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Your Complete Guide to the Onboarding Process

The onboarding process is one of the most important processes an employer can undertake when bringing on new employees.

It sets the tone for their experience with your company and can make or break their decision to stay with the organization.

In this article, we will discuss what onboarding is, what employers need to do to successfully onboard new employees, and some common mistakes made during the onboarding process that you can easily avoid.

What is the Onboarding Process?

The onboarding process is the gradual introduction of a new employee into an organization. It includes tasks such as setting up their workstation, providing them with company information, orienting them to the company’s culture and expectations and training them on their job duties.

Why is Onboarding Important?

Onboarding is important because it helps new employees feel comfortable in their new positions. Conducting onboarding properly will get workers up to speed quickly on what’s expected of them. It also helps reduce turnover rates and increases productivity.

Benefits of Onboarding New Employees

Some benefits of onboarding new employees include the following:

  • Reduced turnover rates
  • Quicker time to productivity
  • Increased organizational knowledge and compliance
  • Better customer service

All of these benefits contribute to a more successful organization. Let’s take a closer look at each of these benefits in greater detail.

Reduced Turnover Rates

The onboarding process helps reduce turnover rates because it provides new employees with the information and resources they need to do their jobs effectively.

It also helps them develop strong relationships with coworkers and managers. Overall, the reduction in stress levels and improved job satisfaction rates will decrease the likelihood that an employee will want to quit.

Quicker Time to Productivity

It typically takes three months for a new employee to become fully productive in their position. You can speed up this process by providing them with thorough training during onboarding.

Onboarding also gives them access to resources such as manuals, FAQs, onboarding documents, and cheat sheets, which makes it easy for them when they have questions about their job duties.

Increased Organizational Knowledge and Compliance

Onboarding helps new employees learn the company’s culture, values, and expectations so they can align their behavior with those of the organization.

It also helps them understand how the company operates and what’s required of them to remain successful. You’ll reduce organizational risk by decreasing the likelihood that an employee will violate policy or upset coworkers.

Better Customer Service

A well-onboarded employee understands your company’s mission, vision, and values and knows how to provide excellent customer service. They’re familiar with your products and services. They can handle customer complaints or inquiries quickly and effectively.

Steps for an Effective Onboarding Process

Now that we have a general understanding of what onboarding is and why it’s important, let’s take a look at the six effective steps to onboarding new employees.

Step One: Plan Ahead

Planning is essential for successful onboarding. You will need to develop an outline. Doing so will help get all required tasks completed on time without missing critical steps.

Step Two: Set Up the Employee’s Workstation

Set up an employee’s workstation before their first day on the job. Make sure to install all necessary software, organize their desk space, and set up their computer with company files and folders.

Step Three: Orient Them to Company Culture

Employers need to orient new employees to their company’s culture, values, and expectations. Make sure new workers know the type of humor that’s acceptable, behavioral expectations, and any other situations relating to the established culture.

Step Four: Provide Training Materials and Resources

Provide training materials and resources on your organization’s policies. Additionally, show new employees any relevant rules or regulations that might apply to their position.

Make these materials available at all times during the onboarding process. Doing this gives employees something to refer to when they need clarification on certain points.

Step Five: Provide Ongoing Support and Feedback

Employers should provide ongoing support throughout onboarding by checking in with new employees regularly. Ask your new employees how things are going, what challenges they’re facing, or offer them feedback on their performance.

Step Six: Evaluate and Revise

Evaluate the onboarding process and revise it regularly to ensure that it meets the needs of both management and employees. Make sure you’re tracking the progress of new employees so you can identify any areas that need improvement.

Common Onboarding Mistakes to Avoid

Now that we’ve learned about what an effective onboarding process looks like, let’s look at three common mistakes employers make when onboarding new employees.

  • Not scheduling enough one-on-one meetings with the new hire. Remember, it can take several months before a new hire becomes completely productive on the job. Scheduling regular one-on-one meetings will help them navigate those first few months on the job successfully.
  • Not including other employees in the onboarding process. Your new hire’s success relies on how well they get along with their coworkers. Get your current team members involved in onboarding to build stronger relationships and a cohesive work environment for everyone.
  • Not providing enough training. It’s important to provide enough training so new hires feel confident in their abilities and know what’s expected of them. Failing to provide adequate training can lead to frustration and confusion. Productivity will slow as a result.

Onboarding Best Practices to Keep in Mind

Let’s review a few of the best practices for onboarding new employees.

Use an Employee Handbook

Create an employee handbook and make it available to all your employees. The handbook helps you develop a cohesive company culture where everyone understands what’s expected of them in their role.

Provide Mentorship

Make sure that your new hires have a mentor to answer questions and provide guidance on how things work at the office (e.g., when to take lunch breaks). The more comfortable they feel during those first few weeks of employment, the better chance they’ll stay with you long-term.

Give Employees Praise

Celebrate small successes along the way. Don’t wait until someone works at your company for six months before recognizing them as an asset to the team. Give people praise when it’s deserved. It’s important to keep morale high for everyone during the onboarding process.

Track New Hire Progress

Track the progress of your new hires and make changes to onboarding as needed. Not all employees learn at the same pace or have the same needs. Remain flexible and adaptable when it comes to onboarding.

Use an Onboarding Checklist

Using a checklist represents the best way to ensure that you’re covering all the bases during onboarding. It will help keep you organized and on track, ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks.

Here are some items you should include on your onboarding checklist.

  • New hire paperwork
  • Employee handbook
  • Orientation meeting agenda
  • Training materials
  • Company policies and procedures
  • Computer setup instructions
  • Email account setup instructions
  • Office tour

Tips for Onboarding Remotely

If your new employee works remotely, extra steps exist that you’ll need to take to ensure a successful onboarding process.

First, make sure they have all the necessary equipment and tools they need to do their job (e.g., computer, phone, and headset).

Second, establish some ground rules for communication. For example, decide on a regular time each day when both of you will be available for calls or chat sessions.

Third, create a training plan that includes specific tasks they’ll need to complete to stay productive. And finally, set up regular one-on-one meetings with your remote employees so you can track their progress and offer guidance as needed.

Onboarding Mistakes to Avoid with Remote Workers

It’s easy to make mistakes with remote onboarding. Remain aware of these common remote onboarding pitfalls.

Some companies fail to properly think through the type of people to add to a remote team. If you’re going to hire someone remotely, look for people who reveal that they’re self-motivated and can work independently. You need remote employees who don’t require constant supervision to remain productive.

Employers often forget about the importance of communication when onboarding a remote employee. Make sure they have the tools they need to stay in touch, such as video conferencing and chat software.

Not providing an adequate cultural orientation can also become a problem for remote employees. They may not understand company culture immediately, which can disrupt current employees.

Don’t forget about building a sense of community. It’s important for remote employees to feel connected to their team. Try to create opportunities for them to connect with their coworkers. For example, you might encourage each team member to actively acknowledge great work when they see it.

Best Employee Onboarding Software Tools

If you’re looking for ways to make the onboarding process more efficient, there are several software tools available that can help. Here are nine of our favorites.

  • Rippling
  • Bonusly
  • Bambee
  • ClearCompany
  • SwagUp
  • Remote
  • Freshworks
  • Sapling

Let’s recap each one of these platforms so you can understand how they can help with your employee onboarding process.


Rippling is a cloud-based solution that helps you automate the onboarding process for new employees. It includes everything from creating employee accounts to issuing them their login credentials and providing access to company resources.


Bonusly is a social recognition platform that rewards employees for a job well done. You can use it during the onboarding process to encourage new hires and reward them for meeting your expectations. The sooner a new employee receives public recognition, the faster their confidence will rise in their new role.


Bambee provides you with a dedicated human resources manager to help with the onboarding process. The company and its process will take care of all new employee paperwork, including payroll setup and tax withholding forms. You’ll never need to worry about state and federal human resources compliance.


ClearCompany makes it easy to manage your entire onboarding process from start to finish. It includes tools for creating job descriptions, scheduling interviews, and sending offer letters. The tool also helps with managing benefits enrollment information. is a project management platform that helps you manage your onboarding process from start to finish. It includes everything from creating tasks for each new hire to tracking their progress as they complete them over time.


SwagUp is an employee swag program that allows companies of all sizes to customize branded merchandise packages for their employees. It makes workers feel more welcome and appreciated during the onboarding process. Getting your employees to wear company shirts in the office or raise company mugs on Zoom calls helps to establish an improved bonding experience.


Remote is a software tool designed specifically for managing remote teams. It’s perfect if you have employees working remotely. It lets you keep track of what everyone’s doing at any given moment. Remove also provides ways to streamline the onboarding process for new hires.


Freshworks is an all-in-one customer relationship management (CRM) tool that helps businesses manage all of their interactions, including those during onboarding. The platform makes it simple to track where everyone sits within the onboarding process at any given point in time and is helpful for tracking critical worker data, hiring new employees, and offboarding outgoing workers.


Sapling offers HR software that makes it easy to automate your employee onboarding processes so you can get things done faster and with less effort on your end. The platform includes features like customizable workflows, task reminders, reporting capabilities, plus many others designed specifically for this purpose.


Onboarding is an essential part of bringing a new employee into your organization. It’s also one that you should take seriously if you want to retain top talent and increase productivity across the board.

When done correctly, onboarding can help set up employees for long-term success in their roles. Work hard to put repeatable processes into place during onboarding. If you do, you’ll hire more productive employees without feeling as though you need to reinvent the wheel with each hire.