Why Onboarding? What Our Customers Say About Making First Days Matter

March 6, 2015

According to the CareerBuilder 2015 U.S. Job Forecast, 36% of employers plan to increase full-time, permanent staff this year. We had a feeling something was rumbling on the hiring front, which is why we dedicated the latest issue of RecogNation to onboarding. You can read it online now, but wait… you might want to read this first!

Several months ago, while we were in the planning stages of RecogNation, we surveyed a pool of our customers about their onboarding practices, and here’s what we learned.

75% of those who responded stated that they do have an onboarding program, but what that means from one place to the next varies greatly. While the majority do the standard “review company policy-conduct formal orientation-clarify safety procedures” (yawn) after that, it’s anything goes. Or, in some cases: nothing goes.


We also learned that fewer than 25% of companies provide a welcome gift on an employee’s first day. Yet, when we asked survey respondents who have received a gift how they felt, here’s what they said:

“I was greeted at the door of the building with a welcome sign with my name and I had a lunch of my choice with my direct supervisor, manager, and HR director. My desk was also set up and filled with handwritten notes from my new team. I felt appreciated and wanted. I knew I was the perfect fit and they had looked for me as long as I looked for them.”

“As part of my welcome gift, I received a company t-shirt. It made me feel like they really cared I was there and like I was more than just another person to fill a chair.”

“I got a card and notebook from my mentor on my first day; I felt like someone cared about my success.”

“The gift I received on my first day made me feel welcome, wanted, and needed; like I was becoming a team member.”

Other words our respondents used were: “valued,” “surprised,” excited,” “special,” and “happy.” That’s a lot of positive emotion for a little extra effort.

(The ones who didn’t receive a welcome gift or gesture had some words, too, but I probably shouldn’t write them here!)

Our survey uncovered some great insights, but the standout data was definitely around what was happening during the first days and weeks—and the huge difference between a warm welcome and the cold shoulder. So, keep that in mind if you’re in hiring mode right now. And, to get our best practices on how to make the most of the process, from recruiting, to first days, to 90 days and beyond, check out our “Why Onboarding?” issue of RecogNation!

  Download RecogNation: Why Onboarding?

Allison is currently living out the elaborate fantasy she described to her now-former staff and colleagues in early 2001. With a hearty dose of courage and absolutely no plan of action, she abruptly left her middle-management job to become a writer—and today she is doing just that in her role as Baudville's Senior Content Writer. She's here to tell you everything she's learned in her 20-years+ professional life, plus a lot more. She's wordy like that!

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