Employee onboarding at Facebook, Google and Apple

No matter what the product or business plan of a company is, the best companies need people. These are the employees who have a sense of attachment to the company and who promote it among their social circles. As already discussed in the
Qustn Cafe, employee engagement and workplace culture can have a direct impact on revenues.

Hence, investing in the continued employee training programs is crucial, not just for boosting employee morale, but also for enhancing the corporation’s ROI effectiveness. Employee onboarding can play an extremely critical role in deciding whether employees want to stick to your company or not.

Companies lose 25% of all new employees in the first one year.

Unfortunately, most companies do not take their employee onboarding activities seriously. Most companies also avoid it because it seems too hard or burns a hole in their bank accounts. The good news is that some businesses have understood the importance of employee onboarding and the impact it can have on productivity. Such companies are coming up with unique employee onboarding and support solutions for companies – big and small, at a price of a coffee or less! One such company is Qustn, that has been in the news lately for offering a unique onboarding process. Qustn’s employee onboarding solution provides on-demand training to users when they need it and not when the company wants them to take it. It solves complex as well as simple issues that enterprises face with their users by providing a host of help and support options like on demand videos, presentations, pdf’s or simple informational text documents.

employee onboarding


Category leaders across the globe have their unique employee onboarding processes which make them the most sought after for employment and most successful in terms of employee retention. Three companies which follow some of the best employee onboarding techniques are Apple on the business side (with an ultra-secretive internal training program), Facebook on the engineering side and Twitter for management. Here’s a look at some key employee onboarding practices followed by the most searched companies.



According to Facebook’s chief information officer Tim Campos, Facebook’s employee onboarding starts early and is quick as it focuses on the first 45 minutes.

It’s true! Campos revealed in one of his events that if a company does not manage to arouse a level of interest among employees about the company culture and work and make them more productive in the very first 45 minutes, then something is certainly not done right. Such companies need to seriously rethink their employee onboarding strategies.

So how does facebook go about this 45 minute rule?

Campos revealed that there is thorough planning of activities behind the successful implementation of this rule. Such activities mostly focus on getting devices and systems right – from an employee’s PC to their phones. All this is done much before the employee joins. Secondly, on the day of joining, talks focus more on practical aspects of the job role – like how to set up a meeting or where the printer is.

Bootcamp for engineers

Another very successful employee onboarding strategy of Facebook is the Bootcamp. All the engineers who join Facebook, irrespective of their previous training, product focus, office location or seniority, are made to participate in a six week long bootcamp at the Menlo Park headquarters. Here, engineers get acquainted not only with Facebook’s codebase, but they also get a glimpse into the culture of the company. As a tool of engagement, engineers are given to write codes to provide solutions to problems on their very first day – typically publishing code on the live site. This gives them real, hands on experience. It also serves as a source of tremendous motivation and gives them a sense of instant gratification. Bootcamp also ensures that the employees get a hang of all the opportunities that Facebook can potentially offer to its employees. This serves as a source of inspiration and motivation for the new recruits.

Facebook also practices freedom of choice during its employee onboarding process. Instead of assigning each employee to a team, Facebook allows employees to choose their own teams and projects which they feel most passionate about at the end of the six week boot camp. Facebook’s employee onboarding bootcamp process has been very successful and has given rise to a motivated and skilled workforce of engineers. No doubts on that!



In its employee onboarding process, Google focuses on practical learning and cognitive apprenticeships so that they can create a sense of connection between the employees. Their employee onboarding strategy also focus around activities which require team effort and coordination so that there is no sense of isolation felt among the new recruits.

Another much talked about employee onboarding process is the just in time alert system that Google follows.

Under this system, a reminder mail is sent to just that manager under which an employee is supposed to be joining the next day. The goal of this just-in-time reminder checklist is to prompt managers about five small tasks that have proven to have the highest impact on the productivity of their new hire. These five tasks are:

1. Having a discussion about roles and responsibilities

2. Matching the new hire with a peer buddy

3. Helping the new hire build a social network

4. Setting up employee onboarding check-ins once a month for the new hire’s first six months

5. Encouraging open dialogue

Such an approach works because managers receive mails only when their sense of urgency is the highest and when they can take immediate action. Rather than mass mailing, only the managers who have a new hire receive it. Also, rather than sending a comprehensive manual, information is sent to new hires in a comprehensive and engaging format. This process has improved employee onboarding results by 25%.



Apple has a highly secretive employee onboarding process, with very little information actually revealed.

As per Adam Lashinky’s book – Inside Apple, Apple’s employee onboarding process for a new hire starts even before the employee is hired!

employee onboarding

Employees do not know what position they are going to join till their actual first day, which is always a Monday (unless there is a holiday). The employees are welcomed with big company packets and stickers, HR forms and T-shirts that say, “Class of” with the year of joining. Every new employee is given a shiny new iMAC, which they have to set up themselves (Apple assumes the employees have this basic level of smartness).The basic idea behind this is to let employees find their own way out by interacting with their co-workers.

As per Lashinky, Apple also has a presentation on secrecy which he calls “Scared Silent” where the head of security comes in and tells employees that any kind of leaks are strictly forbidden and it is made clear on day 1 that if any secret is leaked out intentionally or unintentionally, employees will be fired immediately.

Now that you know what the employee onboarding techniques of the best companies look like, do you think they can be replicated into your organization? Are they that efficient? Is your company that efficient?

If you want to improve the employee onboarding process of your organization at the price less than a Starbucks coffee, try Qustn, which lets you onboard your new recruits in 45 minutes or less. Qustn’s platform has been used by major enterprises for onboarding their users.

About the Author

Bhaswati B

Bhaswati is a Product Specialist at Capabiliti, a mobile-first training and engagement solution for enterprises. Passionate about economics, Bhaswati also loves storytelling. She has a keen interest in start-ups, food and travel. In her 'me time' she picks up fiction novels, tries different cuisines or explores routes to less-traveled places on the world map. Follow her @Bhaswatibh