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A Full Onboarding Process Guide Plus 10 Steps to Get it Right

Updated January 3, 2024

The act of employee onboarding and the overall hiring process are more significant than many employers initially think. Moreover, since so many employees are required to work remotely due to the pandemic, proper onboarding is more than necessary, it’s a must.

That said, regardless of whether your employees come to work or work remotely, the importance of following onboarding guidelines and implementing proper onboarding processes still applies.

Stick with us to learn why this matters and how to manage a successful employee onboarding process.

What Is an Employee Onboarding Process?

What Is an Employee Onboarding Process

Onboarding is an HR term that refers to the process of introducing a newly hired employee into an organization and his or her new role in the company. Also known as organizational socialization, onboarding is an important part of helping employees understand their new position and job requirements. It’s the process that helps them integrate seamlessly with the rest of the company.

There are many activities that go into the onboarding process, from the job offer to team training. Onboarding may last anywhere from a few weeks to a year, but the most effective onboarding usually lasts at least a few months. Ideally, employees will feel confident and competent when the onboarding process is complete.

Put simply, the onboarding process is a process run by HR managers and teams beginning at the moment a person accepts a job offer and comes to an end once the new hire is completely integrated and performs as expected in the company.

Many things comprise an onboarding checklist including, but not limited to:

  • The actual job offer;

  • Salary negotiations and talks about progressing within the company;

  • Setting realistic expectations (applies both to the employer and the new employee);

  • New hire paperwork;

  • Job training;

  • Introducing new recruits to their new colleagues;

  • Clearly defining the boundaries and responsibilities;

  • Mentoring sessions;

  • One-on-one meetings;

  • Policy and culture training;

  • Facility tours;

  • Team introductions;

  • Informal meetings, and so on.

Finally, many HR professionals and managers want to know how long the employee onboarding process should last. And while there’s no fixed rule for this, there are certain suggestions that you may find helpful.

Namely, there’s research that suggests an effective onboarding process lasts for at least three months. That said, research also suggests that companies and organizations can increase their employee retention by deciding to extend their onboarding processes throughout an employee’s entire first year in the company.

By doing so, human resources departments make sure their new hires are much more productive, feel comfortable doing what they do, have a better employee experience, adapt to the overall company culture gradually, and build better connections with their peers.

Employee Onboarding Process Statistics 

Before we finally start discussing the 10 best employee onboarding processes, we wish to share 10 useful onboarding statistics which further accentuate the importance of the employee onboarding process:

  1. A negative onboarding experience is said to double the chances of an employee to look for another opportunity;

  2. The average new hire is expected to complete 54 activities during the onboarding process;

  3. 58% of organizations suggest that their onboarding program is mostly focused on processes and paperwork;

  4. 47% of organizations state they use the Buddy program in their new employee onboarding process;

  5. New employees with good onboarding experience are said to be 18 times more committed to their employer;

  6. After the Covid restrictions, 18.9% of companies switched to remote hiring;

  7. Organizations that provide formal onboarding training are less likely to lose more than 60% of their entire workforce within 4 years;

  8. 35% of companies spend zero dollars on onboarding their new hires;

  9. Onboarding solutions statistics suggest that 32% of global executives’ onboarding processes were poor;

  10. Only 37% of companies make sure their employee onboarding programs last for more than one month.

Now, let's take a look at the ten steps you must take to create a seamless and effective onboarding process.

1. Start the Onboarding Process Before Your New Hire Begins Working


Instead of leaving an overwhelming stack of papers on your employee’s desk on their first day, send them the documents electronically before their first day, or schedule another time when they can come and sign them. Also, you need to leave time for them to go through the documents in case they have some questions before signing them.

This applies to all aspects of the onboarding process. For instance, it’d make no sense for a new employee to see the facilities on the first day of work.

So, providing new hires with various information over the course of several days, weeks, or months (depending on how long your employee onboarding process lasts), and allowing them to slowly start adjusting to the new work situation they find themselves in is much better than completely overwhelming them during their first day.

All in all, by starting the onboarding process well before their first day at work you’re giving your new hires a headstart not only with the documentation and information bit, but with the overall integration within the company itself.

2. Prepare an Oboarding Process Roadmap 


An employee onboarding plan isn’t something that you come up with spontaneously. Of course, you may come up with a strategy or two the night before you may have to implement it, but how thorough, detailed, and credible would that roadmap end up being?

Onboarding isn’t referred to as a process without reason. It’s something that goes on for a while, and as such it requires adequate planning, revision, and, of course, constant updating.

Now, you probably wonder, How do I prepare an onboarding process roadmap and what do I include in it?

And, as always, we have your back.

The first thing you need to know is where you wish to “go” with your roadmap. In other words, what are you planning to cover with the onboarding process? What are the main outcomes? What are this process’ main goals? What can be done throughout the onboarding experience that can’t be done after the new hires start working?

Answering these questions helps you get to where you want to be in a much easier and faster manner.

Also, we suggest making a list including things like:

  • the onboarding software you wish to use;

  • the employees you expect to help with a particular new employee;

  • the type of feedback you wish to get (and how you’re supposed to receive it - for example, online or on paper);

  • how and when to share some departmental information and policies;

  • guidance on team roles and employees’ tasks;

  • answers to your new hires’ questions or help them with issues they may be dealing with;

  • opportunities for reflection, and so on.

Do you need an onboarding checklist to follow for your company? Here's one we created for companies like yours.

Types of Onboarding

Also, keep in mind to include the various different aspects of the onboarding process while planning your roadmap. That means you’ll need to think about several different types of onboarding, such as:

1) Operational Onboarding

This type of onboarding covers technical aspects, such as the equipment and the tools the new hire needs to carry out their job effectively. For instance, how would your new employee feel if they can’t find their laptop charger on their first day of work because no one gave it to them? Or no one brought a chair for their desk as they miscalculated the number of chairs you need for new hires?

One thing’s for sure - it wouldn’t make them feel like they’re wanted there. And while such mistakes may occasionally happen, proper planning (even setting a short checklist of technical requirements) as well as following your onboarding roadmap will definitely prevent most of them.

2) Knowledge Onboarding

Transfer of knowledge. This is what knowledge onboarding is all about. It’s about new hires being able to access information in a timely manner, too.

Things such as attending a mentoring session with a senior employee in your company, discussing matters with other peers, or simply observing them, can be much more than insightful. It’s also a great way to engage the rest of your employees.

Plus, structuring this knowledge onboarding in a way that it allows to be delivered in small chunks is a big plus. You don’t want to overwhelm your new hires right away, and make them bite more than they can chew.

Also, make sure that this knowledge onboarding is meaningful for your new hires’ everyday job. For instance, having them attend an inspiring talk may be amazing, but if it doesn’t help with their everyday job it may not be the best option.

We discuss some of the things we mentioned here in the rest of our article - here we just wanted to accentuate the importance of making this type of onboarding part of your onboarding roadmap.

3) Social Onboarding

Social onboarding is all about making people feel included, understood, respected, and noticed. This type of onboarding outlines the importance of building trust among colleagues, having a good relationship with one’s superior, and so on.

This is why the buddy scheme, or the so-called buddy comes in handy here. It’s a great tool for new hires who may struggle to communicate something directly to their managers or to the CEO. Hence, by formally assigning them a buddy, they can freely ask them all the silly questions that are going on in their head, instead of feeling restricted in front of their bosses.

4) Performance Onboarding

Performance onboarding is all about ensuring your new hires understand the overall job role and an employee's performance expectations. It’s also about the main focus of their job position, and the value they need to add to the company.

It’s also about explaining how certain milestones are celebrated and rewarded within the company, how employees can achieve their goals, and go to the next level when it comes to climbing the business ladder.

All in all, it’s about explaining to your new hire what it takes for them to perform in the best way possible in your company.

That said, in the onboarding process no. 8 we do mention some of this in a much detailed form, but it’s important for you to incorporate this as an aspect in your onboarding roadmap first. And more importantly, to understand why you need to do so in the first place.

5) Talent Onboarding

Onboarding isn’t just about letting your new hires know how your business already works, what the current workers are doing, and what’s expected of them. It’s about having a chance to identify new talents, observe rare skills, and find a way to adjust them to your company’s business goals accordingly.

To do this, you need to be an open-minded employer. It’s not just about how your new hire fits your company. It’s also about how their unique set of skills can contribute to meaningful changes in the company.

For instance, if your company works mostly with European and Australian clients, but you end up with a new hire who speaks Japanese, you can contemplate the option of potentially working with Japanese clients, too (if an opportunity arises, that is).

3. Come up With an Outstanding Welcoming Practice 


A welcoming practice is so much more than sending a welcoming email or introducing your new hires to your employees.

Coming up with a great welcoming practice not only produces a long-lasting first impression, but it creates a better office atmosphere for everyone as well.

When it comes to the welcoming practice, we like to treat it synonymously with a welcoming package. And while you may put many things in that package, it’s still advisable to pick items which are work-related. In essence, you should choose items that the employee can use on the job.

Such freebies and so-called welcome kits can be given on the first day of job, or you may give it toward the end of the employee onboarding process. It all depends on how you’ve structured your onboarding process, and the approach your company has about such matters.

That said, it’s not just about picking random work-related items. It’s also about choosing high-quality ones.

And while there are many items you can choose from, here are our top welcome kit recommendations so far: 

  • A handwritten welcome letter (they probably won’t expect it);

  • A coffee mug (we recommended personalizing it); 

  • A t-shirt (we recommended personalizing this one too);

  • A water bottle (employees need to stay hydrated, don’t they?);

  • An employee handbook (you can be as detailed as you wish or think it’s necessary when you prepare this);

  • A bunch of stickers (which they can use for their phone, planners, laptops, and so on);

  • A lightbox (we think this one is optional, as ultimately it’s not quite an item that belongs in a business welcome kit compared to the rest of the suggestions);

  • Blue light glasses (such glasses are definitely a must);

  • Some office supplies (such as staples, highlighters, scissors, tape dispensers, post-it notes, and so on);

  • A notepad (no one says no to a new notepad, right?);

  • A face mask (with your company’s logo, perhaps, and if COVID-related restrictions are still relevant); 

  • A candle (again, like the lightbox, this doesn’t scream corporate gift or a welcoming kit item, but if you with to provide new hires with creative gifts, why not?);

  • A tote bag (your welcome kit should contain at least one eco-friendly item);

  • A hoodie (we suggest picking a t-shirt or a hoodie, and not both);

  • A Kindle (bookworms will be thrilled to discover one in their welcome package);

  • A camera block (not be used during your employees’ Zoom meetings, though);

  • Headphones (yet another great gadget).

Finally, don’t forget to prepare your new employees’ work resources and tools.

4. Choose Your Onboarding Software 


The onboarding process is all about having a human approach toward your new hires (probably why the HR team usually stands behind it), but every now and then it wouldn’t hurt if you left something to technology instead.

Using an onboarding software will help you in handling some logistical burdens and technical hurdles in a much smoother way, so let’s briefly review some specific tools.

1) Bambee 

Bambee is an outsourced human resource solution for both small and larger businesses. Once you join them, they start learning about your workers and your ongoing HR practices. What’s more, they’re not just taking a look at your HR situation - they’re coming up with suggestions as to how it can be further improved. At the same time, they’re paying attention to all the relevant state and federal regulations so as to not break them while giving out HR suggestions.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that you’ll be paired with a dedicated HR Manager. Once the company has identified all gaps and shortcomings in your HR practices, the team at Bambee will come up with a customized solution in order to bring your business up to speed. They also take all measures in order to protect your business and employees from any potential risks.

The HR Autopilot has a significant role, too. Namely, the HR Autopilot is responsible for delivering critical HR practices each business needs, including proper implementation of HR policies, employee onboarding, training, and so on.

Bambee also gives ongoing feedback to your employees. This is great because this way they’re able to understand some of your workers’ concerns and worries when those workers don’t feel comfortable to discuss matters directly with you.

On the whole, Bambee is a great option for employers and companies who wish to have a personal assistant during their onboarding process, yet they need to keep things professional at all times. You get:

  • your own dedicated HR manager;

  • HR compliant policies;

  • employee onboarding and terminations (the latter comes in handy during the offboarding process, which we deal with in the FAQ questions);

  • automated staff training and development;

  • relief from complex HR issues;

  • annual and detailed HR audits;

  • work off your plate and a peace of mind (this should probably come somewhere on the top).

2) QuizBreaker

QuizBreakeris a scheduled virtual building quiz app which helps teams bond regardless of where they are. You get automated quizzes and you can create multiple teams within your accounts. You can add custom questions or use a fixed set of 100 curated icebreakers. Also, there’s onboarding support via email, and weekly leaderboard report.

The whole app is very flexible as well. For instance, you can change the timing, the day, the volume, and the frequency of how often such quizzes are being sent out.

QuizBreaker is also mobile-friendly, so team members can use their smartphones instead of an Internet browser if that’s what they wish.

The app is a great option for employers who wish to engage their new hires with their already existing ones in a fun and relaxing way. It’s a great chance for workers to learn unusual things about each other.

There’s a wide range of questions you can choose from. Also, there’s a plethora of categories you may wish to consider, too. For instance, since you’re dealing with new hires and the onboarding process, it might be a good idea to check out the ice breaker questions article. There are multiple sections to go through, so take your take, and finally take your pick.

3) ClearCompany 

ClearCompany is a high-quality talent management platform which makes the entire experience of dealing with new hires much easier - from the very first part of the recruiting process all the way to productivity and performance of new hires.

The main goal of ClearCompany is to provide an engaging experience both for you as an employer and your new workers, too. Their digital onboarding packets make it easier to send information across your business where it’s necessary, as well as allow you to onboard remote employees much more efficiently.

In fact, this is why clients love this platform so much. It allows employers to onboard their new hires from anywhere in the world - at any time and any way. The tools they use are modern, top-notch, and user-friendly.

The company provides several solutions such as performance management, applicant tracking, onboarding, and so on. We’ll briefly focus on the onboarding services.

Namely, the platform has an intrusive user experience, which makes it quite easy for new employees to successfully complete their onboarding tasks. This is done electronically. Also, there’s neat device and equipment management. You can provide your new employees with their physical assets from a single centralized database.

Also, you can let new hires see their onboarding packet, meet the rest of the team, as well as complete any essential paperwork using any device.

Employers can also introduce new employees to their hiring manager, HR team, and team members before focusing on employee engagement. The system also allows you to define as well as automate onboarding tasks. You can track the whole entire process via deadline setting options and automated reminders.

And if you’re hiring multiple people at once - ClearCompany has a solution for that, too! You can onboard whole groups of new hires by using their bulk onboarding tool. How cool is that?

Employers may also share new hire performance goals. For instance, you can set dates well in advance for new employees such as 30, 60, or 90-day check-ins.

On the whole, this platform is a very detailed one, and we believe every employer who’s serious about the onboarding process as well as devoted to it will find it not only helpful, but necessary, too.

4) Enboarder 

Enboarder is an online onboarding platform whose purpose is to make the employee onboarding process much more enjoyable and rewarding for everyone involved. The platform enables companies and organizations to plan their hiring journeys to a T - for instance, the tool assists teams in visualizing and analyzing their new hire experience from several different angles.

The tool allows you to create space for bonding with your new hires - you can share some intro videos, match up buddies, as well as organize coffee calls, and so on. You also get to coach your managers through a completely new way of onboarding (there’s a wide range of subtle and virtual nudges to do so).

Next, employers get to collect relevant feedback and then act on it accordingly. Enboarder also allows users to automate the first day for new hires. There are uniform orders, business cards, tech requests, ID badges, and so on.

What we also appreciate about this tool is that it has very nice integrations with apps such as: Bamboo HR, JobAdder, Lever, Greenhouse, SnapHire, LiveHire, Jira, HelloSign, Smart Recruiters. Secured Signing, Adobe Sign, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Azure, WeChat, and so on.

On the whole, Enborader comes with amazing business features that have the power to make a noticeable impact.

5) Organimi 

There are 117,108 created charts, 128,662 organizations using it, and 77,184,03 roles so far. This is Organimi in numbers. But there’s so much more to this tool.

Organimi is a tool used for onboarding new hires. And it helps new employees master something each new worker struggles with: understanding the company’s internal structure. It’s all about knowing who to consult about specific issues, understanding who to call when things get rough, and making sure relevant people are informed about important matters.

The tool simplifies the process of creating org charts. It has a very user-friendly drag-and-drop system which enables employers to import data, arrange their org chart (as well as share it later on with collaborators). With Organimi, it’s very easy to update your chart, too.

What’s more, you can create a chart in just a few minutes. All you have to do is import a csv or an Excel file with your company/organization information. Or you can build the chart manually if that’s what you prefer by using the drag and drop interface. You also get to choose who you share the org charts with. So, you may share them with the whole company or with select individuals. You choose whether to give users viewing or editing rights as well.

Next, Organimi’s unique SmartChart™ Legend feature helps visualize your chart information. You may even further make the chart visually attractive by using the tool’s branding and formatting options.

We’re not over (yet). You get to put a face to the name, too. In other words, you can connect with the actual person behind the title via the tool’s Photoboards and the Directory feature. The Photoboards are those who help put a face to the name, whereas the Directories act like a shared employee database of contact data.

It’s worth noting that users can also add their own custom fields. And you can create any field you like. Plus, you get to control privacy settings by choosing which custom fields are to be displayed publicly (such as the job title, for instance), and which ones should be kept private (such as the salaries). 

6) Scoro 

Scoro is a digital solution which helps employers manage projects, automate the billing process, simplify quoting, and finally optimize utilization. 

For busy employers, investing in a tool such as Scoro truly is a no-brainer. The software comes with analysis tools, which give you an instant view of your whole team. You can also track your teams’ progress, as well as provide real-time reporting of their ongoing work. 

What’s more, Scoro integrates nicely with a wide range of other apps such as: 

  • Slack

  • Asana

  • Jira

  • Evernote 

  • Trello

  • Harvest 

  • Basecamp 

  • GitHub

  • Google Calendar 

  • Calendly 

  • Salesforce 

  • Drift 

  • Dropbox 

  • FTP 

  • PayPal 

  • Stripe

  • Expensify 

  • Xero Accounting 

  • Gmail 

  • Microsoft Exchange 

  • iCal Calendar 

  • Capier, and others. 

Finally, what we love the most about Scoro is that it seems to have something for each industry and line of work. As the website suggests, the tool can assist employers from a wide range of professions including marketing agencies, professional services, building and construction, accountancies, government agencies and nonprofits, educational institutions, legal services, business consultancies, information technology, training providers, architecture, and financial services.  

5. Engage Your Senior Employees in the Onboarding Process


Engaging your senior employees (managers, HR department directors, and so on) in the employee onboarding process can be a huge plus. First and foremost, senior employees can help you with any onboarding dilemmas you might have, but more importantly, they can help the new hires. And they can do so in many ways.

For instance, senior employees may oversee specific training or coaching a specific new hire may need to undergo. Coaching your managers about your expectations and criteria is key here. This especially matters for training specific to their role. Therefore, we recommended picking a manager from the department that matches your new hire’s job description.

Namely, if you’re hiring new employees for your marketing department, it’d be logical for a senior employee from that department to oversee their progress as well as provide training. It’d make no sense to assign your accounting manager, for example.

Also, such training sessions and the overall communication that will take place between the new hires and the respective managers allows for them to get to know each other during the onboarding process. In other words, these sessions and meetings are led by managers that will work closely with the new hires once the new employees start their job formally.

What’s more, senior leaders and managers help instill company culture and their own expectations. The point behind this is that while you as an employer have expectations from all your employees, your senior leaders may also have their own set of criteria when it comes to their subordinates.

There are many ways to do so. They can convey this via one-on-one sessions with new hires, or they might even deliver a company presentation to help new hires understand company history, expected behaviors, and overall values.

You should also ask senior leaders to establish regular check-ins with the new hires.

Finally, it’s worth adding that the overall onboarding process isn’t just your responsibility or that of your HR team. It’s the responsibility of the entire company/organization. Put simply, senior leaders, managers, team members, regular employees - all of them can execute specific activities to help the whole onboarding process run smoothly. We dwell upon the connection between new hires and already existing employees later in the article.

6. Develop a Trust Culture 


The onboarding process isn’t just about paperwork, welcoming practice, training, one-on-one sessions, to name a few. And while we agree that they’re important components of the process, they don’t necessarily represent the whole picture. Put simply, there are missing aspects. Aspects such as developing a trust culture within your new hires.

Professional relationships are oftentimes what helps us thrive at work. They’re what helps us execute all projects, build amazing teams, collaborate with other companies and clients, and so on. Regardless of whether you’re an employer or an employee - you want to be on good terms with your peers. But to achieve that, both you and them need to adhere to certain “trust rules”.

1) Being Transparent

First and foremost, let your new hires know that you trust them. Of course, you won’t do this by saying directly to them “Hey, I trust you”. They’ll pick up on it through your actions, decisions, suggestions, and comments.

For instance, if you assign your new hires some tasks and allow them to approach them in a way they think it’s right, you’ve already planted the seeds. You’re being open-minded, and you’re also allowing them to be creative and authentic. It’s all about you trusting they can get the job done.

2) Balancing Both Professional and Private Lives

Also, building trust comes with knowing how to balance your professional and private lives. More importantly, it comes with understanding when one starts “dominating”. For instance, we all know that it’s important to be professional at work at all times, but life happens and sometimes things may impact us more than what we can handle at a given moment. No matter how much we try - we can’t focus on our work because our child is sick at home. We can’t follow the meeting because we’ve received an unexpected diagnosis. We can’t seem to lead the project as we’ve initially envisioned because we’re going through a divorce.

As an employer, you wish your employees to have the freedom to express themselves fully, not just when it comes to business-related things, but some of their private matters too. Of course, they’re not required to share details or suppress their pain - it’s enough for them to say they’re going through something (if they wish to open up to you more, it’s up to them). They might go to your HR team as well. In any case, it’s important to show acceptance and tolerance. You want your employees to feel comfortable to express when there’s a problem which impacts the way they do their work.

And this starts during the onboarding process. If you come across someone who’s always strict, doesn’t tolerate when an employee seems to have an off day, or can’t seem to understand workers’ prsonal struggles, chances are your new hires will pick up on it, and they’ll suppress their issues (if they arise in the future).

3) Communicating Openly

This is also very closely related to the concept of communication. When there’s trust between the employee and the employees (or the new hires), the communication is smooth, honest, and meaningful. When there’s a lack of trust, there’s manipulation, reluctance, and resistance. It’s up to you to make sure you and your new hires follow the former option.

4) Making Decisions

Another way you can show you trust your new hires is by allowing them to make decisions which impact the company goals. For instance, if there’s an email to be sent, trust them to make the right call. Of course, you (or some senior leader) may monitor their work, but show that there’s a deeper underlying trust beneath your instructions.

That said, it’s not just about you assigning tasks or trusting your new hires to address their responsibilities. Trust goes both ways, so it’s about them trusting you, your promises, and your remarks as well.

Namely, if you say you’ll check up on them after they finish a task, you better follow through. If you promise to introduce them to a senior leader this week, it’s better to do it than not to do it. Or if you promise to organize a welcoming event for your new hires and you let them know well in advance, it’s only proper to see the event through instead of coming up with an excuse as to why you didn’t manage to host the event.

These are all random examples, and it might seem as though they don’t matter so much, but when it comes to the onboarding process and everything surrounding it, you need to understand that it’s all about first impressions and the beginning stages of building trust.

That said, things happen and sometimes they’re out of our control. For instance, let’s say you come down with a flu and don’t manage to host the welcoming event when you announced it, or you can’t seem to hold a coaching session with your new hire because you have an unexpected business trip pop up - this is all different than forgetting to do something or making your new hires feel as though they’ve been let down.

After all, it’s all about the attitude, mannerisms, and overall behavior you exhibit in front of your new hires. And if you do things right, chances are they’ll follow.

7. Schedule One-on-one Meetings 


In the Employee Onboarding Process no. 5: Engage your senior employees in the onboarding process section we mentioned that senior leaders should ensure they have frequent check-ins with new hires.

However, the same applies to you as an employer. And while you don’t need to make them frequent, they do need to be held, and here’s why: the main purpose of one-on-one meetings with your new hire during the onboarding process is to make sure you and them are on the same page.

In other words, you need to see whether they’re understanding your job requirements, how they get along with your senior leaders, whether they’ve met with the rest of your employees, how fast they’re learning, what problems they might be dealing with, and so on.

These meetings help you foster both a productive and positive relationship with your new hire. They’re not supposed to become a boring routine, though. If you feel like you’ve covered everything you wanted to discuss with your new hire during a single meeting throughout the week, you don’t need to schedule another one in that very same week. In other words, it’s not about arranging one-on-one meetings just so that you can tick them off your agenda - it’s about securing high-quality meetings, and sometimes that means having a single meeting throughout the week, and not a few ones.

Finally, this onboarding process sets the basis for the ninth onboarding practice - giving/asking for feedback.

Employee Onboarding Process no. 8: Outline specific obligations, tasks, and work expectations

While you’ve probably mentioned significant information in the job announcement, as well as the interview while selecting your new employees, the important matters and work-related details come after your new hires have been selected. More specifically, they are brought up during the onboarding process.

Outlining the specific obligations and work tasks range from information such as when employees are expected to arrive at work, who they should check-in with once they’re there, what time they should leave, all the way to scheduling new projects, collaborating with managers, sticking to deadlines, and using technology specifically chosen for that job.

It’s also important for new hires to understand their key deliverables on a daily basis. In other words, if they work on a project proposal for a new client, should they be the ones to submit the document in the end? Or should they run it by their senior managers first? Perhaps even by the whole team?

Also, are they allowed to carry certain confidential documents home if they wish to study them in greater detail? Should they log in into their email at home in case they wish to send an email or simply check if they have any new emails?

In general, are they supposed to work closely with other colleagues or is their job position more of an individual one?

A new job comes with many different questions, but ensuring you cover as many as you can before your new hires begin working makes them not only feel at ease with the whole thing, but assists them in being more productive right away, too.

This is also very important because it’s something that may come up as part of the other onboarding practices, too. For instance, you may talk about the new hires’ tasks and work expectations during your one-on-one meetings. New hires can also receive further information during their sessions with senior leaders, as well as through talking to your already existing employees. The obligations and the work tasks come up throughout training and coaching sessions as well.

Finally, keep in mind that you’re not just supposed to describe the tasks and the duties that are relevant for the job position. It’s about explaining how they can be done successfully, too. This isn’t something that should be neglected because if a new hire doesn’t understand what success means within your company or what an effectively done task should look like, chances are they won’t be able to achieve any of these things. Explaining your goals, work expectations, and company guidelines helps new hires strive to meet them.

8. Outline Specific Obligations, Tasks, and Work Expectations


Giving feedback throughout the onboarding process isn’t something most employers do. They focus on giving/asking for feedback much later - once the new hire has been working for them for some time.

However, that kind of approach isn’t always the best one.

You want to be able both to give and receive feedback even at the beginning stages of the onboarding process. This helps you as an employer better understand how your new hires feel and perceive you and your company, and it also helps them reflect on the onboarding experience itself. In essence, both parties benefit from constant feedback.

As Jim Yong Kim said:

No matter how good you think you are as a leader, my goodness, the people around you will have all kinds of ideas for how you can get better. So for me, the most fundamental thing about leadership is to have the humility to continue to get feedback and to try to get better – because your job is to try to help everybody else get better.

Now, how can you give and receive feedback? What methods can be used? One way is to go about it in a very spontaneous way - by talking to your new hires and asking them openly what they think about certain things, how they feel about the whole situation, and then you telling them whatever it is you think it’s useful at that point for them to know.

If you wish to go down a more formal route, you can carry out a feedback survey. It doesn’t have to be anything big or spectacular - it may be done online, or you may give them a paper with a certain number of questions.

You may give them descriptive questions, multiple-choice questions, Likert scale questions, and so on. Here are some of our suggestions:

9. Ask and Give Ongoing Feedback


Giving feedback throughout the onboarding process isn’t something most employers do. They focus on giving/asking for feedback much later - once the new hire has been working for them for some time.

However, that kind of approach isn’t always the best one. 

You want to be able both to give and receive feedback even at the beginning stages of the onboarding process. This helps you as an employer better understand how your new hires feel and perceive you and your company, and it also helps them reflect on the onboarding experience itself. In essence, both parties benefit from constant feedback. 

As Jim Yong Kim said: 

No matter how good you think you are as a leader, my goodness, the people around you will have all kinds of ideas for how you can get better. So for me, the most fundamental thing about leadership is to have the humility to continue to get feedback and to try to get better – because your job is to try to help everybody else get better.

Now, how can you give and receive feedback? What methods can be used? One way is to go about it in a very spontaneous way - by talking to your new hires and asking them openly what they think about certain things, how they feel about the whole situation, and then you telling them whatever it is you think it’s useful at that point for them to know. 

If you wish to go down a more formal route, you can carry out a feedback survey. It doesn’t have to be anything big or spectacular - it may be done online, or you may give them a paper with a certain number of questions. 

You may give them descriptive questions, multiple-choice questions, Likert scale questions, and so on. Here are some of our suggestions:  

  1. Onboarding Survey Questions 
  • Do you have a clear understanding of what is expected of you at this job position? 

  • Do you believe you have all the necessary skills, qualifications, and resources to get started?

  • What is the biggest challenge you had to deal with so far?

  • Is the job announcement in line with your onboarding process so far? If it isn’t, what seems to be the main issue and what are your suggestions about improving it? 

  • What is something that we could do to help you do your job even better? 

  • What is the best thing about the onboarding process so far?

  • What is the worst thing about it? 

  • What is something that we can add or remove to improve our onboarding process? 

  • What do you like the most about our company? 

  • Is there anything that is bothering you about how our company works? 

  1. On a Scale of 1 to 10 Onboarding Questions 

On a scale of 1 to 10 questions can be useful because they’re easy to answer, and it takes less time than questions which require descriptive answers: 

  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your overall onboarding experience? 

  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how happy are you with the starting salary? 

  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied are you with the company’s feedback?  

  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how well do you think your peers are treating you so far? 

  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how valued do you feel so far? 

  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how big of an asset do you think you’re in the company? 

  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how welcome do you think you are in the team?

  1. Likert Scale Quesitons

Choose one of the answers from the Likekart scale:

1 - Strongly Disagree;

2 - Somewhat Disagree; 

3 - Neither Agree Nor Disagree; 

4 - Somewhat Agree;

5 - Strongly Agree.

  • I have everything I need to be successful at my job. 

  • I know how I can progress in this company. 

  • This company’s goals are aligned with mine. 

  • I have a clear understanding of the promotion plan. 

  • I am absolutely happy with the chosen ob position.

  • So far, I am satisfied with my onboarding process. 

  • I feel truly welcomed by my peers. 

  • I feel like I fit in my company. 

  • I understand the company’s culture, values, and expectations. 

Finally, when it comes to giving feedback to your new hires, we suggest teaming up with your HR team and developing a strategy to do this. Whoever option you decide on, make sure:

  • to be specific;

  • do it often;

  • be clear and ask what the new hire thinks about your comments/remarks/feedback;

  • be as fair and transparent as possible; 

  • always follow-up;

  • and Consult other employers and your HR team about tackling sensitive topics. 

10. Connect Your New Hire With the Rest of Your Workers


Introducing your new hires to your already existing employees is one of the most important onboarding processes. This is because you need to make sure your new employees blend in with the office, its workers, and the overall atmosphere. 

Plus, you get to help your new hire break the ice by mediating at the beginning - being a new employee is never easy even for the most extroverted employees. 

The first thing you should do, however, is to let your workers know there’s a new hire. You can either send them an email, send a message on an app all of you may be using (such as Slack, Basecamp, and so on), and let them know what you expect from them. 

You may speak to them in a general way, but if you have specific requirements from particular people, you may talk to them separately too. For example, if your new hire suggests they may need some help around setting their computer at work, using a digital pass (in case you have one for your employees and they check in and out of work), it may be a good idea to ask someone from your IT team to help your new hire at the beginning. 

When you assign tasks to your already existing employees as to how they can assist the new hires and help them settle, do encourage authentic expression. You want them to be themselves with the new hires, and not act in a certain way just because they feel like they should follow a specific behavior. 

This may sound random or mainstream, but when you support workers to be who they are, chances are the new hires will feel free to be themselves as well. This makes individuals feel welcomed, and they can also be much more engaged in whatever it is they do. 

It’s worth noting that there are other ways in which your employees can support your new hires such as: 

  • scheduling brief introductory meetings with peers; 

  • hosting a team-building event or even a team lunch where workers can get to know each other and mingle in an easy-going environment; 

  • asking an employee to act as a buddy to your new hire (we briefly mentioned the buddy program already), and so on. 

Finally, if you’re not sure what the best option is, or what would make both your new hire and workers more comfortable ask yourself the following questions: 

  • What do my new hires need?

  • What do my new hires want?

  • How do I help them feel prepared?

  • How can my employees help them?

  • What is it that my employees can do that I can’t?

  • How can I effectively communicate my expectations both to my employees and the new hires? 

  • What kind of environment is the best option to allow them to meet and connect - is it the office itself, or a more neutral space?

Bonus onboarding process tip: Reflect on the onboarding process 

Our bonus employee onboarding process tip is all about reflection. Reflection is something that’s encouraged in general for employers (and employees), and it comes in handy in various different contexts. The onboarding process isn’t an exception.

There are many ways you can reflect on the onboarding practice. Keep in mind, this activity should be done after each onboarding process. In other words, if you hire 5 times during the years, you shouldn’t have a reflection practice just after the first two or three onboarding experiences. You should do it after each one.

This is very important because every onboarding process is unique and comes with its own set of challenges and benefits. Each onboarding practice carries different lessons with itself too, both for you as an employer and your new hires.

Now, when it comes to the actual reflection, we suggest going through a fixed set of questions and answering them. Also, after several such reflecting sessions (which would probably take place after several onboarding processes) we recommend that you go back and compare your answers. This will help you see what changes you’ve done, how they turned out to be in practice, and what the overall onboarding implications are.  

Here are some questions to get you started (feel free to expand on them as you go):

  • Is there anything I could have done differently? 

  • What changes do I need to apply to the onboarding process?

  • If I were new here, would I be happy with the current onboarding process as it is? Why? Why not? 

  • What bothers me about this onboarding practice?

  • What am I satisfied with? 

  • How do I make the onboarding process more practical? 

  • Should I modify the employee onboarding process in any way? How? 

  • Should I engage my employees more/less? How so? 

  • Should I consult my HR team more? Why? Why not?

  • Am I supposed to contact a new team member more/less during the onboarding period? 

  • Should I make the onboarding process longer/shorter? What arguments do I have to support this? 

  • Should I incorporate more/less technology in the onboarding process? Why? 

  • Should I pick another onboarding software? If yes, what seems to be the problem with this one?

  • How do I feel about remote onboarding? How can I compare it with the physical one? Which one do I prefer? Why? 

  • Did I have a bad experience with a new hire this week/month/year? If yes, what happened? How do I prevent it from happening again? 

  • What surprised me about the latest onboarding process I prepared? Is there anything I didn’t see coming? 

  • Am I happy with the feedback I receive from my new hires? What about the feedback I gave them? Is there anything I can adjust when it comes to the methods of providing feedback? 

  • Do I apply the suggestions and remarks I receive from the new hires? If I don’t what seems to be the problem? 

  • How objective am I when it comes to evaluating the onboarding process? What can I do to be even more impartial in the future? 

  • Are there moments when I’m absolutely biased? If yes, when? 

  • Am I happy with this reflection? Why? Why not? 

  • Should I start journaling about the onboarding experiences with my new hires? How can that help me? 

Finally, we wish to state that not all of these onboarding processes should be applied in the exact same order we’ve described them. In other words, you can ask for ongoing feedback from the beginning of the onboarding process without waiting for some time; you’re allowed to connect your new hire with the rest of your employees before you outline their specific responsibilities and tasks. 

All in all, the point is to provide your new hires with a comprehensive, yet cohesive onboarding experience without trying to force or rush certain processes chronologically. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Why does employee onboarding matter?

Starting a new job is an overwhelming experience even for the brightest of workers, and the employee onboarding process is the most effective method to ease this experience (especially when it’s spread out over a certain period of time).  

Such (longer) employee onboarding processes matter because they allow new employees to retain information by giving them the necessary time to process new information, adjust to the new environment, meet their peers, and ask questions they find valuable. 

There are many additional benefits to the employee onboarding process, and in this section we’ll dwell briefly on each of them. 

1) Employee retention

Organizations and companies with an excellent track of the onboarding process are said to keep their employees much longer than those with poor onboarding practice. In fact, do you know that up to 20% of employees are said to leave the company in the first 45 days, and a bad onboarding experience is one factor which contributes to it?

Most employers aren’t bothered at first, as they feel they’ll come across another great new hire. However, what they don’t seem to understand is that each new hire comes with new costs. Namely, according to Glassdoor, the average American company spends around $4,000 to hire a new employee, and this takes up to 52 days to fill a position. 

Therefore, having to frequently deal with hiring new people instead of keeping your employee impacts the company in a very negative way. And not just financially - it affects your authority, professionalism, the way your other workers perceive you and the company, and so on. 

2) Company culture

Providing your new hire with a detailed overview of the company, along with its values and goals, helps your new employees understand not only you as their employer, but their position within the company too. 

Understanding the company culture means comprehending the expected behaviors and overall attitudes in the office as well. 

3) Inclusion and a sense of belonging

A well-thought employee onboarding process is said to foster inclusion and a sense of belonging in the company. This matters regardless of how long an employee has worked for a specific company, but we do have to say that it’s especially valuable for any new hire. 

This is so because everything that happens to a new employee is much more challenging than for someone who’s been working for the same employer for much longer. Just imagine - a new employee needs to focus not only on their new tasks, responsibilities, and overall work changes, but on how they’ll be accepted in the office too. This applies to their behavior, character, ideas, options, and so on. It’s a lot to take in at first. 

All in all, a great onboarding practice can alleviate the overall anxiety the new hire may be dealing with, as well as drive the new employee’s performance and productivity levels, which brings us to the next point. 

4) Employee productivity

If you provide your employee with a solid onboarding process, where most of  their questions are already answered, a lot of administrative work is taken care of, and their only job is to listen to instructions, and start doing their job, guess what? 

They’ll probably exceed your professional expectations and their own too! In other words, they can put in the effort that’s required of them right away, reduce potential errors, save a lot of time and nerves, and be open to acquiring new information. 

5) Business risk

Getting to know your new hire better and your new hire getting to know you, your company, and the rest of the workers can minimize many business risks. This is so because as part of the onboarding process, new hires are required to sign many contracts, complete payroll forms, go through the company policies in detail, review further documents, and so on. 

Many of these serve to protect you, as an employer, your company, and the new hire. Of course, they need to be implemented correctly so that all parties are happy with them. 

6) Business growth

The business risk talk may have gotten you worried for a minute there, but we want to talk about business growth too! In essence, as a result of a successful employee onboarding process, new hires demonstrate higher levels of engagement. This means that when employees are happy with the treatment they get, the onboarding process they’ve gone through, and the supportive peers around them, they’ll do their job effectively. 

And with these engagement levels and work commitment, comes profitability too. 

7) New hires

If you provide a successful employee onboarding experience for your new hires, you can bet others from the industry will hear all about it. So, if someone recommends your company and is able to support their claims with facts, it’s more than likely that new workers will wish to be part of your company.

Plus, you may get to choose: the more candidates apply for a job position within your company, the higher the chances to find a high-quality worker. 

What’s the difference between onboarding and offboarding?

Offboardings been defined as the process that

leads to the formal separation between an employee and a company through resignation, termination, or retirement. It encompasses all the decisions and processes that take place when an employee leaves. This may include:

  • Transferring that employee’s job responsibilities;

  • Deactivating access rights and passwords;

  • Turning in equipment;

  • Conducting exit interviews to gather feedback.

Employee onboarding and offboarding are basically two processes at the opposite side of the employment spectrum. The former is all about ensuring employees get smoothly integrated within the company - the latter revolves around making sure employees leave the company in an easy manner.

On the whole, offboarding means there’s no unfinished business between you (your company) and the employee who’s leaving. For example, if an employee forgets to return their ID badge after the onboarding process is over, and your team needs to contact them, or if they’ve forgotten to return the tablet only employees get to use, it means there are still loose ends.

That’s not what a successfully completed onboarding process is about. Also, think about the fact that offboarding is referred to as a process - it means that it’s not an overnight thing. There’s so much more to it than just formally terminating your contract with the employee. It also has its stages - just like the onboarding best practices we’ve outlined in this article.

Boomerang Employees

While onboarding is all about properly and legally terminating your contract with a particular employee, it’s worth noting that there’s always the possibility of that employee getting rehired. This is referred to as a “boomerang employee”.

In essence, what this means is that even though you may formally end all business ties with a specific employee, there are chances that you’ll cross paths in the future yet again. In fact, rehiring employees is much more common than you may initially believe. Here are some boomerang employee statistics that support this:

  • 40% of employees claim they’d consider coming back to work to a company they’ve worked for previously (this includes 26% of Baby Boomers, 33% of Gen Xers, and 46% of Millenials);

  • 76% of HR workers claim they’re more accepting of hiring boomerang employees nowadays than they were in the past;

  • 40% of HR workers suggest that their companies hired around half of their former employees who decided to reapply for a job within the company;

  • 56% of HR workers and 38% of managers agree that the biggest benefits when it comes to hiring former employees are: already being familiar with the company’s culture, as well as requiring fewer training needs;

  • 56% of HR workers and 51% of managers claim they give high or very high priority to boomerang job employees who left the company on good terms.

What are some companies which stand out with their onboarding processes?

Many companies have a bad onboarding process, but many companies also serve as a great example of what it means to provide new hires with an excellent onboarding process.

While it’s impossible to mention all of them, it’s enough to just take a look at several of them to get truly inspired.

A good onboarding process is so much more than just following a random checklist, preparing a welcome package, and delivering important pieces of information to the new hire - it’s about adding that personal touch and conveying your company’s spirit and overall vibes.

And here’s how companies such as Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, Buffer, LinkedIn, Digital Ocean, Quora, and so on, managed to do it.

1) Quora

As a company, Quora knows what it means to put in effort and money in a high-quality onboarding practice. Quora allocates a personal mentor to each new hire. Since this is such a demanding task, the company has no problem with the fact that these mentors lose approximately 25% of personal output throughout the initial weeks of training.

Since Quora values productivity and performance, it tends to push new hires to make impactful contributions by the end of their first week. Yes, that’s how high expectations Quora has from its new hires!

The company organizes ten onboarding talks during the first several weeks, and it makes sure it teaches new employees the fundamentals for success. Also, new hires receive detailed documents and information regarding key concepts and tools they’ll need for their job.

2) Digital Ocean

Digital Ocean is a company that doesn’t see the onboarding process only as a practical, down-to-earth experience. It sees it as an exciting one, too.

They strive to make their new hires’ onboarding days as inspiring as they can, and based on how successful they are, we dare say they’re on the right track.

This company provides its new hires with a balloon on their desk so that their peers can notice them, greet them, and, of course, properly welcome them. They leave their new employees a handwritten welcome note, a bottle of champagne, and also DigitalOcean swag.

Sounds like an amazing company already, doesn’t it?

3) Twitter

Twitter is considered to be such a cool company to work for, that even if they had a lame onboarding process, chances are you’ll be thrilled to be joining the Twitter team. All jokes aside - Twitter has a great onboarding program, as it focuses on making the “Yes to Desk” period as welcoming and as useful as possible.

The “Yes to Desk” phrase refers to a new hire saying“Yes” to the job offer and then arriving at their “desk” and being as productive as they can. In essence, it’s the process of accepting a job and starting to formally work.

Twitter is said to have more than 75 steps and handoffs, and this includes IT, HR, Recruiting, and Facilities.

Before a new hire actually sits down and starts working, they have their email address set up, a T-shirt, and a bottle of wine in front of them. New hires are strategically seated next to the peers they’re supposed to be working with.

On the first day, new hires have breakfast with the CEO. Then, what follows is a tour of the company office, and finally, there’s group training on all the systems and tools relevant to their current role.

4) Buffer

As Buffer has a remote team with 100 employees, preparing an adequate onboarding program poses quite a challenge. However, Buffer makes sure to start its employee onboarding process as soon as a new worker is recruited.

Here’s how they’ve structured the onboarding practice: there’s a group of three “Buddies” and each plays a different role throughout the 6-week “bootcamp experience”:

  • a Leader Buddy;

  • a Role Buddy;

  • and a Culture Buddy.

The new employees are introduced to these buddies before their first day. They help new hires find their way through this whole “bootcamp experience” by frequent check-ins and ongoing communication.

5) Facebook

Facebook uses a 6-week boot camp where new employees get to learn their role along with the company culture. Its onboarding program aims at supporting new hires in becoming productive fairly quickly.

Instead of having a traditional onboarding practice, presentations, and various talks, Facebook came up with the following approach: it gives new hires the tools they need to engage in practical work.

Within the first 45 minutes on their first day, new hires are already set to start working on their new project. That said, they do undergo a thorough preparation before they start. The company trusts its new hires and their independent work and learning practice.

Here’s how Joshua Chaisson, a Quora user, sums up the Facebook onboarding process:

"I think that if you are an engineer it's hard to beat Facebook's onboarding bootcamp program. Bootcamp for engineers is an intensive program designed to immerse new hires into the companies code base, give people the chance to push code to over a billion users in their first week, get a comprehensive overview on the entire engineering organization and ultimately help them to select the best team for them to join long term."

6) Square

Square managed to build a strong workforce and a loyal community by designing a personalized onboarding experience for its new hires. The HR team is said to have also hit amazing milestones - growing from 60 to 1300 in under 4 years.

When it comes to Square’s company’s culture, two things stand out: first, the fun coffee culture, and then the various opportunities to connect junior team members with the senior leaders.

At Square, throughout their first week, new hires meet with the CEO and other senior leaders during roundtables. Most of the executive team also engages in one-on-one with new hires at some local coffee spots.

The HR team at Square also thinks that a new hire’s first week should be “delightful”. What this means, for instance, is that they start working later on their first day of work. Also, on this first day, new hires are welcomed with books, shirts, and stickers in order for the company to foster a sense of belonging.

Final Words

On the whole, the employee onboarding process is an important step in ensuring your new hires find it easier to adjust to their new work environment and learn something useful along the way. In essence, employee onboarding is so much more than filling in the paperwork and handling administrative work - the onboarding process reflects the level of professionalism and responsibility new hires should expect from the company.

Struggling to get started? You should check out our article on the "Best Remote Employee Onboarding Checklist To Follow (Updated)"

And while there are many ways for employers to go about this, we hope you found ours to be not only amazing, but applicable too! 

So, get on board with the onboarding process!

Heather Harper

Article by

Heather Harper

Heather Harper has a Masters in Occupational Psychological from the University of Manchester. She currently works as an editorial writer specialising in organizational psychology - helping teams work better together.

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