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Employee Onboarding

Written by

Tiffany Clark

Reviewed by

VidCruiter Editorial Team

Last Modified

Apr 17, 2024
Employee Onboarding
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Employee Onboarding


Employee onboarding is a process that integrates new employees into an organization while familiarizing them with basic workplace practices. Transitioning an existing employee into a new role within the organization is just as essential as onboarding new hires. 


An onboarding process has four primary phases:


  1. Preboarding

  2. Welcoming and onboarding new employees

  3. Training

  4. Transition to the employee's new role


An employee onboarding workflow can cover any number of items and include everything from the written material provided to the new hire to the duration and structure of the program. Some common topics covered in onboarding can include the following:


  • Welcome: During the welcome session, employees are introduced to the company's mission, values, and culture. 

  • Office tour: Employees are shown where they can find everything they need to do their job and be comfortable in the workplace. A guided tour of the organization can also introduce new employees to fellow team members and allow them to see the team at work.

  • Essential paperwork: New employees will have paperwork to complete, including documentation for taxes, direct deposit forms, compensation, benefits, contracts to sign, and more. Human resources employees should be available to assist and answer questions that arise. 

  • Compensation and benefits: The human resources representative will provide new hires with the information they need to know about their compensation and benefits. This session should be thorough because most employees expect detailed information about what to expect from their employee benefits and may be reluctant to ask questions. 

  • Security and safety: Safety and security procedures are explained, employees receive the keys to access the building or their offices, and identification badges and parking passes are issued if applicable. 

  • Employee conduct: Expectations are outlined for computer and telephone usage, dress code, and interactions with other employees. Conduct policies are fully outlined so that all employees have a solid understanding of what the company expects. 

  • Leave and attendance: The employee's expected work hours are reviewed, along with an overview of the organization's policies regarding break and meal periods, absenteeism, sick leave, and paid time off (PTO).

  • Required training: This may include diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training, compliance training, data privacy training, sales training, and more.

  • Meeting stakeholders: Onboarding is the ideal time for a new employee to meet the executive team, coworkers, essential workers, and department heads. 


In the past, many companies lacked a robust employee onboarding program. Many new employees were thrust into their roles from day one of their employment with the expectation that they would "hit the ground running." Companies that did offer this employee orientation or onboarding may have onboarded their new hires in as little as one day or a week. However, today's hiring experts agree that onboarding can take anywhere from three to 12 months, depending on the organization and the scope of a position. 


Statistics paint a grim picture of how a company can be affected by failing to provide an effective onboarding process. 


  • A Gallup poll noted that only 12% of employees are satisfied with the onboarding provided by the company.

  • Another Gallup poll showed that only 29% of new employees feel prepared following a week-long onboarding. 

  • The Harvard Business Review shows that 23% of employees leave in the first year of employment. That figure has been directly linked to a lack of proper onboarding because employees are left feeling overwhelmed or with a negative impression of the organization. 


Onboarding provides employees with a smoother start, but a comprehensive employee onboarding process also benefits the company. Workers who have been thoroughly onboarded are better equipped to perform their roles. A Glassdoor study notes that employees who have gone through a solid onboarding process are 70% more productive on the job. 


Additionally, the Human Resource Standards Institute reports that companies can expect 58% of new employees to remain with the company for minimally three years if they have gone through a comprehensive onboarding process. 




If an employee is expected to jump straight into a position on the first day of work, they will likely feel overwhelmed and unprepared. Much of what they need to know about issues such as payday, health insurance benefits, and company policies will be gleaned from sporadic conversations with their coworkers. 


When an employee is fully onboarded, they will be prepared to focus on their job duties and become comfortable in their new role. 


Related Terms

New Employee Orientation

is a term used interchangeably with employee onboarding. However, new employee orientation typically refers to a significantly shorter and less comprehensive process than onboarding. In the past—and still today in some organizations—new employee orientation was often completed in one day and, in some cases, as little as a couple of hours.

Onboarding Checklist

is a term used for the onboarding process or an actual form used to check off onboarding topics as they are completed.
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