Increasing employee motivation with engaging onboarding process

Employee onboarding is the first impression a new hire has as an official member of our company and according to a report of HRM, 1 in 25 employees leaves their new job because of bad onboarding experiences.

We’re not as large number of companies that sink thousands of dollars in recruiting new talent, but spend very little time or money on employee onboarding once a new hire has signed their contract.

Our moto is: “Hire the best and welcome them warm!”

According to Live Career Report, Baby Boomers average job tenure is 8 years, Gen X is 5.4, millennials is 2.4 and Gen Z is 1.2.

Younger workers are expected to change jobs dozens of times over the course of their careers, making retention one of the key challenges companies face.

Today’s jobs are dramatically different from those of only a generation ago and require much more initiative, creativity and judgment. Today’s jobs have changed so much that employees require a different kind of motivation.

Organizations have recognized that need in the last few years and have begun talking about “employee engagement.” But that term remains fairly vague and only points in a general direction.

We have moto in our company to create WOW employee experience for the newcomers, focusing on the onboarding, which begins from the moment an offer is made to the employee until the time the employee becomes a productive member of our team.

And when it comes to onboarding new employees, the most powerful tool we use is Moving Motivators from Management 3.0. The importance of this tool is the new member to understand our team values, our purpose, cultural belief and drivers, so he can align his new behaviors with our culture and become engaged member of our team.

But before playing the Moving Motivators game, the new colleague must:

Sign all relevant docs, prepare for working on our software and hardware, make intro with his mentors, introduce with the team and at this stage we always make sure everyone has time to give the new employee a warm welcome and get to know each other in an informal setting by the team lunch.

The employee onboarding process in our company is designed with the feedback of all employees, by using the Employee experience canvas where they give feedback for the physical environment, technology, services, our culture, people, their relationships, work and processes.

Just a few months ago, I introduce the Moving Motivators game to our HR team and we decide to play the game in the onboarding stage with every newcomer, and to deliver it on the 1-on-1 session with the mentor.

So just after the new employee has settled, the mentor will give him intro of the company culture, clarify the expectations, answer all questions about his new role, put sticky note in the EE canvas and finally start playing the game.

Since we’re in Covid-19 mode, the onboarding process is made on Zoom and Miro, but we’re deeply missing the physical presence and people interactions.

I shortly explained the Moving Motivators game and its origin from Daniel Pink’s “Drive” and prof. Reiss “16 Basic desires theory”.

I put the moving motivators in a Miro Board and explain each of them:

  1. Curiosity: I have many things to research and think about.
  2. Honor: I am proud that my personal values ​​are reflected in the way I work.
  3. Acceptance: The people around me approve what I do and what I am.
  4. Mastery: My work challenges my competence, but it is still within my capabilities.
  5. Power: there is enough space to influence what happens around me.
  6. Freedom: I am independent of others with my work and my responsibilities.
  7. Relationship: I have good social contacts with people at my job.
  8. Order: There are enough rules and policies for a stable environment.
  9. Objective: my purpose in life is reflected in the work I do.
  10. Status: my position is good and recognized by the people who work with me.

Then the newcomer starts to put in order his key drivers and explains his perspective on each of this motivators. He explains all 10, but the focus is on the first 3 and the last 3 factors. Then the mentor asks him to imagine that the company is moving into some change process that reflects him and his role and tasks, and asks him will the motivators move in some order due to the change. Almost all candidates reorder the drivers for the new imaginative scenario and the mentor explains why they’re called moving motivators.

For our company is important to see how close the perspective of the newcomer is with our corporate culture, and if there is huge difference, the mentor is stressing the importance of aligning the personal behaviors of the candidate with the corporate values, beliefs and principles.

For example, the last time when our team was playing moving motivators in February, just before the Covid-19, our key drivers were Goal, Mastery and Freedom, but probably now, since we’re facing huge change in work and life, we should do it again to check what drives us at this uncertain moments.

Since the candidate also had Freedom and Mastery as key drivers, and Goal was at 5-th place, the mentor was confident that he’ll fit in the culture of our organization easily, since we share the same values.

I must admit that almost all new hires we had the past few months really liked the game and get motivated during playing, because they find out what drives their motivation and what is the priority of the drivers.

What I learned from this tool as a facilitator:

  1. Moving motivators is very powerful tool for revealing and prioritizing someone’s intrinsic drivers
  2. The game is engaging and very reliable in terms of person’s motivators
  3. People can make self-reflection and find out some new drivers they didn’t know before or they were not aware of
  4. Whenever some change happens, motivators move and change priority
  5. It’s OK to share them with the team, so everyone knows what are everyone's drivers and what are demotivators
  6. It builds deep relationships between people with similar motivators
  7. You can easily align corporate values with personal motivators

What will I try differently and experiment at the next occasion:

  1. I’ll first ask the candidate to play the game and later will share with him our corporate values, beliefs and principles
  2. I’ll test the game in the final stage of recruitment process, during selection interview, before choosing the candidate and starting the onboarding
  3. I’ll test the game with several newcomers and try to build team bonding
  4. Before playing the game with newcomers, I will play with my team to see if something has changed due to Covid-19 situation
  5. I’ll connect this game with the personal maps of our team members

For more info on this topic, follow this link:

I want to finish this article with the famous quote of Richard Branson: “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”

Take care and stay safe,


Enthusiastic thinker, agile practitioner who wants to leave some legacy in the ever changing world.

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Ilija Popjanev

Ilija Popjanev

Enthusiastic thinker, agile practitioner who wants to leave some legacy in the ever changing world.

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