Onboarding is critical because employees make the critical decision to stay or leave within the first six months. First impressions matter when creating a differentiated employee experience.

When new hires participate in an onboarding program, the company can reap major benefits. Research by Glassdoor found that organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%.

Here’s 4 quick tips for a strong start:

1. Greater-than: It’s not just the first week. Think about ways to extend the onboarding program for the first 100 days and schedule check-in’s at 6 months and 12 months.

2. Buddy-up: According to Human Capital Institute (HCI), 87% of organizations that assign an ambassador or buddy program see it as an effective way to speed up proficiency.

3. Team-work: Socialization efforts lead to positive outcomes for new employees including greater commitment and a reduction in stress.

4. Lead-in: Senior leaders should lean-in to take advantage of this critical time for new employees. A meal, a meeting, and a tour are just a few ways to engage.

See examples from Twitter, Capital One, Custom Ink, and Warby Parker:

At Twitter, to add to the fun of the first day jitters, the CEO eats breakfast with all new hires, takes them on a tour of the company space, and ends the day with group program training specific to each person’s new role.

Capital One runs a Buddy Assimilation Program. The program matches veterans with newcomers. “Buddies” show the newbies around, have lunch with them, and act as a resource.  

New hires at custom t-shirt company Custom Ink receive a blank journal. They are encouraged to record any interesting things they learn about the company in their notebook during their orientation or any questions they would like to ask. New hires are also asked to record instances where they’ve seen CustomInk’s values in action. At the 30-day mark, new hires convene to share what they’ve noted in their journals. Making new hires accountable for noticing how their colleagues and managers live those values every day helps brings those behaviors to life.

Online glasses manufacturer Warby Parker gives a welcome package to new employees. The package includes the founders’ favorite pretzels and a gift certificate to a Thai restaurant since the founders lived off Thai food during their startup phase. 

Takeaway: You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

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Stan Phelps walks the walk. He stands out in the sea of sameness by modeling his own Differentiated Experience (DX) message: Differentiation isn’t just about what you say, it’s about what you do and, more importantly, how and why you do it. Stan leverages his unique collection of 5,000+ case studies on customer, employee, and brand experience to engage audiences with informative learning-based experiences. He believes purposeful DX wins the hearts of employees and customers, and differentiation ultimately boosts loyalty, retention, referrals, and results.

Find Stan’s in-person and virtual keynotes, workshops, and Goldfish tank programs at StanPhelps.com.