5 Companies Fostering a Sense of Belonging During Onboarding

These companies bring a sense of community to their onboarding process and welcome new hires with open arms.

Written by Jessica Powers
Published on May. 15, 2023
5 Companies Fostering a Sense of Belonging During Onboarding
Brand Studio Logo

As exciting as the onboarding process is for new hires and employers alike, it is also crucial to setting up long-term success. According to data from SHRM, the turnover rate for new hires is highest within the first 18 months of employment. 

Building out a thoughtful and engaging onboarding process where new hires really feel like they truly belong at their new company can help increase employee engagement and retention too. According to one research paper from Cabrini University, more structured onboarding processes may improve retention. 

Luckily, creating a meaningful onboarding experience might be easier for employers than ever before. Whether it’s through mentor programs, structured training and expectations or clear communication, there are many ways to create a successful onboarding program. Built In Austin asked SonarSource, LogicMonitor, Tecovas, Episode Six and Semrush how they make new hires feel welcome.

 

Ashelena Leveille
Customer Success Manager • Sonar

SonarSource provides coding solutions that help developers and enterprises write clean code. 

 

How does SonarSource welcome new hires? 

Our three-month onboarding program starts by pairing a new hire with both a point of contact (POC) and a mentor. While the POC is helping the new hire get acquainted with the functions of their role, The mentor—who is typically in a different department—has daily syncs with the new hire to focus on helping our new hires feel welcome at every step of their onboarding journey. 

The mentor focuses on company culture and answers questions to help them get settled. The mentor helps the new hire build relationships with other colleagues and becomes an ongoing support system as they get acquainted with their team. We have conversations about values and work through a mutually executable onboarding plan that includes targeted activities to enrich the onboarding experience for the new hire at their own pace.

 

How do these efforts build a firm foundation for new hires to succeed during the initial onboarding period and beyond? 

The mentor becomes a partner who provides guidance, advice and feedback, helping them develop the skills they need to excel in their role. We believe that the mentor relationship significantly helps our new hires acclimate quickly and feel more connected to Sonar, which leads to higher job satisfaction long term. Overall, the mentoring program is a valuable way to invest in a new hire’s success and help them achieve their full potential within the organization.

 

What tips would you share with other leaders looking to foster a sense of belonging for new hires? 

Fostering a sense of belonging for new hires is essential to help them feel comfortable and engaged in their new workplace. Some tips that leaders can follow to foster a sense of belonging are: 

  • Create a welcoming environment by greeting new hires warmly, introducing them to the team and giving an overview of the culture and values at your company. 
  • Assign a mentor or buddy to help them navigate the workplace, better interact with their new co-workers and understand how to communicate effectively and fit into your culture. 
  • Create an environment where new hires feel comfortable asking questions and expressing concerns. Encourage open communication and provide opportunities to give and receive feedback regularly. 
  • Celebrate milestones and achievements such as completion of the onboarding program, kudos for contributing to the success of others or completion of their first successful project to help them feel recognized and appreciated.
  • Provide opportunities to socialize among direct and indirect team members by having lunches or happy hours to help the new hire feel connected to their colleagues.

 

 

Allison Adams
Human Resources Generalist • LogicMonitor

LogicMonitor is an IT consulting company that provides SaaS-based monitoring solutions. 

 

How does LogicMonitor welcome new hires? 

As soon as a candidate signs their offer, we work toward ensuring they feel welcome. Before their first day, we are regularly in touch with them; whether it be sharing a culture article, their first week schedule or suggestions for celebrating their new role on LinkedIn. This ongoing contact creates an immediate sense of connection. Additionally, their manager and/or team reaches out before their first day.  

Our onboarding process is a mix of live virtual sessions, recorded sessions and self-paced training to avoid overwhelming new hires, while ensuring they have access to the information they need. The first day starts with a welcome and introductions, plus we make it fun by asking engaging questions. Afterwards, we go over action items they can accomplish right away so they have a direction and plan. Then we host a Q&A to check in on how they’re doing. 

We’re also exploring moving parts of onboarding to be in person to give new hires a better sense of community. Additionally, new hires learn about our community groups and are encouraged to get involved. This is a huge part of fostering our inclusive culture. 

 

How do these efforts build a firm foundation for new hires to succeed during the initial onboarding period and beyond? 

A successful onboarding is vital. Numerous studies have shown that unsuccessful onboardings are a major contributing factor in early attrition. At LogicMonitor, we put so much effort into the onboarding process to show new hires that we value them and we are here to help them succeed. 

Our onboarding structure ensures that all new hires have access to the information, tools and people they need to start doing the best work of their careers. But the support doesn’t stop once they’ve completed onboarding; we have resources and people available to help at all times.

We are always looking for ways to strengthen our onboarding process and make it even more fun and engaging. In the back of my mind, I always want the new hire to be able to talk to their family at the dinner table after their first day, and be excited about their new job at LogicMonitor.

I always want the new hire to be able to talk to their family at the dinner table after their first day, and be excited about their new job at LogicMonitor. ”

What tips would you share with other leaders looking to foster a sense of belonging for new hires?

Communication and initial contact is key! Don’t leave your new hires hanging after they sign the offer letter, but don’t bombard them either. Check in every week or so if the time between their offer and start date is long. Send articles or information about the company that will draw them in. Also, encourage their managers and colleagues to reach out to them to feel that sense of community. Their onboarding cohort will be there, but they are going to be doing most of their work with their immediate team members. 

Give new hires a safe space of their own. For example, if new employees ever have questions, they can visit LogicMonitor’s private Slack channel created just for new hires. 

Lastly, ask for feedback. Two weeks after they start, all new hires at LogicMonitor are sent an onboarding survey, so we’re continually receiving feedback on how to make the process even better.

 

 

Michael Notrica
Director, Apparel Product Creation • Tecovas

Tecovas is a digitally-native apparel company offering boots and clothing inspired by Western style.

 

How did your Tecovas make you feel welcome after joining? 

Tecovas has been an absolute pleasure to onboard with. The entire team has made me feel welcome and provided a comprehensive onboarding program filled with cross-functional education sessions and one-on-ones, cultural engagement as well as the nitty gritty of the procedures and processes. The culture of transparency and partnership resonates from the top down and in every interaction I have had thus far.

 

As a new hire, how did you benefit from these efforts?

The all-inclusive and collaborative Tecovas onboarding allowed me to learn the necessary skills, knowledge and team members required to be an effective leader and cross-functional partner within this company and culture. 

Getting up to speed quickly has reduced the stress of the unknown that comes with starting a new role, at a new company, in a new city and allowed me to get into the work rapidly and effectively with clear direction. Furthermore, the consistent messaging from the beginning lays the foundation for all of the new hires to come in and understand the context and history of what Tecovas is, our unique point of view on product and how we will all work together to deliver amazing experience to our customers.

 

Based on your experiences, what would you recommend leaders at other companies do to make new hires feel a sense of belonging?

It has been fun to hit the ground running in a fast-paced environment where everyone is driving toward the same goals. The vision and alignment within the Tecovas leadership team provides a foundational North Star vision that empowers the teams to work cross-functionally and communicate effectively to push toward the goals we have set out to accomplish. There is a culture of continual improvement and recognition. This culture fosters a sense of entrepreneurship at every level to not only accomplish the work in front of us, but to think forward for season-over-season improvements.

 

 

Sacha Woodcock
People and Culture Manager • Episode Six

Episode Six is a payments technology company that provides payment solutions for the banking and fintech industries.  
 

How does Episode Six welcome new hires? 

At E6, we believe that onboarding is a critical step in welcoming our new team members into our global family. Our people and culture team sends a personalized email that covers common questions and invites them to share a photo and bio so we can introduce them on our Teams platform. We also send a swag box filled with E6 goodies before their first day.

Managers provide new hires with a detailed schedule for their first week and a 30, 60 and 90 day plan outlining performance expectations in their role. Their first few days are dedicated to introductions to colleagues they will be working with.

We believe that ongoing communication and feedback is essential, which is why we schedule check-ins with each new hire to ensure they feel supported and valued. Every month we hold a new hire orientation week with sessions that introduce our products and provide an opportunity to meet fellow new hires.

We are excited to introduce our buddy program, which pairs new hires with a colleague to provide guidance as they navigate their role. At E6, we strive to provide a welcoming environment, and our onboarding process is a key component in achieving that.

 

How do these efforts build a firm foundation for new hires to succeed during the initial onboarding period and beyond? 

Maintaining constant communication between the offer letter and the first day at E6 is crucial to ensuring new hires feel welcomed and excited about joining our team. 

We provide new hires with their 30, 60 and 90 day plan and week one schedule before their start date which helps clarify any uncertainties, instilling a sense of belonging to the E6 team from the beginning. By maintaining this engagement throughout their onboarding, we set our new hires up for success and foster a sense of commitment to both their role and E6. Engaged new hires tend to be the most successful, which is why it’s vital to offer every new hire an exceptional onboarding experience.

Engaged new hires tend to be the most successful, which is why it’s vital to offer every new hire an exceptional onboarding experience.”

 

What tips would you share with other leaders looking to foster a sense of belonging for new hires? 

Effective communication is paramount for any leader looking to create a strong sense of belonging. It’s important to maintain constant communication throughout the hiring process and beyond, particularly for those who have a longer time between being hired and starting. Welcoming new hires to the team immediately after they sign the offer letter is key to ensuring they feel informed about what’s next. 

Although creating a comprehensive onboarding program requires significant effort upfront and ongoing maintenance, the long-term benefits are immense, including higher employee engagement, job satisfaction and retention rates. 

 

How to help foster a sense of belonging among new hires:

  • Send a welcome email to ensure they feel acknowledged.

  • Create a buddy program where they are paired with a mentor.

  • Ensure new hires have the right training for their role.

  • Create a 30, 60 and 90 day plan for all new hires.

  • Send the new hire their first week's schedule ahead of time.

  • Conduct a one-week and one-month check-in to get feedback.

  • Have monthly orientations to introduce them to other new hires.

  • Share fun social events and things the company does by region.

 

 

Rafael Casas de las Peñas
Search and Display Advertising Manager • Semrush

Semrush is an online content management and SaaS platform that provides tools for measuring SEO performance, marketing education and more. 

 

How did Semrush make you feel welcome after joining? 

I felt incredibly welcomed from day one. The company’s well-structured onboarding program helped me feel like I was already part of the team. My manager took the time to introduce me to my colleagues and made sure I was caught up on the team’s recent projects and had all the resources I needed to be successful.

I was pleasantly surprised by the recommendations from my manager and team to take things one step at a time, making sure that I learned everything in my own time before contributing to the team and our goals. It helped me to feel less intimidated and more confident in my ability.

A specific initiative that stands out is the buddy program, where a team member is assigned to assist you on your new journey at the company. My buddy served as a mentor and point of contact and was extremely helpful in guiding me as I navigated my new role. 

Additionally, Semrush places a strong emphasis on company culture. Everyone is open to discussing their work and enabling ideas, allowing me to feel comfortable in sharing my own thoughts. I particularly appreciated the feeling of mutual trust within the company.

 

As a new hire, how did you benefit from these efforts?

The aforementioned onboarding and buddy programs were particularly helpful. I was given everything I needed to be successful in my role from day one—hardware, software and knowledge. It was also very helpful to have goals set, as this helped me to focus on the specific projects and tasks that were most important at that time. 

Thanks to the efforts of my manager and team, I was able to learn a lot about Semrush and the team’s objectives, responsibilities and expertise in a very short amount of time. This allowed me to contribute to the team’s goals quickly and effectively from a fresh perspective. 

The culture of openness and collaboration within my team was especially beneficial to my growth early on. I was able to easily reach out to my colleagues and ask for help or clarification on any doubts I had, which assisted me in contributing to the team’s success.
 

Based on your experiences, what would you recommend leaders at other companies do to make new hires feel a sense of belonging?

I would recommend that leaders at other companies take the following steps:

Create a well-structured onboarding program that outlines the company’s mission, values, goals and expectations. This quickly gave me a sense of purpose and direction within my team and company. Then assign a buddy to new hires to help lead their direction early on. Having this resource available really helped me in feeling supported and connected to the team. 

It’s important to set clear goals and expectations upfront. This helped me focus on the most important tasks and projects at hand and allowed me to feel more confident in my ability to contribute. Leaders should also encourage open communication and collaboration within teams. This has helped me feel more comfortable in my journey here—being able to share thoughts and ideas helps me feel like a valued member of the team.

Company leaders should focus on building a culture of trust and empowerment, where self-motivated individuals are given the autonomy to work on projects. Being given the responsibility to manage my own time and my work is empowering, and enables success. 

Finally, be sure to measure results based on outcomes, not just inputs or time spent. 

 

Responses have been editing for length and clarity. Images via Shutterstock and featured companies.

Hiring Now
PwC
Artificial Intelligence • Professional Services • Business Intelligence • Consulting • Cybersecurity • Generative AI