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For years employee onboarding has been focused on the transactional piece – ensuring all forms and paperwork were completed. Expectations have shifted with user engagement and the new-starters post-offer experience prioritised. In this blog, we’ll help you to deliver the right content, at the right time to your new starters to avoid onboarding burnout.

Key elements to a successful onboarding journey

No matter your businesses industry, size or employee type; there are core elements that make up an awesome onboarding journey. At HROnboard we call these critical ingredients ‘COAT’. The COAT elements include:

Culture: How do you put your values, vision and culture forward to integrate new hires into their new team?

Objectives: How do you ensure your new starter knows the expectations of their role?

Administration: The traditional core of onboarding, all the paperwork & provisioning but broadened to include non-HR functions

Team:  How do you integrate new hires into the team and people they’ll be working with?


To help visualise how these elements interact during onboarding, our first step is to create an onboarding map. It’s handy to break this down into three main timeframes:

Before the First Day

First Day

After the First Day

Mapping your onboarding journey 

There are essential features that make or break a great onboarding experience – like personalisation.

Our in-app journey templates enable teams to personalise every interaction. This approach to onboarding lays the foundations for a truly unique experience.

By using tech to scale personalisation, you can move beyond the basics of onboarding. First, find new ways to communicate paper-based information in a creative and engaging way. 

There is a general consensus that traditional onboarding creates information overload for new starters, particularly on their first day. We’ve all felt that overwhelming sense of elation mixed with information overload. 

So what do you put into an onboarding journey, and why?

1. Pick up the conversation

You can fully customise and personalise each employees journey – right down to the day information is delivered. This is particularly good for retail, hospitality and logistics companies. We know many of these teams intentionally hire more than required due to job abandonment issues before day one.

2. Start with the basics and continually improve

It’s important not to get too bogged down in getting your journey perfect from the start. Consider the initial cards and default content that are essential for framing the onboarding journey, and then evolve from there.


3. Bite-sized & drip-fed

Break down your onboarding into bite-sized pieces and think about the absolute best time to share with new hires. It is important to be careful and sensitive to your employees; that is why little nudges and drip feeding micro content is useful.

4. Use journey templates

Start with our recommended onboarding content and activity cards, then layer on your own content.  That way, you’ll know you have the essentials covered for a great onboarding experience.  

What content is important after Day One?

When you’re thinking about the delivery of your onboarding experience, you’ll quickly find there is an epic amount of information. Whilst important, it could wait a few days, weeks or even months until it’s relevant for your new hires.


1. Surveys

When rolling out a new onboarding experience, it’s imperative you’re actively seeking feedback. Surveys are a great tool to gauge employee satisfaction and uncover potential improvements throughout their journey.

2. Probation management

Send reminders to team leaders to schedule in reviews to ensure this commonly forgotten activity is completed.


3. Employee referral campaigns

If your company has any reward or employee referral campaign, this information can be drip-fed later in the journey (2 weeks, 2 months later etc.)


The importance of the team leader  

How to keep team leaders engaged is a hot topic in HR. Their input is important to create an effective employee journey. Here are some ways in which you can keep team leaders ‘in the loop’ and engaged with the new starters journey.

1. Give them a helpful nudge

You can help team leaders become epic managers by automating some handy prompts and reminders. Easily ‘nudge’ a team leader by assigning key tasks and deadlines

2. Creating an epic team welcome

Why not get team leaders to leave a ‘welcome message’ to the new starter? They can easily add a personal touch or if they’re stuck, there’s a handy default message to get them started)

Top tips for mapping your employee journey:


1. Take an iterative approach, then keep improving

  • Start with essentials and continually improve 
  • Break down complex ideas into manageable bites
  • Test and measure effectiveness

2. Avoid information overload

  • Map out content and get ideas from other teams and team leaders
  • Group content into bursts and avoid data overload
  • Get feedback from recent new starters

3. Transition to an onboarding tool

  • Make sure it allows personalisation – job/location/person
  • Understand how nudges and notifications work to make a smooth experience for everyone
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