Talent Acquisition

The Ultimate Guide to Employee Onboarding

Think of employee onboarding as the foundation for great work relationships. It has far-reaching effects on productivity, job satisfaction, and retention. A well-structured onboarding process helps new hires feel welcomed and valued, plus equips them with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed in their roles.

What Is Employee Onboarding? 

Employee onboarding helps new hires settle into their roles and the company culture. It includes various activities, including orientation and training sessions, filling out paperwork, and meeting teammates. It’s also when new employees get the scoop on expectations and company policies.

A smooth onboarding process makes new employees feel welcome and ready to hit the ground running, enabling them to contribute to the company’s goals right from the start.

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The Importance of Employee Onboarding

According to Gallup, just 12% of employees have reported positive onboarding experiences. This statistic underscores the importance of a robust onboarding process.

A well-executed onboarding enables new hires to adapt quickly, paving the way for success, increased productivity, and greater job satisfaction.

Welcome Email to New Employees (4 Ready-to-Use Templates)

Help your new hires feel prepared and excited for their first day with one of our comprehensive onboarding email templates.…

Onboarding Goals and Objectives

Every company has different onboarding priorities. However, ensuring new hires seamlessly integrate into your company culture and their respective teams creates a sense of belonging from day one, boosting employee retention, which is excellent for employer branding.

Here is a list of what to review:

Company values

Familiarize new hires with your organization’s mission, values, and goals, aligning their work with its broader objectives.

Role expectations

Define job roles and expectations clearly, setting the stage for success and minimizing potential misunderstandings.

Compliance and policy adherence

Educate employees about company policies, procedures, and compliance requirements to maintain a safe and ethical work environment.

Skill development

Provide training and development opportunities to enhance new employees’ skills and competencies.

Feedback mechanism

Establish a feedback mechanism for new employees to share their experiences and suggestions for improving the onboarding process.

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What to Include in Your Onboarding Plan

Your employees want to make a good impression on their first day, and your company does as well. The following preparation can streamline onboarding and help employees feel confident and excited in their new roles. 

Have Paperwork Ready

On the first day, have new hire paperwork like tax documents, employee agreements, payroll information, and employee forms ready. It is also a good time to forward the employee handbook to new hires so they can review and sign it.

Set Up Employee Accounts

Creating employee accounts in advance makes it easier for new hires to jump in and start immediately. Organize their login credentials and instructions on how to update their passwords. Here are the types of accounts new hires need access to:

  • company email account
  • employee portals
  • project management software
  • team communication software

Schedule Orientation 

Schedule an orientation date for any new hires. Many companies have one or two days for the orientation process to get employees up to speed on paperwork, training requirements, and company processes. 

Arrival Guidance

Before your new employee arrives or logs in, ensure they have directions on where to go, how to start, and who to contact. Assign them an onboarding buddy to guide them through their first weeks at the company.

Employee Workstations & Equipment 

Whether employees work remotely or in the office, ensure they have the right equipment, like a laptop, by their first day. On-site workers will need to have a workstation available. Many businesses also go the extra mile, offering a stipend for office equipment and a gift bag that includes branded merchandise or desk essentials. 

Expectation Setting

To ease any first-day jitters, it’s essential to set clear expectations. An orientation leader can guide new hires through what to expect on their first and the following days. For instance, they can let them know that their morning will likely involve paperwork and then provide insight into the rest of the agenda, whether it’s team introductions with their hiring manager or additional company training.


Certain elements often take center stage during the welcome and orientation process. Start with introductions and icebreakers to help new people feel comfortable and connected.

How to Improve Your Onboarding Program

One of the best ways to improve your onboarding process is by collecting feedback from current employees.


Send several questionnaires over three months to new hires. Remember that employees may feel differently about your company and its onboarding process on day 90, when they’re more integrated into the team and taking on more responsibilities, compared to day 30. 

Collect feedback with a combination of rating-based and open-ended questions. Focus on challenges they’ve faced so far, if they felt their training was sufficient, and what suggestions they have for improvement. 

To encourage honest responses, consider offering anonymous digital surveys. Some employees may be more direct if they aren’t afraid of being tied to their responses. Still, have a field where employees can optionally share their names with the surveyor so you can follow up directly.  

One-on-One Meetings

Supervising managers often benefit from regular check-ins with new hires during onboarding and beyond. Some companies will schedule weekly meetings for at least the first 90 days. 

Managers play a pivotal role in assessing the onboarding process. They can gauge how well new hires understand their job roles, new skills, and company policies. Managers can ensure the process is effective and aligns with company goals by asking employees about their onboarding experience.

Ideally, managers can document these interviews and share suggestions or concerns about onboarding with people 0perations or leadership. 

How to Assess Your Onboarding Process

Discovering the right questions to ask shines a light on the parts of your onboarding process that are ripe for improvement. It’s a decisive step toward crafting an experience that sets every new hire up for success, reinforcing your team’s growth and confidence from day one.

Focus on questions like these when evaluating your onboarding program:

  • What aspects of onboarding were helpful to new hires?
  • Did employees receive the training needed to fulfill their roles?
  • Was an employee’s job role what they expected based on the initial job description?
  • What challenges did new hires face in their first 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days?  
  • Are your company values being upheld in practice? 

Feedback, a valuable resource, can significantly enhance the onboarding process. By compiling data from multiple sources and considering the feedback from new hires and supervising managers, you can identify patterns and areas for improvement. Pay special attention if new hires express feeling unsupported or unprepared for their role, as this can guide you in making necessary adjustments. 

Wize Words

Effective onboarding can leave employees feeling supported and enthusiastic about their roles and your company. They’ll engage more and stay longer—and you’re likely to see a boost in productivity. Talk about winning!

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to onboard an employee?

The cost of onboarding new employees varies depending on several factors, including the length and cost of the training materials, the paperwork required, and how much time other team members spend getting the employee up to speed.  That said, as a general figure, a Glassdoor study found that the average employee onboarding cost is around $4,000.

How long does it take to onboard a new employee?

While the length of employee onboarding can vary significantly depending on factors like job role, industry, and company processes, three to six months is standard in many industries. It may take longer to onboard technical, senior, or executive employees, often requiring additional skills training or company knowledge.


  • Ana Gotter

    Ana is a strategic content marketer with over 10 years of writing experience, including extensive ghostwriting for HR and recruiting agencies. She firmly believes in the transformative power of storytelling, strategy, and research to create outstanding content.

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The article was reviewed by Deirdre Sullivan

Ana Gotter

Ana is a strategic content marketer with over 10 years of writing experience, including extensive ghostwriting for HR and recruiting agencies. She firmly believes in the transformative power of storytelling, strategy, and research to create outstanding content.

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