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5 ways to go beyond just “onboarding”

“Onboarding” is a new concept. In fact, the American Heritage Dictionary added the word only seven years ago. The word originates from the concept of “boarding” a vessel, such as a ship. The modern understanding of “onboarding” refers to the process of hiring, training and goal-setting for new employees. Similar to boarding a ship, a well-defined onboarding expedites time-to-productivity and reduces voluntary turnover.

The new definition of “onboarding” has been co-opted by HR. We’ve bogged it down to procedures and processes. Training manuals and handbooks. But, as a result, we’ve left an important component behind. The emotional dimension that makes a sailor feel connected to the crew and, importantly, the driver.

So how can companies ensure that they don’t leave the psychological component behind? It’s easier than you think.

1. Don’t wait on it.

Be proactive about onboarding. The longer you wait, the harder it gets to make a new employee feel at home. Instead, focus on making the employee experience feel as immersive as possible from day 1. In short, stop “onboarding” and start integrating. Speed to acclimation is critical in the first 30 days, when the new hire is deciding if they made the right choice.

2. Create space and time for employees to acclimate.

An employee can’t feel connected to the whole company if they don’t interact with the individual parts. That means introducing them to people within their team and across the org. It also means walking them through the workspaces, virtual or otherwise, because that’s an essential part of the enterprise’s character.

3. Personalize the onboarding experience.

Pinpoint ways that you can personalize the experience for each new hire. If they mentioned they played basketball in college, invite them to a company game. Crafting a personalized experience makes onboarding feel less like a process, and more like the start of a journey.

4. Carve out time for relationships.

Place value on relationships as key to building trust. It’s harder than ever to find the time to connect with new hires but it’s never been more imperative. Meaningful connectivity isn’t a one-off thing. It’s important to consistently create and seek opportunities for spontaneous interactions.

5. Utilize onboarding tech.

With hybrid work, using technology to effectively onboard is essential to ensuring a distributed workforce feels closely connected. Without proper tools, it can be hard to carve out opportunities to learn things about each other, beyond the role. Work tech can scale the feeling of belonging from the get-go. It can ensure that personal connection is continually in motion, as part of the everyday workflow, whether it’s in the room or on Zoom.

If you want to learn more about how Pointr accelerates belonging from day 1, visit

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