Onboarding during Summer Vacation: How to give new hires a warm welcome?

Jessica Heijmans
July 21, 2023
min read
Table of Contents
Summer is a time for relaxation and fun, but it can also pose some unique challenges for organizations. Especially when it comes to onboarding new hires. With many employees jetting off for some well-deserved time off, providing a warm welcome and ensuring a smooth onboarding experience can be a bit tricky. However, with the right strategies, you can conquer these challenges and create a positive onboarding experience for your new hires. Ready to dive in? Here are some tips on how to give your new hires a warm welcome during this sunny season.

The challenges of onboarding during summer vacation

  • Absence of Key Personnel: One common problem during the summer months is the absence of key personnel who are typically responsible for onboarding and welcoming new hires. Think of HR, administrative personnel, or IT.
  • Empty office: during the summer months, the office can often feel like a ghost town, with key personnel taking their well-deserved vacations. Without the presence of the team members, the office can feel impersonal, making it challenging for new employees to feel that instant sense of belonging.
  • Minimal tasks to tackle: The summer vacation period can also bring a quieter period in terms of workload,  which can be both a blessing and a challenge for onboarding new hires. While having more time available for onboarding can be beneficial, it can also pose the challenge of finding meaningful tasks for new hires to work on. 

However, these obstacles can be overcome with careful planning and creativity. 

7 Tips for Onboarding during summer vacation

1. Plan ahead like you're packing for vacation

Planning ahead is your secret weapon when it comes to onboarding new hires during summer vacation. Identify the key dependencies in the onboarding process and work around them. Need someone to conduct  IT orientation? Check their vacation schedule and adjust the starting dates accordingly. Or ask other employees in advance to take over.

Knowing who needs to do what for a new hire to be introduced into the organization will help you navigate potential challenges caused by key personnel absences.

2. Standardize onboarding for a smooth sail

Now that you’ve identified the key dependencies and personnel, you can standardize some onboarding tasks. Parts of the onboarding process can be automated to streamline tasks and reduce dependency on specific individuals. By having clear workflows and documentation, you can provide a consistent onboarding experience even when key personnel are unavailable.

For example, let's say Peter from HR usually handles the paperwork. While he's sipping a margarita on the beach (lucky him), an automated system can take care of the paperwork, ensuring nothing falls through the cracks.

3. Prep for success with preboarding

Don't wait until the first day of work to start making new hires feel welcome. Preboarding activities can help new hires feel engaged, excited, and connected with the organization even before their first day of work.

Let your team members reach out to your new hire before the vacation. For example with personal messages through LinkedIn or other communication channels. Show them some love by sharing information about your company culture, sending welcome packages, or even introducing them to their future colleagues online. It's like a virtual sneak peek into their new work family!

4. Roll out the red carpet on day one (even without the key players)

When your key players – the new hires' soon-to-be teammates – are out of the office on those all-important first days, it can be tough for new hires to feel like they're truly part of the team. However, there is no need to worry because, with a little coordination, you can still provide a warm welcome on Day One.  

Your first step? Ensure that someone is available to greet and welcome the new hires, provide them with their office supplies (including a welcome package), and give them a tour of the office. A friendly face, a warm smile, and a genuine hello go a long way in putting new hires at ease and setting the tone for a positive onboarding experience. 

Additionally, make sure to allocate some time in their schedule for one-on-one meetings with other colleagues who are present in the office. It's important to ensure that new hires have the chance to connect with as many team members as possible.

5.  Unleash the power of onboarding buddies

To compensate for the absence of the rest of the team during summer vacations, prioritize more intensive contact between the new hire and their onboarding buddy. The buddy can serve as a valuable resource and guide, helping the new hire navigate the organization and feel connected. Encourage the buddy to schedule regular check-ins. This intensified contact can bridge the gap until the rest of the team returns from vacation.

[.callout-small]Learn how to implement an onboarding buddy system with our 'Onboarding Buddy Toolbox'[.callout-small]

6. Keep the new hire in the loop (with team communication channels)

When the team is scattered on vacation, it can be challenging to keep new hires in the loop. Add them to the team communication channels to keep them updated. Whether it's a team group chat or a collaboration platform, keeping them in the know about team activities and discussions will make them feel included and connected.

7. Customize the onboarding process to embrace the summer vibe

When onboarding during summer vacation, be mindful of the season's laid-back vibes. Tailor the onboarding experience accordingly. In most workplaces, the workload tends to be lighter in the summer months, which means that new hires may have fewer tasks or projects to work on. 

While this may initially seem like a disadvantage, it can actually be beneficial. With fewer busy days, there is more time available to properly onboard new employees and allow them to absorb information and settle into their new roles. Striking the right balance between onboarding activities and giving them time to adjust is crucial.

That's a wrap! With these tips, you'll be well on your way to nailing the onboarding process during the summer vacation season. Cheers to a successful and stress-free summer onboarding experience!

Share this post

Join 6.956 HR and onboarding specialists!

Have all our latest onboarding news delivered to your inbox. Sign up for our monthly newsletter.

Related posts

Want to know more about onboarding? See our other blogs

5 min read

6 reasons why your company should offer an onboarding buddy

Here are 6 more reasons why your company should offer an onboarding buddy!

5 min read

Onboarding LGBTQIA+ Employees: 9 ways to create an inclusive workplace

In this blog post, we will explore nine tips for including LGBTQIA+ individuals in your onboarding process.

5 min read

From the expert: how to support the different roles in employee onboarding

How do you ensure that everyone who has a role in the onboarding process is involved, works together and knows what is expected of their role?