August 24, 2018

Keys to a successful onboarding program: put culture at the center

It’s important to integrate culture into your onboarding and new hire experience. Why? From an early engagement and retention standpoint, it helps new hires feel connected to your company, and understand how their work contributes to organizational success.

In this series, we’re discussing the keys to successful strategic onboarding: people, culture, and milestones and tasks. In my previous post, I talked about why and how people play a crucial role in the onboarding process, and the most involved and impactful groups in the process. In this post, let’s put the spotlight on culture, why it’s important, and how to integrate it into your onboarding process.


Company culture has become a serious buzz term. But here, we don’t mean free lunches and foosball tables. We mean your company’s core beliefs – a set of values that your employees strive to work and live by.


Think of your company culture as similar to that of a country, a set of customs that influence our day-to-day lives. During onboarding, showcase that to your new hire.


Tell your organization’s story: how it was founded, its history, its story today, and the story you hope to tell in a year or two. A company’s mission, vision and values help employees find meaning in their roles, and see how they are connected to the bigger picture. From an early engagement and retention standpoint, it’s important that new hires understand how their work contributes to organizational success, and the types of personal goals they can set as well.


Ceridian’s Pulse of Talent found that high performing respondents were more likely to work for companies that have clear values (85%), and far more likely to know their company’s business goals (72%). 


Here are a few ways to integrate culture into onboarding and the new-hire experience:

  • Leverage technology, like an onboarding portal or company intranet, to showcase company goals and values – videos are especially effective, and fun for new hires to watch
  • Include an intro or welcome note for the employees’ first day or week that outlines more about how your team contributes to company goals
  • Make sure you communicate with new hires during the onboarding process in a way that aligns with your culture. If your company advocates work-life balance, for example, make sure you’re purposeful with emails.
  • Introduce new hires to company groups, initiatives, and events with which they can get involved. Rather than talk about culture, show them the ways they can live it, and be inspired.


Related: The five keys to ongoing employee engagement


The benefits of putting culture at the center of onboarding

When your new hires are clear on your culture, it can lead to faster time to productivity – they’ll arrive on their first day aligned with your greater mission and vision, and will be able to fit in faster with their new team.


Additionally, as discussed above and in a previous post, a repeatable and consistent onboarding process is easier to manage from an administrative point of view. Integrating and communicating culture as part of onboarding unifies and systemizes how every employee in your organization learns about and experiences it.  


Learn more about connecting new hires to company culture through onboarding


Ari Lesniak

Ari is the product owner for Dayforce Onboarding. He takes an entrepreneurial approach to his work and ensures the customer's voice is always top of mind. Ask him about skiing or hiking and you’ll be sure to hear a story or two.

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