At this time of year thoughts often turn to recruiting fresh blood. But at the same time, we should also be thinking about how we will keep that new talent and best introduce them to the business.

Our article Your New Starter Checklist: Ensure Newbies Are Set Up For Success gives you some excellent tips . But if you’re wanting that wow factor look no further. Here is our list of the best employee on boarders in the market:


Pre-boarding - yes it’s a thing. It’s where you get the mundane and boring parts of the on-boarding process out of the way before your new starter’s first day. Newbies at  MasterCard are sent a comprehensive welcome email before they start which includes links to company videos and access to a website where they can “update their employment information, upload a photo for their badge, read about learning opportunities and complete paperwork for benefits enrolment, taxes and direct deposit”. Paperless on-boarding isn’t just something for the airport…..


A recent Quora discussion revealed that when it comes to your kit, Netflix gives engineers a choice of laptop and configuration before they start - clearly something that’s hugely important for developers. As well as comprehensive training and meetings with the leadership team early on, a particular highlight mentioned was that new starters were given significant responsibility as soon as they joined, so could make a real impact right from the very start.


For American online retailer Zappos, it’s all about culture. They run a detailed 5 week course for new starters all about their culture and values. After the 5 weeks, if they don't like what they hear - they can leave with $2000 dollars in their back pocket and no hard feelings - but only 1% chose to do so.


Facebook have a “45 Minute Rule,” where a new starter should be working on something productive within 45 minutes of walking in the door. Developers and project managers attend their famous 6 week bootcamp - long enough says Facebook for both parties to see if there’s the right fit. Here, engineers get acquainted with Facebook's codebase and get to work on real problems. The idea behind this is to help them get real, hands on experience whilst undergoing a cultural orientation - the Facebook way, described by the Mercury News as “one part employee orientation, one part software training program and one part fraternity/sorority rush.”

Fog Creek

Software company Fog Creek have found online work organisation tool Trello invaluable for getting new starters up to speed. Tasks for new recruits are assigned and tracked via the Trello work boards and because the boards are shared within the team, everyone knows where the new starter is up to and can step in to help if line managers/mentors are away.

If you’ve not had a eureka moment from the list above - perhaps look at some of the products and services you use within your own business for inspiration. We’ve recently started using graphic design tool Canva which helps complete design novices (like us!) create beautiful content in a matter of minutes. Canva takes you by the hand right from the beginning and doesn't let go. It urges the user to learn the ropes with a step by step video guide, and imbed their learning with fun design examples. Your first experiences with company are really positive and your confidence is buoyed from the off. And help is always on hand - with timely and efficient email support from operatives who can log in and take a look and what your trying to do. Inspired by this, we’ve all hooked up to Convo - a separate communications stream from regular email making inter-team communications (and help for new starters) quicker and easier. We also have regular video conferencing with the team and suppliers - particularly important when a team is working remotely.

And finally, if you’ve got a new employee starting tomorrow take a tip from Birchbox, and place a flag on their desk that says “Say hi, I’m new” to urge the team to get to know their new colleague. Now, I think we could all manage that one….

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Photo Credit: Playing With The Stars by Pedro Vasquez Colmanares

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