People Operations

How to Turn Orientation into an Onboarding Game

By February 22, 2016 No Comments

Software giants Google, Netflix and IBM have been known to take onboarding to the extreme, with results that prove there is a method to their madness.

Within these companies, the use of ‘buddy’ systems, games and other social measures have sped up the time taken for their new hires to reach full productivity.


While social and technological measures such as these come across to some as new-age or experimental, the fact is that socialisation and gamification have been proven to bolster onboarding efforts and increase productivity and staff retention rates.

Onboarding is more than a tick and flick exercise – it is about introducing your new hires to the performance and social aspects of your company.


With research to show that an effective onboarding program increases the likelihood of a new hire staying for more than three years by 58 percent, onboarding is not just a novelty that has taken the business world by storm.


Assimilation is key


Assimilation, or ‘person-organisation fit’ has been proven to reduce staff turnover, and it can be achieved through effective socialisation practices.


Person-supervisor fit also correlates with increased organisational commitment and hence lower turnover rates.


Social tactics such as mentorship or ‘buddy’ programs, or meet and greets with upper level management are becoming commonplace at many companies.


Extend the process


Onboarding is a process of building relationships, whereas orientation is a matter of completing tasks on a list. Relational learning is critical to having a strategic onboarding program, and onboarding programs should span at least three to six months to cater for this process.


Introduce structure


A structured plan ensures new hires learn everything they need to know, and know when and how it is going to happen in the form of a schedule.


Technology can be used to facilitate online training mechanisms and automated processes that support effective onboarding.



Measure your success



Analytics are being used to monitor the improvement of onboarding programs, which will guide decisions to adjust your program where necessary to achieve your quality goals.

Online surveys are an easy and cost-effective way to monitor your new hires’ experiences at various points throughout their first year at your company.


Incentives can also encourage full participation from your workforce in the onboarding process. foundU employees go in the draw for a $50 voucher for completing each survey, which has boosted participation in feedback surveys by 47%.

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