, and put items together that:

  • excite them 
  • are useful to them
  • connect them with the mission of the business
  • resonate and reflect the business values

Karen: Even the example of the bonsai, though you said it was more for an anniversary, I could see that working for onboarding. It’s a way to say, ‘Here’s a new plant. We want to help you grow, and we want to watch you grow, just like this plant will grow.’

‘Here’s a new plant. We want to help you grow, and we want to watch you grow, just like this plant will grow.’

To me that feels so much more powerful and emotionally connected with the organisation than simply saying, ‘here’s your branded pen and coffee cup.’ I love a good coffee cup, but I’ve got six on my desk at the moment from different companies! I can only use so many. It’s important to think not just about the actions you’re taking, but the products you’re providing as well. 

David: Yes, how do we want to make them feel? That’s the most important part of any gifting experience.

Karen: That’s excellent, thanks. My big takeaway for everyone out of this is to start thinking about your onboarding process like you’re getting on that plane. Before you get on the plane, you need to have your passport and your visa and your vaccinations. Use that as an analogy for what you want people to experience.

Once they’re on the plane, we need to give them information:

  • what does the onboarding map look like? 
  • where’s the turbulence? 
  • where’s the first touchdown point? Because it’s not the only plane they’re going to need to get on!
  • what happens when they get off and go through immigration? 
  • what happens when they get on the next flight? 

I think that’s an awesome way to think about things. Any final thoughts from you, David? 

David: No, thank you for the opportunity to chat today. 

Karen: It’s been excellent thank you so much. If you want to get in touch with David the best way to do that is via david@sendjollycom.au, or check out the Jolly website.

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