Ever heard of cultureboarding?

Published on 28-06-2017

Culture…what? Reading it for the first time, two words immediately stand out: boarding and culture. Within the field of HR management you could probably guess it has to do with employee onboarding and the company culture. But how exactly do these two elements interlink and how can you make use of cultureboarding?

Last week’s post on onboarding outlined best practice examples to successfully integrate new hires into the organisation. It also highlighted what impact poorly planned onboarding processes can have on an employee’s productivity and efficiency. This time we are looking into the concept of cultureboarding:

  1. what is cultureboarding
  2. how to add the company culture element to that process
  3. monitoring the impact

So what exactly is cultureboarding?

Simply put, it is a concept that supports new hires to contribute to and  improve a company’s culture. Sharlyn Lauby from HRBartender refers to cultureboarding:

“when the onboarding process focuses on instilling workplace culture.”

The primary objective is to introduce and integrate the new hire into the company culture in the best possible way. For new employees the first few days are critical as on the one side they need to cope with many new faces and processes, but at the same time are also expected to get up to speed as soon as possible. Creating positive first impressions for the new colleague is vitally important as he or she is more likely to stay with the company. In fact, new hires, who undergo a structured onboarding process are 69% more likely to stay after three years.


Cultureboarding does not solely focus on the new hires and their successful onboarding process, but helps to improve the existing company culture. Every time a new employee joins the company, the company culture is put to the test. A solid culture is the foundation for implementing onboarding processes that value social integration of new hires. In return, the onboarding strategy can help to reconsider the practiced company culture and reflect on the core values of the organisation.

Those companies, who view onboarding as an opportunity for early employee engagement and have effective processes in place, rake in the benefits such as

  • Employees familiarises themselves more easily with company culture, processes, and values
  • Reduced new hire turnover and increased retention
  • Shortened time-to-productivity
  • Accelerated performance
  • And engendered trust in the manager and team

However, implementing and delivering these processes is easier said than done.

Include company culture in onboarding – what are the global players up to?

The article ‘Successful onboarding in a nutshell’ reveals some effective engagement tools to involve the hire before, during and after onboarding. Below we will look at two more hands-on examples from PepsiAmericas and Washington D.C. Hospital used to optimise their strategies of welcoming new colleagues.

Employee recognition – PepsiAmericas

PepsiAmericas, the second-largest beverage producer in the world, realised that the partial program in place did not live up to expectations. Managers were not fully aware of what their stake in the program was. To address that PepsiAmericas shifted their focus to a complete and integrated recognition process.

PepsiAmericas started handing out Pepsi branded key chains to new hires on the first day of their Pepsi career. The key chain represents the key part the employee will play in the company’s success. In addition the job was ‘officially’ presented to the new employee by the respective line manager and accompanied by a message from the CEO.

This is an effective engagement tool to involve new colleagues from their first working day, but what about the time before day 1? This approach does not take into account the pre-onboarding time, which is crucial as a staggering 26% of new hires change their minds between signing contracts and their first day of work, never starting their new job.

Pre-onboarding – Washington D.C. Hospital

Washington D.C. Hospital has identified this issue and counteracted by taking and implementing early stage onboarding measures. The hospital’s HR manager now introduces newly hired nurses to their teams before the first day on the job. From that day until the new colleague starts working, the other nurses send personally signed welcoming cards in which they express their excitement about working with the new hire.

It is a cost-efficient and useful strategy to counteract the trend of resigning before starting the job. It also gives current employees the opportunity to show interest and provide the new hire with a warm and welcoming feeling.

Setting up processes such as these alone is not sufficient for successful onboarding strategies. It is equally important to continuously monitor the impact of the measures taken.

Monitoring the impact of onboarding

[Total_Soft_Poll id=”2″]

If you do not use any, have a look at these commonly used indicators to measure the cultural impact.

According to a SilkRoad study conducted in 2016, 72% of companies say their onboarding processes focus on instilling workplace culture. This is the outcome of the study:

[ultimatetables 1 /]

Recommended articles