10 Best Practices To Improve Employee Onboarding

Published on 5/23/2023 by Jimmy Hurff
Last Updated on 7/17/2023

Onboarding best practices can make a huge difference to the success of a new hire. It's an important process that sets the tone for the rest of the employee's time with the company. Not only does it help the new hire understand their role and responsibilities, but it also helps them to understand the culture and values of the organization. 

This article will discuss 10 best practices for improving employee onboarding and setting the stage for their long-term success. 

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What Is Onboarding? 

Onboarding is the process of introducing and integrating new employees into an organization to facilitate their smooth transition and enhance their overall experience. 

This comprehensive process encompasses various activities, such as acquainting new hires with the company culture, introducing them to their team, offering training and resources, and establishing expectations for job performance. 

Contrary to popular belief, onboarding is not a one-time event but an ongoing process that commences before the employee's first day and can extend up to 12 months.(1) 

A thorough onboarding experience is essential to make new hires feel welcome and supported.

Importance Of Onboarding 

Onboarding plays a pivotal role in assimilating new employees into an organization and acquainting them with the company's culture, policies, and procedures. 

This aspect of the recruitment process significantly influences employee retention, job satisfaction, and overall performance.(2)

Onboarding serves several purposes: 

  1. It fosters a positive relationship between the new hire and the organization by helping them grasp the company's mission, values, and goals, thereby increasing engagement and productivity. 

  2. It also clarifies the roles and responsibilities of new hires, enabling them to contribute and succeed quickly. 

  3. Onboarding equips new employees with essential skills and knowledge to perform their job, reducing the likelihood of costly and time-consuming errors. 

  4. It familiarizes new hires with the organization's policies and procedures, ensuring awareness of their rights, responsibilities, and the company's expectations, thus mitigating the risk of legal disputes. 

Benefits Of Onboarding 

Onboarding can be a great way to ensure that new employees feel welcome and that they have the tools and resources to be successful in their new roles. 

Here are six key benefits of effective onboarding: 

1. Improved Employee Experience 

In today's competitive job market, it's essential to create a positive employee experience. A successful onboarding process sets the foundation for a fulfilling work journey by emphasizing company culture, employee development, and frequent check-ins.

2. Increased Employee Engagement 

Engaged employees are more productive and committed to their work. A well-designed onboarding program helps new hires connect with the organization's mission, vision, and values, fostering engagement from day one. 

3. Enhanced Employee Retention 

A strong onboarding process can boost new hire retention by 82%.(3) Starting with pre-boarding and continuing for at least 90 days, an effective onboarding strategy ensures employees acclimate to their new roles and stay with the company long-term. 

4. Simplified Talent Attraction 

A positive onboarding experience can increase employee satisfaction, resulting in better reviews on platforms like Glassdoor and InHerSight. This, in turn, attracts strong candidates who are likely to excel within your organization. 

5. Reinforced Company Culture 

Investing in onboarding helps new employees assimilate into the corporate culture. Share your company's mission, vision, and values regularly to ensure cultural alignment and attract the right talent. 

6. Boosted Productivity 

Proper onboarding can reduce the time it takes for new hires to reach full productivity. By providing clear goals, regular manager check-ins, and employee development opportunities, you can motivate employees to excel in their work.

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10 Onboarding Best Practices For New Employees

Onboarding can help make sure that new employees start off on the right foot and are able to contribute to the success of the organization. 

Here are 10 onboarding best practices for employees:

1. Start The Onboarding Process Before The Employee's First Day 

Initiating the onboarding process before the employee's first day is a best practice that enhances the onboarding experience. 

This approach enables new hires to grasp the company's culture, values and expectations beforehand, allowing the organization to commence the process more efficiently. 

It also helps the organization better manage the onboarding process by establishing a timeline, delegating tasks to relevant team members, and tracking the progress of the process. 

Start the onboarding process

2. Assign A Buddy Or Mentor To Guide The New Hire 

Providing support and guidance from someone familiar with the organization and its processes significantly enhances the onboarding experience. 

When selecting a mentor, it's important to ensure they are compatible with the new hire, trustworthy, and approachable. Additionally, the mentor should deeply understand the organization's processes and culture to offer appropriate guidance and resources. 

Being readily available to address any questions during the onboarding process is also essential for the mentor as it boosts the new hire's comfort and confidence in their new position. 

3. Involve The Team In The Onboarding Process 

Incorporating the team in the onboarding process is important for a successful experience, as it enables new hires to acquaint themselves with their colleagues and helps the team grasp the new hire's role and responsibilities. 

One approach to involve the team is organizing a welcome lunch or coffee break, facilitating casual interactions and allowing the team to ask questions in a relaxed setting. 

Another method is to include the new hire in team meetings or activities, promoting an understanding of the team dynamics and familiarizing the team with the new hire's role in the organization.

4. Include Cultural Onboarding To Share The Organization's Values And Vision 

Cultural onboarding is the process of introducing new hires to the organization's values, vision, and culture while illustrating how they can contribute to the mission. This is particularly important for remote teams, as it fosters a sense of connection and belonging.

Introducing new hires to the organization's values and vision should involve real-life examples, such as stories about successful projects, customer feedback, or employee testimonials, enabling the new hire to comprehend their role in the organization's success. This can be done through videos, webinars, or team activities. 

You can also offer resources such as employee handbooks, onboarding checklists, or a mentor, ensuring new hires grasp the expectations of their role and the organization's values and culture. 

5. Set Clear Expectations And Define Success 

This enables new hires to comprehend their role, organizational goals, and what is expected of them, ensuring everyone is aligned and working towards the same objectives. 

When outlining expectations and defining success, clarity and conciseness are essential. Describe job responsibilities, role expectations, and organizational goals, providing tangible examples of success and methods for measurement.

Additionally, offering feedback throughout the onboarding process is important. Assess the new hire's progress and how well they meet expectations, delivering constructive feedback to help them understand their strengths and areas for improvement. 

By setting clear expectations and defining success, organizations can foster a positive onboarding experience and prepare new hires for success in their new role. 

6. Utilize Different Training Methods To Cater To Different Learning Styles 

Since not all employees learn the same way, providing various training methods helps new hires grasp job requirements more quickly and easily. 

One approach is to supply a range of training materials, such as videos, presentations, written material, and interactive activities. This enables employees to select the learning method that suits them best and ensures their thorough understanding of the information.

Another strategy is to offer different levels of training, such as providing a basic overview and more in-depth training for those who need it. This allows employees to progress at their own pace and guarantees a comprehensive understanding of job requirements. 

Finally, incorporating various feedback methods like surveys, one-on-one meetings, and group discussions ensures employees feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and opinions while allowing you to evaluate the training's effectiveness. 

7. Don't Overwhelm New Hires With Too Much Information 

While it's challenging to convey all necessary information, remember that it takes time for new hires to absorb and comprehend it. To avoid overwhelming them, it's advisable to break the onboarding process into manageable segments. 

When presenting new information, provide context and explain its importance to the job. This helps new hires understand the information's relevance to their role. Incorporating visual aids like infographics or diagrams can make the information more digestible. 

Providing new hires with access to online resources, such as tutorials or FAQs, allows them to learn at their own pace and in their preferred way.

By breaking up the onboarding process into manageable chunks and providing new hires with the right resources and activities, you can ensure that they don't feel overwhelmed by too much information at once. This will help them understand their role better and become productive members of the team faster.

8. Check-In Frequently With New Hires To Ensure Their Success 

By conducting regular check-ins, either in person or via video conference, managers can ensure that new hires have the necessary resources to thrive. 

During these check-ins, managers should ask questions to gauge the new hire's progress, challenges, and successes while providing feedback, guidance, and support. 

This communication fosters a sense of trust and connection between the new hire and the organization, contributing to a positive work environment and ensuring the new hire's comfort in their role. 

Moreover, regular check-ins present an opportunity to discuss any changes or updates to the onboarding process, ensuring its effectiveness and efficiency. 

9. Collect Feedback And Continuously Optimize The Onboarding Process 

Collecting feedback helps identify potential issues and offers insights into how new hires adjust to their new roles and environments. 

Feedback should be collected at multiple points throughout the onboarding process, not just at the end. This allows for continuous optimization, identifying areas for improvement as well as aspects that are working well, ultimately enhancing the new hire experience. 

In addition to new hire feedback, it is essential to gather input from other stakeholders, such as team members and managers, to ensure the onboarding process meets the needs of all involved. 

10. Celebrate Early Wins And Milestones To Reinforce A Positive Work Culture 

Celebrating wins and milestones reinforces a positive work culture, helping new hires feel welcomed, appreciated, and motivated to succeed. 

By acknowledging their hard work, you demonstrate your investment in their achievements, boosting morale and fostering camaraderie among the team. 

One approach to celebrating accomplishments is recognizing new hires during team meetings through a round of applause, a shout-out, or even rewards for significant achievements. 

Another way is to create a culture of recognition, which could involve a rewards system, a wall of fame, or team-wide emails acknowledging a job well done.  

Regardless of the method, celebrating early wins and milestones helps to establish a positive work culture and convey the value you place on new hires' contributions. 

Celebrate early wins

Common Onboarding Errors 

Onboarding is an essential part of any successful business, but it can be easy to make mistakes during the process. 

Here are some of the most common onboarding errors to avoid when welcoming a new hire:

Over-Reliance On Job Shadowing 

Over-reliance on job shadowing, where a new hire observes an experienced employee to learn their role, is a common onboarding mistake. 

Although it can be beneficial, job shadowing shouldn't be the sole onboarding strategy, as it can be time-consuming, difficult to remember, and lacks opportunities for questions and skill practice. 

A more effective approach is to combine job shadowing with other onboarding strategies, such as providing a comprehensive onboarding package with a job description, company policies, and an overview of the company culture. Interactive training sessions, like webinars or video tutorials, can also be beneficial, allowing new hires to practice skills and ask questions. 

Integrating job shadowing with various onboarding strategies accelerates the time it takes for new hires to become productive, improves employee retention, and enhances overall satisfaction. 

Providing Inadequate Training 

Providing comprehensive training and resources tailored to different learning styles is essential. Whether through hands-on training videos or audio guides, it is crucial to offer diverse options to accommodate the varying preferences of new employees. 

Inadequate training often leads to confusion, frustration, and ultimately poor performance. 

Delaying The Onboarding Process Until The First Day 

Delaying onboarding can lead to confusion, frustration, and a lack of engagement with the company's culture and values. 

When new hires don't receive timely information about the company's expectations or resources, they make mistakes or feel overwhelmed, leading to a rocky start. 

Initiating the onboarding process early allows new hires to familiarize themselves with the team, company culture, and job expectations while addressing any questions or concerns. 

Failing To Engage The New Employee 

Creating an onboarding plan with activities that welcome new hires makes them feel part of the team. This is an effective way to engage the new employee and foster a sense of belonging from the start. This could include team lunches, coffee meetings, and other social activities. 

Engagement plays a vital role in cultivating a positive work culture. When new hires feel included, they're more likely to stay with the organization and contribute to its success. 

Onboarding Best Practices For Success With Brightmove 

Onboarding is an important process for any organization, but it can be especially challenging when implementing it without proper planning and resources. Fortunately, Brightmove is here to help!

With our cutting-edge onboarding solutions, organizations can streamline and optimize their onboarding process to ensure success from day one. Plus, our dedicated support team is always available to provide assistance and guidance throughout the entire onboarding journey. 

So, don't miss the opportunity to maximize the effectiveness of your onboarding process - schedule a demo with us today and discover how our cutting-edge solutions can transform your business! 

Want to learn more? Check out these articles:


  1. SHRM. (2021, June 3). Understanding Employee Onboarding. SHRM; SHRM. https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/toolkits/pages/understanding-employee-onboarding.aspx.

  2. Apollo Technical. (2021, July 26). Why Onboarding Is Important and A Key To Success (2021). Apollo Technical LLC. https://www.apollotechnical.com/why-onboarding-is-important/#:~:text=Onboarding%20is%20important%20because%20it.

  3. 17 incredible onboarding statistics [2023]: HR trends in hiring, training, and retention. Zippia. (2023, May 12). https://www.zippia.com/adviceonboarding-statistics/.


What are the five C's of employee onboarding? 

The five C's of employee onboarding are Compliance, Clarification, Confidence, Connection, and Culture. These elements are crucial in ensuring a successful onboarding process for new employees.

Why are these onboarding best practices important? 

Onboarding best practices are important because they ensure that new employees are welcomed and integrated into the organization. They provide clear expectations and job duties, and they help new hires become part of the team and culture.

How long is the onboarding process? 

The length of the onboarding process can vary depending on the size and complexity of the organization. But generally, the onboarding process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. 

What do new hires want from onboarding? 

New hires want onboarding to be an informative and welcoming experience. They want to feel included and part of the team. They also want to have a clear understanding of the job duties and expectations.

Is onboarding part of recruitment? 

Yes, onboarding is part of the recruitment process. It is the process of welcoming and integrating new hires into the organization. Onboarding begins when new hires accept the job offer and ends when they fully integrate into the organization.

Is onboarding the same as training? 

No, onboarding is different from training. Onboarding is the process of welcoming and integrating new hires into the organization. Training is the process of providing new hires with the skills and knowledge they need to do their job.

Does orientation count as the start date? 

Yes, orientation can count as the start date. Orientation is an important part of the onboarding process, and it is when new hires are introduced to the organization and their job duties.

What is the difference between a new hire orientation and onboarding? 

A new hire orientation is the process of introducing new hires to the organization and their job duties. Onboarding, on the other hand, is the process of welcoming and integrating new hires into the organization.

What happens when onboarding goes wrong? 

When onboarding goes wrong, new hires can feel overwhelmed and disconnected from the organization. This can lead to low morale, decreased productivity, and higher turnover rates. 

About the Author, Jimmy Hurff

Jimmy is a seasoned technology executive & entrepreneur noted for leading business transformations. Over his 25+ year career, Jimmy has developed multi-platform expertise in the domains of engineering, data analytics, security, compliance & business transformation. Starting in 1995, Jimmy worked with his best friend, David Webb, to develop one of the world's first Internet job board and resume bank applications. From then to now, Jimmy has been consistently helping his customers to build great teams, using best practices and world-class technology.

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