Employee Recruitment Employee Recognition

Impactful ways to incorporate recognition into your employee onboarding program

The onboarding phase is a critical time for new hires to establish connection and a sense of belonging to an organization.

Research indicates that a strong onboarding process improves new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. 

Yet, only 12% of employees strongly agree that their organizations do a great job of onboarding new employees. Recognition during onboarding can play a pivotal role in bridging this gap. In this blog, we will explore effective strategies to seamlessly weave recognition into your employee onboarding program. 

The case for building recognition into the onboarding phase

Incorporate recognition into your employee onboarding programs will effectively help you:

  • Reduce new hire stress: The first few weeks of a new job are stressful for most people, from interns to high-level executives. Recognizing new hires during this period can alleviate some of that stress and reassure them that they’re already a valued member of the team. 
  • Improve new hire engagement and happiness: Recognition shows that you notice and appreciate someone’s efforts. It’s a powerful way to not only boost morale but foster a lasting connection to the organization.
  • Increase new hire productivity: Acknowledging and rewarding new hire efforts early on inspires them to go above and beyond in their tasks. It shows them their work matters and pushes them to achieve more and become top performers. 
  • Boost new hire loyalty and retention: Employees who feel continuously recognized are seven times more likely to stay with their current employer than ones who don't.
  • Build a culture of recognition: Acknowledging the efforts and contributions of employees from day one conveys that recognition is a core company value, one that everyone at your company will feel encouraged to uphold. 

With so many benefits to it, it’s very clear that recognition has an outsized impact on the employee experience, and organizations that leverage it from the very beginning to the end of their employee lifecycle will have a highly engaged workforce and low attrition. If you’re looking to achieve similar results, read on to learn how. 

10 ways to incorporate recognition into onboarding and training programs

Welcome emails

Taking a few minutes to compose a warm, sincere welcome email sets a positive tone early on and lays the groundwork for a successful onboarding experience. Be sure to express how excited you are that they’re joining the team and encourage other team members to send personalized welcome emails of their own for maximum impact.

Desk decoration 

You don’t have to break the bank to delight new employees on their first day; common balloons and streamers from a party supply store are enough to create a fun and inviting vibe. You can also leave a handwritten note recognizing the effort they’ve put in during the application process, appreciating the skills they bring, and wishing them a good day.

Welcome gifts

Consider providing small gifts for new hires during their first week. Gifts like company-branded tumblers, mugs, notebooks, or apparel can make new employees feel welcomed and part of the team. Gift cards to a nearby coffee shop or restaurant are also a thoughtful gesture. Whatever gift you choose, you can add a touch of personalization to it by presenting it in person along with a signed card by the team. 

Onboarding buddies

Assigning new hires a buddy from the team is one of the best things you can do for successful onboarding. These buddies are experienced employees with extensive institutional knowledge to share. Pairing them with new hires achieves two things: fast-tracking the new hire's transition into their role by leveraging the buddy's expertise; and recognizing the buddy's skills and performance by promoting them into a mentorship role. Everybody wins!

30/60/90 day celebrations

Simple 30, 60, and 90-day celebrations like taking new employees out to lunch, sending congratulatory emails or recognition, or giving them a public shoutout at team meetings are powerful morale boosters and show that you care about new hires' growth and contributions.

Certificates of completion

Providing certificates upon training completion is a great way to boost a new hire’s sense of pride and motivation. This tangible award commemorates an important stage in their learning and development journey and formally shows that you appreciate the work they’ve put in.

Public praise

Public praise is a great source of validation for new hires. Shouting out how well they’ve completed an onboarding task or training session in front of their peers shows them that you value their efforts and pushes them to keep up their great work.

Peer recognition 

Peer recognition reinforces to new hires that they are part of the team and motivates them to bond with coworkers. You can encourage peer recognition by having team members give shoutouts, written notes, or e-badges to recognize one another's hard work. Setting a budget for team members to give tangible rewards or gift cards to peer nominees through a recognition program also sparks a culture of appreciation.

Social media shoutouts

Recognizing new hires on company social media is as public as recognition gets. It shows the broader professional community that you take pride in your people, which not only boosts the confidence and motivation of the new hires but does wonders for your employer brand.

Onboarding surveys

Surveys are an excellent way to gain insights into what’s working and what isn’t in your onboarding and training programs. Through a series of thoughtful questions, new hires can share feedback about their experience, and when you follow up and make improvements based on their feedback, it shows that their voice matters to you.

Final advice: building a lasting culture of recognition 

Thoughtful recognition can and should begin from an employee's first day. It not only ensures a smoother transition of new hires into your company but lays the foundation for a positive employee experience. 

For recognition to extend beyond the onboarding phase and become a part of your company’s culture, be sure to:  

  • Train managers: Equip managers with resources and guidance to recognize employees year-round, beyond formal programs.
  • Develop recognition skills: Teach employees methods for peer-to-peer recognition and incentivize them to spread the spirit of appreciation. 
  • Use technology: Leverage recognition software to facilitate frequent recognition, share rewards, gather data, and more. 
  • Collect feedback: Continuously evaluate and adapt your recognition strategies to meet evolving needs and preferences. 
  • Finally, it’s the thought that counts - The amount spent or the size of the reward matters less than the meaning behind it. Employees just want to feel sincerely appreciated for what they do. 

To learn more, check out Culture is the Ultimate Advantage, Guusto’s guide to using recognition to transform every aspect of your culture by filling out the form below.

In the market for recognition, onboarding, or other HR software programs? Check out SelectSoftware Reviews to compare different platforms.

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Huda Idris

Written by Huda Idris

Huda has been writing about all things tech for over 10 years. She’s currently an HR Tech Editor at SelectSoftware Reviews, a website committed to delivering unbiased software recommendations. By researching, demoing, and testing various solutions in the HR and TA Tech space, the team at SSR helps thousands of Recruiting and PeopleOps professionals build solid tech stacks.

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