How effective onboarding can aid in fostering workplace diversity and inclusion

First impressions are critical to establishing perceptions of workplace culture and environment. The onboarding process is often the first tangible touchpoint wherein new employees – from diverse backgrounds – gauge a sense of whether the work environment is a good fit.




Concerning workplace trends

The 2017 Tech Leavers Study conducted by Kapor Centre for Social Impact, is a first-of-its-kind study orginating in the United States, examining why people voluntarily left their jobs in tech. Some key highlights from the survey include:

  • Employee indication that improving workplace culture can aid in retention
  • 62% of all employees would have remained at their workplace if appropriate steps were taken to create a more positive and respectful environment
  • 57% would have stayed if their company had taken steps to ensure that their workplace culture was fairer and more inclusive

Closer to home, Diversity Council Australia released a report in partnership with the University of Sydney Business School surveying hundreds of female business leaders from diverse backgrounds as a means to prepare a case for shattering the glass-ceiling. The report found:

  • Only 15% of participants strongly agreed that their organisation took advantage of workforce diversity to better service clients or access new markets
  • One in four women from culturally-diverse backgrounds agreed that cultural barriers in the workplace had caused them to scale back at work
  • 28% stated that it was likely that they would seek a job with another employer within the next year
Get it right from step one

As organisations open doors to a diverse talent pool, it’s imperative to create an equitable environment that provides opportunities for all employees to perform their roles and progress along in their career lifecycle. An onboarding experience done well can create a lasting impression in the minds of new employees.

Here’s what businesses can do to set their employees on a path to success from day one:

Make new employees feel welcome

Business leaders and hiring managers invest significant time and resource into searching, screening and recruiting the right candidate. The last thing they need is to make a new employee feel alienated.

Establish a warm and welcoming onboarding experience to bridge the culture gap, and build a sense of familiarity from the outset. Leverage onboarding as an opportunity to learn about your new employees’ likes, hobbies and more. You will then reap the reward of tailoring their engagements with you in order to boost employee morale and engagement. Imagine a scenario where a new employee finds their favourite cup of coffee awaiting as they walk in, or a team lunch organised at a venue serving their favourite cuisine.

Intuitive HRIS platforms, such as Flare HR, enable organisations to create a paperless, automated and digital onboarding experience with personalisation features that heighten employee engagement and productivity. Moreover, new employees can access and complete their onboarding process online on any device at any time, even before their first date of employment; thereby, mitigating ‘day one’ anxieties.

Create an open and transparent onboarding process

As part of the onboarding process, ensure that every employee receives the information they are required to complete, submit and be aware of, such as company policies, banking and tax details, plus essential personal information. Not only will this meet compliance obligations and avoid data gaps, but it will also bring transparency to the end-to-end onboarding journey.

Creating standardised, yet exciting welcome kits as part of the onboarding process and offering them to all new employees is another way to ensure a fair and engaging experience.

Showcase ‘diversity and inclusion’ initiatives

Provide new employees with a preview of the company culture, its people, team activities and company events during the onboarding process to demonstrate the practical application of how your organisation adopts diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

There are several creative ways businesses can approach this. A company culture video featuring current employees from diverse backgrounds, showcasing participation in cultural events and a ‘Welcome message’ from the CEO or managing director makes new employees feel a part of the team.

Assess different working styles

Every employee is different, and so every employee works differently. Diverse cultural experiences influence the learning, management and working style of each employee. Within the first few weeks, take the time to engage new employees productively, set up one-to-one meetings and get to know how they work best. Create a work environment that helps them excel – from providing access to tools that will assist them in optimising their efforts to understanding how they best engage with teams.

Eliminating paperwork and automating the onboarding process saves time and helps shift focus to tasks that matter, enabling new employees to deliver from the start.

Plan team ice-breakers

Enable new employees to get to know their team members and break the ice, sooner rather than later, as part of the onboarding process. Casual networking sessions or team meals outside the office environment can facilitate informal conversations, helping new hires better assimilate into the team, whilst allowing current team members to familiarise themselves with their new colleagues.

From employee engagement to employee evangelism

Creating an equitable work culture will aid the progression of employees from actively engaged to brand evangelists, both during and after their tenure at the company.

Recommended resource: We’ve put together a comprehensive guide for businesses, which includes best practice guidelines and tips to enhance the onboarding experience for your new employees.

Download Employee Onboarding Guide

Never miss an article

Subscribe to news and trends to help empower HR and business leaders do their jobs better each week.