Onboarding Is Key — Here’s What We’ve Learned About Making it Better

It’s easy to dismiss the importance of a new employee’s onboarding experience. If you’ve hired the right person, they’ll likely

4 min. read

It’s easy to dismiss the importance of a new employee’s onboarding experience. If you’ve hired the right person, they’ll likely stay with your company for a year or longer — so how crucial could those early days and weeks really be? It takes time to settle into a new role, no matter what. Why worry so much about the very start?

The problem with this line of thinking is that it doesn’t take into account how most new hires actually feel — namely, nervous. If you’ve been at the same company for a while, you might not remember what that’s like: The uncertainty about the unknown. What will be expected of me during my first week? What will my schedule be like? And where am I supposed to park? Waiting for that start date, questions like these can start to ricochet around a person’s brain and cause some real anxiety. And they don’t always stop after the first day: When will I learn more about the company’s core processes? Am I all set, paperwork wise? And what am I supposed to do tomorrow?

By providing a more structured onboarding process — one that tells new hires what to expect both before and after their first day — you can help calm these nerves in a significant way. Doing so shows that you care about your people having a great experience from the very start of their employment and allows them to get excited about their new role rather than fret over what they don’t know. By providing this stability at the start, you can even increase the likelihood that new employees will stay with your company longer. If you show onboarders that you’re investing in their success, they’ll feel drawn to invest themselves in the company.

To show you what such an onboarding process could look like in more detail, we’ve outlined ours below.


Step #1: Welcome

Once somebody accepts an offer from Torrent, we send them a welcome email to help them get oriented right away. This message includes a link to a landing page that provides all the brass tacks information they need before starting, including:

  • Office information (address, parking info, etc.)
  • FAQs (pay days, medical benefits, office attire and more)
  • Legal paperwork to fill out

However, the page doesn’t only offer administrative info. It also includes a rundown of what to expect on the first day, including a detailed schedule. New employees at Torrent will walk in knowing that breakfast and lunch are provided, that they’ll start the morning with a chance to meet their fellow hub mates and that much of the day will be devoted to company orientation sessions. This helps our people feel connected and supported from the very start of their employment.

Step #2: Day 1

As mentioned above, day one at Torrent begins with a provided breakfast and time to meet their coworkers. Following that, they’ll receive access to a new landing page that covers everything they’ll need to know for the next stages of their onboarding. That includes:

  • A snapshot look at each orientation session
  • Presentation slides for each orientation session
  • A “Week One” checklist

The orientation info is meant to offer some additional context about each session, while the checklist is designed to help new hires navigate some of the small but important tasks they need to accomplish: Turning in their paperwork, setting up their email and calendar, etc. Together, these resources paint a clear picture of day one and beyond.

Step #3: Week 1

The bulk of week one is spent in the orientation sessions mentioned above. These sessions cover company history and introductions to every team, plus some key processes and procedures (like how to log expenses). As a whole, they help ground employees in Torrent’s mission and culture as well as its day-to-day functioning. Our goal is to help our new people feel like a real part of our team as quickly as possible, and that means making sure they understand both why we exist and how they’ll be able to succeed.

Week one is also full of meet and greets: Quick, one-on-one meetings designed to connect new employees with older ones. Meet and greets can take place in person or, if they’re between individuals in different hubs, via Zoom video chat. There’s no formal agenda and no pressure — just a chance to get to know a fellow co-worker.

Beyond week one, new employees begin the role-specific aspects of their onboarding. For members of our client services team, that means working on a weeks-long mock project that culminates in a final presentation. Other teams have their own processes, but the goal in each case is the same: To make sure new hires have all the resources they need. We want every member of every team to feel supported and prepared.

In implementing these onboarding processes and structures, we’ve been able to bring new employees up to speed much more quickly than we otherwise might have been able to. From a business standpoint, this is an obvious advantage — the people we hire are empowered to unleash their talents that much sooner. Perhaps more importantly, however, is the impact it’s had on our culture. Because they feel supported, new hires are able to bring their full, authentic selves to work from day one. We’re able to build strong relationships quickly, which fosters an atmosphere of respect and care across all of Torrent.

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