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Looking to improve your employee onboarding process and create a great experience for new hires?
Look no further than the world-renowned Google, whose onboarding process is widely regarded as one of the best in the business.
With its focus on supporting, educating, and engaging employees from day one, Google's approach offers valuable insights for any organization looking to create a truly successful onboarding program.
In this post, I'll share a look at some of the key components of Google's onboarding process, exploring how these strategies can be adapted to improve your own onboarding experience.
1. Focus on employee support from day one.
One of the hallmarks of Google's onboarding program is its focus on providing new hires with support and guidance from the very start.
The buddy system
A quick example is the buddy system, which matches each new hire with an experienced employee who can offer advice and answer any questions they may have.
This focus on support continues throughout the onboarding process, with new hires receiving regular check-ins from their managers and having access to a wide range of resources (including an online onboarding portal) that can help them settle into their role.
Whether it's help setting up their workstation, troubleshooting technical issues, or simply answering any questions they might have about their role or workplace culture, effective employee support helps ensure that new hires feel confident and comfortable in their new environment right from the start.
2. Encourage employees to ask questions and share feedback.
Another key component of Google's onboarding process is its emphasis on giving employees a voice and encouraging them to ask questions and share feedback.
Invest in things that don't scale
For example, the company hosts regular "onboardee talks" where new hires can present their work and discuss any issues or concerns they might have with coworkers from different departments.
This not only helps create a sense of community among new hires, but also provides valuable insights into areas where the company could be improved.
To encourage this culture of openness, Google also offers an anonymous feedback form to all new hires, which allows them to provide constructive criticism without worrying about potentially offending anyone in the process.
While it may seem counterintuitive for some organizations, actively encouraging employee feedback can help boost retention rates by ensuring that employees feel valued and heard.
3. Offer onboarding programs and resources tailored to different roles and departments.
One of the key features of Google's onboarding program is its flexibility.
Which allows for a wide variety of onboarding experiences depending on the role or department involved.
Examine the learning process in each of your departments and roles
For example, while some new hires might focus more on getting up to speed with their day-to-day responsibilities, others may be more focused on learning about the company culture or exploring career development opportunities available within the organization.
To address these different needs, Google offers a wide range of onboarding resources that are tailored to specific business units, positions, or teams.
How to customize onboarding
This includes everything from small workshops and presentations to extensive online courses and self-paced modules, all of which aim to give new hires the information and skills they need to succeed in their role.
Overall, by taking a flexible, customizable approach to onboarding, Google has created an experience that is not only beneficial for new hires, but also helps ensure long-term organizational success.
While every organization may have unique needs when it comes to onboarding, the lessons learned from Google's approach can help improve any employee onboarding process.
By focusing on employee support, encouraging feedback, and tailoring onboarding programs to specific roles, you can create a more effective onboarding experience that helps new hires feel confident and engaged from the very start.
4. Educate employees on your culture and values.
Google is well-known for its unique culture and values, which include a focus on innovation, collaboration, and transparency.
It's no surprise, then, that educating new hires about these core aspects of the company is a key part of its onboarding program.
"Don't Be Evil"
The classic example is the "Don't Be Evil" motto, which is ingrained in the company culture and serves as a reminder to employees that they should always act with integrity and respect.
Other values that are emphasized during onboarding include a focus on customer satisfaction, a commitment to excellence, and a willingness to take risks.
By ensuring that new hires are aware of these values from the start, Google helps create a more cohesive and aligned workplace culture.
From attending presentations on Google's history and culture to participating in team-building exercises, new hires are given a crash course on what it means to be a Googler.
This education doesn't just stop on day one, either - employees are encouraged to continue learning about the company culture and values throughout their time at Google.
5. Encourage employee engagement early
Perhaps most importantly, Google's onboarding process places a strong emphasis on engaging employees early on in order to help them become active participants in their own development and success.
The most-copied example
Perhaps a famous example is the 20% time practice of offering employees a day out of every week to work on what they want.
Similar to projects such as Google X and Gmail, it's an example of Google fostering a culture of innovation and allowing employees to truly make their mark on the company.
As organizations continue to grapple with high employee turnover rates, adopting some of Google's key onboarding strategies can help create a more effective experience that boosts retention and engagement among new hires.
By focusing on employee support, education, and early engagement, you can help your new hires become valuable contributors from day one.
This system not only helps new hires feel more comfortable and confident in their new role, but also encourages them to build relationships with other employees from different departments.
How to engage employees
Other engagement initiatives include regular check-ins with managers, mentorship opportunities, and social events designed to help new hires get to know their coworkers.
By making employee engagement a priority, Google has created an onboarding experience that helps new hires feel like they are part of something larger from day one.
Overall, Google's onboarding process is focused on three key areas: employee support, feedback, and tailoring programs to specific roles.
This involves giving new hires access to leadership teams, facilitating regular feedback sessions, and providing ongoing mentorship.
Overall, with its focus on employee engagement from the very start of onboarding, Google has created a process that helps new hires feel valued and empowered from day one.
And by placing such a strong emphasis on employee development and support, it's not hard to see why the company has one of the highest retention rates in the industry.
Whether you're a small business or a large corporation, there are lessons to be learned from Google's onboarding process.
By focusing on employee support, encouraging feedback, and tailoring programs to specific roles, you can create a more effective onboarding experience that sets new hires up for success.
Get the best results from your onboarding process by using the comprehensive Employee Onboarding Checklist by Dr. Talya Bauer.
Click here to download, and ensure that every new hire is set up for success from day one.