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Coming aboard at a company: onboarding made fun

How did you feel about the last job you started? Did you feel excited, motivated and supported to start this new phase of your life? Or did you feel tanking, lost and overwhelmed with all the new impressions and faces to remember? Maybe you had even experienced both in your career. The success on learning to swim in a new company is mainly depending on the onboarding process your new company creates. CELUS has a unique way to process the onboarding – you can learn more about it at the end of this article.

It is the first impression that counts

A smooth onboarding process not only prevents frustration, but also strongly influences the overall impression of the company. If the new employee had a negative impression on the onboarding process, they are two times more likely to leave the company in the near future. Reducing the employee turnover is beneficial for the team and working climate in the company as well as for a new employee being confident with their new job. This is why Esmira Alieva, Head of Human Resources (HR) at CELUS, puts a lot of effort into the first-day-experience at CELUS together with her team. She emphasizes: "You have only one chance to make the first impression on a new team member, don’t ruin it with missing accesses, a non-working laptop and colleagues not knowing the name of a newcomer." Hence, not only the onboarding itself matters but also how you approach it. According to a study with over 1500 professionals being asked, the potential to do better is enormous: One out of five employees would not recommend their new company to their family after experiencing the onboarding process. But how can a great onboarding look like?

Make onboarding great

Overall, a good onboarding should communicate the company’s habits and culture, but also the structure, names one should know as well as introducing the direct colleagues. This has to be planned thoroughly in advance. Esmira says: "Small details make the biggest difference. We ask ourselves: Did we give a tour around the office? Does a new hire know where a toilet is? Have we invited the new person to have lunch together? Did we show how to use the coffee machine? Not knowing these things may make a new colleague feel confused, unsure or lost. Think about it in advance". So, a great onboarding process should convey information smoothly, step by step, without overwhelming the employee. It should invite them to communicate and give a purpose to approach the people around you.

Creating an awesome experience

The amount of information to convey is huge. One team member of the HR team at CELUS is Oleksandra Borovyk. She says: “I've started to work at CELUS one month ago and I can say that it is the best experience that could happen to me after long pause in working life. Everyday, I deal with big amount of new information, but I know that I can ask questions and they will be answered, I feel that all my colleagues care! From first day on I felt welcome and free to speak up.”

According to Esmira, to enable a new team member to cope with the amount of information while still not feeling lost, a “gripping” onboarding experience should be designed. One way to tackle this and instill enthusiasm even about the first days in a company can be gamification. In this concept, playful frames should motivate and engage employees more. As it is a very effective method to foster the employees' intrinsic motivation, it is currently a rising topic in HR Management. Esmira recommends: “Be creative, techie and playful. Make a game out of it to create excitement and memories. Put a mysterious onboarding box on a working desk. It will automatically create a feeling that someone has been waiting for you to come and prepared a present. Use a chatbot to answer most common questions so that a newcomer knows where to find an answer without feeling silly. Make a challenge list to help with quick adaptation.” In the end of this article, you can get an insight into the challenges solved when onboarding at CELUS, but there are other exciting elements to experience in the CELUS onboarding process.

Gamification supporting the CELUS process

Gamified elements are used in our onboarding process from a mystery box with presents to a challenge list, new team members will get to know the company and internal rules in a smooth and playful way. For example, every new team member has to pass a quiz about cybersecurity, which contains a small extra pinch of fun to keep the attention high. (Seriously, who is not in a good mood when your reward for a successful try is a cat meme?). Antonio Becerra is senior field application engineer at CELUS. He found the quizzes a fun and helpful way to orientate at CELUS: “The who is who quiz is a great way to make sure I know the key people in the company and I am happy that we have a cybersecurity quiz. It should be a standard in every company to avoid security breaches.”


As the CELUS Design Platform is an innovative and complex product, a way had to be found how to convey the workflow and advantages to a new team member. The approach to do it is very straightforward: Everyone will create their own piece of electronics by using the Software, be it a marketing manager or Python developer. It is about getting excited about the product and being creative with almost no limits. For example, Oleksandra created a device to monitor humidity and temperature in her snail terrarium at home. “It was really great! It showed me that even without knowledge in electronics with some help and our software I can create something useful for everyday life within minutes and it’s really great to see it with your own eyes”, says Oleksandra.

Foreigners have it harder

However, even the best onboarding is no cure-all solution. A special case is a new employee coming from abroad. They find themselves surrounded by new people, new topics, a new city and maybe even a new culture. As a foreigner, the obstacles to start a new job might be a lot higher. They do not only have to find their way through a new company culture but also through a different mindset and habits originating in the other country’s culture. The first challenge is often how a foreigner is going to get to the office, which is something an HR manager should think of in advance and give useful advices. This even more highlights the importance of HR-professionals creating a holistic experience. “Onboarding is about diving into new work, tasks and responsibilities but it is also about feelings. Do your hires feel welcome, secure and at ease?“, explains Esmira. So, an onboarding process for foreigners should not only include the introduction of the company but also of cultural habits in general and in the best case, also offer support for relocation, visa and all other difficulties that might appear during the arrival in the new dream-job. CELUS’ HR department helps with all these appearing challenges.

Tackling the CELUS onboarding challenges

An onboarding experience will happen anyway, so why not designing it nicely? If you carefully plan it, the outcome is manageable and you are in control of the experiences a new team member will have. However, if you just let it somehow happen, you will find yourself constantly dealing with the same kind of problems and as a result, may lose some really good hires who got frustrated in their first months in the company. The onboarding is a bigger part of that overall impression than many might think as research suggests that half of the employees would go “above and beyond” after being offered a good onboarding.

One way to achieve this can be a gamified onboarding challenge as it helps every new team member to feel included and keep CELUS team close together. For sure, having the full picture over all processes and contact persons just takes time, but a good onboarding process can be a large step in the right direction avoiding frustration from the beginning. Antonio highlighted also how important it was to have a smooth introduction, “especially when someone is new in a company and doesn't know the team nor the procedures.” He has already finished the CELUS onboarding challenges and figured they were lots of fun: “I find the 15 challenges a great idea. Through solving them I can get to know a bit better not only the company but also my colleagues. It provides a very effective way of integration – I created my own coffee creation: the Antonioccino, what else could I wish for?” Oleksandra agrees: “I was given nice list of challenges, that helped me not only to deal with my work better but to collaborate and communicate easily.”

Take an exclusive look into the CELUS challenges now by downloading them via the button below!

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