Improve Your Employee Onboarding: Lessons from Twitter and Pinterest

Your employee onboarding is critical to your overall business success. Lack of effective employee onboarding will leave new staff frustrated, and will cause new team members to take longer to drive productivity and profitability for your business.

Recent data from Gallup found that only 12 percent of employees believe their organizations do a great job with employee onboarding. In other words, nearly 90 percent think their organizations can do a better job with onboarding. 
A strong employee onboarding program can help you keep new hires excited about contributing to your team and, ultimately, speed up time to productivity. If you’re hoping to improve your onboarding efforts, look no further than a few well-known technology companies. In this blog post, we’ve highlighted two organizations with unique employee onboarding programs – and lessons you can learn as a result. 

Twitter’s “Yes to Desk” Employee Onboarding 

When an employee accepts a job offer, their excitement about joining your team is likely at its peak. But some of this excitement might wear off if new hires don’t hear from your team between when they sign an offer letter and walk in on the first day. And this excitement will take even more of a hit if your team isn’t prepared for the new hire’s first day.

Twitter’s “Yes to Desk” employee onboarding program focuses on making the time period between when an employee says “Yes” to a job offer and the employee arrives at their “Desk” as productive as possible. The program includes 75 different touchpoints between the new hire, recruiting, HR team, IT, and more. The key goal of this employee onboarding program is to provide an exceptional experience to all new team members right from the start.   
Before each employee arrives at his or her desk, they have their email address, a T-shirt and bottle of wine waiting. And on the first day, new hires receive a full tour of the office, followed by customized training on the tools and training they’ll need to succeed in each of their roles. To ensure new employees integrate well into the company, Twitter also hosts a new hire happy hour each month and rotating presentations each Friday, so employees can learn about projects on other teams. 
The last thing employees want is to show up on their first day and twiddle their thumbs while your team scrambles to get their desk ready or set up their schedule for the day. By taking a strategic approach to employee onboarding like Twitter, your team can ensure you get started off on the right foot with new employees from day one. This will help motivate employees to do great work for your organization right out of the gate. 

Pinterest’s Focus on Knitting 

Similar to Twitter, Pinterest places a strong emphasis on supporting a great first day for each new employee. Despite having offices around the globe, Pinterest has all new employees begin their onboarding at the company’s corporate headquarters in San Francisco. Prior to the start date, new hires receive an introductory email with their schedule and are given the opportunity to introduce themselves to the company. On the first day, new hires met for breakfast before taking part in icebreakers.
One aspect of onboarding unique to Pinterest is focus on the company’s value, “knitting.” The term means collaborating with others and seeing the world from different points of view. As a whole, Pinterest prioritizes the importance of everyone working together – from engineering and design to marketing and community, to create the best experience for Pinners (Pinterest’s target audience).

New hires are given the opportunity to start living and breathing the “knitting” value during onboarding, with scheduled activities such as icebreakers, talks with company leaders across teams and getting set up on the communication tool, Slack. Through Slack, Pinterest employees can interact with team members across the company and learn about company volunteer efforts through KnitSF. 
Beyond ensuring employees have everything they need for a successful day one as Twitter does, one lesson you can take away from Pinterest is the importance of ingraining your company values into your culture starting on each employee’s first day. Rather than simply having the core values listed on the wall, think of ways to incorporate your values into day-to-day work. Doing so will help employees truly feel like they’re working as part of a team toward a common goal, which will lead to increased engagement and productivity. 
Twitter and Pinterest are just a few examples of organizations with effective employee onboarding programs in place. While you might not have the resources of a large technology company, you can apply many of the same tactics to your onboarding efforts to continuously improve.
For more tips on setting up employees for success from the beginning, read our resource, “The Hireology Digital Onboarding Playbook.”



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