Employee Onboarding - Quick Guide

Employee Onboarding - Introduction

Onboarding is a comprehensive process for integrating newly appointed employees in an organization and familiarizing them with the organizational culture and work environment. It is an integral part of Human Resources Department (HRD). Lack of appropriate onboarding mechanism can have negative impact on the overall productivity of the organization.

Employee onboarding is essential to retain skilled and dedicated workforce. An employee onboarding program helps in the orientation of the new employees. It shapes the relation between the new employee and the organization. By implementing a good employee onboarding program, will build a strong organization culture and secure the future with a qualified pool of human resources.

Employee onboarding is a composite process; it is more than just the orientation of new employees. Employee orientation is the first step in the onboarding process. In larger sense, onboarding process aims at developing a happy and constructive relationship between the employee and the employer. It represents the organizational values, brand and also explains the professional culture and the work environment.

Employee onboarding aligns the expectations of the employees and the goals of the organization and provides a phase, where the new employees successfully get acquainted with the organization, old employees and the work environment. This will result in faster productivity in the short span of time.

What is Employee Onboarding?

Employee onboarding can be defined as a process that helps the newly recruited human resources to get acclimatized with organizational culture, work environment and goals. This helps in learning the attitudes, gaining knowledge & skills and also the behaviors required for the effective function of the work within the organization.

When it comes to job satisfaction, financial rewards may be lower on the list than most people think. Being happy with your job seems to depend more on the intangibles: feeling part of a team and being valued and appreciated consistently outrank money when employees are polled about job satisfaction. Employee onboarding process is the first step towards development of such feelings and values.

Employee Onboarding can also be defined as follows −

  • Onboarding is a strategic process of bringing a new employee to the organization and providing information, training, mentoring and coaching throughout the transition. The process begins at the acceptance of an offer and throughout the first six to twelve months of employment.”

  • Onboarding, also known as organizational socialization, refers to the mechanism through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors to become effective organizational members and insiders.

In short, employee onboarding involves the processes, which helps to ensure that the new human resources get started on the right foot. How can a stranger know our home unless we politely let him in?

Formal Onboarding

Formal onboarding includes selective assignments and strategies that help a new employee change in accordance with his or her new position. Under formal on-boarding, new employees are frequently isolated from existing representatives to encounter facilitated exercises for introduction, in-classroom preparing and socialization.

Informal Onboarding

Informal onboarding alludes to the specially appointed and semi-sorted out exercises by which new employee finds out about his or her new employment. Casual onboarding can incorporate employment shadowing and unrehearsed one-on-one instructing or gatherings with administration and new associates, and in addition the details of beginning at an organization, for example, accepting identifications and equipment.

NoteMonster.com reports 30% of external new hires turnover within the first two years of employment. Retention statistics from other organizations, including the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), show that the turnover can be as much as 50% in the first 18 months of employment.

Employee Onboarding - Objectives

Onboarding is an orientation process in which new resources get the important information, aptitudes, and practices to become distinctly viable authoritative individuals and insiders. Onboarding prompts to positive results for new workers, for example, higher job satisfaction, better work performance, and longevity in their positions.

Through a well-structured onboarding process, employees gather required knowledge, retention level high in the larger interest of the organization.


A positive onboarding process helps to fulfill the following objectives −

  • Facilitate the new employee’s ability to contribute in the new role.
  • Increase the new employee’s comfort level in the new role.
  • Reinforce his/her decision to join the organization.
  • Enhance productivity.
  • Encourage commitment and employee engagement.

Onboarding starts even before someone new is hired. It continues when a person is hired and when he/she starts working. A well-designed onboarding continues for a while after the new employee starts working in the organization. In other words, onboarding starts before the organization makes sure the physical environment for the new recruit begins.

Purpose of Employee Onboarding

Unless the new recruits develop a sense of acquaintance with the organization, they cannot give productivity as desired. Hence, onboarding holds utmost importance in the smooth functioning of the organization.

The purpose of an onboarding program is to develop within the new recruits the necessary skills, knowledge and behaviors to become an effective contribution to the organization he/she works with.

The following are the important purposes of onboarding −

  • To attract and retain good talent.

  • To enhance employee engagement, thereby giving a boost to business growth.

  • Make employees feel welcome and valued.

  • Create alignment to task, mission, culture, values and processes.

  • Decrease the learning curve.

  • Encourage socialization and create a sense of belonging.

  • Set of performance expectations.

  • Help employees learn the company culture quickly.

  • Allow the employee to understand the company's values and priorities.

  • Reduce new employee anxiety.

An effective onboarding program educates and informs new hires about organizational practices. Implementing an onboarding program cements the relationship between the employee and the employer from the beginning and opens up lines of communication and keeps the employees engaged in the long term.

Making Employees Feel Welcome

Putting aside the pecuniary ambitions of the employees, there are many intangibles that make people get satisfied with their jobs. Feeling a part of a team, experiencing a congenial work environment and get timely and just acknowledgement goes a long way in ensuring job satisfaction to the employees.

Studies conducted by the Corporate Leadership Council show it's critical for new hires to rapidly adjust to their new workplace. It's additionally essential for these new hires to begin building rapport with associates and colleagues so that they can start to absorb themselves into existing workgroups.

Onboarding can be lonely but it doesn’t have to be a solo venture, and HR professionals are not the only ones with the power to make the new kid on the block feel comfortable. Existing employees can do their part to help new hires feel welcome in their new work environment.

Here is a list of some creative ways to get the team involved in the onboarding process −

  • Creating welcome traditions
  • Giving a team-led tour
  • Using the buddy system

Getting the team involved in the onboarding process is critical because it brings employees both new and old closer together and office friendships breed better work and happier employees. According to a research and a report, employees with friends at work are 47 percent more likely to love their companies.

Employee Onboarding - Importance

Importance of Employee Onboarding

An Onboarding Program can definitely improve the readiness, fit and performance of every employee who takes on a new role in the organization. An effective onboarding program serves offers the following benefits −

  • Improves current employee morale
  • Reduces time to productivity
  • Increases employee engagement
  • Reduces new hire turnover
  • Prevents future spending on re-hiring and re-training
  • Integrates new hires into the corporate culture, thereby enhancing that culture

Onboarding helps in building and sustaining high-performing teams and leads the organization to have a competitive advantages in the market.

Why Employee Onboarding?

Avoiding onboarding program for the new employees can be cost effective as it saves the organization from spending certain amount on it. However, a good onboarding program for new recruits can lay a solid foundation of employee behavior and productivity.

A question, however, arises as to why proper onboarding is necessary. Absence of onboarding program prevents the management from understanding the skills and behavior of the employees earlier. It takes a longer time span to get to know the new recruits who are employed directly without passing through onboarding processes.

Importance Onboarding

The recruits need to enter the organization through a complete and effective onboarding program. Without it, the new recruits might take time to get acquainted with the new work environment. By this time, some of the recruits may have developed dislikes in some aspects related to the organization which may be due to lack of proper knowledge and understanding. This leads to unexpected departure of some. It is likely to affect not only productivity but also morale of the employees.

Employee engagement and employee onboarding go hand in hand. Studies show that around 33% of employees decide to stay onboard with a firm or jump to other within their first 30 days of joining the organization. The study shows that every organization should work towards establishing employee engagement by effective onboarding.

Employee Onboarding - Benefits

The more the newly recruited employees become familiar with the organization and its culture, the greater is the productivity and profit. Therefore, it is necessary to know the various benefits of employee onboarding.

Inviting and welcoming the new hire into the company is the first move of an employee onboarding program. For most of the new recruits, the very first day makes them excited, a little anxious and eager to make a difference in their new organization. But, they cannot make a difference unless they come to know what it takes to succeed. In this regard, it is essential to know the benefits or advantages of an effective onboarding program for an organization.

Benefits Onboarding Process

To make the new hires productive from the very first day, the HR team must ensure that the new hires are provided with education, information and the tools to perform their job effectively. And, the best way to make a new hire effective and efficient is the comprehensive employee onboarding program.

A comprehensive employee onboarding programs educates and engages the new hires, so that they become productive to and beneficial for the organization. The following is the account of various benefits of employee onboarding program.

Let us now discuss the major benefits of a good employee onboarding program −

Retaining and Attracting the Top Talent

With a good and an effective employee onboarding program, one can build a strong foundation for the intangible elements that create an amazing workplace and a work culture, which helps in keeping the retention of the top talents at high.

Early Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is a necessary pre-condition for retaining employees in the organization for a considerable time. The engagement begins on the very first day and in this regard, the inbuilt onboarding program plays an important role.

The more effective and structured the onboarding program, the more the chance for high long way in fostering effective employee engagement in the future.

Boost Business Growth

Onboarding program yields employee engagement on a positive note. It not only develops an amiable or congenial work environment and builds rapport but also give the desired boost to business growth.

Trust Building and Alignment

A good employee onboarding program will educate and inform the new employees about the organizational culture, growth and the best practices. During the onboarding program, the new employees should meet senior management and should get to know directly about key organizational initiatives and goals. In this way, onboarding program builds trust among the workers and the management and aligns individual goals with those of the organization.

Good Connections with Employees

Employees are said to be engaged when they have a good relationship with the bosses and their colleagues. In order to inculcate a sense of togetherness and enable them to work to their full potential, most organizations put in place a comprehensive onboarding program. The management works cautiously to welcome and train the new recruits.

Open Communication Encouragement

An employee onboarding program will provide a structure and a setting for new employees to get answers to questions about their new workplace without problem and pressure. Providing this forum during onboarding will help the new hires a place of freedom to work and understand the work environment better. This will go a long way towards fostering the kind of environment for the new employees to thrive in.

Employee Onboarding - Turnover

No significant increase is witnessed in the overall productivity of the organization unless there is a well-balanced employee turnover in an organization. The mangers choose critically the best recruitment patterns, performance evaluation system and effective administrative practices and engagement methodology to keep the retention level in balance.

In this chapter, we will discuss exactly how essential a new resource onboarding truly is.

Retention Turnover

  • New employees who went through a structured onboarding program were 58% more likely to be with the organization after three years.

  • Organizations with a standard onboarding process experience 50% greater new hire retention

  • Up to 20% of employee turnover happens in the first 45 days

  • 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboarding

Cost Turnover

  • The organizational costs of employee turnover are estimated to range between 100% and 300% of the replaced employee’s salary

  • 23% of new hires turnover before their first anniversary

  • Nearly 33% of new hires look for a new job within their first six months on the job

  • The average cost of replacing an employee is between 16 and 20% of that employee’s salary

Performance and Productivity Turnover

  • Best-in-class companies are 35% more likely to begin onboarding processes before day one.

  • Employees whose companies have longer onboarding programs gain full proficiency 34% faster than those in the shortest programs

  • 60% of companies fail to set milestones or goals for new hires

  • Best-in-class businesses are 2.5 times more likely to their new hires’ progress in the onboarding process

  • Manager satisfaction increases by 20% when their employees have formal onboarding training

  • Only 37% of companies extend their onboarding programs beyond the first month

  • 22% of companies have no formal onboarding program

  • It typically takes eight months for a newly hired employee to reach full productivity

  • Organizations with a standard onboarding process experience 50% greater new hire productivity

Even though onboarding programs are expensive for an organization to afford, it is essential to have an effective onboarding program in the larger interest of the organization. Unless the new recruits are reshaped as per the demands of the organization, no organization goal will be materialized.

Employee Onboarding - Process

Employee onboarding is a strategic process of inviting/introducing a new resource to the organization and providing training, information, coaching and mentoring throughout the phase of the transition. An effective onboarding process turns the new recruits into assets for the organization.

The process of onboarding starts at the acknowledgment of an offer and continues throughout the initial six to twelve months of employment in the organization.


Stages of the Process

Following are different stages of the employee onboarding process −

  • Preparation − Pre-arrival, first day through first month activities that acclimatize the new employee with the culture, team, work environment, and introduce to policies and procedures and online modules.

  • Orientation − HR New Employee Orientation online, classroom, Benefits training and department specific orientation.

  • Integration − Employee development planning by supervisor and employee’s attendance in HR staff development training.

  • Engagement − Developing awareness of the organizational culture, building relationship, meeting performance expectations and contributing towards organization’s success.

  • Follow-up − Monitoring and measuring the effectiveness of the onboarding process.

NoteTwo decades ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average number of jobs held in one person’s career was six. Today, the average number of jobs held is 11. And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cost for replacing an employee is over 25% of their annual salary (some say 50%), so it is very costly when you don’t get it right.

Employee Onboarding - Plan

In modern organizations sharpened by technology and tough competition, the HRD of every company leave no stone unturned to go for hiring and retaining talented employees. With this intent in mind, they all go for having a successful onboarding plan for the new breed that join the organization. Onboarding plan, therefore, gives a good start towards achieving the goals of the organization.

The advocates of onboarding describe it as a comprehensive approach to bringing on new hires that goes beyond simple orientation. Managers are often so obsessed to recruit talented workers that they neglect to think about what will happen once the new hire arrives ready to work. It's really about calculating the cost of hiring new workers to the business. Companies need new hires to be productive and at a small company especially, every employee counts.


Think onboarding begins on an employee's first day? Wrong. A successful onboarding program actually begins during the recruitment and hiring process. An onboarding process is linked to and in some ways starts with the employer brand that you create to attract people who are the right fit for your company's overall goals. Experts suggest you begin the orientation process before a candidate is formally hired by including ample information about your workplace and your culture in the Careers section on your website.

A new hire will surely be required do a lot of paperwork, so why not get a headstart? Many companies choose to send necessary legal forms along with a formal offer letter. You can also send an employee handbook ahead of time, so that new staff members aren't overwhelmed with information on the first day.

On a company Intranet, you can make available to a new hire multimedia such as videos and podcasts that state your company's overall strategic goals, talk about your company's values, and provide employee testimonials. As a bonus, these videos can feature company leaders, which will help introduce key players, cutting down on the endless name game that typically happens on an employee's first day.

Here's a list of things you should have ready by the time your new hires walk in the door −

  • Sending a new employee welcome mail to everyone in the company

  • Set up a workstation

  • Get the new worker a security badge if he or she needs one

  • Creating the new employee's e-mail account

  • Have a stack of business cards waiting

  • Providing a nameplate on his or her desk or office door

  • Setting up his or her phone system and provide instructions for using voicemail

  • Providing guides for any necessary software he or she will be using

A new employee's immediate supervisor should also be present on the first day. The worst thing you can do is have new hires show up when their immediate supervisor isn't there for three or four days. It's like getting married and not having your spouse on your honeymoon.

Employee Onboarding - Preparation

It is not difficult to understand why new employees are initially a little confused and afraid of talking to their immediate manager for general things like where the scanner is and how they can use it. It is, therefore, essential to acquaint the new employees with each minute thing related to workplace. It will not only save the valuable time of the organization in future but also boost their energy level.

With the help of an effective employee onboarding program, one should be aiming to present essential information in a simple to process design, so that new employee can turn to the more demanding aspects of his/her job in the organization.

Preparations List for Employee Onboarding

The HR team should include the following points in their list, while they induct a new hire into the company −

  • Work space allocation
  • Arranging computer equipment needs
  • Arranging the phone
  • Guiding to restroomGuiding to restroom
  • Guiding to cafeteria
  • Giving access to security systems (If required)
  • Giving access to office building and workplace
  • Navigation to company
  • Transportation to company
  • Parking area and parking allocation

Job Duties and Expectations Schedules

The schedule for the Job duties and the expectations for a new hire are as follows −

  • Call and welcome employee, once formal offer is accepted

    • Review start date, arrival time, location, transportation/parking options, dress code, lunch plans and a preview of the day one agenda.

    • Provide an email address and/or phone number so that the new employees can contact you, if required.

    • Inform the employee if he needs to bring something on the first day.

  • Plan employee’s general schedule for the first week or so

    • Welcome events such as lunch, breakfast with the team members or HR during the first week.

    • Detailed agenda for day one

    • Time to explore the Employee Gateway and other important sites

    • Introductions and meetings with key individuals like colleagues, buddy/mentors with whom new employee can regularly interact.

  • Assign a buddy to mentor the new employee, ideally a peer who is enthusiastic about working and who is willing to answer questions for the new hire’s first few weeks.

  • Gather information to provide on day one such as the job description, department map/directory, organization chart, information related to the unit’s goals and priorities, etc.

  • Plan a first assignment so she/he has an early success.

Work Environment

  • Obtain building ID badge, nameplate, and business cards, if necessary.

  • Arrange to have a few office supplies ready at his/her work station, even if new supplies will be ordered later.

  • Ensure the employee’s workspace is available, clean, and organized, and that any needed keys are in working order.

  • If an employee has requested workplace accommodations, work with your HR Partner to arrange in advance, if possible

  • Consider a small welcome gift, like a coffee mug.

Information Technology

  • Arrange for phone installation and set-up. Arrange for authorizations and access to common drives.

  • In all cases, the employee record must first be established in Workday, including appropriate documentation authorizing the offer of employment, contract, and authorization to work.

  • Ascertain new employee’s email address and phone number, and make sure s/he is set up with any login/passwords that will be needed

  • Ascertain which systems employee will need to access and begin process for providing needed permissions and/or training.

Learning and Development

  • Identify due dates for mandatory training.

  • Explore and identify optional training you wish to assign to the new employees.

Designating a Mentor

The new employees find themselves confused and vacillating as how they will adapt to and acquaint with the people in the new world they have just come into. In the midst of such confusion and vacillation, they frantically look for a reliable ally or mentor who can guide them in an amiable manner through all the apparent odds they are about to face in the new work environment.

Considering the above delicate situation, some corporations have adopted a proactive approach by utilizing formal mentoring programs during new hire onboarding and for good reason. Effective mentoring has been demonstrated to increase employee engagement and help retention.


The Role of a Mentor

Designating a mentor for the new employees is a carefully chosen task of management. The nature of designating a mentor varies depending upon house policy of the organization.

In some organizations, an employee called a buddy, is assigned to a new employee for new employee orientation and onboarding. The buddy performs a role that is like that of a mentor but the buddy is usually a coworker and more experienced peer of the new employee.

The purpose of a mentor is to help the new employee quickly absorb the organization's cultural and social norms and act according to the nature of the job. The mentor can help the continuing employee become more accustomed and effective in their current job.

Mentoring a New Hire during Onboarding

Following are the six useful tips for assigning an employee mentors during new hire onboarding −

  • Goal defining to the Mentoring Program − It’s important to establish and articulate what you hope to accomplish with your mentoring program. Having a clear objective will enable you to secure buy-in from leadership, mentors and new employees.

  • Assigning a Qualified Employee as a Mentor − It takes a special blend of expertise and experience to effectively mentor a coworker. Not only must mentors possess experience with their job functions and extensive knowledge of the company, but they also must have the capability to teach or train the new breed.

  • Make the Mentors Participate in Onboarding − Don’t wait until that everimportant first week of employee onboarding is complete to involve mentors in the process. Even if your collection of mentors has yet to be assigned to individual new hires, these employees can assist HR by leading onboarding presentations or exercises.

  • Practice with Patience while Assigning Mentors − If tasked with the role of playing mentor-mentee matchmaker, don’t necessarily rush to judgment. It is desirable to wait and watch until the new employee’s first week is complete to designate a mentor. By this time, you will have a better perception as to the choice of a befitting person who would be a strong fit from the point of matching the body chemistry of the mentor and the mentee.

  • Assigning both a Buddy and a Mentor to the New Hire − Ideally each new hire will have two helpful advisers. Whereas a “buddy” shows the new hire the ins and outs of the office, assists with introductions and answers general questions not pertaining to job function, a “mentor” should be someone from the same department as the new employee. The mentor helps the new employees in building their career in the organization by guiding them in their actual job performances.

  • Building a Good Mentor-Mentee Relationship − Once each new hire has been assigned a mentor, it’s worthwhile to formally launch your program in a fun manner. Begin with a get-to-know-your icebreaker activity and a group lunch outing. When you start off each fresh generation of your mentoring program on the right foot, you better position mentors to help prep their paired employees for success with their new positions. It proves highly beneficial for the organization as it gets a breed – well-trained, groomed and knowledgeable.

In the best-case scenario, mentor-mentee relationships prove mutually beneficial. The mentee (the new employees) receive guidance towards growing within the company while the mentor has an opportunity to refine his or her leadership skills.

Employee Onboarding - Checklist

For factual implementation of a well-devised onboarding plan, it is necessary to have employee onboarding checklist. This will work as a reminder to make the employee nboarding an effective and efficient one. Let us now, learn more about employee onboarding checklist.

A comprehensive and well-laid out checklist is a necessary prerequisite for the successful implementation of an onboarding program for the new employees. Keep in mind that the lists in this module provide a place to start. You will have to tailor each checklist to meet the needs of your own organization and also the nature of the job.

Employee Onboarding Checklist is divided into two types −

  • Pre-arrival checklist (before first day)
  • Post-arrival checklist (during and after First Day)

Now, let us understand what the items in the checklist and their relevance.

Pre-Arrival Checklist

Pre-arrival checklist is required before the arrival of the new employees. It ensures that everything is organized and prepared in the workplace before a new arrival.

Pre-arrival list may include the following −

  • Sending a welcome email or letter or making call to employee after the offer is accepted; providing him/her details of salary and perks.

  • Putting necessary equipment and work wear (if required) in place.

  • Offer for touring the building of the workplace.

  • Setting up of workstation and telephone, voicemail and Internet access.

  • Information to the security as to the new arrival.

  • Apprise the current staff about the new staff’s arrival date and background, etc.

  • Apprise the current staff about the new staff’s arrival date and background, etc.

The checklists will ensure that no part of the onboarding process is ignored.

Post-Arrival Checklist

Arrival checklist contains all those items that are necessary to make the employees feel at home and learn how to mingle with the new people, new work environment and obviously, a new organizational culture.

First Day

First day leaves a lasting impact on the employees. So every organization puts efforts to make its new employees feel at home. The new employee is welcomed and made comfortable. The employee feels welcomed and prepared to start working; begins to understand the position and performance expectations.

  • The organization should present only the basic information in an easy-to-digest fashion so as to enable the new employees to turn to the more demanding aspects of his/her job.

  • The new employees are provided with facilities to access information, security information and keys.

  • The buddy or the mentor answers any immediate questions the employee may have.

  • The new employees may be given a tour of the immediate facilities in the workplace.

  • They are allowed time to settle in and review all of the information provided throughout the day.

  • They are required to debrief the day, get answers to any pending questions they have and provided with schedule and activities for the next several days.

First Week

In the very first week, the employees get their initial assignment. During this time, the employees gain a better understanding of the organization and their job roles. The employees start learning the basics of organizational culture and standards. They learn and become familiar with standard operating procedures related to their job.

Although the activities the employees perform during the first week vary from company to company and job to job, acquaintance with the new environment and new people gradually takes shape.

First Month

During the first month, the employees become acquainted with work schedule, job duties and expectations. Socialization takes shape and the employees gradually move into the organization culture.

The new employee becomes cognizant of his performance relative to the position and expectations. He continues to develop, learn about the organization and builds professional relationships.

First Three Months

During the first three months, employees get full awareness of his role and responsibilities in the organization. He begins to work independently and produce meaningful work. The new employee now feels at home with the new environment, both functionally and socially.

First Six Months

During this time, the employee develops and gains the required momentum to pursue their job and produce deliverables. He also prepares to take initiatives. His confidence level increases and he is now engaged in the new role while continuing to learn. The new employee is now convinced to discuss with other employees and the boss how things passed on and what else would be helpful for him.

First Year

The new employee is now fully engaged in his new role. He applies skills and knowledge, makes sound decisions, contributes to team goals, understands how his assignments affect others in the organization, and develops effective working relationships.

During this time, he works with some level of autonomy. He has developed himself a strong understanding of organization’s mission and culture. He is confident, ready to take additional assignments. Above all, the employee feels completely at home while working in the organization.

Employee Onboarding - Types

As the purpose of onboarding program is to introduce new hires to their job, coworkers and the organization and its work culture, every organization, big or small, prepare their own onboarding plan suiting to their needs and capacity. It is done not as a formality or business tradition but as an essential part of human resource management.

There are many ways to effectively orient new employees to a company and position, but certain formalized programs are more beneficial because they are consistent and standardized. The following is a discussion on the various types of onboarding program adopted by different organizations.

Types of Onboarding

There are many different types of onboarding programs which are implemented by different organizations to accomplish the same goal to introduce a new employee to the organization concerned to prepare him/her for a constructive role in realizing the organizational goals.

The most common type of program includes a brief orientation session where a new hire completes necessary paperwork and receives relevant handouts that explain the company’s mission, policies, and expectations. Other programs include formal training sessions, mentorship programs, leadership involvement, and other similar initiatives aimed at involving successful, senior-level employees in the orientation process.

Usually, smaller companies do not have the necessary resources to implement an effective and formal onboarding program. Therefore, new hires are often given a brief introduction to the company and then expected to learn through the well-known trialand- error process.

As there are different types of employee onboarding, there are also various faces of onboarding. Let us understand in detail about various faces of employee onboarding.

Regular Employee Onboarding

Often referred to as organizational socialization, employee onboarding refers to the process through which new employees gather the necessary knowledge, skills and behavior to become an efficient part of the existing team.

With the human resource market estimating that 50% of hiring failures occur within 18 months on the job for positions other than the senior level, companies – big and small, are making sure their employees aren’t one of the 25% of the population that looks for career transitions every year.

User / Consumer Onboarding

The onboarding process used to increase the likelihood of a new user successfully adopting your product/ service after purchase is known as user onboarding. The primary reason behind businesses making it a vital part of their marketing strategy is retention.

User retention is important today because almost each product/ service out there has at least a hundred alternatives with competitive offerings and prices. Most businesses lose out on their users in the first two months of the purchase either because the post sales experience was disappointing for the consumer or the consumer simply didn’t understand how to make the most out of his or her purchase.

Client Onboarding

One of the most critical functions for B2C as well as B2B companies, client onboarding directly impacts the client experience, servicing, and relationships leading to increased acceptance. Every client has different expectations, goals, objectives and grasp of the product or service you are offering; making it a must to include a self-introduction while onboarding them.

Employee Onboarding - Different Cadres

In the previous chapter, we have understood different types of employee onboarding. In this chapter, we will be discussing about the employee onboarding for different cadres/designations/ranks/grades.

Following are the different onboarding types for different designations −

  • Onboarding for Juniors
  • Onboarding for Managers
  • Onboarding for Directors

Employee onboarding cannot be the same for every employee in any organization. As the experience grows, the responsibility, respect and the treatment also changes and increases. Hence employee onboarding will be different for different employees as per their respective designations.

Different Cadres

Employee Onboarding for Juniors

In the past, the responsibility for changing a newly-recruited stranger into a befitting and knowledgeable employee was left to the personnel department’s experienced clerk in the very first day orientation program. In this way, the employee was left to sink or swim her way to success from here.

Today, onboarding is the most recent addition to a manager’s checklist. Companies realize that there’s a high payoff in this unique early honeymoon period by making the new employee feel welcome and comfortable in her new surroundings, assuring the person that she’s made a good decision, and minimizing the time it takes to become productive members of her new workgroup.

Employee onboarding for a Junior are as follows −

  • Send out an e-mail to everyone in the office so they’re prepared to welcome a new employee.

  • Set up the computer and configure the new employee’s e-mail accounts. Provide guides for any necessary software he or she will be using.

  • Set up her phone system, and provide instructions for using voicemail and all other communication system required by the new hire to carry out his/her responsibilities effectively.

  • Have a stack of business cards waiting.

  • Designate a workspace and provide a name plate on his or her desk or office door as a tangible sign that you’ve prepared the space.

  • Help the newbie learn names and jobs. Make an informal org chart of your department that spells out who’s responsible for what. Include your boss and her boss, too, along with any other people your newcomer is likely to run into.

Finally, explain to the new hire your expectations about performance. A close review of your company’s performance appraisal form is one of the most important and most neglected onboarding tasks. A good job of onboarding can take weeks off the learning curve and get the new employee work up to fully-productive fast.

Employee Onboarding for Managers

Managers hold important and strategic positions in an organization. They play a decisive role in changing the fate of the organization. When it comes to hiring managers, you have two options −

  • Hiring from outside
  • Promoting from within

If you’re still in the very early stages, or if you have mostly inexperienced employees in your customer service team, you’ll probably end up hiring from outside your company.

There are a few downsides to hiring from outside your company. Among them, there’s data that shows that it’s more expensive, and that outside hires tend to leave sooner.

Outside hires also won’t have the same product knowledge as someone who came up through the ranks. The same is not the case while promoting from within. But, it depends on how long the new manager was in their previous position; they might have a harder time asserting authority over their previous teammates.

Employee onboarding for Managers are as follows −

  • Send them a management handbook. Anything that will give the new manager an idea regarding the company culture and policies will help them feel less awkward on their first day.

  • Providing other supplementary materials to put them at ease. The newly appointed managers can be provided with visuals showcasing how things are run in the organization.

  • Get the paperwork out of the way. If you can, send over any paperwork that needs reviewing and signing; this can save time on the first day.

  • Give them a “day before” meeting or call. Once they’ve had a chance to review some of the materials you’ve sent over, set up a time to chat before their first day. You can give them a rundown of what they can expect, and they can ask any questions that the employee handbook (or paperwork, etc.) brought up.

The broad idea is to make the new environment less overwhelming, by familiarizing the new manager with faces and ideas from inside the company.

Employee Onboarding for Directors

New directors face a steep learning curve, and the pressure to climb quickly is intense. In today’s rapidly changing business environment a new director must be brought up to speed on issues relating to the company and board culture as soon as possible to begin adding value.

Director’s Onboarding is as follows −

  • Director induction programs are usually run by corporate secretaries, sometimes with input from the chief human resources officer.

  • If the new board member has had some prior general training in the role of a director, the induction can focus on the company, its products, services, and key players, the wider business context, and the culture of the board and how it operates.

  • The new director should ideally spend some time at company headquarters with senior executives.

  • New board directors should be encouraged to make site visits to see as much of the company’s operations on the ground.

  • Boards also may contemplate having an informal mentor program that pairs a new director with a more experienced director who can provide perspective on boardroom activities.

Ideally, a new director without previous board experience will participate in a general director training program. It will give him the opportunity to become more familiar with the role of the board and individual directors, important governance regulations and listing requirements, and the governance issues affecting the boardroom today.

Employee Onboarding - Engaging Program

Employee onboarding and engagement go hand in hand. Any program you implement needs to be engaging. The purpose of employee onboarding is to engage employees from the beginning. Onboarding is more than simple checklists; it engages new hires in the company culture and promotes a highly functioning team. When onboarding is done correctly, employees are more engaged and productive.

Onboarding is a hugely under-focused management issue, perhaps because the return isn’t immediate and the retention gains typically aren’t convincing. However, onboarding is directly tied to the organization’s talent, and if you don’t have great staff in place, things fall apart.

Engaging Program

Early engagement of the new hire is critical to the success of the new employee orientation program. Employee engagement is no longer just about motivation to contribute as an individual but it is now aligned with employer business goals and customer requirements.

  • Involve the new hire in group activities with peers.

  • Schedule team lunches with senior members frequently. These are informal methods to gauge the engagement level of the new hires.

  • Organize team building activities involving other team members as well.

Aligning the new hire with the company goals and customer needs at the earliest is critical for their performance.

How to Create an Engaging Program?

Onboarding is all about getting new hires engaged. This is significant since there is an alarming amount of disengagement in the workplace.

The HR team can implement the following methods to build engagement into your onboarding efforts −

  • A Quick Survey for Employee − This will help provide a good baseline assessment to use for comparison purposes at the conclusion of formal onboarding efforts.

  • Creating Individual Career Growth Plans − Engagement comes from employees feeling like they are respected and have a stake in the success of the company. Creating career/growth plans helps because it not only gives new hires success benchmarks, but simply asking how you can support them builds loyalty.

  • Leaders Accountability − When an employee complains about work, the problem often is not with the job; it’s with the manager. The shortage of good, quality mentors and leaders in the work force today is directly proportional to the shortage of employee loyalty. It’s a cause and effect relationship.

  • Explaining the Future Plans − Satisfied employees are getting a paycheck, but engaged employees are contributing to your mission. To be engaged, your employees need to know their performance targets and the mission of the company beyond making money.

The truth is that most employees aren’t inherently disloyal; they are simply searching for work that is both satisfying and engaging. It’s important to note that job satisfaction and engagement isn’t the same thing. Satisfied employees will keep the company afloat, but engaged employees will help the organization grow.

Different Ways of Engaging Employees

As a manager, keeping your employees engaged is perhaps the biggest challenge you face. It’s also a huge opportunity to gain long term commitment and discretionary effort from your team. That effort will ultimately lead to higher productivity.

The HR team can resort to the following strategies to create a more effective and more engaging onboarding experience −

Starting Ahead

There’s not much that’s less engaging than spending hours filling out paperwork. Speed up the onboarding process by allowing new hires to complete paperwork in advance so their first day or two begins with learning about the company culture and getting to know their new colleagues.

Spreading Out

Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a good idea to squeeze the entire onboarding process into just one week so employees can become super productive team members more quickly. Onboarding is about more than meeting your manager and learning where the copy machine is. It is how employees learn what it will take to be successful on the job, and this is going to take time.

Providing Opportunities for Practicing

Getting them involved in a small but meaningful part of a project early will help build their skills and their confidence Don’t just tell them what skills they need to perform their job successfully, provide them with actual opportunities to practice the skills on the job.

Personalizing the Experience

It is necessary to know and discuss the employee’s career goals and look into them to see how their goals match those of the organization. Making your employees feel appreciated and respected, both as employees and as individuals can go a long way toward building happy and productive employees and a great company culture.

Benefits of Employee Engaging through Onboarding

An engaging new hire training program can have numerous benefits to both your company and your new hires.

The benefits of the employee onboarding program are as follows −

  • More Productive Employees − If an employee is properly engaged during new hire orientation, they are more likely to pay close attention to their work and ensure that all procedures and processes are being properly followed and that they are performing to the best of their abilities.

  • Loyal Employees − Investing in your employees by providing them with proper training and refreshing is extremely important when trying to build a long-term relationship with a new hire. If your new staff member feels like they have been properly trained and supported, they are more likely to feel emotionally invested in your company. This not only increases employee loyalty, it also can aid in decreasing your turnover rate.

  • Better Information Retention − When new hires are truly engaged in their training, they are less easily distracted and hence retain more information. This is valuable because it means that re-training is less likely, and new hires who are more invested in their new positions are also less likely to add to your turnover rate.

An engaging onboarding experience will prime you employees for long-term success and engagement on the job. Investing in improving your onboarding is good for your employees, and it’s good for the company.

New Employee Follow-up

For effective implementation of a program, follow-up is an essential step to be followed. Employee onboarding is no exception to it. Following up with new employees is essential to effective onboarding. Managers need to be involved with their new hires and determine whether or not any changes need to be made in their training process. Consistently meet with new employees and help them solve any problems along the way.

It is not only unprofessional but also rude when you ask your new team member after their first month if ‘everything is getting on well for them’. There is need for constructive follow-up for the new employees.

New staff members are still fairly vulnerable after a month in a new role. In fact, many would describe themselves as feeling “consciously incompetent” in other words they are aware of how much they still don’t know.


This is why the 30-day post-hire check-in is crucial. It’s not only a chance for you to discuss whether your initial expectations are being met. It’s the perfect opportunity for your new team member to share with you whether their expectations are being met too.

  • Put Time Aside − 30 days in any business can pass by in no time at all. Time goes fast for you as you are busy in carrying out assigned jobs. But for a new employee it can feel like an eternity if they haven’t received regular feedback.

  • Preparation − If there’s a meeting scheduled, you can be assured that your new team member will be preparing for the conversation. So in order to avoid an “everything cool?” scenario, spend a few minutes preparing your part of the 30-day check-in too.

  • The Setting − Needless to say a moving elevator isn’t the most appropriate forum for the 30-day check-in. Neither is a cab on the way to or from a meeting. Nor is just sitting down on the corner of your new team member’s desk with a beer for a chat on a Friday afternoon.

  • The 2-Way Conversation − Remember that the 30-day check-in isn’t just your chance to provide your feedback. Of course you will have your chance to speak, but you should let them kick off the conversation.

  • Listen Carefully − Just as you did in your initial interview with them, during the 30-day check-in you should listen twice as much as you speak. Of course when you are providing your feedback, whilst you might have a few general observations, where possible try to relate the conversation back to your specific success expectations.

  • Encourage Them − For the most part, 30 days is too early to make any drastic decisions. Whether it’s a free flowing conversation or there are a few awkward silences or unexpected pieces of difficult feedback, wherever appropriate, let the new employees know that you are on their side and will do all you can to help them meet their objectives.

  • Follow-up − Follow-up is one the most important steps even though it happens beyond the actual 30-day check-in. If you have agreed to make some changes, investigate something, speak to another team member, or come back to your new team member with a response to a particular question, make sure that you do so. And if possible commit to doing so in a relatively short period of time.

Nobody respects an “all talk and no action” manager. And if that’s the impression you create at the 30-day mark, it will be hard to regain the respect when it comes to any future performance related conversations.

Tips for Effective Employee Follow-up

Having effective and consistent follow-up shows that you believe in what was taught during training. By following up, you convey a message of seriousness and importance. This is an essential step in the overall training initiative. If the management isn't following up, employees will wonder why they should bother implementing the new skills or procedures.

Once your employees have gone through training or learned something new, it is important to follow up with them. Not only does follow-up give you a chance to hear what your employees really think about their newly acquired skill or knowledge, but it also demonstrates your interest in your employees' success.

Following are a few tips to assist you with your follow-up −

  • Ask your employees how they would like to have follow-up conducted.

  • Allow your employees to be creative with their own ways to reinforce the training and new skills they learned. Be supportive and receptive to their ideas.

  • Assign periodic assignments on different topics from the training.

  • Assign a "mentee" to each employee who attended the training. Ask the employee to teach one topic a week to their new "mentee."

  • Encourage your managers and supervisors to put the skills they learned from training into practice immediately. They can lead by example.

  • You want the training to be fresh in their minds.

  • Be attentive. Observe your employees in action as they put their new skills into effect.

  • If your employees developed action plans as part of their training, meet with them individually to check the progress.

  • Put together a short questionnaire and e-mail it to your employees to get their feedback.

Like the most worthwhile efforts, effective learning takes time and practice. The more you do something, the easier it becomes. This is why it is so important to ensure that your employees get the appropriate follow-up to their training.

As you are conducting follow-up to your employee training, schedule meetings with your employees individually. Ask them to be honest with you, and share both good and bad experiences they have had while implementing the new skills they have learned from training. This will make your employees feel that they have a say in their development, and that you value their opinion.

Employee Onboarding - Setting Expectations

A clear onboarding process is proven to increase confidence and satisfaction, improve productivity and performance, and reduce stress and confusion for the new employees.

Onboarding is the system or process of “getting started” and completing all project kick-off tasks, of getting new employees up to speed so that you can work together effectively, get all of the information you need and have a great relationship with the new hires.

It is now established that setting and clarifying employee expectations is an important part of the onboarding process. Requirements and expectations need to be established from the beginning. New employees should not be surprised once they begin work. Set expectations and use them to evaluate progress.

Setting clear expectations and boundaries, and being up front about what the new hire will need to do will make them feel more comfortable and capable. It reinforces the fact they are working with a professional, not their buddy. It also shows them that you take their project and the relationship seriously.

Setting Expectations during Employee Onboarding

Hiring a new person to join your team is very exciting especially if you’ve been trying to fill the position for a while now. While you may have piles of work stacked up waiting for their arrival, be sure not to overwhelm them right away. It will minimize the chances for getting them fit for the job.

Making a good first impression sets the tone for their duration of their employment. It’s important to provide thorough training, make yourself readily available, and allow them to ease into their new role. If you expect too much too soon, there’s a good chance you’ll scare the new hire off and have the position falling vacant again.

If the new hires find themselves confused and trouble to adapt to the team and act up to expectations, it is the onboarding program to be blamed.

Follow these tips to get your new workers up to speed −

  • Providing Immediate Training − It’s important to start training your new hires right away, but don’t expect them to catch on immediately. Learning new systems, processes, and procedures takes time; so, be patient and get ready to answer lots of questions.

  • Regular Offering of Feedback − You can’t expect new hires to know if they’ve made a mistake. Learning how to do a new job is a process of trial and error. Provide feedback each day on things the person is doing well and gentle tips on ways to improve.

  • Making Clear Expectations − It’s not fair to place heavy expectations on a new hire before they’ve had a chance to become acquainted with the job. Create a 30-60-90-day plan detailing what is expected of them at each milestone. Meet with them regularly to discuss their progress and answer any questions they have.

  • Including them in a Right Away − Be sure to make new hires feel like part of the team from day one. Invite them to team meetings, give them a small part of a project to work on, and listen to their ideas. As they become more comfortable in their new role, gradually increase their level of responsibility.

If realistic expectations are not established between you and your new employee, then it can lead to a state whereby neither of you will have a clear understanding of what to expect from the other.

This can lead to fear, confusion, anxiety, and frustration on the part of your new employee, which can produce a lack of commitment and effort. Therefore, to eliminate this potential problem, you must ensure that your new employee has realistic expectations.

Employee Onboarding - Assigning Work

Onboarding is a comprehensive program and is useful for both small and big organizations alike. However, methods for carrying out onboarding program usually vary from organization to organization depending upon their size, nature of work etc.

Onboarding is not a one-day or one-time program. It is a process which continues for a considerable period of time until the new hires get fully acclimatized with the new work culture, people and work procedures. The precursors to onboarding are pre-boarding and orientation.

Pre-boarding activities prepare for the arrival of the new hire. New Hire Orientation welcomes new hires and inducts them into the company. Then, onboarding engages new hires in productive work activities and helps assimilate them into their work group.

The way you assign work to employees is important to the onboarding process. Sometimes it is possible to involve employees in the projects they are assigned. New employees, however, will have less experience and will need more guidance. Using the most effective method will make the task of assigning work easier for you and your new hires.

Assigning work during employee onboarding are broadly divided into three categories −

  • The Dictatorial Approach
  • The Apple Picking Approach
  • The Collaborative Approach

The Dictatorial Approach

Under this approach, the boss or the manager acts like a dictator. He plays a pivotal role in deciding about what, where, when, why, how things are done, and who will do them. Employees failing to following directions are met with disciplinary actions or asked to give explanation. This may result in the premature retirement of the employees.

  • The dictatorial leader traits are − all decision-making power is theirs, unrealistic in demands, uses excessive discipline and punishment, does not allow others to question decisions or authority

  • A more passive style of this is − all decision-making power is theirs, unrealistic demands clouded in humor, subtle forms of discipline and punishment, allows questions about decisions (on the surface) but ignores them, pretends to be your friend only to get their way

The Apple Picking Approach

The apple-picking approach gives the team members the required freedom to choose their assignments. Here, the team member chooses a project from a list of tasks that need to be completed.

This approach works well when the team size is small and there are only a few tasks to be assigned. For this approach to be effective, the tasks need to be equal in value and workload.

The Collaborative Approach

In the collaborative approach, the whole team is given a list of tasks and all the team members are asked to set deadlines and priorities for each task. A team meeting is held to decide who will be assigned which task.

This approach is the most effective way of assigning work as the team members decide how the work is distributed. Team members have the opportunity to choose a task that is more meaningful to them. However, this approach is not suitable for urgent assignments.

Employee Onboarding - Providing Feedback

How do you know that all the hard work you put into your onboarding of new hires is paying off? Onboarding is not or cannot be a one-way stream of information. You can and should give new hires the chance to share their feedback about the company in general and the onboarding process in particular.

You can use the information you gather during the feedback process to get a sense of what’s working well in your new hire experience and then make refinements to your program as necessary.


In this chapter, we will discuss how the HR team can collect feedback through surveys to improve an existing onboarding process.

One-on-one Sessions

One-on-one sessions are great for collecting qualitative feedback on how employees think and feel. You may be able to condense this information into quick sound bites or anecdotes to share with key stakeholders.

It often makes sense to have an employee’s direct manager conduct the session. But, the organization can have someone from upper level to run the session for effective result.

If you’re planning to hold one-on-one feedback gathering sessions, here are a few ideas for questions you can use −

  • How is everything going so far? What have been some highlights of your experience? What are some challenges you’ve faced?

  • Do you have enough, too little, or too much time to accomplish your work?

  • How does your experience so far compare to how the company and job were presented to you during the application and interview process?

  • What feedback do you have about your onboarding experience?

  • Is there anything that’s still unclear about our company or your role?

  • Do you have everything you need to accomplish your work?

  • What would help you do your job better?

  • Was there anything that came up during your feedback session that wasn’t covered by the previous questions?

Quantitative Feedback/Surveys

If you’re trying to get more of an overview of how your new hires are feeling overall, you can use a quantitative survey. It’s often useful to send this type of survey at key points during the onboarding process, such as at the end of an employee’s first week or first month.

The following is a specimen of feedback form used in companies.

Step 1 − I received my employment offer & associated information in a timely manner −

Strongly Agree Disagree
Agree Strongly Disagree

Step 2 − The information I received before my arrival helped me settle in −

Strongly Agree Disagree
Agree Strongly Disagree

Step 3 − I knew where to report, who to see and felt welcomed on my arrival −

Strongly Agree Disagree
Agree Strongly Disagree

Step 4 − After completing modules 1 and 2 of the corporate induction I gained an understanding of the University goals, values and work health and safety requirements −

Strongly Agree Disagree
Agree Strongly Disagree

Step 5 − My initial work unit induction was helpful and informative −

Strongly Agree Disagree
Agree Strongly Disagree

Step 6 − Local workplace health and safety requirements were explained and the WHS Checklist completed −

Strongly Agree Disagree
Agree Strongly Disagree

Step 7 − My new role was effectively explained and I was able to start work without unnecessary delay −

Strongly Agree Disagree
Agree Strongly Disagree

Step 8 − My supervisor has advised me of any compulsory training I am required to complete −

Strongly Agree Disagree
Agree Strongly Disagree

Step 9 − I understand my probation and performance management, development and review obligations −

Strongly Agree Disagree
Agree Strongly Disagree

Step 10 − I feel well-informed and comfortable in my role −

Strongly Agree Disagree
Agree Strongly Disagree

Sending this type of message to new hires early on is essential. You want to be sure to catch them during that crucial window when they’re making the decision about whether to stick around long-term.

Benefits of New Employee Feedback

The onboarding process is extremely significant for your new employees as well as for future employees. Surveying your new team members after carrying out a part of the onboarding process for feedback about their experience, strengths and weaknesses of their training process can better your company as a whole..

The benefits of the New Employee Feedback are as follows −

  • Collecting feedback from employees will reveal what workers think of the onboarding program in particular and the company they represent, in general.

  • Discover whether your organization’s new employee onboarding program is effective. Does the new staff member understand their job functions and are they learning how to perform their position effectively?

  • Gain insight into why new hires are drawn to your company. This helps you understand what the perceived benefits of your company are and gives you specific features to highlight during future recruiting.

  • New Hire Surveys give the staff member an opportunity to offer areas for improvement in the recruiting and training process and to troubleshoot any issues that they are experiencing.

  • Learn details about the candidate’s perception of the recruiting and hiring experience. Did they feel comfortable during the interview?

  • When you regularly survey new hires, you are gradually compiling data that can be analyzed over time. This allows you to view whether changes to the recruiting, hiring or training process are improving feedback by new hires or, if perhaps, a new plan of action should be implemented.

  • Response reports grouped by: job satisfaction, supervisor support, training and orientation, company policies and processes, help you to quickly recognize trends in new hire experiences.

To conclude, feedback from the newly hired employees after a few days of their stay in the organization help the management to analyze the utility and capacity of the ongoing onboarding program towards getting experienced and skilled manpower as desired. If the ongoing onboarding program is found to be deficient in delivering the expected to the new hires, the management brings changes in it and make it refreshed and renovated to suit to the needs of onboarding for the entrants.