The 7 C’s of Onboarding: How to integrate ‘Creativity’?

Manouk te Rietmolen
January 5, 2023
min read
Table of Contents
Creativity isn't a trait you either possess or lack— it’s an ongoing journey. That's why it's so important for employers to help their teams recharge their creativity and keep those ideas coming. It’s also important for your company to stand out from the crowd. And to create an original onboarding program! Read along to learn more about why creativity is important and how to be creative with your onboarding program.

The 7 C’s of Onboarding

Welcome to the final blog in the 7 C's of Onboarding series, a framework developed by Talya Bauer. In this blog, we'll be exploring the 7th C: Creativity, which has been added by Appical. We believe creativity is an essential ingredient in designing a successful onboarding process. And let’s not forget: it’s a fun part too. 

If you haven't had a chance to familiarize yourself with the other 6 C's yet, take a moment to delve into them: Compliance, Clarification, Confidence, Culture, Connection, Checkback.

For now, let’s take a look at Creativity. 

What is the meaning of ‘Creativity’?

As stated by the Cambridge Dictionary, creativity is the ability to produce original and unusual ideas, or to make something new or imaginative. It comes in many different forms and ways. It comes all of a sudden, or sometimes not at all. But it all comes down to this: if you are creative, you look at things from a unique perspective. 

To dive deeper into the meaning of creativity, let’s start with a small exercise. Have you ever thought about creativity being hidden in even the smallest tasks? Such as organizing your space, meeting someone new or keeping a journal? Take a couple of minutes to think about this and you probably find that you are more creative than you think. 

Creativity is seeing what others see and thinking what no one else ever thought
- Albert Einstein 

Why is ‘Creativity’ important?

You have put in a lot of effort to create a strong onboarding program for your new employees. However, you have noticed that they are not completing their checklists and are not talking about the onboarding program in the way you had hoped.

Why? Your onboarding process might not be fun and interesting enough. This is exactly why you need a creative onboarding program. 

Creativity in your onboarding program 

1. Creativity improves the engagement of new hires
First and foremost, your onboarding program shouldn't feel like just another job task for your new hires. It's crucial to ensure the journey is enjoyable and creative. You want your new hires to feel reassured that they've made the right decision in joining your team. Plus, remember, they're also investing their own time in the preboarding process.

The more fun your onboarding program is, the more engaged your new hires are. 

2. Creativity enhances message retention

People don't typically remember plain text—they remember stories! That's where creativity comes into play. Incorporating storytelling and clear timelines into your content enhances retention and speeds up learning for new hires. By creating a creative and interactive onboarding journey, you’re making sure that important things will be better remembered.

3. Creativity creates a stronger employer brand
Having a creative onboarding program is beneficial for your employer brand. It demonstrates your company's values and commitment to ensuring a stellar experience for new team members. In addition to showcasing your company values, it's also important to effectively communicate your company culture

It also sends a strong message to potential hires that your company is a great place to work, which can help with recruitment.

Creativity in the workplace

In addition, a creative company tends to inspire creative employees, which is a big win! This creates a positive cycle. Here are three key benefits that highlight why creativity in the workplace matters:

1. Creativity builds better teamwork
Creativity can be a powerful tool when it comes to working in teams. When used in the right way, it can help teams come up with innovative solutions to complex problems, as well as help teams work together more effectively. It helps to break down barriers between team members and encourages collaboration.

When team members are encouraged to freely express their ideas and think creatively, they can collaborate to find solutions that surpass what any individual could achieve alone.

2. Creativity improves the ability to attract and retain employees
Creativity helps to create a sense of purpose and belonging. Employees are more likely to stay with a business if they feel like their work is meaningful and they are part of something bigger. By allowing employees to express their creative ideas, businesses can create a sense of belonging and purpose that will make employees feel valued and appreciated.

3. Creativity increases a problem-solving mindset
Creativity is an invaluable tool when it comes to problem-solving. It encourages people to think outside the box, to come up with solutions that are new and innovative. By allowing people to explore their own ideas, creativity encourages them to be open-minded and flexible when it comes to tackling problems.

How to apply ‘Creativity’ in your onboarding program

Now that you know why creativity in the workplace is important, we’d love to share 8 creative onboarding ideas that your new hires will love!

1. No alarms set for 7 am!

Literally, give your new hires some time to prepare for their first day. Who doesn’t love a leisurely morning with music and a chance to fix their sleepy hairdo? The first day is always a bit exciting. Instead of having them arrive at 9 am, consider a later start at 10 or 11 am. This way, you'll also have time to set everything up and give the new employee(s) your full attention.

2. Replace an introduction in Slack with a flawless Instagram takeover

Now that your new hires have had a moment to check their appearance in the mirror, it’s the perfect opportunity for a memorable introduction! Harness their enthusiasm with an Instagram takeover. It’s crucial to establish guidelines while also allowing new hires the freedom to express themselves authentically. This approach empowers them to showcase their personality and unique perspective.

Your current employees will quickly gain a good perspective on their new colleague, while the new hire will immediately feel like a valued part of the team (Talmundo).

3. Allow new hires to customize their onboarding program 

This is an excellent way to kick-start interactivity right from the beginning! Of course, covering the essentials in your onboarding program is crucial. However, once those are covered, why not empower your employees to choose the activities they find most appealing? Whether it's courses, activities, or other tasks on their checklist, giving them this autonomy can make them feel more in control—and happier too! 

4. Use creative methods to explain company policies and procedures

Creative methods can be used to explain company policies and procedures in order to make them more interesting and engaging. For example, you could use quizzes, infographics, videos, and other visual aids to help explain complex concepts. Another idea worth sharing is to develop an “interactive wall” where employees can post their questions and thoughts about the company policies and procedures.

5. Host an onboarding talkshow

Ever thought about organizing a talkshow at work? It’s an extremely creative way to connect with new hires. Create a format, invite one of the board members to the table and ask one of the onboardees to be the co-host. 

You can share the episodes with the company and even on your social media channels (with permission). We’ve seen companies like Radboudumc and Capgemini do this, and it’s a huge success!

6. Bingo! Anyone?

Bingo isn't just for retirees—it's a fantastic addition to your onboarding program! We got inspired by New10 at Onboard Amsterdam 2021 with this idea. Create a bingo card filled with tasks for new hires to complete. Imagine snapping a polaroid at the office, going on a coffee date, sending out a first meeting invite, and more. It's a fun twist on the traditional onboarding checklist. Get imaginative and consider rewarding every completed bingo card with a small gift.

7. Help employees explore their creative talents

Allowing employees to work on projects outside of their normal job description broadens their horizon. Provide resources to help employees explore their creative talents, and give employees the freedom to pursue their own interests. Communicate this in your pre- or onboarding program and make your employees aware of this policy. 

8. Recognize and reward creative thinking

Finally, it’s important to recognize and reward creative thinking in your onboarding program. When employees are given recognition for their ideas, it encourages them to keep innovating and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. This creates an environment where employees feel valued and appreciated for the work they do, which in turn can increase creativity and productivity. 

Best practice: Board Game by the Provincie Drenthe

During the introduction day for new hires at The Provincie Drenthe, they engage in several games, one of which is "The Drents Province Game"—their very own board game. This game includes questions about the location, teams, and the work itself. How innovative! It’s an excellent method to deepen understanding of the company and enjoy interacting with new colleagues in a fun setting. Additionally, it strikes a perfect balance between online (through an app) and offline activities. We absolutely love this approach!

[.callout-small] Check out the Provincie Drenthe case study! [.callout-small]

By now we hope you have a better understanding of why and how creativity adds value to your company. And we hope you’ve gained some inspiration for your onboarding program! This was our final blog about the 7 C series. Are you looking for a summary of the 7 C’s? Then read our whitepaper: How to create a successful onboarding journey. 

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