Hiring Humans: Onboarding People, Not Just Talent


Every new hire is a fresh and valuable resource for you as an organisation. They bring their own unique package of skills, experience and perspectives that can help to enhance what you do and shape how you do it. They are “talent”, but they are also people, and if you don’t engage with them as complex and emotional beings, you risk losing them as a resource and missing out on the contribution they could make.

You hired them for a reason, after all. Out of all of the candidates for a particular role, you made a choice about which one had the potential to add the most value to your organisation. You were impressed by what they brought to the table or excited about what they could add to your team. So how do you handle this valuable resource with care from the very start, and hold on to them as time goes on?

Start With Empathy

Although many of us have now returned to the office and there is a certain sense of “getting back to normal” in the air, it’s important to recognise that any new hire could be feeling anything from mild uncertainty to high anxiety as they prepare to enter a new workplace, team and culture. It’s more vital than ever to have a clear and robust onboarding procedure in place, with empathy for employee wellbeing at the heart of it. Be aware that it’s a lot harder to engage and motivate people further down the line if they haven’t felt seen, heard and supported from the start.

Get Practical – Cover the Basics

We all feel more confident and motivated when we know what’s going on and where we fit. It helps us to move quickly from feeling like the “new kid” to feeling like one of the team. It’s true at school, and it’s just as true in the workplace. Assign each new employee with a personal contact who can walk them through the office, introduce your different teams, and explain how things work:

Who is their core team?

Where will they work?

What is the reporting structure?

Who do they go to if they have a problem or a concern?

Where and when do meetings take place?

What happens at lunch?

At its most practical, the onboarding process should ensure that your new employee is familiar with the systems, platforms and processes you use as an organisation. If they need any introductory training, get that sorted as soon as possible so that they quickly feel equipped and empowered. You can’t expect a new hire to “hit the ground running” if you haven’t taken the time to make sure they have everything they need – and that they know where they’re going…

Get Meaningful – Connect With Your Values

Effective onboarding will help new employees to learn the ropes quickly, feel settled, and get to work, but what keeps them engaged and motivated in the long run is a sense that they are part of something meaningful. If you want to create and nurture a company culture where everyone is on the same page, united behind the same vision, this needs to start from day one. You need to be proactive about engaging new hires with your company values, vision and mission – and we’re not talking about posters on walls!

At Inpulse, we can help you with some creative ideas for how to connect your workforce with your organisational values and vision, and cultivate engagement. It’s something you will need to come back to again and again, with all of your employees and teams. For new hires, this immediately creates a sense of being welcomed in to something and having a part to play, and it plants a seed of loyalty – right from the start.

Get Personal – Nurture Talent as Individuals

Don’t make the mistake of leaving potential talent on the bench. Give your people – old faithfuls and new recruits alike – opportunities to demonstrate and share their own skills, insights and perspectives, as well as investing in their personal and professional development.

This is an absolute win, win. It benefits your people on a personal level, and your organisation as a whole. When your employees feel that they have something unique to contribute, this adds to their sense of value and motivation. When your people have regular opportunities to learn, grow and develop, they are much less likely to go shopping around for opportunities elsewhere. Check out our blog on how to develop talent and improve employee retention for some practical tips on how to do this well.

So, How’s It Going?

When you’re trying to recruit the best talent, it’s easy to tell potential employees what they want to hear about your workplace and culture. But if this isn’t backed up when they start working with you they are likely to become disengaged, unmotivated, and possibly look for a way to move on.

Our pulse surveys are a great way of checking in with your employees and getting a picture of their wellbeing and engagement. It’s worth introducing these early on for new hires so that you can find out whether you’re putting your money where your mouth is!

Master Engagement Throughout the Employee Lifecycle