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3 design principles for an engaging onboarding experience

3 design principles for an engaging onboarding experience

by Tania De Bock |

How do you want to welcome a new employee who starts to work in your company? You probably want to pass at least one of the following messages to your newcomer during their onboarding adventure:

  • You made the right decision by choosing to work with us!
  • We have chosen you, so you are special to us! 
  • You are very welcome here!
  • We expect great things from you.

So, how can you ensure that these intentions are put into practice through a great onboarding experience? We identified 3 design principles for you:


  • Keep contact with the employee after the hiring process has been closed: send all relevant documents and paperwork upfront if possible, and send an onboarding letter at least a week before the first working day
  • Make sure IT & Logistics are ready: inform them on time so that they can prepare all office tools, working materials and facilities on time
  • Inform all parties involved: make sure that colleagues, customers, suppliers, ... have been informed about the newcomer
  • Have a goodie bag ready for the employee upon their arrival


  • It's great if all logistical, practical, technological arrangements have been taken care of before the arrival of the employee. However, it is also important to leave some room for the employee to dress up their working place a little bit and to give their working equipment and environment a personal touch (to the extent possible).
  • Ask the employee for their input on their own onboarding program:
    • What do they need to get started and to feel welcome very quickly?
    • What would they like to add to the existing onboarding program?
    • What makes it a special experience for them?
    • What do they expect to keep their engagement and involvement high?


  • Involve the newcomer's team members: integration is much easier if it is a team responsibility, everyone in the team can play a role in the newcomer's onboarding
  • Organize an entertaining and informative group activity:
    • a taste & chat with the colleagues,
    • a quiz about the company,
    • a presentation of the company by the team members,
    • each team member presents another member of the team, etc...
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