Streamline your onboarding process with our comprehensive guide. Ensure new employees thrive from day one. Expert tips included.

The employee onboarding process is a key element in building an effective and harmonious team. A new employee’s first impression about the company can significantly influence their engagement and long-term productivity. Therefore, it is worth paying attention to the key aspects of onboarding to ensure a smooth start for the new team member.

What is employee onboarding?

Onboarding involves introducing a new employee to the culture, values, and organizational structure, which helps them quickly feel connected to the company and understand its operations. As part of the onboarding process, the new employee may have the opportunity to meet various team members to better understand their roles and tasks. Additionally, they may receive access to educational materials that will help them gain knowledge about the company and the industry in which it operates. This way, the new employee can better understand their duties and operate more effectively within the team. Onboarding is a key element of the success of a new employee and the company as a whole.

What does the employee onboarding process look like?

The onboarding process begins with formalities such as signing documents and completing necessary forms. Then, beyond these formalities, the employee will have the opportunity to get acquainted with the team and learn more about their roles and responsibilities. This is also when the employee can participate in trainings that will help them better understand the company and its values. The process lasts for the first few days, weeks, and sometimes even months, to give the employee enough time to adjust to the new work environment and establish relationships with colleagues.

It is important that during the onboarding process the employee learns about the company’s mission, its goals, values, and expectations. This will allow them to better understand how the new employee’s role fits into the organization’s overall strategy. It is also important for them to become familiar with the company’s organizational structure and receive access to necessary work tools. This way, they can effectively operate within the team and perform assigned tasks.

The onboarding process does not end after the first few days or weeks. It’s a continuous process that lasts for a longer period. Therefore, the employee must communicate regularly with a mentor or supervisor, to discuss progress, challenges, and potential training needs. This way, they will ensure their support and the opportunity to develop in a new work environment.

Who is responsible for employee onboarding?

The HR department is primarily responsible for the onboarding process, but the involvement of superiors and the team is key. Joint responsibility ensures an effective and comprehensive integration process.

Good onboarding is not just a task for the HR department. In fact, the entire team’s involvement is necessary to ensure a successful implementation of a new employee. Superiors should actively participate in the onboarding process, providing support and guidance, and helping the new employee integrate with the team. In addition, onboarding is an investment in employee engagement and building a strong team. Focusing on a comprehensive integration process can create an atmosphere of mutual trust and cooperation within the company. This in turn translates into higher work efficiency and better results. Therefore, it is important to devote adequate attention to the onboarding process and ensure that it is conducted comprehensively and effectively. Remember, investing in onboarding is an investment in the company’s future.

3 forms of onboarding

The three most commonly used forms of onboarding are:

Learning by doing

Learning through practice and performing assigned tasks under the supervision of a guardian: a superior or another team member. This form is effective, but it overlooks the psychological comfort and internal anxiety of newly hired employees. They are afraid to ask questions because they assume that every question exposes their ignorance. There is a lack of action schemes and measurability of results. The later ignorance of the employee may be their fault, but at the same time, it may result from the supervisor’s training omissions.

Stationary training

A package of information about the structure, organization, and position, conveyed by an experienced employee or trainer. It takes the form of conversations, lectures, or presentations. The cycle of standard onboarding training is difficult to adapt to employees. Some absorb knowledge faster, others slower, which is why schematism may prove to be ineffective. Another drawback is that every time an employee with more tenure has to devote time to conduct the training. Often at the expense of their duties.

Online e-learning onboarding

Online e-learning onboarding, also known as digital onboarding, leverages digital platforms and e-learning tools to facilitate the integration of new employees into an organization. This approach offers flexibility, scalability, and accessibility, making it particularly suitable for remote or distributed teams.

How long does onboarding take?

There is no clear answer to this question. It can last from a month to even half a year. The onboarding process begins at the recruitment stage from the candidate experience. The recruiter is the first to describe the organizational structure and his scope of duties to the candidate. The promise made to the candidate in the recruitment process is verified by him from the first day of work. Its non-fulfillment is a risk of the new employee leaving.

Research shows that an employee reaches full productivity only after 12, and even 24 months of work, so it is worth looking at onboarding in the long term.

The material must be dosed in appropriate knowledge pills at subsequent stages. Often, during the first few days, the employee gets hundreds of pages to read and several tools to master, and instead of being implemented, the new person feels overwhelmed and anxious about the amount of material and the lack of support.

4C: four stages of onboarding

Adapting a new employee is divided into 4 stages, called 4C. Each stage refers to a different sphere of life and is responsible for other aspects of the organization’s activities.

Compliance (Procedures)

This is the administrative stage. The employee provides the appropriate documentation to the employer (e.g., work certificates, diplomas), fills in documents, and signs forms, and the employer enables him to start work, providing, for example, login data to necessary work internet accounts. At this stage, it is worth properly preparing the workplace (position, desk, computer) and setting up an individual e-mail box and handing over business cards. The new employee’s sense of value will increase if we prepare this in advance. This will awaken in him the awareness that someone really was waiting for him here.

Clarification (Tasks and goals)

This is a presentation of tasks and expectations towards the employee. At this stage, it is about the employee, the employer, and the team to which the hired person has joined, understanding the new employee’s goals in the same way.


This is the organization’s culture, indicating how to work in the company to achieve the set goals.

Connection (Relationships)

This is an element of the employee’s adaptation, associated with integration with the team and a sense of the company’s mission. These elements make the newly hired employee identify with the company and feel so good in the environment that he willingly returns to it.

Onboarding levels

Each company has its own individual onboarding procedures. The specifics and culture of a given business and industry determine their degree of formalization or detail. Among them, we can distinguish 3 standard levels of onboarding:

  1. Passive onboarding – providing appropriate procedures regardless of tasks and goals, organizational culture, and team relationships.
  2. High Potential Onboarding – focusing attention on procedures, tasks, and goals, minimizing the role of relationships and culture.
  3. Proactive Onboarding – a format that uses all 4C points, rarely used, but most effective.

Most common mistakes in onboarding

  • Everything at once without preparation

Without a plan, strategy, and preferably without using appropriate tools, we want to “throw” hundreds of pages of material, presentations, PDF files, and instructions to the new employee, through which it is simply impossible to wade through. Best to read yesterday. It won’t work. He won’t remember anything from it, and what’s more, he will be discouraged from acquiring any knowledge.

  • Lack of support from management or the board

Regardless of how well the HR department prepares the onboarding materials, they will be of no use if the superiors of the newly hired employees do not use them. Or worse, the company president himself will not be convinced of such a solution – then the project has little chance. Efficient internal communication is very useful in such processes. It is worth it for the management board to announce such changes.

  • Poorly prepared content or tools

Poor UX of the tool, content, and forms not adapted to the audience, technical errors, boring, non-interactive materials – all this can negatively affect the perception of onboarding among employees. If you choose an online onboarding provider, ask about their SLA (Service Level Agreement) level and ask for sample demos of such training.

  • Lack of feedback

If you do not collect feedback after implementing onboarding, or if you do collect, but you do not analyze the data and suggestions obtained from the organization and do not draw conclusions, you will never really look at your company from the perspective of an employee. This point of view is necessary to develop a business and propose appropriate content to employees.

Effective onboarding step by step

  1. Plan your onboarding program.
  2. Create an onboarding checklist.
  3. Send an email with information about the arrival of a new person.
  4. Prepare the appropriate work position, desk, equipment, access to software, entry card.
  5. Prepare the documents.
  6. Prepare a welcome pack for the new employee.
  7. Contact the employee before the first day.
  8. Assign a supervisor to implement the new employee.
  9. Send the new employee an email with the agenda for the first few days.
  10. Take a tour of the office and introduce the employee to other people in the company.
  11. Propose 1:1 meetings with the most important people in the company to the employee.
  12. Collect feedback and draw conclusions.
  13. Conduct an evaluation.

Employee onboarding survey

Try out our ready-made employee onboarding survey!

The introduction of a new employee to the team is a key moment, and an onboarding process survey can be an invaluable tool in improving this process. This survey is not only a form of collecting employee feedback on their experience, but also a chance to understand what can be improved to facilitate future new team members to adjust to the company. Questions about the quality of training, understanding of the company’s mission and values, or the effectiveness of mentoring can provide valuable clues. The survey allows employees to express their observations anonymously, which promotes honest feedback. Analysis of the results of such a survey can be key to improving the onboarding process, which in turn translates into employee satisfaction and building a strong, cohesive team. This tool not only measures the effectiveness of the process, but also gives employees a voice in shaping the future of the company. In the onboarding process survey, ask about issues such as:

  • Quality of the recruitment interview.
  • Consistency of the announcement with the reality of work.
  • First-day impressions.
  • Understanding the mission and values of the company.
  • Clarity of expectations and goals.
  • Adequacy of training and support.
  • Effectiveness of the mentor.
  • Relations with the team.
  • Measure of success at work.
  • Availability of tools and trainings.
  • Understanding the company’s objectives.
  • Clarity of assessments and success indicators.
  • Adaptation to tools and systems.
  • Understanding the impact of work on the company’s goals.

An effective onboarding process is an investment in the long-term success of the company. By carefully preparing a new employee, we can accelerate adaptation, increase engagement, and improve teamwork. A key element is flexibility and adapting procedures to the organization’s individual needs, which will ultimately contribute to building a strong and integrated team.