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Onboarding Activities Spread Over Time

I’ve been working with a Belgian company recently to re-define their onboarding process. Faced with a regular influx of young starters, a bored team of “induction presenters” and a realisation that they can do much better, they are revamping their onboarding for the future. This short post simply outlines the activities we have considered  – it may give you some ideas. Nothing here is more expensive to implement than the previous processes. 

During recruitment

  • Recruiters explain the basic onboarding process and give potential starters a flyer about their first weeks in the company

Upon contract signature

  • First “handshake tour” of the office
  • Give branded “care package” handed-over
  • “Welcome video” from CEO waiting in email inbox
  • Access to internal Yammer network

Start minus 2-weeks

  • Assignment to starters: Introduce yourself on Yammer network
  • Information presentations (PPTs, Prezi, video) delivered  to starters with important information (compliance, processes)

Start minus 1-week

  • Onboarding agenda delivered (and Outlook calendar pre-populated)
  • Starters given a joiners company quiz to complete in their own time prior to day 1 – answers can be found in various online resources

Start minus 1-day

  • Courtesy phone-call from manager: “Everything OK for tomorrow?”

Day 1

  • First beautiful welcome in reception: We wait for you
  • Orienteering game in the office
  • Fire drill (do, not tell)
  • Short Q+A sessions in place of long classical presentations (you already got the information; now bring your questions)
  • Lunch with other new joiners (not manager)
  • Answers to quiz questions
  • Time at desk with one real job to achieve
  • Hand-over laptop, phone etc at the end of the day


Day “2” (or maybe 3…)

  • Manager gives first week focus: 3 priorities to be achieved
  • Lunch buddy or “parrain”
  • Courtesy call from IT helpdesk: “Everything OK?”
  • Colleagues start welcoming via Yammer network


End week 1

  • First status-update meeting with manager
  • Video presentation from CEO: “Company mission, vision and strategy”
  • Online satisfaction survey: “Week 1 onboarding”
  • Sweets for the weekend 🙂

End month 1

  • Meeting with recruiter: Compare notes on recruitment, function and onboarding
  • Manager sets performance targets for next 2-months
  • Meeting with other new starters: Starters present their job/projects to other starters
  • Workshop with other new starters: SWOT and company strategy
  • Online satisfaction survey: “Month 1 onboarding”
  • Networking event with other new joiners

End month 3

  • Knowledge (compliance) test regarding specific company processes
  • First formal performance evaluation meeting with HR
  • First formal performance evaluation meeting with manager
  • Online satisfaction survey: “Month 3 onboarding”

End trial period (6 months in Belgium)

  • Golden handshake from CEO
  • Letter sent home with good news
  • Discussion about career development and talent development processes in company
  • Party

There are many other things that could be done to make onboarding a success (gamify the whole thing??) and I’ll be going through the major principles behind success in future blog posts…

Thanks for reading!

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The Goal of Onboarding

Yesterday I had the pleasure of running the 3rd Learning+Development Round-Table. This event brings together a small number of highly motivated Learning+Development Managers from big-name organisations in Belgium. *


Following an excellent highly interactive presentation from Gosse Corstiaensen of KPMG Belgium, we spent a moment carefully defining the goals of corporate onboarding.


According to the team, if you are setting up onboarding processes for your company, these should be your goals:

  • Create alignment to task, mission, culture/values, processes
  • Make people self-sufficient to get the quickly productive
  • Get people connected
  • Create employe satisfaction
  • Create retention especially of the best people
  • Create commitment/engagement/motivation
  • Create brand champions with the right employee behaviour
  • Build a good image of your company so that even if the above fails, they still believe



@Gosse_C introduced us to the 4Cs of onboarding and then we spoke about many different ways to achieve the above-mentioned goals. Here I have added a few that I retained, plus some additional references…

  • 2 different strategic approaches to onboarding (picture)
  • Onboarding should be fun, extended and include managers (external blog post)
  • For young graduates and 1st-time employees, include a video “fail” to acquaint them with what bad onboarding looks like – this will help them to raise onboarding-fail-flags earlier
  • Create a psychological contract with new joiners
  • Use a buddy system
  • Create values-learning with game-playing (rather than speech and presentation)
  • Create an onboarding-portal (intranet) with processes, info etc – this should be created and presentation from the user-experience point-of-view
  • Include a feedback-loop early in the process – best practices include regular phone-calls from the employees recruiter to see how things are going


Hope this helps!

*If you would like to join the L+D Round-Table next time, email me for more details


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