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Meaning & Definition


Employee onboarding is broadly defined as the process of familiarizing a (new) employee with the organizations policies, the employees role in the organization, and the organizations culture. It also involves creating an environment in which the employee is made comfortable enough to interact freely with their colleagues and establish social relationships in the workplace.

Specifically, it involves getting the employee to complete the necessary paperwork for labour law compliance and equipping them with all the tools they need to do their job well. During onboarding, employees learn what the organization expects from them in terms of skills, communication style, and attitude.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

  1. What are the phases of onboarding?

    There are supposedly 4 phases of Onboarding which are as follows -

    1) Pre - Arrival :

    The first phase is about pre-arrival. That is to develop a perfect method to make the onboarding process a great experience for the new hires. To make this phase more effective one needs to do the paperwork beforehand. So that when the employees visit the organisation he\she can prove to be productive from the very first day.

    2) The Orientation :

    The second phase is about making the new employee/joinee feel that they too are a part of the team and the organisation too. This is very important to make the employee/joinee feel comfortable and to do gestures that help them to feel connected. Therefore, the first week of every employee is very important.

    3) Soft Training & Core Training :

    Never overburden an employee in the first week itself. All the training process or procedure must come in the first month. The learning phase of every employee is important therefore, in the first month the employee will automatically take initiatives to learn more so that he\she proves to be productive. It’s important for the employer to make plans for the employee to get good training and to be more productive.

    4) Performance:

    Planning an ideal training program is very important so that the new hires can take an interest in the program. Moreover, they need to be given proper feedback for their work done. This will help them to get a scope to improve and do better.

  2. What is the onboarding process for a new employee?

    The onboarding process is broadly defined as the process of familiarising a (new) employee with the organisations policies, the employees role in the organisation, and the organisations culture. It also involves creating an environment in which the employee is made comfortable enough to interact freely with his/her colleagues and establish social relationships in the workplace.

  3. What should onboarding include?

    Generally, Onboarding begins when an employee accepts a job offer and ends when the employee becomes capable of independently doing the job they were hired for.

    Theoretically speaking, onboarding has 5 stages:

    • Pre - Arrival or Pre - Hire: The stage when an employee accepts the job offer which he or she has got.
    • D-Day or the First Day: The first day on the job the employee witnesses is critical for building up and mixing with the work culture.
    • Orientation Program: Before the training program, employees learn about the company and its key policies.
    • Soft and Core Training: Employees are then set up for different training programs such as soft skill development, functional training and on the job training.
    • Performance and Evaluation: As the employee now has served for a significant amount of time, employees now start making meaningful contributions and are evaluated upon the same.


    A good onboarding program will create positive experiences at each stage to help new employees understand how to do their job while forging meaningful connections with their coworkers, their boss, and the company they've just joined.

  4. How long is the onboarding process?

    As per the general consensus among HR professionals is that onboarding should take at least three months. However, some research suggests that companies can increase employee retention by extending onboarding throughout an employee's entire first year.

  5. What's the difference between onboarding and orientation?

    Orientation is the process through which new recruits are introduced to their jobs, workplace, co-workers, and responsibilities. Whereas effective employee orientation answers any questions or concerns a new colleague may have, makes them aware of company policies and expectations, and eases them comfortably into their new positions.

    Onboarding is a thorough process where new employees are introduced to their respective department. They learn their work by attending meetings and starter projects with co-workers. Managers can schedule regular meetings to check-up on their new employees so that they become comfortable in asking about work-related queries.Orientation is a subset of the overall process

  6. Is Onboarding the same as training?

    Training is a sub-stage of onboarding which deals with technical as well as functional parts of knowledge building. Onboarding is the bigger scope of the first 90 days which deals with Pre-Arrival, Orientation, Training and Performance overall

  7. What is an online onboarding process?

    Online onboarding deals with the entire workflow of traditional onboarding but digitally. Online onboarding has now been seen in the current days with the entire workflow from online onboarding form fill up, digital policy and undertaking sign offs to providing training via online sessions. The process may remain the same, but the platform or the way it is worked upon would differ.

  8. What makes onboarding successful?

    An Onboarding process is deemed to be successful when there is a streamlined flow of events. From the Pre- Arrival stage to Training, a proper laid out process flow makes the onboarding process successful

  9. Why is onboarding so important?

    A solid and streamlined onboarding process has a positive effect on the satisfaction, engagement and performance of new employees. Without proper onboarding, negative effects can arise such as:

    5% of new employees quit immediately after a disastrous first day, hence it becomes very important to have a proper process in place.
    20% of new employees will leave within the first 45 days of employment if they start to harness the feeling of not being of importance to the organisation.

    Almost one in every three new employees will leave the company (voluntarily or involuntarily) before the end of their first year hence it's very important to have a longer onboarding process to increase retention rate. A good onboarding process leads to faster integration of new employees while decreasing costs.

  10. What are the benefits of onboarding?

    The benefits are many but to have key 4 points, the benefits can be categorised as following -

    1. Helps in Attracting and retaining top talent.

    59% of HR professionals think that the next few years will bring a major battle to retain talented and top-performing candidates.

    2. Engaging employees early on.

    If you put every new hire through a thoughtful, educational, and fun program, you’ll go a long way towards fostering engagement and retaining it in the future.

    3. Boosting business growth.

    Engagement should be the objective of any onboarding program, not just because it builds culture and rapport, but because it also drives business growth.

    4. Building trust and alignment.

    Good welcome programs educate and inform new hires about organisational practices. Have new hires meet with senior management and hear from them directly about key organisational initiatives and goals.

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