The 3 painful stages of creating your onboarding plan

Creating a new onboarding plan can be tough. Starting is always exciting, but end results may vary!

Β min. read
August 23, 2021
Turn those thoughts into reality... over time!

When presented with the idea of creating an onboarding plan from scratch, you may be one of those people that get excited to have a blank slate to work with. This is where creativity can happen, you are full of energy and pumped to get started! You set out to design a new onboarding experience for your next new employee(s).

What may be surprising is that where you start out may not be where you end up! Here are the 3 stages you will (or may) go through when starting a new employee onboarding plan from scratch:

1. It's going to be fun πŸŽ‰

We all know that the candidate is super nervous and super excited to get started. When designing that onboarding plan to welcome them, maybe you've had a few of these thoughts:

  • Let's create an amazing experience
  • It's going to be gamified
  • It can be multi-sensory with food, music, and laughs
  • We can have fireworks,
  • We can do it in space

Okay, maybe that last one was a bit of a reach, but it does feel like with every passing week, we get closer and closer to that onboarding utopia.

So you set out to create that onboarding experience that you are so pumped to deliver. You have some breathing room because the next new hire isn't starting for a few weeks and recruitment is just getting ramped up. Your goal is to deliver an unforgettable experience they will talk about until their retirement...

2. Reality hits 😬

As the impending deadline approaches (i.e. the new employee's start date!), you realize that this idealistic onboarding plan you have in mind may not be achievable. You didn't really want it to be this way, but you find yourself saying some of these things:

  • "I need to book those meetings"
  • "Let's make sure they get a little coffee break here"
  • "Let's check to make sure all the materials are up to date"
  • "Gosh, I hope their hiring manager reached out today"

It's not what you had in mind for your onboarding plan, but it is what is needed. It is also what's achievable given the constraints of resourcing at your organization. Influences such as your team size, budget allocation, and of course the constraints of time & space, limit you from delivering that full onboarding experience you were planning for.

Don't get discouraged! Keep your eye on the prize because that new employee is depending on you to ensure their welcome actually happens.

It's not all bad πŸ˜…

To the new employee, this "basic" onboarding plan is still a 10x better experience than if they'd arrived to an empty desk and some legal paperwork to sign. Let's be honest, this seems to be the standard for most organizations. Very little thought or planning is put into delivering an enjoyable employee experience.

Maybe you were not able to turn that experience you had in your head into reality, that's okay! Get that first onboarding experience up and running and then use it as a foundation to expand upon. With each passing hiring sprint, or simply through the passage of time, you can incrementally work towards that onboarding plan you dreamed up.

If you're looking for some help in getting started, want some creative onboarding ideas, or simply want to vent, feel free to grab some time with the Aboard team, we're here to help!