Onboarding New Employees

In the 1994 classic The Santa Clause, Scott Calvin was skeptical about Christmas let alone that Santa Clause even existed. So when it became his new job to replace Santa, let’s just say he was less than thrilled. This is a familiar situation for anyone who has had to start a new job. We all experience those uneasy feelings that accompany a new job, department and company. In fact, one-third of new hires quit their job in the first six months! 

Luckily for Scott, his elves never gave up on getting him up to speed with his duties.They were excellent at onboarding! And why is this? Santa’s little helpers weaved meaningfulness throughout Scott’s training and onboarding and that’s exactly what employers should be doing with their onboarding processes if they want to retain new hires. But where to start…Try some of these.



Make the boring stuff more engaging

We’ve all had to endure the seemingly endless and mind-numbing process of filling out employee paperwork, learning how to navigate computer systems and making sure we understand the employee handbook (yuck!). And though those things are crucial for new hires to pick up, onboarding, especially in the first week, has to be more engaging.

In Scott Calvin’s case, no matter how much he resisted, he was fully engaged in the changes that were coming: he was gaining weight, his hair was going white and he even picked up Santa’s dieting habits! However different the series of events might be, your onboarding processes should be engaging your new hires!


Try this: First of all, get rid of “paperwork” with a smooth, paperless onboarding platform (like ours!). It will save you time, keep you organized and makes navigation very easy for new hires.

Next, regularly check in with your new hires to make sure the programs and processes they are learning are understood. Employees who communicate regularly with their managers are three times more likely to be engaged than those who don’t. This also gives you the chance to establish some rapport with your new person with some reassuring words of encouragement. Simple interaction and connection goes a long way with someone who is completely out of their element.

Make a big fuss about their first week

It’s easy for managers, especially those in desperate need of filling jobs, to do their best to hurry along the onboarding process, usually skipping the “warm welcome” part. However, if the idea is to keep new hires around, it’s going to take a little extra personal touch. In fact, a study done by the American Psychological Association shows that 93% of surveyed employees performed at their best when they felt valued by their employer.

The elves had no problem welcoming Scott Calvin as their new Santa. They practically worshiped him! And that’s how your new hire should feel, within reason of course! What your company does to make a new hire’s first week stand out is up for debate, but we’ve got some ideas that might help you get started.

Try these:

  • Have their workspace ready before they even arrive on their first day and give them time to settle in. This will give them a sense of security and a place to retreat to if they need a minute to breathe.
  • Dedicate a chunk of time to having a face-to-face with your new hire to discuss their individual goals and career path so they know you value them as a professional and not just as another employee who is a means to an end.
  • Try using some unique icebreakers to get your new hires better acquainted with their team. This is also a great opportunity to encourage team building across the board.
  • Organize a casual welcome party at the end of your new hire’s first week. It can be done over the lunch hour or at the end of the work day. Encourage team members to get to know the new hire and let them know what they’re doing well.

Check out this article for points to make on your new hire’s first day

Make sure they’re in the loop on social events

Imagine being completely out of your element and learning a new job in a place where you don’t know anyone and you seem to be out of the loop on the social comings and goings of the office. It’s difficult for new additions, especially those who are shy about reaching out to others, to get involved in social interactions without some encouragement from the veterans of the team.

Did you know close work relationships increase employee satisfaction by 50%? That’s pretty hard to ignore. Managers should encourage this kind of team building with their people, especially when bringing on new hires. It can be as simple as inviting new people to share workplace traditions. For Scott Calvin and his son Charlie, drinking delicious hot cocoa and learning about all the ins and outs of the work the elves did brought them closer and instilled confidence that they were exactly where they belonged.

Try these:

  • Encourage teams to invite new hires out for lunch at least once so they feel included and have a chance to get to know everyone outside of work.
  • Create workplace traditions that bring the team together. This can be outside of work like a monthly bowling outing or it can be as simple as organizing a hot cocoa bar in the office for a cold winter day.
  • Support new hires, especially during the holiday season, by keeping them updated on company events like a holiday party, gift exchanges and any other social event they might not be aware of.

It’s easy to forget that, even though our jobs should remain professional, we’re human and we desire human connection to keep us engaged. For Scott Calvin, no matter how his new job fell into his lap (or off his roof!), all it took was a gang of hard working elves to onboard him properly and he eventually embraced his fate and excelled as the Santa Clause.

You can do this for your new hires by having the right onboarding processes and a touch of human nature. Want to upgrade your onboarding software? Talk to us about how our paperless onboarding platform can improve your onboarding process!

Engaging Experiences