One important aspect of employee onboarding is communicating your company's culture. Taking the time to do this ensures that new employees will better understand the team's norms and expectations, thus making a smoother transition for everyone.
There are many different ways to communicate culture during the onboarding process. Some of them may seem unusual, but they can really help convey a sense of the company right off the bat.
Below, eight business leaders share unique elements of their onboarding process to communicate their culture to new hires.
Have them join an employee Facebook group.
Many people tend to spend a lot of time on their personal social media accounts. Instead of discouraging social media use during work hours, Alfredo Atanacio, co-founder of Uassist.ME, says his company has created a Facebook group for employees.
"By communicating company culture in a fun way and in a closed group on Facebook, employees will tend to see more of it and engage with it than with other more traditional tools such as email," Atanacio adds.
Take them to a dance class.
When Matthew Capala, CEO of Alphametic, moved to Miami, he enjoyed taking salsa dance classes to meet new people. Today, it has become an integral initiation for team-building at his company.
"Part of our onboarding process is a cultural immersion in the form of dancing in Little Havana -- getting to know your team through dance!" says Capala.
Make a special company-wide announcement over Slack.
Announcing new hires to the rest of the company isn't necessarily "unique," but Syed Balkhi, co-founder of WPBeginner, makes a point to do these announcements over a company-wide Slack channel for a specific reason.
"New employees are immediately greeted with wishes, GIFs and emojis from nearly all our employees," Balkhi explains. "This quickly shows them that we are close, friendly and ready to communicate. It's a great way to showcase our culture and make new employees feel welcome."
Introduce them to the 'company hub.'
Stephanie Wells, founder of Formidable Forms, uses a comprehensive company hub to onboard new employees.
"It has all the information about their schedules, meeting times, values, what to work on, who to contact for questions and so much more," Wells says. "It helps keep everything organized and answers most onboarding questions so new hires aren't confused."
Send them to lunch with the CEO.
A one-on-one lunch meeting with the CEO on your first day may seem intimidating, but Josh Payne, founder and CEO of StackCommerce, says his new hire lunches actually produce the opposite effect -- it makes employees more comfortable.
"I've been having lunch with each new employee since I started my business," says Payne. "This gives me the chance to get to know everyone on an individual basis, and it makes them comfortable approaching me from the get-go."
Distribute a custom onboarding booklet.
Typical employee onboarding documents are often lengthy and a chore to read -- especially if they're printed on plain white paper. That's why Nicole Munoz, founder and CEO of Nicole Munoz Consulting, Inc., prints custom booklets for her new employees, delivered in branded folders.
"The folders contain all our materials and also guide the new recruits to understand clear company expectations," Munoz says. "An initial orientation meeting is very helpful as well."
Put them through the same core training program.
At FE International, every new employee is put through the same standard analyst training, regardless of what department they'll be working in. CEO Ismael Wrixen says this training instills an understanding of the core business in all employees.
"We like to make sure that everyone is clued into our processes and how we generate revenue, which involves many people having to tackle some basic math and spreadsheets for the first time in years!" says Wrixen. "This breeds understanding and coordination."
Make a personal connection to the company mission.
Mission statements and company mottos almost always tend to lack any emotional connection to the people that interact with them, says Richard Fong, founder and CEO of Bliss Drive. Instead of issuing these statements to new employees as-is, Fong asks new hires how the mission applies to them in a way that would make them care.
"Finding a reason for being here is important," Fong says. "If you can make it resonate, that becomes a very powerful thing."