Employee Onboarding

    Employee Onboarding: Setting your people up for success

    The employee lifecycle is full of exciting, and at times overwhelming, moments. Perhaps the biggest highlight on that journey is the start of a new job - a moment that can make or break the rest of an employee’s tenure with the company.

    That is why it is crucial for HR teams to create an amazing start experience for their people in the form of an onboarding programme - a chance to impress new hires, reassure them they’ve made the right decision joining your organisation, and turn them into brand ambassadors.


    What is employee onboarding?


    Employee onboarding is a well-thought out process designed to welcome new hires into an organization by sharing knowledge, communicating values, facilitating social connections and managing compliance with the end goal to turn them into empowered team members and future brand ambassadors. What’s more, good onboarding also utilizes a digital platform.

    In practice, it is a series of experiences and a collection of content customised for each onboardee to literally get them “on board”, i.e. comfortable in their new role and excited about the company.

    Onboarding can start prior to the first day on the job (a more specific process called preboarding) and, depending on the organisation, can last for the first three weeks, three months or even the full first year of a new hire’s lifecycle. 

    The above is what makes onboarding different to induction (welcoming the new hire to the organisation and culture on the first day) or even orientation (handling the general administration and walking them through company policies/guidelines in the first few days). It’s a longer, more comprehensive process that isn’t just practical but also personal.

    Why is employee onboarding important?

    For the employee, a good onboarding process sheds much needed light on their new role and company overall, as well as guides and supports them through what is typically an overwhelming period. Crucially, it can also help them develop a strong team and organisational bond. Establishing that connection is what will make or break their engagement, (time-to-)productivity, and ultimately - retention.

    For the employer, onboarding presents a vital opportunity to engage and delight new hires, reassure them that they made the right choice and that you are a good employer. In other words, it boosts employer brand. Earning the reputation of a good employer at all stages of the employee lifecycle will make your organisation attractive to other top talent.

    What are the benefits of good onboarding?

    Besides significantly bolstering your employer brand, making you an attractive employer to new talent, facilitating recruitment, and increasing the potential stream of referrals for new positions, good digital onboarding has some very tangible benefits for your entire business.

    Good onboarding significantly increases the chances of your new hires showing up for the first day (aka not ‘ghosting’) as well as them sticking around after, which automatically reduces the need to recruit new employees. Similarly, with general employee engagement and referrals going up, this will save your talent acquisition team a bit part of their budget. Not to mention, highly engaged employees are also more productive.

    Automating the process through a digital platform mean that your HR team no longer has to spend hours preparing to welcome each new team member. They can, instead, put this valuable time into other crucial activities, like more personal work that will positively impact the employee experience at your organisation.

    The same tool will provide a sea of data that can be used to further tweak and improve your onboarding experience.

    Overall, happy new hires will lead to long-term growth for your organisation with these benefits.

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    Who benefits from good employee onboarding?


    Good onboarding has a positive impact on the entire organisation


    For employees, a good onboarding experience is a huge boost in positive engagement and helps them develop strong connections with their team and organisation overall. Essentially, it reassures them they’ve made the right choice and gets them excited. On the practical side, good onboarding provides a lot of clarity around their role and other organisational matters, so overall it gets them up-and-running more quickly.


    For HR, positive employee experiences and engagement directly affects the employer brand in a great way. A strong employer brand is a great way to boost referrals. Overall, it makes the recruitment process easier by decreasing turnover, saving time and costs on replacing employees. Digital onboarding also saves a lot of time that human resources teams can invest in other crucial activities.

    Last but not least, all of the above paves the way for growth for the business overall. Happy people = good business!

    Involving managers is a crucial part of onboarding. Not only do they need their people to be properly set up for success, but their people certainly need them in that crucial starting period.

    Building a business case for onboarding

    Before you can even start setting up your employee onboarding programme, you might need to convince the wider organisation that an onboarding programme is needed altogether.


    Or, perhaps you’ve got the green light to start with good onboarding - but who should be on the team?


    Below are some resources to help HR professionals that are navigating the very early stages of getting onboarding off the ground at their company.

    Three Reasons Why Good Onboarding Makes Great Business Sense
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    Making the Business Case for Digital Employee Onboarding
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    How to Assemble your Onboarding Project Team: 6 Key Competencies for Picture Perfect Onboarding
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    What Does Good Employee Onboarding Look Like?


    We define good onboarding as a comprehensive, digital process designed to share knowledge, communicate values, build connections and manage compliance to transform new hires into confident, empowered team members and ambassadors.


    What are the steps of an employee onboarding process?


    Onboarding can look different depending on each organisation’s size, culture, needs, industry, etc. Yet there are certain elements that every company should incorporate into their onboarding programme - these are the 4C’s of onboarding.



    This is the administrative part of going through all the paperwork.



    This encompasses all activities meant to empower new hires to get started - anything involving training, goal-setting, and more.


    This element makes all the difference and is about helping your new people integrate into their team and business overall, to create a connection with their new work environment.



    Bringing new hires on board the company culture can be tricky, as it isn’t always easy to put your finger on all aspects of culture. Yet, some explanation around what some general expectations are and what the atmosphere is like can be a good start until they experience it for themselves.


    The first weeks of onboarding especially can make or break a newcomer’s experience  If you’d like to really zoom in on the first week, here are 15 steps you can follow to make it unforgettable. But we’ve also created a best practice onboarding template that includes all four C’s for the new hire lifecycle beyond that! 

    Remote and hybrid onboarding

    Another aspect that can change what your onboarding looks like entirely is whether your organisation works in a hybrid model, or event fully remotely.


    Here are 7 key lessons we learnt through the height of remote onboarding in 2021, as well as 5 best practices we’ve refined since, as remote is here to stay!

    Different types of onboardees

    New hires come in all forms - some are seasoned professionals and some are recent graduates or interns. These groups will have different questions and needs when joining your company, which is important to keep in mind when designing your onboarding programme. 


    You can learn more about 7 common new hire profiles and their main concerns you can prepare for in this comprehensive guide.

    Blog Better Onboarding for LGBTQIA+ New Hires-1

    Diversity & inclusion in onboarding


    Diversity & inclusion is paramount in any organisation and great to cultivate right from the start of the employee journey. Here are some of our favourite tools to help you make your onboarding as inclusive and open for the LGBTQIA+ community as possible.

    How to make good onboarding content


    There are many ways you can take your onboarding experience to the next level and share your flair for positive experiences as an employer. Here are some fun ideas for the different phases of onboarding to get your creativity going!




    1. Create a new hire ‘Be Prepared’ handbook


    2. Become a video virtuoso with digital meet & greets


    3. Step into the future with a 360 office tour



    Induction and orientation


    4. Go glossy with a magazine-style company introduction


    5. Build ‘social savvy’ recruits


    6. Double-up with the buddy system





    7. Plan ahead with a travelogue-style career development guide


    8. Offer ‘extra credit’ with opt-in training


    9. Bottle that new hire enthusiasm for an Instagram takeover



    Last but not least


    10. Consider a digital onboarding platform to manage it all for you!



    Want to dive even deeper? Watch our webinar on how to create engaging onboarding content.


    Onboarding software solutions

    You’ve done it! You made your business case, you put the right team together, you considered all the intricate details of creating an onboarding programme and you’re full of ideas to create an amazing experience for your new hires. To help the process along and allow you more time to focus on the important aspects, you want to automate with the right tool.


    How do you pick the right onboarding software? The following resources explain what to look out for.

    The HR Professional's Guide to Good Onboarding Software
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    Onboarding Software: 5 Features You Can't Live Without
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    How to measure onboarding success?

    Most organisations recognise the need to measure their onboarding efforts, but don’t always know how to go about it. Having no clear systems in place to capture and evaluate data - or even a sense of which data to track, is usually the root of this issue.


    Onboarding is proven to contribute to better engagement, time-to-productivity and retention. So for the quantitative aspect, these KPIs might be a great place to start. Don’t forget to research what your industry standards are for a better understanding of the bigger picture, and eventually start creating your own internal benchmarks to keep track of progress or fluctuations in the numbers.


    By collecting feedback through your onboarding platform, you can gather qualitative insights into the overall experience, both good and bad. Use this information to provide numbers with context, and more importantly to improve the process for future hires. 


    There are more metrics that you can deep-dive into for a comprehensive overview and evaluations of your onboarding efforts, but these are a good place to start.

    Still have questions?

    If you have other questions around employee onboarding, look at the 10 most common questions we answered in 2021 - perhaps you’ll find an answer there! Otherwise, please reach out to our team who’ll be more than happy to assist you.

    Interested in knowing more? Join the conversation with us