What is Onboarding? A Definition, And Why You Should Take it Seriously - Unito (2022)

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A solid onboarding process can make all the difference when it comes to a new employee’s experience — and their success. As soon as an employee is able to do their job properly and contribute in a meaningful way, the sooner they’re able to feel like engaged and valuable members of the company.

Continue reading to discover:

  • What onboarding is
  • A breakdown of the onboarding process (with a checklist)
  • Onboarding best practices
  • The key benefits of proper onboarding

What is onboarding?

At its core, onboarding is the process by which a new employee is initiated into a company or organization. But any good HR professional knows there’s a bit more to it than that. Onboarding starts during the recruitment and hiring process, and can stretch over the course of the individual’s first year.

Successful onboarding provides key information and important context for the employee in areas such as their specific role, company policies, company culture, and business processes and systems.

A good onboarding plan will cover three key areas:

  • The organizational: how things work, company culture, mission, and processes, etc.
  • The technical: job expectations, goals, definitions of success, etc.
  • The social: creating a sense of community, interpersonal connections, building trust between team members, etc.

A strong onboarding process gives the employee insight into not only where they’ll be working, but how they’ll be working.

The complete onboarding process

Here are the three key parts of the onboarding process, broken down step-by-step.

The organizational onboarding process

Step 1: Ensure paperwork is complete

All good onboarding plans start before the employee starts their first day. Instead of having an overwhelming stack of papers waiting at their desk for them, send new employees any documents that can be electronically signed and filed, beforehand.

(Video) Onboarding

This gives them a headstart on getting integrated within the company and their first taste of how things work. Nobody wants to be stressed out — or bored — filling out piles of paperwork the first day at a new job.

Step 2: Create an employee profile on your HR software

If the documents mentioned above need to be signed through an employee HR software such as BambooHR, Workday, or Collage, you might have completed this step already. If not, it’s great to get this done as soon as you can so that you can provide access to the new employee.

Step 3: Give your new hire access to their email and tool accounts

First, give your new employee access to their email account, since it’s usually used to access other accounts. You can do this before their first day and use their new email account to communicate with them throughout the onboarding process. Make a list of all the tools and software your new hire will need, and make sure access is prepared for them either before or during their first day.

Step 4: Prepare the employee’s workstation

Part of the onboarding process is making the employee’s physical transition to the office as smooth as possible — as long as they’re not working remotely. Let them know where they can park, how to get into the building (key card, buzz into the front desk, etc.) and so on. Make their desk ready for them. Provide the office supplies they need, like notebooks and pens. Set up their chair and computer. It’s also helpful to have their computer connected to the internet and office printer before they start.

5. Organize essential training

While much of this will be job-specific (and fall under the technical area of the onboarding process), there will always be organizational training to do. At Unito, all new employees do:

  • Company 101 training with the CEO
  • Security and privacy training
  • Training on what the Unito app does
  • Training on common company processes

6. Provide a schedule for their first day

One of the most stressful things about the first day on a new job is not knowing what to expect. Ease any worries by providing a first day schedule for your new employee.

This can include information such as:

  • What time they are expected to arrive and what time they should expect the day to end.
  • Who they should check-in with when first arriving at the office.
  • What their first few hours will look like.
  • Where and when to attend a team lunch.

A first day at a new job comes with many questions, but a clear schedule goes a long way into helping them feel at ease.

7. Provide any relevant reading materials

In between meeting new team members and getting used to a new office, it can be a relief for new employees to sit down with some reading material for a bit.

Have printed copies of the company policies, a company culture guide, and any relevant style guides (copywriting or design) for them to read. Schedule a dedicated time later in the week to go over the documents with the employee to discuss any questions or concerns they may have.

The technical onboarding process

1. Outline job responsibilities

While your new hire knows what was outlined in the job posting, it can be really helpful to walk them through their responsibilities on the first day. Set up some time to have a more in-depth discussion regarding what their day-to-day will look like, who they’ll be working closely with, and what their key deliverables are.

(Video) Improve Your Onboarding Process

2. Provide clear goals

If any employee doesn’t know what success looks like within their role and the organization, there’s a good chance they won’t achieve it. Work with the employee to develop clear and achievable goals that align with the company’s objectives.

At Unito, we use objectives and key results for goal-setting. New hires are walked through the company and departmental OKRs, and then work with their manager to set personal OKRs right out of the gate.

3. Run job-specific training

In addition to all of the company-wide training they’ll receive, they’ll obviously need training specific to their role. Try to plan this for their first week or two, and they aren’t blocked from progressing by a simple lack of training.

This training may be led by the manager or other members of the organization that they’ll be working closely with.

4. Schedule weekly check-ins and coaching sessions

It’s important to schedule regular check-ins and coaching sessions with the individual. Weekly one-on-ones with the manager are a great way to ensure the onboarding process is running smoothly. As the employee becomes more comfortable, these can shift to bi-weekly or monthly as needed.

Some questions to discuss with the employee:

  • Do you have everything you need to get your job done?
  • How are you finding your day-to-day work experience?
  • Is there anything else I can do to support you at this time?
  • What are some things you’ve noticed about the organization?
  • Do you have any questions or concerns about process, company culture, or policies?

The social onboarding process

1. Introduce the new employee

The first step to integrating a new employee into the company’s social culture, is to let everyone know they’re arriving. This could be an email, Slack message, or personal introductions (or all three!). Be sure to include the new hire in your messaging so they can start interacting with their new colleagues. It’s an easy way to break the ice.

2. Assign them a work buddy

When somebody is hired at Unito, they get a “buddy” in the company they can go to with questions about culture, process, or anything else they might be wondering about. As a new employee, it can sometimes feel like you’re bothering your manager every few minutes with another question, so this additional connection and resource is helpful for all involved. We encourage our buddies to take their new colleagues out for coffee in the first week, to help kick-start that connection.

3. Schedule a welcome lunch

As mentioned above, a welcome lunch on the employee’s first day can make a huge difference in helping them build social connections right away. Schedule a lunch for the new employee’s immediate team, or any other people they’ll be working with on a daily basis.This lets everyone get to know each other more personally, and it’s easier to ask for help from someone you’ve spoken to. If this lunch happens at a restaurant, cover the cost of this lunch for the new team member. Don’t force them to pay to get to know people.

4. Schedule meetings with key team members

While some training may be led by members of other teams, you should also schedule meetings between the new hire and key coworkers. This might include managers of other departments, individuals they’ll be working with often, or important members of the company.These meetings can be either one on ones, or include full teams (as long as they don’t consist of more than 10 people)

An employee onboarding process checklist

Now that you know the basics of a successful employee onboarding process, it’s time to put it into practice. We’ve created a simple employee onboarding checklist to help you plan, organize, and streamline your process. Having a standardized onboarding checklist means no new hire falls through the cracks, and you don’t have to worry about missing a step.

(Video) Casey Winters: Why Customer Onboarding is the Most Crucial Part of Your Growth Strategy

You can download the onboarding checklist here.

At Unito, we’ve built our onboarding template into an Asana project. Every time we hire a new employee, we duplicate the project and assign the above tasks to the relevant person within the company. This adds visibility to the onboarding process and ensures nothing falls through the cracks.

Onboarding best practices

Now that you know what you should be doing in order to effectively onboard new employees, let’s talk about how you should be doing it. Here are some best practices to ensure you’re getting the most out of your onboarding plan.

Make organization a priority

Your new hire will be looking to you for guidance, so it’s important that you’re organized and in control of the situation.

For example, if you had scheduled an introductory meeting with another team and then forgot about it, or didn’t prepare anything, the new employee is left feeling confused and uncomfortable. If you’re running around trying to do a million things, you’re sending the wrong message to the new employee. Take a breath, make sure your calendar is up-to-date, and show the employee that they’re in good hands.

Don’t overwhelm the new employee

While one of the main goals of onboarding is to have new employees productive and integrated into the company as soon as possible, this won’t happen if you overwhelm them with information or tasks right away.

While it’s recommended you outline some easy-win, upcoming tasks the employee can start thinking about, don’t ask them for any hard deadline work within the first week. The first few days at a new job often include a firehose of information the employee is trying their best to learn, so refrain from adding the pressure of an assignment.

Ask for feedback

Remember: your employee onboarding process isn’t set in stone. As you apply your onboarding plan to more and more new employees, you can continuously update and shape it to work best for your organization.To do this effectively, ask for feedback from all new employees verbally during weekly check-ins, as well as at the end of their probationary period.

Some questions to ask when requesting feedback:

  • What’s something we could have done differently during your first week?
  • Is the role what you expected it would be? What are some disparities?
  • Do you feel as if you’ve received adequate training with relevant software and tools?
  • Do you feel welcome and integrated into the company culture?
  • What are some blockers you’re currently facing?
  • What do you wish was done differently during the onboarding process?

The onboarding experience doesn’t have to feel like a chore for new employees — or HR managers. With the above checklist and best practices, you can develop and optimize a successful onboarding plan that will create — and keep — happy, productive employees.

Why employee onboarding is so important

While employers once might have simply dropped new hires at their desks with a brief rundown of the company, today’s HR teams and managers know this isn’t an effective or sustainable approach. If you want to succeed — and you want your new hires to succeed — you need a proper onboarding plan.

Here’s a more detailed look at the key benefits of a thorough onboarding process.

(Video) How to WOW New Hires When Onboarding Remotely

Attracts top talent

One of the main issues facing recruiters and businesses today is the ability to attract top talent. With talent pools shrinking and hiring demands growing, HR departments are strapped trying to build an attractive brand to potential employees.

Since the onboarding process begins during the recruitment and hiring process, companies need to establish a solid brand up front. When a potential employee heads to your company website and looks through the culture section of your careers page, your values, or even the appearance of team members featured on the website, they’re gaining knowledge of your organization. And since 79% of job seekers consider a company’s mission before applying for a job, this part of the onboarding process is crucial.

When your brand and core values connect with potential employees, you’re able to efficiently and effectively attract top talent who are not only informed about what your business stands for, but are engaged with your brand.

Improves retention

First impressions matter, and it’s no different when it comes to employee onboarding. Up to 20% of new employees leave the company within the first 45 days, and improper onboarding can be a very influential part of that. The proof? According to research by Glassdoor, organizations with a good onboarding process improve the retention of new hires by 82%.

The loss of newly hired employees isn’t just a minor annoyance for businesses either. It’s literally a costly mistake. The average U.S company spends $4,000 to hire a new employee. That’s not to mention the countless hours invested by other members of your team throughout the hiring process and in the first weeks or months before that employee leaves. You want to do everything in your power to make sure that money and effort is well-spent.

Increases productivity

When an employee quickly understands what it takes to succeed — and has the proper tools and knowledge to do so — they’re able to start contributing to the business right away.

In fact, organizations with successful onboarding plans have a 62% higher time-to-productivity ratio. New employees can spend less time trying to figure out how the printer works or how to use their project management tool, and more time actually getting the work done. It’s a win-win.

Boosts business growth

Thanks to successful onboarding, new employees report feeling higher levels of engagement. Onboarding helps build and nurture a supportive and trusting relationship between a new hire and their manager, and shows them that the company is dedicated to their employees.

With these higher levels of engagement come higher levels of profitability. According to research from Gallup, highly-engaged teams show 21% greater profitability than less-engaged teams. Not only that, but disengaged employees cost U.S. companies up to $550-billion a year.

Get onboard with onboarding

The onboarding period is the most crucial time in the employee-organization relationship. It’s essential that HR professionals and managers work together to create a good first impression. Both you and the new hire jumped through more than a few hoops to establish this new relationship. With the right onboarding process in place, you can make sure this relationship starts off on the right foot.

Before you go

Struggling to get work done across tools? Tool stacks are growing at an unprecedented rate, as are the headaches associated with them. You probably have a favorite tool where you get most of your work done, but it’s not always what your colleagues want to use. Instead of wasting time copy-pasting data and switching tools, why not try Unito?

(Video) Getting to confident consensus around messaging - Harsha Kalapala

How to automate recruitment reporting

Recruiting new hires creates a lot of data, which is why Unito recruiters automate their reports with Unito.

Find out how

FAQs

What is onboarding and why is it important? ›

Onboarding is when a business provides new employees with training and information to help them get acclimated to their new position. This helps them to quickly understand their role, their employer's expectations, and the company's culture.

Why should we Onboard you answer? ›

Possible answer #9

I have a lot of skills that would make me stand out. Instead of speaking for myself, I would prefer to show you my work. I would like you to give me an opportunity to let my work speak for myself. Someone going for marketing could answer this way.

What do you mean by onboarding? ›

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

How would you best describe your onboarding? ›

Employee onboarding is a process of helping new employees adjust to the social and performance aspect of the organization they have been recently hired into. This process helps new employees to adjust to their new job quickly and also learn the attitudes, knowledge, skills etc.

What is the most important part of onboarding? ›

Establish Real Relationships. One of the most important facets of onboarding is building connections between new hires and their managers, teams and the larger organization. Have managers check-in on new hires to see how they're doing. These check-ins can be built into performance conversations.

What is the goal of onboarding? ›

Objectives of an Onboarding Program

Help new employee learn the company's mission, vision, strategic goals, and priorities. Help new employee understand performance expectations for new job. Help new employee reach those performance expectations.

Why should we hire you with no experience? ›

Honestly, I possess all the skills and experience that you're looking for. I'm pretty confident that I am the best candidate for this job role. It's not just my background in the past projects, but also my people skills, which will be applicable in this position.

How would you describe yourself in a few lines? ›

How To Answer, “How Would You Describe Yourself?”
  • I am passionate about my work. ...
  • I am ambitious and driven. ...
  • I am highly organised. ...
  • I am a people person. ...
  • I am a natural leader. ...
  • I am result oriented. ...
  • I am an excellent communicator.

Why do you fit for this job? ›

Example Answer #2

My skill set is a perfect match for the job requirements. In particular, my sales skills and managerial experience make me an ideal candidate for the position. For example, at my last job, I managed a sales team of five employees, and we had the top sales record of our company branch.

What is an example of onboarding? ›

Taking the new hire around the office and introducing him/her to other employees. Taking the new hire out to lunch on their first day. Checking in with the new hire regularly.

What are the 5 C's of onboarding? ›

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

What's another word for onboarding? ›

What is another word for onboarding?
enrollmentUSenlistment
enlistingenrolling
inductionintegration
recruitingorientation
signing onsigning up
28 more rows

What are onboarding questions? ›

Sample onboarding process survey questions for new hires
  • Who did you meet during your first day? ...
  • What would have made your first day better? ...
  • How would you rate your understanding of the expectations of your job? ...
  • Were you given all necessary resources to perform your job duties? (

How do I give feedback to onboarding experience? ›

One-on-one Sessions
  1. How is everything going so far? ...
  2. Do you have enough, too little, or too much time to accomplish your work?
  3. How does your experience so far compare to how the company and job were presented to you during the application and interview process?
  4. What feedback do you have about your onboarding experience?

What are the benefits of onboarding? ›

6 Benefits of Onboarding Employees the Right Way
  • Stronger employee experience. ...
  • Higher employee engagement. ...
  • Better employee retention. ...
  • Easier talent attraction. ...
  • Stronger company culture. ...
  • Increased productivity. ...
  • Final thoughts.

What are the 4 phases of onboarding? ›

  • Phase 1: Pre-onboarding. The first phase of onboarding, also called pre-onboarding, begins as soon as a candidate accepts your offer and continues until their first day of joining. ...
  • Phase 2: Welcoming new hires. ...
  • Phase 3: Role-specific training. ...
  • Phase 4: Easing the transition to their new role. ...
  • Final thoughts.
24 Jun 2021

What are the top three keys to a successful onboarding program? ›

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

How does onboarding impact the performance of an employee? ›

One of the biggest benefits of onboarding is its effect on employee performance. A standard onboarding process reduces time to productivity and boosts new-hire productivity by up to 50 percent. But according to SHRM, only 29% of employees feel prepared and supported to excel in their roles.

What are the 4 phases of onboarding? ›

  • Phase 1: Pre-onboarding. The first phase of onboarding, also called pre-onboarding, begins as soon as a candidate accepts your offer and continues until their first day of joining. ...
  • Phase 2: Welcoming new hires. ...
  • Phase 3: Role-specific training. ...
  • Phase 4: Easing the transition to their new role. ...
  • Final thoughts.
24 Jun 2021

What are the benefits of onboarding? ›

6 Benefits of Onboarding Employees the Right Way
  • Stronger employee experience. ...
  • Higher employee engagement. ...
  • Better employee retention. ...
  • Easier talent attraction. ...
  • Stronger company culture. ...
  • Increased productivity. ...
  • Final thoughts.

What is an example of onboarding? ›

Taking the new hire around the office and introducing him/her to other employees. Taking the new hire out to lunch on their first day. Checking in with the new hire regularly.

What is another word for onboarding? ›

What is another word for onboarding?
enrollmentUSenlistment
enlistingenrolling
inductionintegration
recruitingorientation
signing onsigning up
28 more rows

How do you effectively onboard a new employee? ›

5 Easy Ways to Successfully Onboard a New Hire
  1. Create an employee playbook. Start with a simple overview of your business or organization. ...
  2. Set attainable 90-day goals. ...
  3. Set up one-on-one time to get and give feedback. ...
  4. Set up a customer/stakeholder “meet and greet” for your new employee. ...
  5. Develop FAQ lists.
8 Feb 2022

What is the onboarding process for new hires? ›

An employee onboarding process is the standardized introduction of a newly hired employee to their role in a company, including work station setups, familiarization with work and team processes, introduction to team members and managers, and other elements.

What is the impact of onboarding? ›

Onboarding has the potential to set employees up for success, and if done poorly, can increase turnover. Optimizing the employee onboarding experience can help companies retain their people and increase productivity – both fundamental as businesses continue to face disruption and change.

How does onboarding impact the performance of an employee? ›

One of the biggest benefits of onboarding is its effect on employee performance. A standard onboarding process reduces time to productivity and boosts new-hire productivity by up to 50 percent. But according to SHRM, only 29% of employees feel prepared and supported to excel in their roles.

What is outcome of onboarding? ›

Effective onboarding helps employees gain the tools and knowledge they need to be productive and happy in their roles. This investment in the employee, their experience, and their success could leave them more likely to feel committed. They feel more connected to their coworkers.

What makes a good customer onboarding experience? ›

A good onboarding process will: Keep your customers engaged. Helping them clearly understand and experience the value they'll get from your product will mean they start using it successfully, but more importantly, it'll give them a reason to log back in and use your product again and again. Improve trial conversions.

What's the opposite of onboarding? ›

Offboarding is the reverse of onboarding, and it involves separating an employee from a firm. This can include a process for sharing knowledge with other employees.

How long does the onboarding process take? ›

2. Onboarding Time. The general consensus among HR professionals is that onboarding should take at least three months. However, research suggests companies can increase employee retention by extending onboarding throughout an employee's entire first year.

What is the difference between onboarding and orientation? ›

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

Videos

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