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

Appical Team
Manouk te Rietmolen
January 5, 2023
min read
Table of Contents
Creativity is not something that you either have or you don’t. It’s an ongoing process. Therefore it has become essential for employers to help employees recharge their creativity and get their ideas flowing. 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 

Creativity improves the engagement of new hires
First things first: you don’t want your onboarding program to feel like work to your new hires. It’s highly important to make the journey fun and creative. You want your new hires to get the confirmation that they made the right choice to start working with you. 

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

To better remember the message
People don’t remember text. They remember stories! Creativity plays a big role here. If you make sure the content you’re releasing contains storytelling and timelines, chances are that your new hires learn way faster. By creating a creative and interactive onboarding journey, you’re making sure that important things will be better remembered.

For a strong employer brand
Having a creative onboarding program is good for your employer brand. It shows your company values and it’s dedicated to making sure they have the best possible experience when joining the team. Besides the company values, it’s a good idea to communicate your company culture as well. 

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

On top of that, a creative company often results in creative employees as well. Which is a big win! This makes the circle round. Here are 3 key benefits of why creativity in the workplace is important: 

  1. Creativity builds better teamwork
  2. Creativity improves the ability to attract and retain employees
  3. Creativity increases a problem-solving mindset

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 free to express their ideas and be creative, they can come up with solutions that no one individual would have been able to come up with on their own.

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.

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 alarm at 7 am

Literally: give your new hires some time to prepare for their first day. Who doesn’t love a slow morning with music and some time to fix a sleepy hairdo? The first day is always a little exciting.

Instead of getting them to come in at 9, get them to come in at 10 or 11. This way, you”ll also give yourself some time so set everything up and you”ll give the new employee(s) your full attention.

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

Now that your new hires are given some extra time to check their appearance in the mirror, it’s the perfect time for a strong introduction! Bundle their fresh energy into an Instagram takeover. It’s important here to set some guidelines - but to let the new hires “free” as well. There’s no better way to let them express themselves in the way they would like to. 

Your current employees will get a good perspective on their new colleague immediately. And the new hire will feel part of the team from the first moment. (Talmundo).

3. Allow new hires to customize their onboarding program 

This is a great way to get interactive straight away! Of course you”ll have to make sure that you cover the basics in your onboarding program. But after that, why not let your employees decide which activities they would like to do most? Let them choose between courses, activities and other things to complete their checklist. 

Give your new hires a feeling of control: happiness guaranteed! 

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 is not just the good old game that elderly people play. No, it’s actually a perfect game to implement in your onboarding program! New10 inspired us with this idea during Onboard Amsterdam 2021. Create a bingo card full of assignments that the new hires will have to complete. Think of taking a polaroid picture at the office, go on a coffee date, sending out a first meeting invite and so on. Basically it’s a unique version of the onboarding checklist. 

Get creative and make sure to keep a small gift for every full bingo card. 

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 of new hires at The Provincie Drenthe, multiple games are being played. One of them is called “The Drents Province Game”. They created their own board game. With questions about the location, the teams and the work, for example. How cool! It’s a great way to get to know the company better. And it’s a fun way to interact with your new colleagues. 

On top of that, it creates a balanced mix between online (the app) and offline activities. We love it!

[.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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