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How to use Mystery Coffee to support onboarding initiatives

Blog / September 25, 2023 / with Christoph Drebes
A young black woman in a brown jumper smiles as she shakes hands with a new male colleague. Around the table, other colleagues are working.


If you’re reading this, you probably already know what Mystery Coffee is. But maybe you don’t just want to offer your employees a generic experience.  

In this series of articles, we’ll examine some ideas for initiatives that you can support with Mystery Coffee, and how the matching algorithm can be adapted to make them unique. From superior onboarding to DEI initiatives, to encouraging information exchange, your Mystery Coffee platform can be as unique as your organization.  

So, how can you use Mystery Coffee to support a strong onboarding process?  

What’s Mystery Coffee? 

If you haven’t heard of Mystery Coffee before, don’t worry. Mystery Coffee is a platform that randomly matches your employees for short, virtual coffee breaks. 

A black man in a gray shirt adjusts his headphones and smiles as he joins a video call.

Colleagues register on the platform, indicate how often they can participate, and select the department they work in. They may also be asked other questions, depending on your chosen matching criteria.

It’s easy to use and offers a wide range of options for customization. On the surface, you can change the design elements on your platform to match your brand guidelines. You can give it a custom name and make sure that the content works for your initiative. 

However, the real power is in the matchmaking algorithm. The algorithm can be adapted to include several different parameters, which means that the solution can be used for all kinds of initiatives and events. 

If you want a demonstration of the platform to see how it works, you can get in touch with us here.  

So, now everyone knows what Mystery Coffee is, let’s look at the different initiatives you can use to support onboarding. 

If virtual coffee break isn’t right for your organization, you might prefer Mystery Lunch, which randomly pairs individuals for shared lunch breaks. 

Why invest in onboarding? 

Onboarding is a challenging time for a lot of organizations. However, research by the Brandon Hall Group revealed that organizations with a strong onboarding process improved retention of new hires by 82% and the productivity of those hires by 70%. Additionally, 33% of the best-performing onboarding programs included a social networking element. 

In a time of staff shortages, retention is a major challenge for HR managers and hiring managers.  So, let’s look at how Mystery Coffee can help. 

1. Support all new employees 

The first days of a new job can be overwhelming. New hires are often given just a week or two to get to grips with their new colleagues, new tools, and new processes. It’s no wonder that they tend to focus on their own department when meeting people. 

A white woman with short dark hair and glasses participates in a video call. Next to her is a large mug.

Offering an experience like Mystery Coffee can help a new team member to build their internal network in an organic way. Meeting one new person every few weeks isn’t as overwhelming as trying to remember everyone’s names and roles at once. It also gives them a chance to connect informally before having to interact in a professional capacity 

Ensuring that new hires feel connected can be tough, but adding a low-stakes, low-pressure method of networking can help them integrate into your company’s culture and become an active team member. 

Additionally, it works well for experienced employees, making sure that they regularly interact with new hires and feel like a part of the organization’s growth.  

2. Networking for graduate schemes, work experience, or project hires 

Sometimes you’ll onboard a specific cohort of new hires at once. Whether that’s for a graduate scheme or an annual internship, it’s worth helping these individuals to stay in touch. Often, they’ll be spread out across multiple departments or locations. Keeping these relationships alive means that employees will be more likely to ask one another for help, solving problems, and breaking down silo thinking from Day One. 

Adding a custom networking program just for these groups can also be part of your employer branding, helping you to present your company as one that is interested in nurturing talent long-term. 

3. Hiring Manager Coffee Breaks 

Onboarding isn’t just stressful for new hires! Recruitment can be a tough time for hiring managers and recruiters. A Recruitment Mystery Coffee can include anyone involved in the hiring process and can allow people with different amounts of experience to exchange thoughts, ideas, and best practices.  

It can also give line managers a more casual arena to broach topics that have been bothering them and give HR team members insights into how the other teams are working. Finally, it can be a helpful way to support new managers as they learn to build and manage their own teams. 

Mystery Coffee for onboarding: get started today! 

Socializing and networking are often undervalued pieces of an onboarding process. And yet, we know that social contacts at work help people to feel like they belong 

If you’re interested in using Mystery Coffee or Lunch to support your onboarding process, the easiest way to get started is to book a demonstration with one of our experienced consultants. They’ll assess the scale of your business, take down your unique challenges, and help you design a solution that works for you. 

Build networks via virtual coffee breaks. Mystery Coffee helps you to connect colleagues, foster collaboration, and improve cooperation. Learn more now.

About the author:

Christoph Drebes

Christoph is an entrepreneur from Munich and co-founded Mystery Minds in 2016. Mystery Minds' mission is to make the world of work more human by creating meaningful, personal connections between colleagues. The remote-only team already works with over 250 international companies, helping them to strengthen internal networks and overcome silo mentalities.

Originally published on September 25, 2023 at 12:00 PM, amended on January 10, 2024 at 4:52 PM


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