James & Dan: Why You Need To Be Intentional With Your Employee Onboarding


Onboarding is a huge part of why you are here. Let’s make that clear as day right out of the gate. Working in HR, you will spend an incredible amount of time working on bringing employees onboard, getting them up to speed, and integrating them into your company culture. You’ll be doing the paperwork, filling out the forms, scheduling inductions and trying to remember which company values you have to talk about on what day.

Onboarding gets complicated.

At Flare, it’s the secret sauce and it’s the focus that keeps us coming back to our customers to give them the best features, ideas and products we can come up with.

It matters to us that our customers are able to give their staff the best possible first day at work, and get their job done with the absolute minimum amount of friction and difficulty.

And that’s what we want our customers to care about, too. We want our customers to want their onboarding to be world-leading.

We sat down with our CEO, Dan Cohen and our MD, James Windon, to talk about why that onboarding experience should matter, and how we’ve started to think about it as the team here has grown!


You’ll learn:

Why Apple’s approach to product is the right approach to your employee experience
How to foster pride in the way employees join your company
Why culture comes from quality – it doesn’t come from a party

What’s the deal with Apple?

JW: “You don’t look at an Apple product because you’re worrying about price, or you’re worrying about finding a bargain. It’s not about an experience that you can quantify as a ‘deal’ and chase into the reject shop. You look at an Apple product because everything about their brand and their presentation and their design speaks about quality. It’s not a phone, it’s a work of art. It’s a Rolls Royce. That quality speaks for itself to the level that even the features can be a generation behind the bleeding edge, and the product is still considered legendary.

The quality level comes down to absolutely every single part of the product and the company, from the screens on the laptops and tablets to the boxes the products are shipped in, to the tables they choose to display products on at the Apple store. So you know that what you buy is going to have that same experience of quality.

What happens if you take that approach to your employees, and the way you manage them? You know, if you drill down to every single aspect and level of the employee experience, and you make it world class, it is going to filter out and it’s going to be the best marketing tool for your business as a place to work, it’ll go beyond having a fancy slide in the office or delivering fruit baskets to the doorstep.

And a big part of that is going to be the onboarding process. That first touchpoint with the company where you come on board and become a part of it, has to be designed and looked after with the same level of quality as every other aspect of your employee touchpoints, every part of the journey that your team takes.”

How to foster pride in the way employees join your company

DC: “It’s momentous when someone joins your company, no matter how big or how small the team is. Every single player on the team is a sign of your growth and your health as a company, and how far you are in your journey. That’s something that you have to stay aware of, it’s something that you have to keep thinking about.

When you do have a new team member start, you want that to be something to announce and celebrate and talk about it. It’s what we’ve always done at Flare, by taking a moment each week to welcome the new people who have joined, ask them a few questions about who they are and where they’ve come from, and just pause to be thankful that they’ve decided to back this team.

The way you celebrate it or commemorate it is going to be different for your culture, and that’s okay, but we really want to encourage you to at least take it seriously and be conscious of how it happens. The best outcome is that people who take a leap of faith and put their trust in you are going to feel like it absolutely matters that they chose to do that, and it absolutely matters that they turned up on their first day.”

Why culture comes from quality – it doesn’t come from a party

DC “We have a focus on making sure that this is a fun place to be, and that the culture is vibrant, that we take the time to celebrate the holidays, dress up for Halloween and the Melbourne Cup, and have a really good time together. But to take it back to the business itself, we know that the party doesn’t make the culture.

Too often, you do see people who think that the showy or the flashy parts of a company are what give it life, and so they’ll put a lot more emphasis on the good times. What you’ll miss though, is that even the good times only make the culture as good as the people, and the people are only going to be as good as the people who hire them.”

JW: “From the first step of the onboarding, we know what matters to Jack and Jane who are about to start working at the store to pay off their credit cards, they want to get paid and get made. Their priorities are going to be right on that.

And it’s the same for the new starters we have at Flare, too. But our priority has to be to not only facilitate that and make it happen, but to impart the quality of our culture as we do it.

We’ve designed the Flare platform around making that quality of culture accessible, through the ease of the steps, and through the questions we ask about who the employees are. One of the questions we’ve set up in our onboarding flow is to ask our new starters what coffee and cake they love the most, so that we can have a hot drink and a snack waiting on their desk on their first day. And again, that’s the detail level quality, the Apple play, it’s taking care of every small thing, every time. It’s where the quality of culture and the culture of quality come from.”

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