A carefree start for new employees at the Province of Drenthe

The Province of Drenthe developed an onboarding app with two clear objectives: to establish a connection with new hires before their first day and to provide relevant information at the appropriate time. Read on to learn how the organization implemented the app.

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Goal: Involvement from the very beginning

The province of Drenthe does important work for the residents of Drenthe. For example, overseeing the establishment of nature reserves and the maintenance of provincial roads and waterways, as well as supporting various organizations such as theaters, museums, and libraries, among others, but also institutions in areas such as the economy, innovation, nature, and sports. 

Tycho Burggraaf is a P&O employee at the province. For him, the onboarding process begins at the employment interview, which is the first contact after the job interviews between the employee and P&O. 'We make sure to provide new employees with all the necessary information during this conversation and invite them to use the onboarding app,' he explains. 

“It's crucial that employees feel involved and at home in the organization from the very beginning. My colleague and I strive to create a carefree start for new employees, so they can embark on their new adventure with clarity."


Employees felt like they were being thrown in at the deep end

"Prior to the launch of the onboarding app, new employees were only given an introductory morning on their first day, during which they met with the county clerk, P&O, and two team managers. 'They explained the job requirements, and that was essentially the extent of the onboarding process,' explains Burggraaf. However, this approach received feedback from employees who felt like they were being thrown in at the deep end."

You can never put all the information you want to give to a new employee in one morning. Within the organization, we have many different regulations, systems and functions. We have chosen to release this information in parts so that they are not overwhelmed and gradually become more familiar with our way of working.

The app has two primary goals: to gradually provide the employee with information while maintaining the connection after the employment interview. "There is a gap of 1 to 2 months for the new employee after an initial employment interview where you actually have no connection with the organization. Through the app you can still learn something in the meantime and be sufficiently informed on the first day."

A mix of online and offline onboarding

"Our onboarding app ties in largely with the introduction day. This means that if employees are up-to-date in the app, they have a head start during the introduction day in the various games we play. For example, the employee can already answer some questions correctly in the Drenthe County game. That way we provide a mix between online and offline."

“With so many diverse roles within the province, creating a different storyline for each one can be quite challenging. Even within a single team, there are typically 20 positions. Every role is equally important to us - whether someone is responsible for the gardens or implementing policies. Thus, we decided to provide everyone with the same information to ensure an equal experience for all.”

Boardgame: Drenthe County Game
The Drenthe County Game

A versatile onboarding app

“At the moment, we use Appical for pre- and onboarding, and we also plan to use it for offboarding in the future. We always conduct exit interviews, but just like with the introduction day in the past, this often receives less attention and priority. In a tight labor market, it's important to understand why people leave. With Appical, we can gather and record this information in one central location.”

“We rely heavily on videos and images because they're more engaging than plain text. We also have many interactive pages, such as a quiz about the dress code. It helps that the information is divided into manageable portions, so you don't have to go through everything at once."

What are the results of the onboarding app?

The number of questions from new employees before and shortly after their employment has decreased by at least 50%. Employees know where to find the necessary information, which of course saves us a lot of time.

In addition, the overall rating of the app is very high, with the reports showing only scores of 8.5 and higher!"

Did you know that...

  • We have no less than 14 Natura 2000 areas in Drenthe? These are part of a European network of nature reserves where animal and plant species occur that are important for biodiversity.
  • We recently established our own studio at the Province of Drenthe? Here, live news or important topics are presented to colleagues."

Tycho Burggraaf
"There is a gap of 1 to 2 months for the new employee after an initial employment interview where you actually have no connection with the organization. Through the app you can still learn something in the meantime and be sufficiently informed on the first day."
Tycho Burggraaf
Personnel and Organization Officer

What employees say about Appical

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Quiz chapter about the Province

Welcome to the Province

"The app starts with practical information about the app and the introduction day. We share information about who we are and what we do within the Province. And we briefly mention the benefits and secondary employment conditions, since someone has just had the employment conditions conversation."
Chapter in the onboarding app about the office location

Preparing for the first day

"Next up: practical information! Such as: How do you get to the Province House? And what are your working hours? We pay attention to hybrid working and the different workplaces and meeting rooms. We support this with a tour."
Onboarding chapter about where to get your devices

The first days: security and systems

"This part mainly concerns privacy and data security. This is a very important aspect for us and must of course be well safeguarded at a province. That is why it is addressed on the first working day. In addition, we cover all the different systems and tools that we use."
Quiz chapter in the onboardiing app of Provincie Drenthe

After your first week

"Here, we cover important topics such as training, digital learning, and personal development budget. We also introduce you to the company doctor, confidential counselor, and social worker. To help put a face to the name, we've included their photos."