How these brands transformed their employee onboarding


The Best Employee Onboarding Experiences Ever: Examples From 4 Mega-Brands

How these 4 mega-brands transformed their employee onboarding experience. And how you can join the onboarding hall of fame too.

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A negative employee onboarding experience doubles the chances of a new hire leaving. So it’s 100% worthwhile to aim for onboarding royalty.

But what does it take to bring your new hire journey to the next level? Which brands have the best employee onboarding experiences? And how can you make sure your new employee onboarding represents your brand to the max?

Here’s how 4 mega-brands transformed their employee onboarding experience. It’s time you aim for the onboarding hall of fame too. After all, great onboarding leads to business growth!

In this rundown of the best employee onboarding experiences, we’ll take a sneak peek at some of the onboarding leaders. We’ve included a takeaway from each brand to help you hit the onboarding big league today.

Why employee onboarding experience matters

We’ve all heard the stories: a new hire starts their first day and is left high-and-dry by their busy manager. They’re left wondering what to do and wishing they never stepped through the door 👎. 

We know running all the elements of a business can be challenging. Even as a people-first leader, you make sure no one spends their first day feeling lost. Despite this, you may have some work to do before you hit the onboarding hall of fame.

You’re not alone.

Gallup states that only 12% of employees say their organization does a great job of employee onboarding experience.

The best employee onboarding experiences empower new hires to do their best work while aligning their work with the rest of the team. This leads to greater work engagement, better retention, and ultimately better performance.

What makes the best onboarding experience?

We wrote a whole blog on the 5 C’s of employee onboarding but essentially a great employee onboarding is all about making your new hire feel welcome, supported, and part of the team.

You can check out our employee onboarding checklist but here are a few more helpful tips that you can do to create a great onboarding experience.

Remember SMALL things, make a BIG difference!

  • Create a great welcome to the team social post!
  • Host a team breakfast on the first day of the new hire. 
  • Create a meeting to connect with their manager and other team members.
  • Show them where the coffee is – may sound silly but this is a big deal
Brent from Whale

The 4 best employee onboarding experience examples

Employee onboarding experience best brands blog

Mega-brands are at the top for a reason. They treat their internal customers like external customers. They also know what makes a great onboarding experience and exactly how to make their processes sing.

From Netflix’s ‘trust-from-day-one’ policy, to Hilton’s hire-to-retire approach, these brands understand that all employees really want is a little bit of TLC and a lot of respect.

Let’s take a look at four of the best employee onboarding experiences out there, and how you can do it too.

1. Netflix: Trust new employees from the get-go

Netflix logo other

Netflix is known for its can’t-look-away shows — and it turns out their onboarding process is binge-worthy too.

From day-one trust policies to first-week CEO lunches, the streaming giant has the new hire experience down. Here are some of Netflix’s onboarding highlights:


  • Trust employees from day one: You’ve hired this person for a reason — why hold them back? Netflix empowers new employees by trusting them with important projects from the get-go.
  • Sort tech before new hires arrive: As one of the world’s most popular streaming services, it’s no surprise Netflix drills down on tech as an onboarding priority. New hires are given their laptop of choice, which is all set up and ready to go when they arrive for their first day.
  • Check-in with the CEO: It’s all too common for employees to never meet their CEO, let alone in the first quarter — but at Netflix, new hires can expect to get to know the CEO from those early days.
  • Get mentors to show new hires the ropes: Netflix has a seasoned mentor system to help new employees get to know the tech, the culture, and the vision.

🔥 How you can onboard like Netflix

Gone are the days of paperwork-overload, these days onboarding is all about smart tech. Help new employees get to know your company fast with a dedicated training and knowledge platform. (Psst! Whale’s Chrome Extension allows new hires to learn in the flow of work — making training employees easier than ever before 😉).

2. Google: Use analytics to tailor the new employee onboarding experience


These days, data leads the way — and Google knows the impact it can have on everything from web searches to onboarding.

That’s why they focus on measuring results with real data to build the best employee onboarding experience possible.

But let’s rewind a second — because it’s the multinational tech company’s team-level onboarding approach that gives them that data in the first place.

Google’s famous bottom-up approach of ‘letting the inmates run the asylum’ means their onboarding process is entirely team-led. They then measure each team’s offering, pinpoint the best processes, and set new onboarding baselines based on the data.

Let’s break it down:

Step #1: Give each team oversight of their own onboarding process.
Step #2: Check each team’s data to drill down on onboarding performance and look for major winning strategies.
Step #3: Use your data-led insights to set new baselines for all teams to follow.

🔥 How you can onboard like Google

Measure your onboarding in true Google-style with a smart training tool. With Whale, you can see the policies and playbooks new hires are searching for in real-time. Then you can use that all-important data to ensure your onboarding processes are always up-to-date.

3. Hilton: Hire to retire


The US bureau of labor and statistics estimates that 80% of labor in the accommodation and food services industry turns over every year.

That’s a lot of money wasted in talent recruited and lost!

Not to mention the poor impact on customer service. 

That’s why Hilton adopts these key strategies;

  • New hire buddy: Every new team member gets a work buddy to makes sure they never feel lost or alone in their first few days of work.
  • Hilton University: Hilton Worldwide University (HWU) was started in 2022 to ensure that learning opportunities were provided too ALL members of staff irrespective of location or role. 

🔥 How you can onboard like Hilton

Make sure you utilize employee training technology that offers your team training irrespective of where they are. 

4. DigitalOcean: Make day one (and beyond) inspirational

Employees are the nuts and bolts of your organization — which is why it’s so important for you to help them hit the ground running from day one.

Cloud computing multinational DigitalOcean believes harnessing first-day enthusiasm can also help their hires avoid becoming part of the 30% that leave in the first 90-days.

From making sure their workspace is working before new employees arrive, to hand-writing a welcome note, the DigitalOcean team goes all out to make sure employees feel at home.

“The most important outcome of [our onboarding] process is that every new employee has a clear, written onboarding plan for that first 90 days,”

Partner and Head of Talent at Digital Ocean, Matt Hoffman

🔥 How you can onboard like DigitalOcean

Utilizing a new hire’s enthusiasm is a good start, but you can go one step further by using Whale to drip-feed your training process over the first few weeks. No more information overload for new employees, no more unnecessary admin for you. It’s a win-win.

Use Whale to transform your employee onboarding experience

So you know that onboarding new employees matters and you desperately want your new member of the team to stay!

How does Whale help with that? Well our team, can take you through the product specifically for you but here are a few ways Whale helps with employee onboarding;

  • Tell your brand story and keep it in one centralized place
  • Share your values and processes with team members when and where they need it
  • Overcome the forgetting curve with contextual suggestions – so they always remain on top of their game.

We even use it for our own onboarding experience!

Create great onboarding experiences: Now it’s your turn

We all know that employee experience matters and starts when a new team member is onboarded. In today’s world, new employees expect a great onboarding experience — and if they don’t find it, they’re not afraid to look elsewhere.

From making new hires feel at home with a work buddy, to empowering them with important projects from the get-go, there are simple steps to building a memorable onboarding experience.

These four brands have worked it out, and they’re not afraid to put their heart and soul into retaining worthwhile new hires. With the right tools and an empathetic strategy, you can follow in the footsteps of these companies with successful onboarding programs straight into the onboarding hall of fame.

Loved this article?

We think you’ll LOVE our 3 part mini-series on Employee Training. You can check out Part I – new employee onboarding, here. Or just check out EVERYTHING there is to know about employee onboarding and training.

FAQs about the best employee onboarding experiences

Which company has the best onboarding experience?

Determining which company has the best onboarding experience can be subjective, as it varies based on individual preferences, industry standards, and specific job roles.

However, companies like;

  • Google,
  • Netflix,
  • Hilton
  • and Zappos

are frequently cited for their innovative and employee-centric onboarding processes.

These companies emphasize culture fit, clear communication, and effective training from day one, ensuring that new hires feel welcome, valued, and prepared to contribute.

What is an ideal onboarding experience?

  1. Preparation Before the First Day: Effective onboarding starts before the new hire’s first day, with the company providing all necessary information, including schedules, required documents, and an overview of what to expect.
  2. Warm Welcome: A personal greeting, team introductions, and a welcoming work environment help new employees feel appreciated and part of the team.
  3. Clear Expectations: Setting clear job roles, responsibilities, and short-term goals helps new hires understand their position and how they fit into the broader company objectives.
  4. Comprehensive Training: Providing the necessary tools, resources, and training for new employees to perform their jobs effectively is crucial.
  5. Ongoing Support and Feedback: Regular check-ins, feedback, and accessible support from managers and peers encourage continuous learning and adjustment.

What are the 4C’s of employee onboarding?

The 4C’s of employee onboarding are actually 5C’s of employee onboarding and is a framework that outlines the essential components of a successful onboarding process:

  1. Compliance: Teaching the basic legal and policy-related rules and regulations.
  2. Clarification: Ensuring that employees understand their new job and all related expectations.
  3. Culture: Providing a sense of organizational norms, both formal and informal.
  4. Connection: Helping new hires establish interpersonal relationships and information networks.
  5. Check-back: Regularly checking in with new hires to provide ongoing support and to assess their needs and progress.

How do you create a positive onboarding experience?

  • Communicate Early and Often: Start the communication process before the new hire’s first day to set expectations and reduce first-day anxiety.
  • Personalize the Experience: Tailor the onboarding process to fit the unique needs and learning styles of each new hire.
  • Facilitate Team Integration: Arrange meet-and-greets or team-building activities to foster connections.
  • Provide Necessary Resources: Ensure that new employees have access to the tools, technologies, and information they need to succeed.
  • Implement a Structured Program: Use a clearly defined onboarding schedule that includes training sessions, feedback opportunities, and regular check-ins.
  • Seek Feedback: Ask new hires for their input on the onboarding process and make adjustments based on their feedback to continuously improve.


And of course, use onboarding technology like Whale to create the best onboarding experience for new team members.

Bottom line?

Your employee onboarding experience sets the tone for the rest of the working relationship. 

And it can be the make or break between top talent staying or leaving so it’s worth putting in the effort.

Check out our eBook on How to Optimize your Onboarding Processes.


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