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Challenges Onboarding Specialists Must Overcome to Jump-Start Their New-Hire Experience

Employee Onboarding Aug 23, 2019

Employee Onboarding, the process of introducing new-hires to the cultural and professional norms of a new workplace, is one of the most popular topics of discussion among human resource professionals. Although rough industry guidelines can be found online by anyone building out a company’s onboarding program, it’s ultimately a difficult process to standardize, as each onboarding experience needs to be individually tailored for the company, team, and role the new-hire is integrating into.

In this blog post, we dive into three challenges that savvy onboarding specialists need to overcome in order to freshen up their company’s new-hire orientation process.

Re-frame a Process that is Typically Viewed as Mundane


An underwhelming onboarding experience is often cited as one of the contributing factors to an employee’s decision to leave a company within six months of being hired.[1] A quick analysis of leading HR software suites on the market helps demonstrate why - Most traditional HR software suites tout their ability to efficiently automate the data collection, form completion, and other operational tasks involved in onboarding - the “boring” stuff that needs to get done. The claim is that by taking care of these tasks, the HR teams are free to deal with the rest of the “big picture” projects. This idea seems sound in theory, but in application often leaves onboarding specialists with a lack of solutions for how to actually tackle these less quantifiable goals - successfully delivering an enjoyable experience to the new-hire, and culturally integrating them into a dynamic work environment.[2]

Since so few companies have historically dedicated enough resources to take their onboarding above and beyond the necessities, many new-hires start their first weeks expecting a bureaucracy-filled introduction.[3] Onboarding specialists are often the poor souls recruited into the uphill battle of making a memorable first impression on behalf of the entire organization. Even though enterprising individuals are already introducing exercises borrowed from community events and improv classes as ice-breakers, additional time on the itinerary set aside for social or competitive activities specifically with new-hire experience in mind can help further alleviate the problem of onboarding being perceived as a mundane ordeal.

Encourage Active Participation at a Time When New-Hires Feel Disengaged and Unproductive


It’s not uncommon for new-hires at a company to feel like they are quarantined from the work they have been hired to perform, or unable to fully take on their role until they have completed their orientation and training processes. This period of disengagement is often exacerbated by the fact that traditional onboarding itineraries can call for new-hires to absorb hours of detailed policy-level content at a time, with little in terms of participant input or interaction. In addition to constantly wondering if they’ll actual need to know all this info to perform their job, a new-hire is usually craving for something, anything, that they can actually engage with to prevent their minds from checking out during their first few days.[4]

Whether introduced as content delivery mediums, or as stand-alone recreational breaks from the general rigmarole, it’s always important to have an interactive experience in mind. New-hires are yearning to prove themselves and be anything more than just captive members of an audience.

Encourage Self-Directed Exploration and Personal Interactions


It’s no secret that new-hires do not enjoy being chained to a workstation or conference room during their onboarding week. At the same time, simply scheduling visits to other areas or making hurried introductions might not be enough to make a new-hire feel like they are not being herded around on a guided tour. No matter how thorough a scheduled program is, the key in creating a memorable introduction is making sure that your location tour isn’t a cookie-cutter affair. It’s one thing to hand-hold a new hire while showing them around the building or introducing them to co-workers, but another to re-orient the experience by incentivising them to discover it on their own and initiate their own networking opportunities.[5]

If your goal is to present your company as one that values innovative collaboration and open kinship between teams, it’s best to incorporate elements of self-directed exploration into the onboarding experience. Less orchestration is key here, as new interactions will rarely feel genuine if it is being initiated by a third party, or planned as part of an arranged program.

Many organizations are already integrating Goosechase on top of their current onboarding procedures. Visit the how it works page to start creating your first game, or contact us directly to learn more about how we can help you build a custom solution!

What is Goosechase?

Goosechase is an online platform that helps organizers create and run digital scavenger hunt experiences for team building, learning, public engagement, or a variety of other events. Sign up and try creating a free recreational game, or contact us to learn more about our enterprise solutions!

  1. Onboarding Key to Retaining, Engaging Talent ↩︎

  2. Successful employee onboarding should focus on culture ↩︎

  3. Onboarding Pain Points for New Employees ↩︎

  4. 7 Ways To Take The Boring Out Of Your Onboarding ↩︎

  5. Operational Onboarding; do your new hires feel ‘at home’? ↩︎


Eric Chiang

Product Manager