What is employee onboarding, and how do I do it effectively?

Onboarding is the process of introducing a new employee to organizational processes, procedures, and culture. To do onboarding effectively, ensure it is thorough, efficient, consistent, and of good quality.

Onboarding refers to introducing a new employee to an organization's processes, procedures, and culture. It is often confused with orientation, which is a one-time activity. Orientation is necessary for completing first-day paperwork and other tasks, but onboarding is an ongoing process of helping your new employee acclimate to your company.

How long should onboarding last?

Starting a new position can be overwhelming for employees, and since onboarding is not a one-time activity, it is effective when it is spread out over time. This allows employees to better retain information by giving them time to process everything and ask questions as needed. There is no set time for how long it takes to onboard someone; it depends on what is best for your employees and organization. On average, onboarding can last anywhere from three months to a year.

What does the onboarding process look like?

The process begins when a candidate accepts a job offer and ends when the new employee is fully integrated into the organization and performing as expected. It is an excellent investment to provide your new employees with a thorough, efficient, and consistent introduction to their organization.

The quality of onboarding impacts engagement, performance, and tenure. It is essential that during onboarding, the following happens:

  • Expectations are set with new employees
  • New employees build relationships with other employees
  • Confidence and trust are created with new employees
  • Roles and boundaries are defined

What kinds of activities can you do during onboarding?

There is no official definition for onboarding activities. Onboarding can include the following:

  • Identifying new employees' roles and updating the job description
  • Announcing the new employees to the team before they arrive
  • Communicating new employees' roles to the team
  • Introducing new employees to the managers and team
  • Letting new employees know why their work matters and how they fit into the company vision
  • Identifying new employees' knowledge gaps and developing training plans to address them
  • Investing time to explain processes and expectations clearly and training on how to follow them
  • Having regular check-ins, conversations, and follow-up meetings
  • Providing constructive feedback and addressing issues quickly
  • Celebrating the big and small successes and wins
  • Involving your team in the onboarding process