5 of the Best Onboarding Practices You Can Learn From

Looking for the best onboarding practices out there? We've put them all together in this blog post. Sure, it's opinion, but we'll let you be the judge. Enjoy!

June 20, 2023

The interviews have been conducted, you’ve made your decision and the candidate has signed on the dotted line – happy days?

Maybe not.

It turns out that the onboarding process is becoming one of the most important stages in the recruitment process.

Cezanne HR revealed that 37% of candidates admitted that they had changed their minds on at least one occasion, despite initially accepting the role.

While 41% of respondents said that they had quit a job within the first six months, with 15% of them claiming it was because they didn’t feel welcome and 11% saying they didn’t like the culture.

These statistics make for grim reading for businesses who are trying to save valuable time, resource and money in their recruitment campaigns.

More pressingly, the same research seems to think that poor onboarding practices are the key reason why UK businesses are losing millions in recruitment and employer brand value terms.

In fact, 20% of new employees claim to have felt frustrated or ignored on their first day, while 23% said they had no desk and 28% were missing a computer on their arrival.

So, where are businesses going wrong? What’s the secret to making your new employees feel welcome and happy?

To help give you some inspiration, here are five of the best onboarding practices used by other big companies around the world.

1. Push the beer trolley – Perkbox

If any company knows how to do an onboarding process, Perkbox is certainly a perfect place to start.

To coincide with their beer Friday tradition, they make any newcomers push the trolley around to every department.

Bonding over a cold one is the oldest trick in the book, but this idea seems borderline genius as it gives new employees the opportunity to introduce themselves in the process too.

2. Entrance interview – Designer Blinds

This Omaha based company who specialise in drapery hardware, blinds and shades created the entrance interview to combat high turnover rates.

After analysing statistics, they realised that most of their new hires were leaving because of their employee experience during the onboarding process.

These interviews gave the employer a chance to sit down with the employee to see what they needed in order to be successful in their new job.

This technique not only makes the employee feel valued, but it gives the employer an opportunity to correct any structural or job-related issues before they get out of hand.

As a result, Designer Blinds reduced their turnover from 200% to 8%!

3. Give them a proper initiation – Google

The search engine gurus aren’t exactly renowned for doing things by the book.

From sleeping pods to office slides, their HR team must have an absolute blast whipping up new innovative ways to keep staff morale joyous and staff retention rates super low.

However, their onboarding practice is borderline sadistic!

Nonetheless, it’s certainly an effective way of ensuring that the new employee doesn’t go unnoticed.

For starters, some of their offices make their newbies tell an embarrassing story in front of the entire office, which often brings a lot of laughs.

Is it genius? Does it deserve to be listed as one of the best onbaording practices?

I think so.

But if this doesn’t tickle your pickle, you could always choose Google’s other method of getting them to wear a hat or tying a huge balloon to their desk.

4. Play office bingo – Netflix

As the research suggests, new hires are prone to leave within the first six months as they feel unwelcomed.

Well, not on Netflix’s watch!

As onboarding practices go, they're pretty up there.

In true wacky fashion, they give all of their new employees a bingo card, which gets stamped every time they go for lunch or grab a coffee with other employees.

It’s a fantastic way of encouraging newcomers to mingle with existing employees and to give them the platform to forge friendships.

What prize can you offer?

Whatever you want it to be. A bottle of bubbly isn’t a bad place to start, or you could even stretch to a nice free lunch if you’re feeling generous.

Pro recruiter top tip

While little gimmicky introductions and traditions might certainly be a start, it’s also important to provide the necessary support to all newbies.

The “buddy-up” system is a practice implemented by thousands of businesses around the world, as it gives the new employee the chance to learn from someone with experience in the role and ask any questions without reservations.

Ideally, you should pick a buddy who is at a similar age and hierarchy as the new starter as this will allow them to feel more comfortable.

You can find out more tips like this in our previous blog: ’10 Tips For Successfully Onboarding a New Employee’.

5. Go on a scavenger hunt – Zazzle

The online retailer Zazzle adopted a similar process as Netflix by encouraging new employees to mix with existing ones.

However, instead of trying to get a full house, the team at Zazzle send their newbies on an in-office scavenger hunt.

This includes getting them to ask for help from colleagues in various departments, which is a quick-fire way to make new starters smile and feel a part of the team.


Hopefully, these examples can give you a few ideas on how you can take the best onboarding practices and mould them into your own.

The key element to remember is to prepare long before your new employee signs on the dotted line.

Once you have a process in place, it’s just a simple case of rolling the same successful formula out again and again.

It’s also worth asking current employees for their input.

Were they impressed with the onboarding process? What practices did they like the most? What areas can you improve on?

This might just help you boost employee satisfaction and reduce turnover rates in quick succession.

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Coburg Banks - Multi-Sector Recruitment Agency
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