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Ways to Build an Inclusive Onboarding Experience

There are many ways to make your onboarding process inclusive, from the company level to the team and individual level. Here are a few ways you can make employees feel like they belong at your company from day one.

Let new hires know inclusion matters

A simple way to make new hires feel included is to emphasize diversity and inclusion during the onboarding experience. Sharing your company’s commitment to inclusion, such as through a Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) onboarding session, can let new hires know that this is important to you and that the attributes that make them unique matter to your company.

Paint the big picture

In order for onboarding to feel inclusive, new hires need to feel like they’re “in the know.” As a manager or team member, it’s easy to forget what it feels like to be new since you have so much institutional knowledge. When onboarding a new employee, approach it with empathy for your new teammates and appreciation for that feeling of not knowing what you don’t know.

You can do this by sharing your team’s current roadmap or strategy to give every new hire an understanding of what the team does and their priorities at the moment. Additionally, providing an organizational chart or explanation of how the team shares responsibilities is a great way to let each new hire know how they fit into the bigger picture.

Prepare your team

Adding a new member to your team will inevitably change its dynamics. Preparing your team for how the new hire will fit in is key:

What are their responsibilities? Who will they be working with or reporting to? Are they taking on any work from other team members? What does that handoff process look like?

It can be helpful to set the expectation that inclusivity is everyone’s responsibility. By doing so, you’ll encourage your team to act intentionally around including their new teammate and remind them to be inclusive and welcoming.

Contextualize their experience

Context is everything when a new hire starts. But making sure they’re equipped with the information they need to succeed is easier than it might sound. One easy step is to establish a buddy system, where every new hire is paired with a longer-tenured employee to show them the ropes. Their buddy is there to welcome them on the first day, answer questions, and be a dedicated resource through their first few months.

Give space for settling in

Part of creating an inclusive onboarding experience is recognizing that not everyone takes in information the same way. Giving each new hire the time and space to hear and digest all the new information about their role and the company is one of the best ways you can make someone feel welcome.

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