Tips To Make Onboarding Work For Millennials -- And Everyone Else

Hiring   |   

With 80 million millennials now in (or soon to join) the workforce, it's time to embrace organizational changes that cater to the new generation.

GoodHire is filled with millennials, thanks to its unique university recruitment program. Every year, GoodHire's parent company, Inflection, hires a set of recent graduates, trains them as a group, and gives them the opportunity to prove their skills in the workplace.

Having just onboarded the fifth class of new grads, the company has refined the process to truly reflect the things millennials care about in a work environment and to provide them with the information they need to be successful.

Here's the inside scoop on tailoring your onboarding to the newest generation of employees. How do I know these tips work? I'm a millennial who just graduated from the Inflection program.

1. Give them real work early.

Millennials can be picky when it comes to where they work. According to a Deloitte study, six in 10 millennials say a "sense of purpose" is a factor when choosing an employer.

Inflection took that drive into account as it built its program, giving new grads the opportunity to make a meaningful impact right off the bat. The 22 hires who started with me split into four teams to tackle the same project (a revamp of a real web page) separately. Each team's version of the project will be tested, and the one that performs the best will stay live.

Purpose in individual work and responsibility is important, but so is the larger purpose of the organization. Millennials want employers to be focused on the wellbeing of society and to have a positive impact in their industry.

Part of my orientation involved a community service day that gave us the opportunity to make a positive impact in our new community as we bonded over creating water irrigation systems for trees at a local high school.

2. Incorporate social events to increase employee retention.

Nearly 20% of employees leave a company within the first 45 days after starting, so it's important to integrate new hires into the organization's culture. Make new hires feel welcome with team walks, department breakfasts, brunches, and happy hours. Socialization helps all new hires connect with the company and their coworkers.

Millennials in particular want more from their employers than just a paycheck. In fact, 88% of people in this age group want a fun and social work environment, and 71% want to consider their coworkers part of their second family.

Just one week into orientation, I felt part of the family here. Onboarding involved many social events in a relaxed setting, which made it easier to connect with coworkers on a personal level. I've already made great friends. As someone who moved across the country to be part of this team, work friends are particularly important.

3. Use a buddy system to raise productivity.

A full 75% of millennials say they'd like to have a mentor. It takes some time to learn an organization's ropes regardless of experience, but the transition from student to professional is a big one.

Each member of the class of new grads here is assigned a buddy "” typically someone who joined the company as part of the previous class of university grads. This approach gives new employees the chance to ask questions and discuss the transition in a casual setting.

Having someone to discuss questions or concerns with can help establish a positive relationship and enhance professional development from the very beginning.

Beyond Millennials

How millennials think, what they value, and how they work differs from previous generations. The good news is that the changes you make to appeal to younger workers will improve your onboarding processes for everyone.

Lauren Small

Lauren Small


Lauren Small is a content and social media expert who writes about hiring, onboarding, and HR best practices. Lauren comes by her HR insight honestly, having observed the culture at diverse employers Amazon, HubSpot, and GoodHire’s parent company Inflection.

Keep Your Eye On The Law

Subscribe to The Works for monthly updates and insight on changing hiring laws and background check best practices.

Our Contributors

Arte Nathan

Arte Nathan

President & COO at Strategic Development Worldwide
Deb McGrath

Deb McGrath

Founder and Chief Instigator of
Tony Le

Tony Le

Sr. Director, Global HR Operations & Talent Acquisition at IAC Publishing
Celinda Appleby

Celinda Appleby

Head of Global Recruitment Branding, Oracle

See All Our Contributors

Related posts

Hiring  |  Background Checks  |  GH for Good  | 

This Organization Welcomes the Formerly Incarcerated Back Into Society

It’s 6am and Becca Carter is sitting in her car outside of San Quentin State...

Hiring  | 

Don’t Limit Talent Pool by Requiring College Degrees for Middle-Skills Jobs

Many employers are having a hard time filling jobs. According to new...

Hiring  |  Background Checks  | 

Fair Chance Hiring is a Win-Win for Businesses and Employees

Each year, more than 650,000 citizens are released from prison....