Eurofins: Onboarding at the largest Covid test lab in the Netherlands

Setting up a PCR laboratory in the space of 9 weeks where a record number of 35,000 PCR tests will be processed daily. In the fight against COVID-19, Eurofins built the biggest High Volume Lab in the Netherlands. And to staff the new lab, they needed over 200 new employees. How did Eurofins organize the onboarding of all these new people using Appical's digital platform?

Eurofins employee in the lab
Company Size

What was Eurofins' onboarding challenge?

Eurofins is the world market leader in bio-analytical testing for food, water, the environment and pharmaceutical products. In 2020, within the space of 9 weeks, subsidiary Eurofins Clinical Diagnostics - which focuses on human material - built a High Volume Laboratory with the capacity to process 35,000 PCR tests a day.

"We knew that we were facing something totally new," says HR Manager Jennifer van Valkenhoef. "We needed to upscale very fast: from 300 tests to 35,000 PCR tests a day. This meant that the process from sample receipt to result was automated and we needed people with knowledge of the machines. In a short space of time, we had to organize the onboarding of a lot of people to process the huge number of samples."

To complete the onboarding as quickly as possible, Eurofins looked for a digital app which could manage the high number of new employees and the rapidly changing context, whilst ensuring that new employees could be deployed fast, were trained and enthusiastic.

What does the Eurofins onboarding program look like?

"Appical explained how you set up digital onboarding for a new employee and what steps you take. From there, we started to build the parts we felt were important for new and existing employees. We wanted a fun, interactive way to give new, mainly young people the same information before their first day at work."

"In three months, we grew from 0 to nearly 250 employees. These employees came from different sectors: from hospitality and aviation and from a sushi chef to a driving school owner. Not everyone had experience working in a lab. But even before they were trained, they were prepared via the digital Appical app. With the app, the onboarding of new employees starts immediately once they accept the job."

The app can also be used wherever and whenever it suits the employee. "Because you can swipe in the app and don't need to follow a certain sequence, everyone can do it in their own way and at their own pace. Employees can always look back at the rules and instructions."

[.callout-blue]Instead of actors, Eurofins used its own employees in the instruction videos and photos. Great fun to see yourself in them! Lab technician Andy Carolie is also pleased with the videos: "When I see something once, I can do it. The videos really helped me learn what the work on a machine involves."[.callout-blue]

How has the onboarding app been received?

Because of the speed at which the High Volume Lab was built, an average of 15 employees were onboarded via the app in the first weeks. The reactions have been positive. "People love the look of the app and say that they don't miss anything in the app. And you see that everyone really responds to the questions that are asked. Managers don't need to explain so much themselves and employees can be deployed faster. Employees leave very positive reactions in the app. Which means we get a rating of well over 8 for the onboarding and welcome feeling."

Continuous development

The app may have been well received, but that doesn't mean the platform won't continue to develop. "We regularly refresh the content to keep pace with changes in the organization. And the app has now been rolled out in all the companies in clinical. We've started using the app for more and more things, not just onboarding.”

"We also sent out a survey to find out how people are doing after the first weeks and what we can improve. We then looked at all the points and addressed them. People wanted a more sociable environment, so we redecorated the canteen. And one person said: 'I just want salt and pepper at the office', so we sorted that too.”

“My favourite feature? The time lapse of the building of the lab. That shows what a crazy adventure the whole project was.”

Did you know...

  • This High Volume Laboratory was built in just 9 weeks.
  • This is the largest High Volume Laboratory in the Netherlands.
  • It normally takes 9 months to set up a laboratory.
  • The warehouse is 2,200m2, with an 8-week supply.

Jennifer van Valkenhoef
“The volumes and rapidly changing context were unique and difficult. Appical helped us a lot in this. The app made people feel enthusiastic and expectations were managed. It also made it possible to deploy people faster too."
Jennifer van Valkenhoef

What employees say about Appical

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Intro screen of the Eurofins app

Congratulations on your new job

The journey starts before the first day at work. New employees learn about the history, the story of Eurofins, meet new colleagues and receive practical information in preparation for their first day at work.
Chapter in the Eurofins onboarding app

Preparation for the first day

It's nearly time: your first day in your new job! In this chapter, new employees are given location-specific information (Where can I park? Where do I enter? What happens at lunch time?), learn the rules and agreements and watch videos with instructions.
Example of the Eurofins app

Communication via videos

The work instructions consist of various technical videos: how do you use a pipette and how does the PCR machine work? Many people find that easier than long reams of text. And the best bit? The employees themselves star in the videos.

Your first month

It's here: your first day. Besides a tour and introductions to colleagues, via the platform you get to know handy apps and systems, your new workplace and who's who in the company.

How are we doing?

Feedback is important for Eurofins throughout the onboarding program. How are we doing? What can we improve? Surveys provide the company with feedback from the new employees. In this way, the app can continually develop.