The human touch: Effective employee onboarding

Employee onboarding isn’t just about paperwork and orientation sessions; it’s a pivotal phase in an employee’s journey that sets the tone for their entire experience within an organisation. When done right, onboarding can lead to increased employee engagement, productivity, and retention.


In this blog, Paytime delves into the art of effective onboarding, highlighting the crucial role of human connection and interaction in this process.

Introduction: Setting the stage for success

Picture this: you step into a new job, and from the moment you enter the office, you’re welcomed with genuine warmth, provided with a wealth of guidance, and made to feel an integral part of the team. Now, contrast this with an experience where you’re left to decipher the intricacies of the company’s culture and processes on your own. The distinction is stark and highlights the importance of a strategically designed onboarding program.

#1: A holistic approach to onboarding 

Effective onboarding is akin to orchestrating a symphony – it involves harmonising multiple elements to create a seamless experience. A holistic onboarding plan should encompass the following facets:

Orientation and immersion: Beyond just introducing the company’s mission and vision, effective onboarding provides a comprehensive overview of the company’s structure, values, expectations and objectives. This includes a deep dive into the role and responsibilities of the new hire.

Structured training: This involves equipping new employees with the necessary tools, knowledge, and skills to excel in their roles. This includes hands-on training, access to learning resources, and ongoing development opportunities. To effectively provide structured training, a new hire’s current abilities and knowledge must be understood in the onboarding period. 

Mentorship and coaching: Pairing fresh recruits with experienced mentors who offer insights, guidance, and a friendly ear is vital to effective onboarding. This nurturing relationship helps newcomers feel supported and aids in their integration into the company’s culture. 

Social Integration: Facilitating opportunities for new hires to connect with their colleagues through team-building exercises, workshops, and events is an element of onboarding that must not be underestimated. These interactions help new colleagues form a connection and better understand how to work together in a collaborative environment.

#2: The power of human connection

At the heart of every successful and effective onboarding process lies human connection. Employees are more likely to thrive when they feel welcomed and valued by their peers and supervisors. Here’s why human connection is a non-negotiable aspect of the onboarding process:

Easing the transition: The first days of a new job can be overwhelming and nerve-wracking, but a welcoming environment with approachable colleagues can ease the transition and provide a sense of belonging. This helps newcomers settle in faster. 

Cultural understanding: Immersion in a company’s culture is accelerated when new employees observe and interact with their new peers. These informal interactions help newcomers grasp the company’s values, social behaviours and unwritten norms. This, in turn, reduces newcomer-anxiety as they have a better understanding of what is acceptable and encouraged in their new workplace. 

Engagement amplification: Feeling connected to a team and valued by an organisation enhances employee engagement. This heightened engagement, in turn, contributes to job satisfaction and long-term retention.

#3: Strategies for cultivating human connection

To infuse the onboarding process with meaningful human interactions, consider adopting the below strategies:

Personalised welcome: Craft a personalised welcome experience for each new hire. A simple but thoughtful gesture like a handwritten welcome note signed by everyone in the team or balloon on their dedicated workspace goes a long way in making them feel appreciated, accepted and valued.

Regular check-ins: Schedule regular one-on-one meetings between supervisors and new employees. This creates a platform for open and frequent communication, addressing queries whilst providing ample opportunity to provide feedback.

Social activities: Leverage digital tools or in person activities like team lunches and coffee breaks to encourage interactions between new hires and existing employees. Virtual coffee chats or interest-based groups can help build connections.

Cross-departmental collaboration: Assign new employees to cross-functional projects to foster a collaborative work environment and expose them to different aspects of the business.

#4: Measuring success and continuous improvement

Effective onboarding isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. 

To gauge the success of your onboarding processes, companies can use metrics like time-to-productivity, employee engagement surveys, employee engagement and retention rates. This data can be collected and analysed through anonymous surveys. 

It is recommended employers regularly seek feedback from new hires, perhaps once their probation period is complete and they’ve had a few months to settle, and adjust the onboarding process accordingly to ensure continuous improvement.

Conclusion: nurturing the seeds of growth

The journey of a successful employee begins with a meticulously designed onboarding process that champions human connection and interaction. By prioritising relationship-building, fostering mentorship, and creating a nurturing atmosphere, organisations pave the way for sustainable success, growth, and fulfilment for their employees and the company as a whole. Remember, the human touch is the key to unlocking the full potential of effective employee onboarding.