The Art of Employee Onboarding: Creating a Soft Landing for New Hires


Imagine stepping into a new job, filled with anticipation and excitement, only to be met with confusion, administrative tasks, and a lack of understanding about the company’s culture and mission. It’s an experience that can leave new hires feeling overwhelmed and disconnected. As CEOs, you might wonder why should this matter to you? After all, isn’t onboarding HR’s responsibility? 

You are about to discover why the first-day experience should be a CEO’s concern and how creating a comprehensive onboarding plan can lead to a “soft landing” for new employees, benefitting both the individual and the organization.

The Power of First Impressions

First impressions matter, and there’s no exception when it comes to a new employee’s first day. This initial encounter with the company sets the tone for their entire journey. If they feel lost or disconnected, it can be challenging to change their perception later. That’s why the first day is a pivotal moment for establishing the company’s image.

When employees connect with a company’s mission and culture from day one, it sparks genuine commitment. This commitment translates into tangible benefits like increased engagement, higher retention rates, and improved performance. These are outcomes that extend far beyond the scope of HR alone and have a direct impact on the bottom line.

In essence, providing a “soft landing” for new employees is not just a nicety; it’s a strategic move that can translate into a tangible return on investment.

Crafting the Soft Landing: Creating an Onboarding Plan

Now that we understand the significance of a soft landing, how can CEOs ensure their organization achieves this? The answer lies in creating a comprehensive onboarding plan that covers all aspects of a new hire’s experience.

1. Start with Research:

Begin by asking hard questions and diving deep into what makes your company unique. Interview current employees to understand why they chose your organization over others and what they tell their friends about working here. If you’ve embarked on employer branding efforts before, revisit those insights.

2. Identify Core Values, Mission, and Story: 

Identifying these components is a critical step in creating a soft landing for new hires. These elements provide the foundation upon which your company’s culture is built and offer a roadmap for employees to understand not just what they do but why they do it. 


3. Logistical Details and Tasks:

Compile a list of all the logistical details and tasks that new employees need to navigate. This includes everything from the Wi-Fi password to recommended restaurants near the office and the necessary paperwork and forms.

4. Designing the Soft Landing Booklet:

Create a user-friendly, informative resource that guides new hires through their first day and beyond. This can take various forms, such as a presentation, a mini-site, or even a printed magazine. The key is to make it engaging and comprehensive.

landing booklet

Taking Action: From Concept to Execution

Creating a soft landing for new employees doesn’t stop at planning; it’s about execution. Here are some steps to take:

1. Engage Experts:

Consider enlisting the help of professionals who specialize in employee onboarding. They can assist in the research, design, and execution phases to ensure a seamless transition for new hires.

2. Continuous Improvement:

Onboarding isn’t a one-time event but an ongoing process. Regularly gather feedback from new employees and adjust your onboarding plan accordingly. This will help you stay aligned with the evolving needs and expectations of your workforce.

3. Curate and Elevate:

Once you’ve created an onboarding plan that works, go all the way with it and curate the information to create additional brand-supportive digital (and non) assets such as content for your company career page, branding around the office, social media content, and any other touch point employees have while working. 

lets go further

In conclusion, CEOs play a vital role in shaping the employee experience from day one. Creating a soft landing for new hires through a comprehensive onboarding plan not only fosters a positive workplace culture but also drives tangible results. It’s an investment that pays dividends in the form of engaged, committed, and high-performing employees.

At SAGE, we have long ago recognized the need for such a service and have become experienced experts in crafting compelling employer branding processes from research to tangible execution that are already revolutionizing the onboarding experiences of numerous organizations. So, why leave it solely to HR? Take the lead in ensuring your company’s newest additions embark on a journey of success from the very beginning with our guidance.

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