What is employee onboarding?

12 min read
What is employee onboarding?

Whether you're a seasoned HR professional, a business owner, or someone just starting out in the workforce, understanding the importance of effective employee onboarding is crucial for creating a successful and thriving workplace.

Imagine this: You've landed a new job, are excited about the possibilities, and eager to make a positive impact. However, on your first day, you find yourself lost, unsure of what to do or where to go. The paperwork seems endless, and you feel like a small fish in a big pond. Sound familiar? Well, you're not alone.

The Aberdeen Group found that companies with a formal onboarding process retain 91% of their first-year employees, and the Harvard Business Review suggests that effective onboarding programs can increase employee retention by as much as 25%. These statistics highlight the importance of getting the onboarding process right from day one.

Employee onboarding is more than just paperwork and formalities. It's about creating a welcoming and supportive environment that sets the stage for a productive and engaged workforce.

It's about helping new hires feel like they belong, providing them with the tools and resources they need to succeed, and integrating them into the company's culture and values.

"Onboarding is the bridge that connects the promise of a great employer brand with the reality of an exceptional employee experience." These words resonate with the truth that an efficient onboarding experience is a key to unlocking the full potential of your employees and fostering a positive org culture.

So, grab a cup of coffee, settle in, and let's dive into the exciting realm of employee onboarding. By the end of this blog, you'll be equipped with the knowledge and tools to revolutionize your onboarding practices and build a stronger, more engaged workforce.

Let's get started!

Table of contents:

What does employee onboarding mean?

But what does employee onboarding really mean? In simple terms, it's like throwing a welcome party for your newly hired superstars. It's the process of creating a warm and inviting atmosphere where new hires can seamlessly transition into their roles, absorb the org culture, and quickly become part of the team.

Think of it as a delicious recipe that combines equal parts orientation, training, and socialization. It's the secret sauce that ensures new hires not only have a solid understanding of their responsibilities but also feel a sense of belonging and connection right from day one.

Now, you might be wondering, "Why is employee onboarding such a big deal?" Well, dear reader, when employees go through a stellar onboarding experience, they become 58% more likely to stick around for the long haul, bringing their talents, ideas, and enthusiasm to help the company thrive. It's a win-win situation for everyone involved.

So, in this captivating blog, we're going to dive deeper into the enchanting world of employee onboarding. We'll unlock the secrets behind creating a memorable onboarding experience, share delightful tips and tricks, and sprinkle in some real-life anecdotes to keep you engaged along the way.

Whether you're an HR aficionado, a passionate business owner, or simply someone who wants to unravel the mysteries of the new employee onboarding process, this blog is your golden ticket. Together, we'll discover the joy of welcoming new talent, nurturing their growth, and igniting their passion for success.

Get ready to don your party hats and roll out the red carpet because we're about to unveil the true magic behind employee onboarding.

It's time to create a workplace where every new employee feels like a cherished member of the family. Let's jump right in and uncover the wonders of our new employee onboarding checklist, one step at a time!

Importance of employee onboarding process

"Effective onboarding increases employee retention by 82%." - Aberdeen Group

Let's dive into why it's not just a mere formality, but a crucial step in setting the stage for success.

Creating a positive first impression

You know what they say first impressions matter. Well, the Society for Human Resource Management says so too! A good employee onboarding process ensures that new hires feel welcomed, valued, and excited about their new role. By providing a positive initial experience, you lay the foundation for long-term engagement and commitment.

Accelerating time-to-productivity

Every organization wants its new employees to hit the ground running. Effective onboarding helps them do just that. By equipping them with the necessary knowledge, resources, and support, you can significantly reduce the learning curve and boost their productivity from day one.

Glassdoor has confirmed this too, by saying that Companies with a strong onboarding process see a 50% increase in productivity from new hires.

Fostering employee engagement

Engaged employees are the lifeblood of any thriving organization. A comprehensive onboarding process helps new hires connect with the company's mission, values, and goals. It sets the stage for strong worker engagement, leading to higher employee satisfaction, better performance, and increased loyalty.

Retaining top talent

Employee turnover can be a costly affair. However, organizations with robust onboarding programs experience higher employee retention rates. When new hires feel supported, valued, and connected to the org culture, they are more likely to stay for the long haul, contributing their skills and expertise to the organization's and the employee’s growth too.

How to plan an efficient onboarding for your employees?

Now that we understand the importance of employee onboarding, it's time to roll up our sleeves and plan an efficient and effective onboarding process. Here are some key steps to get you started

Pre-onboarding preparation

Before your new employees even step foot in the door, make sure you have a plan in place. Prepare all necessary paperwork, set up their workstations, their orientation schedule and ensure that the team is ready to welcome them with open arms.

Develop a structured onboarding plan

Create a detailed roadmap for the onboarding process, including timelines, key milestones, and activities. Consider covering essential topics like company history, organizational values, and team member introductions, and job-specific training. Tailor the plan to meet individual needs while maintaining consistency across the organization.

Assign a buddy or mentor

Pairing new employees with a buddy or mentor can work wonders in helping them navigate their new environment. This designated support person can provide guidance, answer questions, and serve as a friendly face during the onboarding journey.

Provide clear communication and expectations

Clear communication is vital during the onboarding process. Set expectations regarding job responsibilities, performance goals, and feedback channels. Ensure that new hires have all the information they need to succeed and feel comfortable asking questions.

Incorporate hands-on training and shadowing

Nothing beats hands-on experience when it comes to learning the ropes. Incorporate practical, job-specific training sessions and encourage new hires to shadow experienced team members. This hands-on approach helps them gain confidence and understand how their role fits into the bigger picture.

Gather feedback and refine the process

Continuous improvement is key to an efficient onboarding process. Regularly seek feedback from new employees to identify areas for enhancement. Use their insights to refine and optimize the onboarding program, ensuring it stays relevant and impactful.

By following these steps, you'll be well on your way to planning an efficient onboarding process that sets the stage for your employees' success. Remember, a well-prepared and welcoming onboarding experience is the secret ingredient to nurturing a thriving and engaged workforce.

Employee onboarding best practices for a new employee

When it comes to employee onboarding, adopting best practices can make all the difference in creating a seamless and effective experience. Let's explore some tried and tested strategies to ensure your onboarding process is top-notch

Start pre-onboarding

Don't wait until the first day of work to start the onboarding process. Begin engaging with new hires even before they officially join the organization. Send them a welcome email, provide them with essential information, and make them feel excited about their upcoming journey.

Create a welcoming environment

First impressions are lasting impressions. Designate a warm and inviting space for new employees, complete with a personalized welcome kit, a clean and organized workspace, and any necessary equipment or resources. This sets a positive tone right from the start.

Provide a clear onboarding timeline

Establish a well-structured onboarding timeline that outlines the activities, goals, and milestones for hr team of professionals in the first few weeks or months. This helps new employees understand what to expect and provides a sense of direction and purpose.

Customize the onboarding process

Recognize that each employee is unique and may have different needs. Tailor the onboarding process to accommodate individual learning styles, preferences, and skill levels. This personalized approach demonstrates that you value their individuality.

Provide job-specific training

Equip new employees with the knowledge and skills they need to excel in their roles. Offer comprehensive job-specific training that is relevant, practical, and hands-on. This ensures they are prepared to contribute meaningfully from day one.

Introduce org culture and values

Culture is a vital aspect of employee onboarding. Help new hires understand the company's mission, vision, values, and the behaviors that shape the organizational culture. Encourage them to embrace and embody these values in their work.

Encourage relationship building

Facilitate opportunities for new hires to connect with their colleagues and build relationships. Schedule team-building activities, provide networking opportunities, and encourage cross-departmental interactions. Strong relationships foster collaboration and a sense of community.

Continuously communicate and provide feedback

Maintain open lines of communication throughout the onboarding process. Regularly check in with new employees to address any concerns, answer questions, and provide constructive feedback. This promotes a culture of transparency and support.

Evaluate and improve

Never stop improving your own new hire and employee onboarding process. Collect feedback from both new hires and the onboarding team to identify areas of strength and areas for enhancement. Use this feedback to refine and optimize your onboarding process continuously.

By implementing these best practices, you'll be well on your way to creating an exceptional onboarding experience that sets the stage for employee success, engagement, and long-term retention. Remember, effective onboarding is an ongoing and continuous process that evolves with your organization and the needs of your employees.

Onboarding vs orientation

When it comes to welcoming new employees, two terms often come up  onboarding and orientation. While they may sound similar, they serve different purposes in the employee integration process. Let's explore the distinctions between onboarding and orientation


Employee orientation is typically a one-time event that occurs at the beginning of an employee's journey with an organization. It is focused on providing basic information and familiarizing new hires with essential policies, procedures, and logistical details.

Orientation sessions are often conducted in a group setting and cover topics such as company policies, benefits enrollment, and facility tours.

The primary goal of orientation is to acquaint new employees with the organization's administrative processes, workplace rules, and compliance requirements. It helps them understand the basics necessary to function within the company's structure and ensures they have the necessary tools and resources to get started.

Orientation tends to be relatively short in duration, typically lasting a day or a few days, depending on the complexity of the organization. While it serves as a crucial introduction to the company, it is just the initial step in the overall onboarding process.


Employee onboarding, on the other hand, is a more comprehensive and extended process that goes beyond the initial orientation. It encompasses a series of activities and experiences designed to integrate new employees into the organization's culture, values, and work environment.

The goal of our onboarding efforts is to help new hires transition smoothly into their roles, feel a sense of belonging, and become productive and engaged members of the team.

It includes providing job-specific training, introducing them to their colleagues and mentors, clarifying performance expectations, and facilitating relationship building.

Onboarding extends beyond the first few days or weeks and can last several months or even up to a year, depending on the organization and the complexity of the role. It focuses not only on the practical aspects of the job but also on aligning new employees with the company's mission, vision, and core values.

Unlike orientation, which is typically standardized and uniform for all new hires, onboarding can be personalized to meet individual needs and job requirements. It recognizes that each employee's role is unique and may require different levels of support and guidance to thrive in their roles.

In essence, while orientation provides the necessary introductory information and administrative tasks, onboarding takes a more holistic approach, ensuring that new employees are integrated into the organization, have a deep understanding of their roles, and feel connected to the team processes the company's culture and values.

By understanding the distinctions between onboarding and orientation, organizations can develop a comprehensive approach that combines both elements to set their new employees up for success from day one.

What is infant attrition?

Infant attrition, a term used to describe the phenomenon of employees leaving within the first six months of joining an organization, has become a significant concern in various sectors.

This trend of early employee turnover poses a significant challenge for organizations, highlighting the critical importance of addressing the factors contributing to infant attrition.

Understanding and mitigating this issue is essential to foster a positive and supportive onboarding experience, improve retention, and, ultimately, drive organizational success.

Importance of collecting employee feedback in the onboarding stage of employee life cycle

Collecting employee feedback during the onboarding stage of the employee life cycle is crucial for several reasons. Let's explore the importance of gathering feedback during this critical period

Enhancing the onboarding experience

Employee feedback provides valuable insights into the effectiveness of your onboarding process. By collecting feedback, you can identify strengths and areas for improvement, allowing you to refine and enhance the onboarding experience.

Understanding what worked well and what could be better helps you tailor the onboarding process to meet the needs and expectations of new hires.

Addressing pain points and challenges

Onboarding can be a complex process, and new employees may encounter challenges or pain points along the way.

Collecting feedback allows you to identify these issues early on the entire process and address them promptly. By proactively resolving challenges, you demonstrate your commitment to supporting new employees and create a more positive and supportive onboarding experience.

Increasing worker engagement and employee satisfaction

Engaged and satisfied employees are more likely to stay with an organization.

By seeking feedback during the onboarding stage, you show new hires that their opinions and experiences matter.

Actively listening to their feedback and taking action to address any concerns or suggestions fosters a sense of value and belonging, leading to higher levels of engagement and satisfaction.

Gaining insights into cultural fit and integration

The onboarding stage is an opportune time to assess cultural fit and integration.

By collecting feedback, you can gain insights into how well new employees are adapting to the company culture, values, and team dynamics. This feedback helps you identify any potential challenges in assimilation and allows you to provide additional support or resources as needed.

Improving retention and reducing turnover

Effective onboarding contributes to retention. Collecting feedback helps you understand the factors that contribute to a new hire's or existing employees' decision to stay or leave.

By addressing any concerns or gaps identified through feedback, you can improve the onboarding experience and increase the likelihood of retaining talented individuals within your organization.

Continuous improvement and learning

Collecting feedback during the onboarding stage promotes a culture of continuous improvement and learning. It demonstrates to new employees that their input is valued and that the organization is committed to evolving and enhancing the onboarding process. By using feedback to make informed decisions and implement changes, you create a culture of learning and growth.

Overall, collecting employee feedback during the onboarding stage allows you to fine-tune the onboarding process, address challenges, and create a more engaging and supportive experience for new hires.

By actively seeking and acting upon feedback, you lay the foundation for long-term employee success and contribute to a positive and productive work environment.


In conclusion, collecting employee feedback during the onboarding stage is a vital practice that empowers organizations to create a seamless and engaging experience for new hires.

By actively seeking feedback, addressing pain points, and continuously improving the onboarding process, companies can enhance worker engagement, satisfaction, and retention.

At CultureMonkey, we understand the significance of worker engagement throughout the entire employee lifecycle. That's why we offer an innovative worker engagement platform that intelligently automates and personalizes engagement surveys based on employee lifecycle or segments.

Our platform provides organizations with valuable insights into their employees' experiences, enabling them to make data-driven decisions and foster a positive work culture.

Take the next step in optimizing your worker engagement efforts by partnering with CultureMonkey. Schedule a free demo now!


What is employee onboarding?

Employee onboarding is the process of integrating new hires into an organization. It includes orientation, training, and introducing them to other employees, team members and the company culture and values.

How long should the onboarding process last?

The duration of the onboarding process for new hire varies depending on the organization and the complexity of tasks involved in the role. It can range from a few weeks to several months, ensuring new employees have ample time to acclimate and become productive.

What are the benefits of a structured onboarding process?

A structured onboarding process improves retention, engagement, and performance. It helps new hires feel welcomed, reduces their learning curve, and aligns them with the company's goals and values.

How can I personalize the onboarding experience?

Personalizing the onboarding experience involves tailoring it to individual employee needs, preferences, and learning styles. This can include assigning mentors, providing job-specific training, and offering opportunities for skill development.

How can employee engagement platforms like CultureMonkey help in the onboarding process?

Employee engagement platforms like CultureMonkey can intelligently automate and personalize engagement surveys based on employee lifecycle or segments. This enables organizations to gather valuable feedback from new hires and make data-driven decisions to improve their onboarding experience.