Designing employee experiences increase commitment and happiness

Organisations that offer more than a competitive salary and countless perks will continue to attract the best talent.

“Congratulations, we would like to hire you!”

This sentence starts an important and exciting period for a new employee in her/his new workplace – onboarding.

Onboarding is a critical phase affecting on the experiences and expectations new employee faces. For the employee’s commitment, it’s important to offer her/him meaningful experiences at work from the very first moments.

How to organise a successful onboarding? And what service design has to do with it? Continue reading to find out!

Successful onboarding aims to the feeling of purpose

25% of the newly hired employees resign during their first year in a company (Onboarding: Getting New hires off to a Flying Start, Harperlund, 2016)


In most of the cases, the culprits are bad or non-existing onboarding and a so-called “honeymoon phenomenon” when the expectations towards a new job are shattered little by little if the everyday work doesn’t meet the wishes employee had for the position. This results in an uncommitted employee who isn’t able to generate desired result for the employee experience nor the business.

A successful onboarding aims to make the new employee an integral part of the company and the community as quickly as possible. Additionally, the employee herself/himself finds the work meaningful from the very beginning. That is, onboarding is a period that lasts from signing the contract until she/he is part of the working community.

Use service design methodology in designing an onboarding path

If the company only hopes that the new employee spontaneously learns the company habits and rules and would still be satisfied with the experience, the onboarding is most likely already failed. This is where service design enters the picture.

A good way to model the employee experience during an onboarding period is to map the most important touchpoint that affects the experience and design an onboarding path.

Define the different steps and parties of the onboarding path

As mentioned, onboarding starts with signing the contract. What are the things and messages a company wants to communicate at this point? How to get the newly-hired engaged already before the first day?

Most important points of onboarding are the experiences during the first day and first week. These are probably the most exciting and most stressful times for the employee. Designing the onboarding experience well for the first days, weeks, and months creates conditions for the employee to be committed to the company and being able to do productive work as quickly as possible.

An essential part of mapping the onboarding path is to identify those parties and factors the play a key role in creating a positive experience. Both supervisors, colleagues, HR professionals, as well as digital and physical tools, contribute significantly in the success of the onboarding process.

Follow these questions when designing an onboarding path: / These questions help you to design the onboarding flow:

  • How to ensure that the new employee gets into the work culture and community?
  • How the new employee will be guided to day-to-day work and processes?
  • Is the employee aware of the expectations for her/him?
  • Does she/he have all the required information available in order to work efficiently?

Well designed onboarding path is a light process that pays itself back

The first steps in designing the onboarding path are a survey of the current status and finding out the pain points. This is where the design research methods, such as interviews and observation, help to map the current state of the company.

Through different employee segments, groups, and roles one can consider how the onboarding experience should be tailored and targeted to suit for different employees.

As a result, the onboarding phase becomes such an easy process both for the employee and company that it feels natural and effortless to go through every time a company hires new talent.

The investments in onboarding are rewarded with multiple benefits when the employee finds the experience satisfying right from the beginning and is committed to her/his work and the company.

Would you like talk more about employee experience? Is your company facing significant changes that could affect on the employee experience?

Drop us a line and our EX expert Maija will be happy to tell you more:

Maija Mäenpää

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