What is Onboarding? - HR University (2023)

Onboarding is a process in which new employees gain knowledge and skills for their job position so they become effective employees of the organization. But, how does the onboarding process for new employees works?

This article provides a detailed guide on what is onboarding and how this process works. We’ve also included some tips for each step of the onboarding process so don’t forget to check them out below.

What is Employee Onboarding?

The employee onboarding process is the intentional and systematic way through which talented candidates are converted into productive employees. It includes employee orientation which aligns employees to the organization’s goals. Companies provide new employees with the tools, relationships, and information. They must have the courage to do satisfactory work by planning onboarding steps.

The change starts at the recruitment level as applicants envision becoming employees in your company. It speeds up after the candidate accepts the offer and they become an employee for the first time. It reaches its climax when the employees are in their crucial initial days in the employment when they are creating solid relationships with their new colleagues.

The onboarding experience determines how the employee will behave during their entire stay at your company, and in some instances, it can influence their whole career. If they have a terrible experience, they might quit their work soon, and thus you’ll have to hire employees again. On the other hand, a good experience can result in prolonged joy and employee satisfaction.

What are the Seven Steps of the Employee Onboarding Process?

To succeed with the onboarding strategy, you need to follow stipulated steps. Use these steps outlined below as the basis for the process. Combine it with measures tailored to your company’s culture to create an effective onboarding process that represents your company’s unique personality.

To learn the process via video, then watch below. Otherwise, skip ahead.

(Video) What is the Onboarding Process for New Employees?

Step 1: Recruitment of New Employee

Important goal: Your hiring methods should help employees deduce the qualities your company wants in an employee who is holding a specific position and also what the company is all about- its people, culture, values, and missions.

Tips For New Employee Recruitment

Evaluate your interview questions, job descriptions, and website. Review any information that potential employees can come across to ensure that it has the right tone and is clear and accurate for employees.

  • Assign potential employees a task or give them a test to assess their abilities, and they can learn what you expect from them
  • Become more open about company regulations that affect employees, such as vacation, remote work, and scheduling policies
  • Analyze your recruitment procedures, processes, and company policies with your in-house HR team or outsource the work to Bamboo HR

Step 2: Initial Office Visit

Important goal: Offer an honest peek into a typical day at your office.

The work compatibility settings affect employees. The cohesiveness of a workplace is a sign for candidates to become consistent with the culture and way of working in the company.

Tips for Initial Office Visit

  • Orientate candidates and make them aware of where they will work (plus which tools they will use to perform their duties)
  • Show candidates the kitchen area (as well as the cleaning timetable if it is there)
  • Take your time showing them all the parts of the office. Allow them to take in the office and ask queries about anything to show them that you are transparent
  • Do introductions to every employee you come into contact with
  • Take them to crucial spaces that are not interesting and still need to use, such as supply rooms, elevators, restrooms, garages, and parking lots

If you’re looking to know more about new employee onboarding programs, to level up your HR knowledge to become a better expert, don’t forget to check out our top-rated HR certification courses:

Step 3: Offer Letter

Important goal: Communicate your gratitude and happiness that your top candidate chose you from many other possible employers.

(Video) Employee Onboarding Checklist for New Employees

Hiring an employee is already an indication that you find the person and their expertise valuable. Nevertheless, it would help if you went the extra mile to create enthusiasm and warmth. A carefully written message is the perfect way to let hired employees know that you are eager to work with them.

Tips to Send the Offer Letter

Ensure that you write a message to your new employee informing them that you are happy that they agreed to work with you and send it.

Explain in detail the expectations, requirements, and duties of the job position. This step will help the new employee become familiar with their job before they become part of the team and avoid shock.

Step 4: Early Onboarding

Important goal: Make the candidate thrilled while at the same time reassuring them that they have made the right decision to start new employment.

What is Onboarding? - HR University (2)

The moment your candidate puts their signature on the offer letter is the moment onboarding starts. There is 2 to 3 weeks period between the time the candidate accepts the offer and the start date, which offers you a perfect time to engage with them. Take advantage of that duration.

Tips for Early Onboarding Process

Motivating managers in charge of hiring to care about the candidate’s experience makes the new employee enthusiastic to work.

Send them information and documents related to their job, such as the background facts about specific tasks the applicant might work on when they begin working. (Make it clear that your candidate does not have to read the shared information if they have limited time. Instead, you want to give them information for visibility and transparency). Some of the information that you might think of sending the candidate includes:

(Video) What Does an Onboarding Specialist Do?

  • A schedule for the first week
  • The company phone number or email address that they will use and essential information for the communication tools your company uses
  • A list of tasks for the initial week or more
  • Passwords for work management hubs like monday.com or communication tools
  • Details such as videos and photos, show your organization’s anniversary ceremonies and other occasions that you celebrate as a company
  • Request the team that the new staff joins to create a welcome email containing quotes on why they enjoy working at the firm or why they are happy to have the new hire as a member of their team
  • Invite questions from the new staff and address them. Address their worries as well
  • Ask the team to create a welcome video. Vidyard is an excellent resource for creating and generating ideas for welcome videos

Step 5: Receiving New Hires

Important goal: Give a personal account that will make the recruit feel valued and welcomed. Organizing numerous one-on-one meetings with new employees makes the first day appear less over-planned and more personalized.

Tips to Receive New Hires

  • Plan “catching up” meetings to keep up with the recruit. You should do this if your team is remote since interpersonal relations are almost impossible. The meticulous making of a schedule is the most effective way to achieve high-quality connections.
  • Allocate half an hour every morning for a welcome
  • Set aside half an hour at the end of every day for doing debriefing
  • Plan a physical or virtual team lunch with the team the new staff has joined. Only have informal conversations at lunch and desist from talking about work (Use the opportunity to help the team members know the new hire using a quiz from Water Cooler Trivia or Quizbreaker)
  • Provide the new employee with a welcome kit packed with branded items, including office supplies that have been personalized using the company’s logos, colors, and brand
  • Ensure that their first team meeting is remarkable by beginning an icebreaker to help the participants know each other better. You can make it easier to play by giving the conference staff the customized Icebreaker Box full of greeting cards
  • Provide documentation, web pages, and videos that contain your company’s history, mission, leadership presentations, and other stories that make the company culture-rich and appealing

Step 6: Onboarding and Familiarizing With New Employees

Important goal: Assist new hires in comprehending what they must do in their new position including outlining job responsibilities and envisaging future opportunities.

All employees tend to think about the future. We enjoy planning, looking forward to, and dreaming about what will happen in times to come. Suppose you can make it possible for your new employee to become happy about envisioning their future job at your company. In that case, it means that you can have excellent employee retention. If you spend a little more time going through the employee onboarding program in the initial weeks, the chances of the employees achieving the future they want and developing company culture is high.

Tips for Onboarding and Familiarizing with New Employees

  • Make a grand new hire announcement before commencing the onboarding program
  • Arrange to have “meet and greets” with teams and collaborators and teams throughout the company
  • Plan “meet and greets” with best performers and company leaders (Such as the current employee of the month) for newly hired employees to hear their experiences and emulate them
  • Set several regular jobs, targets for the initial year, stretch targets, as well as key performance indicators
  • Supply information about the advancement potential for their role in the company or the general upward mobility of the organization. If a person was working in the recruit’s position before and promoted, let them talk about their expertise

Step 7: Continuing Employee Engagement

Important goal: Create opportunities whereby new hires can foster essential relationships. You can’t take part in networking and socializing on behalf of your new employment. However, you can ensure that your onboarding experience has good chances for new staff to make meaningful connections with the other employees in the office.

Tips to Achieve Good Employee Engagement

Use Let’s Roam or Go Game to plan for team-building events.

Check on the new hires after one week, 30 days, and 60 days to learn how the new employees are feeling and discover if they have the right equipment, resources, and help to do their work in a correct and quick manner.

Have direct managers create a check-in timetable for regular use which all employees should follow in the long term.

Group new employees with a different person in the company for computer-generated coffee meetings from time to time. (If slack is the platform your firm uses Slack, then take advantage of Donut intros to set up such arrangements with other colleagues on Slack).

(Video) HR Basics: Onboarding

What is Onboarding? - HR University (3)

Provide a lot of recognition through a platform such as Bonusly, which is great for rewarding employees after completing tasks or attaining goals.

Make and send a survey of candidate experience to help you know how the program is doing.


Employee onboarding is a strategic technique to sharper your employees’ skills and knowledge so they become effective employees who bring more value to the organization. Read through the above-provided guide which is a perfect syntax for you to follow when onboarding new employees in your organization.

If you are new to Human Resources and are looking to break into an HR role, we recommend taking our HR Certification Courses, where you will learn how to build your skillset in human resources, build your human resources network, craft a great HR resume, and create a successful job search strategy.

What is Onboarding? - HR University (4)

(Video) What is HR Onboarding and what does it involve? | Unlocking HR Series

Josh Fechter

Josh Fechter is the founder of HR.University. He's a certified HR professional and has managed global teams across 5 different continents including their benefits and payroll. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.


What does HR onboarding do? ›

"Onboarding" refers to the processes in which new hires are integrated into the organization. It includes activities that allow new employees to complete an initial new-hire orientation process, as well as learn about the organization and its structure, culture, vision, mission and values.

What are the 4 phases of onboarding? ›

4 Phases of Employee Onboarding
  • Phase 1: Preboarding. Once you've accepted your offer letter and you're starting off day one at a new job, there's a lot to learn. ...
  • Phase 2: Onboarding and welcoming new employees. ...
  • Phase 3: Training. ...
  • Phase 4: Transition to the new role.

Does onboarding mean I passed the background check? ›

Typically, if you are scheduled for onboarding, then the company wants to hire you but it does NOT necessarily mean you passed the background check. Some companies will have you start while the investigation of your background is ongoing and retain the right to rescind the job if you fail the check.

What should be included in HR onboarding? ›

What is required for employee onboarding? Aside from the new hire onboarding paperwork, your onboarding checklist should also include information about new employee orientation, giving an introduction to company culture, mission, and values, and reviewing the role and responsibilities of the employees.

Can you fail an onboarding process? ›

In the corporate world, onboarding—the period during which an organization prepares new employees to become part of their culture and equip them with the knowledge and skills to successfully perform their jobs—is a process that can fail to hit its target if not employed with the right approach.

Is onboarding a stressful job? ›

Our survey found that out of the 1,000 full-time employees we questioned, nearly two thirds (63%) were left feeling stressed or overwhelmed by their onboarding experience. This is a very worrying statistic.

What are the 5 C's of onboarding? ›

These components provide the best onboarding practices you can follow while hiring the latest staff into your workforce. The 5c's stand for compliance, clarification, culture, connections, and check back.

What are the most common mistakes during the onboarding process? ›

7 Popular onboarding mistakes to avoid
  • Zero entry-level training. If onboarding is taking less than a day, that's a problem. ...
  • Overloading your new hires. ...
  • A total lack of pre-boarding. ...
  • Not addressing generational gaps. ...
  • An unstructured onboarding process. ...
  • Unclear goals and expectations. ...
  • Negative (or not) feedback loop.
Aug 16, 2022

What questions should I ask during onboarding? ›

A few questions you should ask on this milestone are:
  • “Do you see yourself working here long term?”
  • “Is there any training you feel like you need?”
  • “Do your manager and coworkers communicate well with you?”
  • “What did you think of our onboarding process?”
  • “Do you feel like you fit in?”

Am I hired if I have onboarding? ›

They are hired when they are sworn in and have taken the oath of office, which usually happens on the first day on the job. Yes, you just have to do training. But if you were given your onboarding info to fill out that means your background check was good which is why you received the next step which is onboarding.

Can you get fired during onboarding? ›

It absolutely is. As long as an employer has a legal reason to fire you, in most cases, you can be fired. With at will employment, this means your job can be terminated after one week, one day, or even before you go in for that first day.

What comes after the onboarding process? ›

Phase 2: Role Training

After orientation, phase 2 of onboarding is role training. Role training teaches a new hire about their day to day job duties and sets them up for long-term success. Once employees know what they need to do, they can carry out the key functions of their role with more confidence.

Is onboarding the same as training? ›

The main difference between onboarding and training is that onboarding is a short-term series of steps to process and acclimate new employees, while training is an ongoing process to develop workplace skills and proficiencies. Unfortunately, many employees only experience training during their onboarding phase.

What skills do you need for onboarding? ›

As an onboarding specialist, you will be working in an HR setting, which will require:
  • Excellent communication skills,
  • Familiarity with labor laws and legislation.
  • Experience in using Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS), and.
  • An understanding of employee relations.
Dec 20, 2021

Is onboarding the same as orientation? ›

In general, onboarding describes a series of events that enable new employees to learn what they need to do to meet the responsibilities of their new positions. Orientation, on the other hand, refers to the initial welcome a company provides to the new hire (usually over the course of a single day).

How long does onboarding usually take? ›

Most human resource experts agree that onboarding should take at least three months for new hires. However, by extending onboarding throughout the employee's first year, you can positively impact and increase employee retention and engagement.

How many hours does onboarding take? ›

Generally speaking, the onboarding process should take at least 3 months. HR professionals and Hiring Managers generally agree that 3 months is the minimum amount of time it should take to onboard new employees.

Is HR responsible for onboarding? ›

Human Resources oversees or facilitates completion of official and required documents related to pay and benefits, wellness, rules, and policies, as well as completion of new hire paperwork. They may also manage new hire orientation programs and other resources in support of the onboarding process.

Is onboarding your first day of work? ›

Induction, or orientation, begins when the new hire starts working at your organization. Hence, the first-day strategy is part of this phase of onboarding. It is the best time and opportunity to acclimatize the new hires to your office culture.

Does onboarding mean first day of work? ›

Onboarding new hires is the process companies go through to welcome and integrate employees into the workplace. This very definition suggests that the employee onboarding process extends far beyond the first day of a new hire – it continues until they've fully adjusted to their role and team.

How should I prepare for onboarding? ›

Preparations List for Employee Onboarding
  1. Work space allocation.
  2. Arranging computer equipment needs.
  3. Arranging the phone.
  4. Guiding to restroomGuiding to restroom.
  5. Guiding to cafeteria.
  6. Giving access to security systems (If required)
  7. Giving access to office building and workplace.
  8. Navigation to company.

What are typical onboarding tasks? ›

New hiring onboarding checklist

Confirm the arrival of the new employee with HR. Send and complete new hire paperwork. Send an informative welcome email. Give a copy of the employee handbook. Inform them of company policies.

What is the key to successful onboarding? ›

There are three keys to a successful strategic onboarding program: people, culture, and milestones and tasks. A consistent, and repeatable onboarding process requires few adjustments and benefits all stakeholders involved. Plus, you're more prepared to set your new hire up for long-term success.

What are onboarding techniques? ›

Methods for Onboarding a New Hire into Your Company
  • Start with an HR Orientation. ...
  • Tour the Office. ...
  • Go Over the Basics. ...
  • Connect with a Mentor. ...
  • Establish Goals. ...
  • One Style Never Fits All. ...
  • Start Working on Tasks. ...
  • Check In and Communicate Regularly.

Does onboarding mean I'm hired? ›

If you start the onboarding process, are you hired? Typically, when you get the job offer letter, accept and sign, and kick off the onboarding process, you're hired for the position. However, it's important to understand that many jobs have a probationary period of 1-3 months. For some companies, it can last 6-12.

What should I ask during onboarding? ›

12 questions to ask on your first day of a new job
  • What are the expectations for my position in the first 90 days? ...
  • When will I have evaluations and informal check-ins? ...
  • How can I share my ideas? ...
  • Can you tell me about the company vision? ...
  • What are my main objectives for week one? ...
  • Who will I be reporting to?
Oct 27, 2020

Do you get paid during onboarding? ›

Generally, yes. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers must pay new hires for time spent in meetings, training, lectures and other similar activities.


1. Improve Your Onboarding Process
(HR Party of One)
2. Are Employers Required to Pay Employees for Onboarding?
(HR Party of One)
3. Onboarding Tips and Best Practices for Organizations
(HR Party of One)
4. #13 Is your Onboarding about Babysitting or about cold Water?
(Armin Trost)
5. What happens once you're in? Learn about the Graduate Onboarding
6. What is Full Life Cycle Recruiting?
(HR University)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Kimberely Baumbach CPA

Last Updated: 12/06/2022

Views: 6271

Rating: 4 / 5 (61 voted)

Reviews: 84% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Kimberely Baumbach CPA

Birthday: 1996-01-14

Address: 8381 Boyce Course, Imeldachester, ND 74681

Phone: +3571286597580

Job: Product Banking Analyst

Hobby: Cosplaying, Inline skating, Amateur radio, Baton twirling, Mountaineering, Flying, Archery

Introduction: My name is Kimberely Baumbach CPA, I am a gorgeous, bright, charming, encouraging, zealous, lively, good person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.