How to Keep Employees (Especially Gen Z) Using Improved Onboarding

Engage and retain Generation Z talent using these eight ways to improve onboarding and the first-day experience.

Beginnings matter.

And how the next generation of employees begin their career at your company really matters.

In my recent article, How to Secure Generation Z Employee Loyalty on Day One, I highlighted how critical it is for companies to create memorable first-day and onboarding experiences for Gen Z new hires. 

Here are a few recommendations to achieve just that.

8 Ways to Elevate Gen Z’s First-Day and Onboarding Experience

1. Supply Swag

Shouldn’t the new hire immediately feel like part of the team? Have a t-shirt, coffee mug, phone case, etc. ready upon their arrival or ship it directly to them ahead of time. In addition, provide pre-printed business cards with their name on it. 

2. Connect Communities

Create a shared meaningful moment by encouraging Gen Z to post a picture of themselves wearing company swag on social media with a hashtag that allows them to connect with other new hires.

3. Leverage Leaders

Deliver messages in a personalized video from leaders. At John Deere, new hires receive an email from Sam Allen, CEO of John Deere, who shares a little bit about the company in a short video. In addition, schedule a time for the new hire to connect with at least one company leader. 

4. Appoint Ambassadors 

One reason creating a memorable first-day and onboarding experience is difficult for companies is that it’s usually no one’s job to create a one. Assign new hires to an ambassador who sends a pre-first day text to the new Gen Z hire that highlights the organization’s excitement and what to expect when it comes to attire, parking, and the day’s agenda. Bumble, the dating and networking application, has employee “Beekeepers” who volunteer to welcome new hires. They get to know new hires, provide a personalized tour, and go get a coffee or smoothie together.

5. Convey Culture

Provide a link to a "New Hire Handbook” that includes an overview of the company history, the company culture and values, insights from existing employees, close restaurants for lunch, transit options, attire no-nos, recreation options, and additional resources such as 10 Things You Should Definitely Try During Your First Week. Consider a new hire scavenger hunt as a way to get to know the office, people, and the culture. 

6. Establish Expectations

Provide a clear introduction and overview of the new hire's job responsibilities and the company culture. Provide dos and don’ts when it comes to communication, leadership, work hours, etc. After onboarding, Gen Z should have a basic understanding of the following: culture, values and vision, roles and responsibilities, opportunities and promotions, training and safety, and ethics/accountability.

7. Tune-up Technology

Nothing communicates “we forgot you were starting today” than not having the new hire’s technology set-up. Ensure all company issued hardware and devices are live and pre-loaded with the new hire’s favorite utility applications.

8. Celebrate Conclusions

Just as important as it is to punctuate the beginning of a new hire’s career is creating a memorable moment that marks the transition out of being a new hire. Many onboarding processes can drag on and on and lead to a new hire burnout. Use a social event or activity to signify the completion of the process. Or provide a tangible reward or certificate that can serve as a right of passage into the organization.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ryan Jenkins, CSP® (Certified Speaking Professional)™, is an internationally-recognized keynote speaker, virtual trainer, and author of Connectable: How Leaders Can Move Teams From Isolated to All-In. For a decade, he has helped organizations lessen worker loneliness, create inclusive cultures, and prepare for the future of work. He is also co-founder of LessLonely.com, the premier resource for addressing workplace loneliness. Follow his latest insights at @RyanAndSteven.

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