10 Tips on How to Improve Employee Onboarding Experience

Improve your Employee On-boarding process with these 10 simple tips and ideas

First impressions are meant to last, which is why having a carefully designed on-boarding process is a must in modern-day organisations. It is a crucial aspect of improving employee satisfaction and retention.

Research by Glassdoor indicates that organisations with a strong on-boarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. With such big numbers, you might surely think most companies get it right, right? 

But a research by Gallup found that only 12% of employees strongly agree that their organisation does a great job with on-boarding, and that calls for some efforts into revamping the process. Employee satisfaction and engagement is probably at the top of an HR manager’s checklist, and ensuring a seamless experience for your employees from the start is a must with various virtual team building activities and other strategies in place.

Whether you’re preparing a virtual on-boarding experience for the first time, or you’re looking to structure your existing on-boarding process, you’re at the right spot.

How to Improve Employee Onboarding Experience?

Remember being the new kid on the block? Being a new employee at a company is quite similar. A robust employee onboarding is akin to having a great time at school. You get to learn, have fun, and make friends at the same time. The importance of a new hire onboarding program is often understated.

Most employers view the onboarding process as a checklist waiting to be ticked off. However, data from Gallup suggests that companies with poor onboarding programs have a lot at stake. Bad news: Currently, there’s a tsunami of employee turnover.

So, it is quite necessary to understand new employee onboarding! In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the employee onboarding process. 

We’ll cover the meaning, the onboarding process, onboarding of employees in remote settings, tips for efficient onboarding, onboarding for different profiles, onboarding software and tools to help you out, metrics to keep an eye on, and finally, end with the Employee Life Cycle.

Boarding the Plane - What Is Onboarding?

If you ask someone for a proper onboarding definition, you’ll notice a common thread. Most likely, people will tell you about employee handbooks, new employee orientation, compliance, paperwork, etc. Additionally, they will tell you that it’s an HR thing. But it’s not. 

So, What Does Onboarding Mean?

If you want to define onboarding, here it is- integrating your new hires into your organization. It means showing them around the block, teaching them the ropes, and getting them on the same wavelength as your team. Usually, this process is assumed to last for only a few weeks. However, do not mistake onboarding for a one-off ‘event.’ It is a series of interactions. According to research, it takes at least 6-12 months to familiarize a new hire and capitalize on their skills. The onboarding duration could vary from company to company. But, the jump-off point for onboarding begins as soon as you hand over the offer letter.

Is Onboarding Really Such a Big Deal?


Your onboarding process impacts an employee's decision to stay with you. There are strong statistics that support this stance as well. According to The Wynhurst Group Survey, employees that go through efficient onboarding are 58% more likely to stay on the job. Evidently, the Society For Human Resource Management quoted something similar. Their 2015 article, Onboarding Key to Retaining, Engaging Talent,’ said that 86% of employees decide to stay or leave within the first few months.

So, impressions do matter.

onboarding definition

Does That Mean Onboarding Is a Game of Impressions?

Yes, initial experience has great power.

The impression about your company comes in quite early. Think about the content that you consume on a day-to-day basis. How long does it take for you to decide whether a Netflix series is worth your time? Probably seconds. Admittedly, content consumption and professional work settings are quite different. But people subconsciously engage in this decision-making all the time. We form an impression about everything based on our initial experience. So, an effective onboarding experience creates a great impression on your new hire. A company might also mistake onboarding for a logical or rational process. However, onboarding is more than that. It is quite an emotional experience. It is a time of change for the employer. Also, the start of something new for the employee. 

So, the onboarding period is a rollercoaster journey for everyone involved. For the new employee, it’s a period of doubt. They will ask themselves questions like - ‘Did I make the right choice?’ or ‘Do I fit in here?’

For the employer, it’s a period of anxiety. Employers might think - ‘Did we hire the right person?’ or ‘Will they be able to complete the task?

Is Onboarding also Seen as a Game of Pretense?

Unfortunately, yes. Many organizations end up playing the game of pretense. When confronted with new situations, we are likely to play a role that isn’t us.  For companies, this means painting a picture that simply isn’t theirs. In reality, you want to show your employees exactly who you are from the start. The reason for being authentic is just one - it is hard to keep up with a facade for too long. A vast difference between a new employee’s initial experience and the actual onboarding process could have significant consequences for your organization. 

What happens is that expectations are not met. And this is the point where onboarding turns into a volatile experience. Your new employees either regret their decision to join or start putting in their papers. 

onboarding process

What Does Effective Onboarding Achieve?

A structured onboarding curriculum could change your company’s fortunes. If done right, an effective onboarding will achieve the following objectives:

  1. Clarity on the job role and responsibilities
  2. Increase in productive work for the company
  3. Familiarity with company policies and culture
  4. Forging a good and comfortable relationship with other team members

Read more: 12+ HR strategies on How to Increase Employee Engagement

The Take-off —What Is the Onboarding Process Like?

Every company has its own subjective onboarding process. However, companies considered ‘best-in-class’ have a more formal and structured curriculum for onboarding. In general, a great organization will cover all the Four C’s required for successful onboarding. These Four C’s, in ascending order, are Compliance, Clarification, Culture, and Connection.

What Is Compliance? 

The lowest level of the onboarding process is compliance. Here, you teach the new employee all the rules and regulations of your organization. Almost all companies cover this aspect in detail.

What Is Clarification?

The second rung on the onboarding ladder is clarification. It means ensuring your new employee knows the ins and outs of their role and your expectations of them.

What Is Culture?

The third aspect of onboarding is culture. The new employee understands your organization's norms, culture, or habits, including formal and informal standards.

What Is Connection?

The final but critical part of onboarding is connection. Your new employee is able to form strong interpersonal relationships with other team members.

what is onboarding

When companies just cover the compliance part, we call it Passive Onboarding. Such organizations tend to see onboarding as just a checklist that needs to be ticked off. If a company takes it up a notch and covers compliance & clarification, it is called High Potential Onboarding. This has a trickle-down effect where you’ll also see a favorable impact on culture and connection.

However, the ‘best-in-class’ companies cover all four onboarding blocks. These companies adopt what we call Proactive Onboarding. Additionally, they have an incredible Human Resource Management team. It is said that only 20% of companies can reach this level of onboarding.  Now, let’s look at a general timeline for the onboarding process. As we mentioned before, every company has its own subjective onboarding journey. However, you’ll see a few similarities here and there.

An efficient onboarding flow is structured in such a way that it covers all The Four C’s. In general, this flow will include 8 Stages.

Here’s a brief outline of what a good onboarding process will include - The hiring stage, offer letter phase, offer acceptance, waiting period, first day at work, coordination with other teams at the company, job training, and the first few months.

  1. The Hiring Stage

    Previously, we mentioned that the onboarding process starts during the offer letter stage. However, the lines between the hiring and onboarding stage are often blurred. 

    Your potential new employees form an impression of your company during the hiring stage. Hence, being thoughtful here could improve your onboarding process. This starts with your job posting itself. You should write clear job descriptions, communicate with applicants at every stage, and give them full attention during interviews. This gives the potential employee an idea about the efficiency of your organization.

  1. The Offer Letter Stage

    Conventionally, the employee onboarding process starts right here. After selecting an applicant, try to keep the approach as transparent as possible. 

    It’s best to opt for a phone offer than an e-mail offer. This will help you better communicate with the hired person. It is essential to schedule the call beforehand. 

    After calling the applicant, the next step includes sending them a warm offer letter via email. Make sure to mention all the details related to their role, benefits, and other important contact information.  Additionally, along with the offer letter, you’ll have to send any necessary onboarding forms or policy documents.

  1. Accepting Your Offer

    The next stage happens at the other end. Your applicant accepts the offer! See this as your chance to separate yourself from other companies. 

    An efficient company goes the extra mile and schedules a call to review the fine print. You and the new employee review the offer letter, forms, company policies, and the expected start date. Most importantly, this call reaffirms the employee’s choice to accept the offer.  

  1. The Waiting Period

    Beware of the waiting period! During this phase, your rapport with the prospective employee will be tested. A ‘yes’ to the offer letter is not necessarily carved in stone. 

    The employee might be open to receiving offers from other companies. Hence, keeping the employee engaged is critical. An A+ company plans the waiting period as well!

  1. First Day at Work

    The first day at work is just like the first day at school. Usually, new employees have mixed emotions about starting at a new place. This ranges from nervousness to excitement. The HR staff should make employees feel comfortable and instill a sense of belonging.

    A thoughtful approach goes a long way. You could have someone welcome the new employee, give an office tour, schedule meetings with their new manager and team, have a formal HR meeting, and allow them some time to set up their equipment and accounts, etc.

  1. Smooth Coordination With Other Teams

    Keeping everybody in the loop is a great move. Inform team members and managers about the new employee’s start date. Enlisting the help of your new employee’s manager is a plus.

    Most companies underestimate a manager's role in connecting employees to different stakeholders.

    Remember that the manager, not the HR, creates an impression on the new employee. Harmonious interactions with the manager and team members translate to efficient onboarding.

  1. Proper Job Training

    Want to capitalize on your employee’s skills and bring them up to speed? Pay close attention to this part of the onboarding stage. Usually, companies underestimate how much time it takes new hires to get good at their job.

    Efficient companies know the importance of proper training and orientation. Assigning a mentor to your new hire is a step in the right direction.  New hires learn the ins and outs of their job throughout the day. They observe their co-workers and get feedback from managers. Make space for mistakes and give employees a chance to correct them as well. The first few weeks are crucial to their development.

    Having a structured training process could ease your burden. Moreover, provide employees with helpful guides and training material. This could help them prepare for their job and get efficient at it.

  1. Time to Check-In

    The final stage of the onboarding process is the check-in period. After a month, schedule a call with the new hire to get feedback.  Do remember that check-ins are not a one-off event.

    You must regularly check in with the employee to see how they’re doing! By the end of the first month, a new hire has a general idea about their role and its impact on the organization.

    This is a crucial point to know if everyone is on the same page or not. Open a conversation to discuss their experience and expectations from the role.


onboarding checklist

Read more: 10+ Best Ways to have Fun at Work | Games, Activities & more

A Well-Oiled Machine - Why Is Efficient Onboarding Important? 

An efficient onboarding process can do wonders for your company. Just like a well-oiled machine, it makes the different parts of your company function more smoothly and in unison. Successful onboarding spells increased employee retention for your company. New hires who understand their role and feel supported are likely to stay on the job. Experts say that onboarding is that magic moment when an employee decides to stay engaged or just check out. 

Poor onboarding is going to leave your new employee feeling confused and lost. The lack of proper guidance, chaos, and disorganized environment come back to haunt the company. The Principal of The Interchange Group, Amy Hirsh Robinson, calls this disengagement ‘death by orientation’. New hires might come to the premature conclusion that your company is nothing but poorly managed. Given that onboarding is their first brush with the job, they might think accepting the offer was a mistake. A poor onboarding process means setting the stage up for an early exit. Your company ends up reversing all the work that’s gone into the hiring process. This includes the time, effort, and money you took to recruit.

Don’t believe us? Look at the numbers:

The recurrent theme across all these statistical figures is this - Onboarding experience will make or break your new hires' relationship with the company.

  1. According to Staffing Agency Robert Half & Associates, 28% of employees are willing to quit before they even reach the 90-day-mark on their job. Besides getting offers from other employers, poor onboarding practices are to blame for their departure.

  1. According to the Society for Human Resources Management, 86% of new employees decide to stay or quit an organization within the first few months. Employees say that onboarding programs that make them feel supported play a significant role in their decision-making.

  1. As per Hays Recruiting Experts, 51% of new employees say that an excellent onboarding process was the main driver to go ‘above and beyond’ their job role.

  1. A new employee's work experience is primarily shaped by their managers. According to Gallup Inc., 70% of new employees’ experience is influenced by their direct managers. Hence, it is crucial to include the manager during the onboarding process. 

  1. As per Jobvite, the company culture has climbed to the high-priority list of candidates. At least 46% of candidates say that company culture is ‘very important.’ How a company treats a new employee during the onboarding process reflects its culture.

onboarding meaning

Now that we have a hang of the numbers, let’s look at the benefits of great onboarding:

What Exactly Are the Benefits of Smooth Onboarding?

A smooth employee onboarding sets you up for success. Companies will likely see increased employee engagement, higher retention and profits, decreased workload for other teams, and excellent interpersonal relationships.

onboarding specialist

  1. Increased Employee Engagement: No surprises here! A smooth onboarding is going to ensure increased employee productivity and engagement. According to Gallup Inc., companies with highly engaged employees show a 21% higher level of profitability.

  1. Increased Employee Retention: Want to know if your employee onboarding process is good? Check your retention rates! According to the Society for Human Resource Management, new employees with a structured onboarding curriculum are 69% more likely to stay on the job three years later.

  1. Increased Profits and Revenue: Your employee onboarding directly impacts your company’s profits and revenue. According to Boston Consulting Group’s study in 2012, companies with excellent onboarding see six times better profit growth.  Moreover, Aberdeen’s 2016 findings say something similar about employee engagement strategies. According to the report, companies are 67% more likely to see growth in their revenue per full-time equivalent on a year-over-year basis.

  1. Decreased Workload For Other Teams: A structured onboarding process equips your new employee for the better. A smooth onboarding gives them all the training material, tools, and resources to start. In the end, this reduces the other team's workload of providing the new hire with a rundown on how things are done.

  1. Great Interpersonal Relationship:  A friendly onboarding flow involves having open, honest, and transparent communication. This is the first step to developing a great interpersonal relationship with the new employee. By the end, the employee will feel welcome, supported and gel well with the team. If you want to design the perfect onboarding process for your company,

    Check out this YouTube video by Actimo - How to Design The Perfect Onboarding Process

How to Onboard Remote Employees?

Gartner Inc. estimated that, by the end of 2021, remote workers would represent 32% of all employees worldwide. If you have remote workers, it’s time to reconsider your onboarding process. 

As hybrid and the remote workforce becomes the future, here is an onboarding checklist you could use for remote employees:

  1. Before the Employee Starts: When it comes to virtual onboarding, it is best to have a head start. Your onboarding process starts way before your new employee’s first day. A good rule of thumb is to begin by taking care of all the tech stuff. This means sending all the IT hardware and manuals necessary for Day One. Send and set up all the required equipment - laptop, mouse, keyboard, company configurations, security protocols, etc.  Additionally, prepare a list of all the apps, documents, and links they need to go over. 

  1. Complete All the Paperwork: Paperwork is a drag. Ensure everything is in order by reviewing the employee contracts, legal, company policy documents, etc. If you can digitize this process, all the better. Allowing employees to use e-sign and digital tools will make onboarding seamless.

  1. Explain Company Culture: New employees are still learning during the initial onboarding phase. Chances are they have some free time in-between work! This is the perfect time to familiarize them with the company culture. Give them a brief background about the company’s history, customers, or industry knowledge. In physical settings, employees learn a lot by just being in the office space. In remote settings, you might have to make some effort. Try sharing the company’s digital employee handbook or any other available literature.

  1. Communication Tools: Communication tools are crucial in remote work. Get your new employee well-acquainted with all the necessary communication tools your company uses.  In fact, providing them with manuals and links on how to go about using these tools is a huge plus.  This includes your team messaging, video conferencing tool, email, or any other application. Additionally, let them know the best way to  reach their team members.

  1. Crystal-Clear Expectations: Don’t keep your new employee guessing. Make sure to hand over a clear set of responsibilities. Let them know the short-term and long-term goals they need to work towards. Be intentional in your approach. Prepare and share task lists for the upcoming weeks, have video check-ins to resolve doubts, and discuss progress and other upcoming projects.

  1. Feedback Loops: Feedback works both ways. Let your employee know about their progress and areas of improvement.  Similarly, encourage them to tell you precisely what is good and what can be improved in the organization. This will help you efficiently onboard your next set of employees better!

  1. Meetings With Stakeholders: Your new employee needs to know who’s who. Hence, have planned group or one-on-one video calls with key stakeholders.  This should include your new employee’s manager, their new team members, and other department members that they are going to work closely with.

  1. Training for the Job Role: The main aim of onboarding programs is to get your new hire ready for the job role. Admittedly, it is pretty challenging to train employees remotely.  But, you can let technology help you! Creating digital courses, training modules, and reference guides is a huge plus. This will prepare your employees for the job at hand. You could start with an orientation about the goals of the training program. It is crucial to identify the skill gaps of your new hire and create training programs accordingly. Moreover, you can also choose the learning delivery model that works best for your remote team. This could be asynchronous, synchronous, or even blended learning. Finally, remember to create a clash-free training schedule in place!

Here’s a visual representation of the onboarding checklist for remote employees:


employee onboarding

Alternatively, here’s one onboarding of employees video from Trainaula that will be useful: Onboarding New Employees While Working From Home

What Are the Best Practices for Employee Onboarding?

Today, most companies have some form of an onboarding program. Yet, only 12% of employees surveyed by Gallup feel that their organization provides a smooth onboarding process. 

what does onboarding mean

This means that 88% of employees are dissatisfied with their onboarding program. This could negatively affect your employee retention rate. According to SHRM, if an employee leaves, it takes a company 6 to 9 months' worth of an employee’s salary to identify a replacement!

So, adopting the best practices for employee onboarding is crucial. Here are a few tips to stay on your A-game while employee onboarding: 

  1. Employee Onboarding Process Flow: One best practice is creating an employee onboarding process flow chart. This is a visual representation of your employee’s onboarding process. It starts from the offer letter to the point where they become fully employed. The main goal behind creating an employee onboarding process flow chart is a clear-actionable plan.

    Different steps in the onboarding journey are placed in sequential order with specific due dates.  This onboarding process flow chart will include the timeline, the list of tasks/training/meetings/check-ins to be completed, and other logistical details. Your new hire will have an action plan and know the next step in the journey.

  1. Automating the Onboarding Process Flow: Admit it or not, your HR team has too many things going on simultaneously. The last thing you want is an exhausted team working on an onboarding checklist. Let automated onboarding software be the savior for your HR team. With employee automation software, you can completely get rid of manual onboarding processes.

    This software digitizes everything, from online forms to task assignments. You can streamline and simplify the entire onboarding program. 

  1. Company Culture to Attract the Right Fit: We have covered company culture. But, it is well worth repeating.  This is important because you want to hire the right cultural fit for your organization. Company culture is more than just a PowerPoint slide.  In a way, it boils down to habits. The habits of a group of people get aggregated and become the company culture.

    Whatever your company practices on a day-to-day basis becomes the culture. When you know your culture, you can identify your strengths and use them with the intention for company aspirations. 

  1. A Clear Onboarding Document: A great practice is to create an onboarding document for your new employee. This document could include all the materials they must go through to get started. The document could contain - an onboarding checklist, help guides, and their goals for the first 6-12 months.

    This will ease the burden on your team members. Your new hire will know what to refer to when they have doubts!

  1. Make Yourself Accessible:  During the first few weeks, your new hire will require constant guidance from you. This is crucial in a remote work setting! You should have more check-ins, stand-up meetings and create feedback loops.

    This will help your employee clear doubts, get to know the company better, or resolve any struggles they face in their work.

  1. Don’t Go Overboard When You Onboard: It is tempting to dump all onboarding documents, links, and checklists all at once. But do remember that your new hire will not remember every single detail. It is best to not overload or overwork them on Day One.  

    Instead, create a resource page of sorts. Your new employee could refer to the resource page to access anything and refresh their memory!

  1. Refine, Refine, Refine: No onboarding in this world is perfect. There is always something that could be improved on. Consider getting regular feedback from your new hire. The feedback you receive will benefit your company immensely. It could help you be more prepared for the next set of hires. 

    With every feedback, you refine your onboarding process. Onboarding becomes more polished, less disruptive, and new hires assimilate faster.

  1. Offboarding With the Same Enthusiasm: A great company goes the extra mile to understand employee experience. Offboarding is when an employee decides to part ways with an organization.

    You could conduct offboarding surveys, exit interviews, and get feedback. This will help you understand your ex-employee's experience. Based on the results, you could improve employee satisfaction and prevent departures from happening in the future.

Here are employee onboarding tips from Harvard Business Review:

What Does Onboarding Look Like For Different Hires?

By now, you know that an efficient onboarding program makes you a competitive differentiator.  The benefits of effective onboarding are plenty. Your employees have higher job satisfaction, increased organizational commitment, higher productivity, lower turnover, and less stress. Still, companies have a mediocre onboarding process. Most importantly, senior hires’ onboarding is given top priority. This is because senior executives have a significant impact on the organization.

However, refining the onboarding process for employees at every level is crucial. As time goes by, the competition for talent and the desire to increase retention rates will set in. In the end, an inconsistent onboarding program will hurt your business. Hiring an onboarding specialist will be a huge boost! If you are thinking ‘who?’, don’t worry! It’s not just you. Most companies rely on their HR team for onboarding programs. The thought of hiring an onboarding specialist might seem like a bit too much.

An onboarding specialist works with your company to create a seamless onboarding program. They take your employees from being new hires to a part of your team. If you are wondering, what is the average onboarding specialist salary? It is around $61,415 in the U.S. In general, the onboarding journey has four phases - the Pre-boarding Stage, the Welcoming Stage, Role-Specific Training, and the Transition Stage.

Now, let’s look at the company structure. Generally speaking, a company’s organizational structure has five levels. 

In ascending order, these levels are – Entry-level, Individual Contributor, Manager, Director, and Chief-Executive Officer. Let’s see how onboarding varies for these levels:

  1. Entry Level: Entry Level employees are usually recent graduates, people with work gaps in their careers, or someone pursuing a new career altogether. Tailoring an onboarding process for this category could be a bit tricky. Most probably, new hires here will have limited knowledge about the business and a significant skill gap.

    A robust onboarding program at this level should focus on skill development programs. 

    A typical onboarding schedule here would be - welcoming them to the company, team introductions, clearly defined job roles and expectations, building a skill development/training program, and making space for feedback and questions.

  1. Individual Contributor: The next tier in the structure includes individual contributors. Job roles here could include Data Analysts, Data Scientists, Developers, Sales Representatives, etc. 

    This tier of employees has a significant impact on your business. So, the onboarding process involves a few extra steps! Apart from the basic 4-step onboarding process, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Formal Onboarding Process: It is best to incorporate a milestone-based onboarding program for your contributor. You could have 30, 60, and 90-day plans with frequent check-ins and feedback for the new hire.
Establish Goals: It is essential to define what success in the new role looks like for your new hire. Communicate and enforce short-term and long-term goals for the role.
Provide Training Support: To achieve the goals of the role, it is important to provide your new employee with training programs, modules, and other learning resources.
Let them Shadow Seniors: Let your new hire see their work in action. Allowing them to shadow seniors will help them learn more, ask questions, and simply observe.
Evaluate Performance: Your onboarding program should have checkpoints where you analyze the progress of your new hire. If they are lacking in their role, it is crucial to intervene early on.

  1. Manager: A manager is essential to an organization. They have a significant impact on your employee engagement and retention rates.  You have to onboard and set the new manager up for success. There are other steps involved apart from the usual - welcoming, team introductions, clearly defined job roles, etc.

    According to SHRM, there are five key points to remember while onboarding managers. These five points are - connect, align, manage, plan, and streamline.

i) Connect: Create a connection with the new manager before the onboarding process begins. This will reduce their anxiety and stress regarding the new role.
ii) Align: Select a mentor buddy or team member to help the manager during their onboarding process. This mentor will get them acquainted and comfortable with the work culture.
iii) Manage: Integrate your new manager into your organization. To do this, you could schedule daily meet-ups to discuss issues and create personalized plans. If you can’t take this up, hire an external or internal coach to work with the new manager.
iv) Plan:  It is best to set up weekly milestones and goals for your new manager. Assess progress with technological solutions, schedule meetings, and let the manager shadow during essential conversations with other key stakeholders.
v) Streamline:  The final step includes measuring the manager's progress and creating feedback loops. 

  1. Director:  A great onboarding plan for the Director can help speed up their success in the new workplace. 

    A well-thought-out onboarding process will give your new Director a good idea about the company's history and team members, how the place works, make meaningful contributions, and develop interpersonal relationships. Here are the best practices to onboard a Director in your company:

i) Create a Director Onboarding Plan: Senior management teams and the Board’s governance committee should craft an onboarding plan for the new director.  This plan should list the goals of the onboarding, a list of documents that need to be given, and a list of people/organizations that the Director should know about or meet.
ii) Necessary Documents: The new Director needs a copy of all the Company’s essential documents.  This list could vary from company to company. However, usually, it includes - Committee charters, quarterly/annual goals, a brief company history, and its operations, approved budgets, bios of other team members and board members, minutes from the previous annual or committee meetings, etc.
iii) Team Introductions: Schedule meetings for the new director with different stakeholders. Make sure to space out these meetings so that the new director has enough time to retain information. This could include meeting up with the CEO, other board members, important organizations, team members, etc.
iv) Board Buddy: Even seasoned professionals require help when starting new at a company. You could enlist the help of another board member to improve the onboarding experience. This board buddy could answer all the questions, show them around the office, and introduce them to key players.

  1. Chief Executive Officer: Inheriting a company and a new team is never easy. Chief Executive Officers have the most influence in a company.  Statistics say that 40% of executives in leadership positions fail in the first 18 months. Your onboarding plan must address the complex nature of succession.

    An excellent onboarding plan for the CEO will surely benefit your company. The author of the book ‘The New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan’, George Bradt, has detailed some of the best practices for CEO onboarding:

i) Align:  Invest your time in creating an onboarding plan for the new CEO. Look at the company’s experience with previous CEOs to chart a plan. Finally, give a brief of your plan to key stakeholders and senior leaders.
ii) Acquire:  It is a good idea to list strong candidates apart from your lead candidate. How you offer the post and support the new CEO will impact their opinion of your organization.
iii) Accommodate: The next step is to accommodate the work needs of your new CEO. This could be details related to their ID, payroll, forms, etc. It is essential to create an onboarding plan with your new CEO. Let them know their day-one objectives, deliverables, messages, etc.  
iv) Assimilate: You want your CEO to have good relations with their new team. Help them become a part of the team with regular onboarding discussions and check-ins. Issues that arise should be tackled early on.
v) Accelerate: If you need to transform your team, the new CEO will need all the resources and support you can come up with. Set the building blocks required for transforming your team under the new CEO. This includes short-term goals, clarity on roles and deliverables of different team members, 1-2 early wins, etc.

Are you looking for an employee onboarding template? Here’s a free employee onboarding template by Zenefits that could help you - Free Onboarding Template.  

Alternatively, here is a video by Daylite App explaining the process of a  new employee onboarding checklist New Employee Onboarding Checklist

If you are looking for a ‘new employee onboarding checklist template excel’ then here are a few links:

Employee Onboarding Checklist Excel Sheet

Free Onboarding Checklists and templates

What are Some Employee Onboarding Software, Tools, and Applications?

Remember, when you hire someone, you make promises. These promises are what the new hire ‘gets’ from their job.  It could be the pay, experience, growth opportunity, flexibility, etc. In business jargon, it is called your Employee Value Proposition or EVP.

onboarding template

Onboarding is the first time the employee sees this EVP in action. You are no longer just making claims but fulfilling them every day. Automating and using technology to fulfill some of your responsibilities is a huge boon.  Don’t forget onboarding is a journey. And so, you’ll need onboarding software, tools, and applications for a robust onboarding program. Here’s a round-up of the best onboarding software out there:

1. Eddy - For All-in-one HR Suite

If you are a small business, Eddy is the perfect HR onboarding software. Evidently, Eddy helps you become a completely paperless company. You can digitally create, send, sign, and store all your HR documentation! Moreover, new hires can easily set up their Eddy profiles. The platform is easy-to-use and quite intuitive. Eddy claims that your HR team can save 5 hours per new hire!

Standout Features:

Completely paperless
Trackable new-hire task list
First-day message options

2.  Monday.com - To Improve Your HR Process: 

If you are looking for collaborative onboarding software, it must be Monday.com. You can onboard your new employees in no time, manage your entire recruiting cycle, and map progress by creating surveys, quizzes, and tests. Most importantly, you can collaborate with other members in one shared workspace. Finally, Monday.com allows you to connect to your go-to tools, be it Email, Linkedin, Typeform, Surveymonkey, etc.

Standout Features:

Automate hiring process emails
Integrate other project management apps like Slack, Typeform, etc.
Keep multiple members informed of the latest developments
Track employee performance

3. ClearCompany - For Mobile-Friendly Onboarding SysteM

If you are looking for a mobile-friendly system, ClearCompany is your answer. You can digitally store, collect, deliver, and track forms and documents.Moreover, new hires can quickly onboard themselves using any device. Finally, you can integrate assessment, background check, and calendar tools with ClearCompany.

Standout Features:

Automated task notifications
Payroll synchronization
Employee Self-Service Forms

4. Edu Me - For Training New Hires

Want to get high-quality work from your new hires? EduMe will do that for you! With EduMe, you can create training courses within hours. Additionally, you can incorporate quizzes, GIFs, and images to make the courses more engaging. 

EduMe also allows you to integrate other workforce tools like Microsoft Teams, Fountain, Braze, etc. Finally, you can gather insights on your workforce using their feedback and survey feature.

Standout Features:

Create engaging courses and training materials
Access real-time data
Scale and automate operations
Allows third-party integrations

5. Talmundo - Customizable Onboarding Solution:

Your company might be interested to know about every stage of employee transition. This is where Talmundo comes into the picture! The platform is a highly customizable onboarding solution. Additionally, Talmundo is ideal for onboarding and offboarding as well.

Their onboarding tool helps you build intuitive forms, provides new hires with digital chatbots, has an integrated task management system, and gives insight into the company’s performance during the onboarding stage.

Finally, Talmundo has a great offboarding system in place as well! Collect feedback from leavers, create positive leaving experiences, journey planners explaining the offboarding process to leavers, etc.

Standout Features:

Fully customizable onboarding solution
Document and Task Management
Digital Offboarding Software
Automate repetitive tasks.

Read more: 20+ Fun Slack Games and Activities for Remote Teams 

What Are the Metrics to Keep a Look at While Onboarding Employees?

The ‘best-in-class’ companies don’t just throw darts in the dark! Their onboarding programs result from surveys, analytics, accountability mechanisms, and feedback loops. They study their onboarding programs, see what works, refine the entire process, and look for changes. 

This is where quantitative data and metrics come in. To understand the effectiveness of your onboarding program, we’ve narrowed down five crucial metrics. 

  1. Retention Rate: Retention Rate measures the percentage of new hires that stay in your company. If you have a high retention rate, your company can connect and retain talent. Whereas a low retention rate means that employees are leaving your organization. In this case, you must look into your company culture, onboarding, and hiring practices.

    Here’s how you can measure your retention rate:

    Retention Rate = Remaining Headcount during a given period/ Starting Headcount during the same period * 100

  1. New-Hire Turnover: This is a crucial metric for your onboarding program. It measures the percentage of employees leaving your organization during a given period.

    The New-Hire Turnover is further divided into a voluntary and involuntary turnover. 

    Involuntary turnover means when you terminate your new hire. On the other hand, voluntary turnover means that the employee decides to quit the job.

    In either case, a high New-Hire Turnover is not a good sign. It means your company is failing at the hiring and onboarding process.

    Here’s how to measure the new-hire turnover rate:

    Employee Turnover Rate =No. of employees leaving during a given period/ No.of employees in the same period * 100

  1. New-Hire Satisfaction Rate: New-Hire Satisfaction Rate measures your new employees' satisfaction with their job. This is a qualitative measure. So, you need to craft surveys, interviews, and questionnaires to know this rate. 

    However, there is a trick to indirectly knowing the New-Hire Satisfaction Rate. You could use the Net Promoter Score. 

    This score asks new hires to rate how likely they are to recommend your company to their friends and family. For this, employees have to select a number on a scale of 1 to 10. If the score is high, we consider that the New-Hire Satisfaction Rate is also high.

  1. Time to Productivity: Time to Productivity tells you the average time it takes for a new hire to become fully productive. This scale starts from your new hires’ first day to the time they become entirely independent. 

    If your Time to Productivity percentage has decreased, it means your employees quickly become productive. It suggests that your employee onboarding program is quite effective. 

    Similarly, if your Time to Productivity has increased, your onboarding process is becoming ineffective.

    Here’s how Time To Productivity rate is calculated:

    Time To Productivity Rate = Time to Productivity for all new hires (the time taken)/ No. of new hires.

  1. Training Completion Rate:  The Training Completion Rate is a glimpse into the effectiveness of your on-the-job training. It tells you the percentage of new hires who were able to complete their on-the-job training and other skill development programs, etc.

    If your Training Completion Rate is low, it signifies a problem with your training program. In this case, you need to look closely at training material and get feedback from new hires.

    Alternatively, a high Training Completion Rate means that your new hires found the program to be quite engaging and helpful.

    Here’s how you can calculate your Training Completion Rate:

    Training Completion Rate = No. of hires who successfully completed training during a given period/ Total no.of hires who underwent training during the same period * 100  

onboarding new hire checklist

What Does the Employee Life Cycle Look Like?

At the end of the day, remember what onboarding signifies. It is part of the new hires' relationship with your organization. 

While working in the organization, your employee will go through several stages. These are critical points that will end up shaping their overall impression of your organization.

define onboarding

Gallup Inc says implementing best practices is extremely important at each of these junctions. The different stages an employee goes through with the company is called the Employee Life Cycle.

According to Gallup Inc, there are seven stages in this Life Cycle. This journey, in ascending order, includes - Attracting, Hiring, Onboarding, Engaging, Performing, Developing, and Departing.

As we mentioned, onboarding is a crucial moment. Your employee will have an opinion about the company in the first few months. 

It becomes challenging to correct any misperceptions they develop during the onboarding stage. Here’s the thought process of your new hire at every step of the Employee Life Cycle:

  1. Attracting - Did this company advertise its job accurately?

  1. Hiring - Did I do the right thing by taking up this role?

  1. Engaging - Do I feel connected to this organization?

  1. Performing - What are the company’s expectations of me? Do I measure up to their standards?

  1. Developing - Is there any future for me in this organization?

  1. Departing - Did this company impart the necessary skills for my career?

Here’s a visual representation of the Employee Life Cycle:

new employee onboarding

Bonus: 10+ effective ways to ace your employee on-boarding game.

1. Too Early is the Right Time

First days are crucial, but it can get very exhausting for your employees to receive an information overload, which might eventually lead them to become less engaged with your organisational objectives, especially if you are on-boarding them remotely on Zoom or any other video conferencing tool. Long on-boarding sessions might result in Zoom fatigue on the first day itself.

Our advice is to start early, right from the beginning of hiring processes. Send in booklets to your employees about organisational goals and essential information in advance. This would not put too much stress on them on the first day.

2. Make it engaging

While Employee engagement is a whole wide world for you to take care of, in the long run, try and make your virtual on-boarding process as engaging as possible. Personalise the experience, strike conversations, and help your new hires identify and align their personal goals with the organisational goals. Instead of emphasising on filling up a gazillion HR forms, make the on-boarding process engaging and exciting.

3. Explain the role

The most crucial task to be done in the first weeks is to explain the job description to your employees, and make them aware about their unique part in the success story of your organisation. Answer questions and explain the goals and motto of your organisation, and how their role is to fit in. 

4. Familiarise with essential tools

Probably the most important part of your checklist would be to get your new hires familiarised with the software and tools that your company functions with, as getting them comfortable with these tools prevents any confusions and inconvenience later. Whether you are using Microsoft Teams or Slack, incorporate the usage of these tools in the first few days and have check ins with the employees to address any doubts they might have. Also, check out these 14 Slack Channels you must have to make your employee experience better.

5. Design a checklist for their first week

Give your employees a structured introduction to the work they’ve signed up for. Our advice, carefully craft a first week to-do checklist to give them a fair idea of the current projects and their work. Bite sized information is the way to go. Try Ricotta’s productivity checklists to make the process efficient.

6. Break the Ice!

Now, breaking the ice with your employees is a top recommendation, but it’s that much more difficult to implement. It’s the first step towards building employee engagement, and is so much more difficult in a virtual environment vis-a-vis an in-office interaction. Try to make your on-boarding process and work environment exciting and engaging by incorporating these 10 tips for having fun at work.

You can also have a quick icebreakers' session with all the newly on-boarded employees to make them comfortable and acquainted with each other. You can refer to our list of 120+ Best Icebreaker questions so that you don’t have to compile icebreakers before the session!

7. Involve a Buddy

Having a person to directly connect with regarding any doubts is a great way to make your new employees feel comfortable. Having a point of contact in a similar role/ mentorship position makes the process more seamless. A research conducted by Microsoft indicates that having a strong buddy system in place helps in improving employee satisfaction, boosts productivity and much more within 90 days of implementation.

8. Encourage Team Building

It is absolutely essential to get your employees to feel like a part of their work teams, hence it is important to get them engaged with the ongoing team building activities. To get a better grip of how to build a better team at the workplace, try checking out these 10 tips for Virtual Team Building.

9. Frequent Debriefs

As important as the first welcome call is, try and schedule frequent debriefs for your new hires, as it’s difficult to have unscheduled interactions in a virtual environment. Having frequent scheduled interactions prevents your new hires from feeling stuck or lost, and provides ample opportunities for them to get any doubts clarified.

10. Make it fun!

Last but not the least, we want our employees to enjoy their workplace, as that is the one sustainable path towards long-term employee satisfaction and retention. While having a fun workplace in general is important, it is even more crucial to make your employee's first week more exciting. Having relaxed trivia activities and games is a good way to do that. Try Ricotta Trivia, an exciting platform for fun games, contests, trivia, and much more. 


We’ve covered the ins and outs of a new hire onboarding program! By now, you know the importance of the onboarding process. According to Society For Human Resource Management, employee turnover for hourly workers is as much as 50%. 

A number this high means something is going wrong during the first few months at a new job. As we mentioned, employee onboarding is crucial in determining the new hires’ perception of your company. 

Moreover, it is not just a mere employee onboarding checklist. Onboarding is about your company culture, helping new hires’ get better at their job, promoting team harmony, and delivering on the promise you made while hiring new employees.

Now that you have a better grip of how to make the on-boarding experience of your employees better, do incorporate elements of team building and productivity and make the workplace more engaging and enjoyable for your new hires. Stuck on how to increase employee engagement? Don’t worry, we have got you covered! Check out 12 HR strategies on how to increase employee engagement.


Onboarding means integrating your new hires into your organization. It takes 6-12 months to familiarize and capitalize on a new employee’s skills. According to the Society for Human Resources Management, 86% of new employees decide to stay or quit an organization within the first few months.
An excellent onboarding program means higher employee retention and engagement, increased job satisfaction, increased profits and revenue, decreased workload for other team members, and excellent interpersonal relationships.
To craft a great onboarding program, keep the following in mind - create an employee onboarding process flow chart, use technology and eliminate manual processes, define your company culture, create an onboarding document, make yourself accessible, don’t overload the employee, refine the onboarding process, and offboard with the same level of enthusiasm.
Keep an eye on onboarding metrics to understand the effectiveness of your onboarding program and use onboarding software tools like Eddy, Monday.com, ClearCompany, EduMe, and Talmundo

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Employee Onboarding

What is onboarding orientation?

Orientation is a brief introduction to the goals of a company. Onboarding is a process where new hires are trained to learn their job and assimilate within the company. In a way, a good onboarding process begins with orientation. This includes  going through the company’s vision, employee paperwork, system logins, etc. 

How to introduce yourself during onboarding?

Often regarded as the business card in professional settings, introductions are extremely important in professional settings. It is advisable to keep it simple and to the point.  Use the three-step approach to introduce yourself during onboarding. This includes who you are, what you do (your background, previous job, titles, etc.), and what others need to know (what you bring to the table/ information relevant to the context)

Is there a difference between onboarding and orientation?

Yes, there is a difference between onboarding and orientation. Orientation is a one-time event. Often, it is just a brief introduction about the company, its objectives, team members, and the new hires’ role. Usually, orientation is delivered using presentations, Q and A sessions, etc.

Onboarding, on the other hand, is a journey. It can last from 6-12 months. Here, new hires are thoroughly trained for their role, and they learn more about how things work in the company. By the end of the onboarding, a new hire becomes a fully independent team member.

Who handles onboarding?

A common assumption is - the Human Resources Team. However, new hire onboarding programs require a few more hands on the deck! 

Though HR is the primary entity tasked with onboarding, managers, IT representatives, the CEO, and an onboarding buddy (team member helping out the new hire) are others who handle onboarding.

How does onboarding help retention?

Onboarding is the new hires’ first brush with their job. It is during the employee onboarding process that hires learn more about the company, their role, and the skills needed for the job.  If the onboarding is successful, employees are more likely to stick around. According to SHRM, engaging onboarding programs help retain 91% of new hires.

How can the onboarding process be improved?

You can create an excellent onboarding program for your new hire. Keep in mind the following tips - provide a warm welcome, start the onboarding process before the first day, discuss the best practices with your team, create a new hire onboarding checklist, check in regularly, and get feedback from new hires.      

Where does onboarding go wrong?

Your new hire onboarding could hit a roadblock for several reasons. Usually, it is due to the difference between the initial experience and the actual onboarding process. Your onboarding program fails when you treat it as a one-off event, there is a lack of structure in your schedule, or you don’t clearly define what success looks like in the role. Other reasons could include overloading your new hire with information, lack of feedback, and not using metrics to measure your onboarding efforts.

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