The HR Guide to a Successful Onboarding Process

You’ve put in countless hours reviewing resumes and interviewing in search of the perfect candidate and have found the right person to join your team. But the work of securing the right person for the role isn’t complete just yet. Your onboarding process is a crucial part of the recruitment journey, and can have a lasting impact on the culture of your organization.

It’s imperative to provide new hires with a great first impression as it sets the tone for their experience. With the right onboarding process, you can increase your company’s productivity, reduce costs, and reduce attrition for new hires.

What is Employee Onboarding?

Employee onboarding refers to the processes in which new hires are integrated into your organization. It includes activities that allow new employees to complete an initial new-hire orientation process, as well as learn about the organization and its structure, culture, vision, mission and values.

Who is Included in the Onboarding Process?

The employee onboarding process involves more than just your newly hired employee. As a tool to integrate employees into your company, HR, managers, and even your new hire’s colleagues all have a part to play in the onboarding process.

Human resources of course drives the process of onboarding, taking a main role in initiating programs, gathering information, leading communication efforts, and being the overall main point of contact for new hires.

Managers also play a key role in the onboarding process as they typically take the lead in getting new employees adequately trained and interacting with their new team members.

Employees both on the new hire’s team as well as across the organization are included in the onboarding process as they welcome and encourage new hires as they acclimate to their new role. Onboarding activities such as team lunches and all-hands meetings are an example of areas in which employees participate in the onboarding process.

Why is the Onboarding Process Important?

An intentional employee onboarding process is necessary to help new hires settle into the workplace, learn about the company, clarify career goals, and form productive relationships with their peers. Onboarding is the foundation for an engaged, productive, and positive workplace, and should be thought of as a tool to drive retention as well as positive business outcomes.

Onboarding doesn’t just matter to HR either; 69% of employees are more likely to stay at their company if they receive a quality onboarding experience. And for managers, employees that participate in a comprehensive onboarding process have as high as a 70% increase in their productivity. Companies that are committed to creating and maintaining a strong company culture regularly audit and measure their employee onboarding experience to assess its effectiveness, making continuous improvements and adjustments to best serve their employees.

onboarding process

Step-by-step Guide to a Successful Onboarding Experience

There’s a lot to cover during the onboarding process. To help structure and simplify your onboarding process planning, as well as create a digestible experience for your new employees, we recommend breaking the process into 4 main milestones: before the first day, on the first day, in the first week, and in the first month.

Before The First Day

Also known as pre-boarding, the onboarding process starts the moment an offer is accepted and signed. As soon as you have confirmation of job acceptance, begin preparing new hire paperwork, drafting and planning communication with your new hire, and engaging with teams such as IT and management to begin preparing for the employee to join the company.


One of the primary components to building an engaging company culture is by creating a warm and welcoming environment for employees. This often happens through consistent and considerate communication practices. When your new hire joins the company, send them an email congratulating them on their new role, offer your support, and drum up excitement around them joining the company. Internally, communicate with the team to inform them of the newcomer and share some information about the role they will be filling. For some inspiration and guidance on writing a welcome email to new employees, download our Employee Onboarding Email Templates.

Be sure to make yourself available to the new hire both during the onboarding process and beyond to help answer any questions or share more information to better prepare them for their new role.

New hire paperwork

HR pro’s already know, paperwork is a huge part of the onboarding process. Begin preparing the necessary paperwork for your new hire as soon as their offer is accepted to allow time for them to review, ask questions, and complete the necessary documents for their onboarding. To help keep organized and avoid forgetting any important documents, download Omni’s Complete Onboarding Checklist.

Prepare existing employees

The onboarding process isn’t strictly HR’s business. Many other employees within the company play an integral role in welcoming and preparing a new employee for success in their new role. During the pre boarding process, connect with the new hire’s manager and team to align on any training that the employee will need, mentors that need to be assigned, team lunches to be planned, and email lists the employee will need to be added to. By preparing these details in the pre boarding stage, you avoid any delays once the employee has officially started their role, and present as a united front with their new manager and colleagues.


Upon receipt of an offer’s acceptance, it’s a good idea to set the work streams for employee’s equipment in motion.This most often applies to liaising with your IT department to get email addresses assigned, computers procured, and any security clearances taken care of prior to your new hire’s first day. If this sounds like a lot to keep track of, that’s because it is! Onboarding checklists are HR’s best friend as they help keep you organized and prevent you from forgetting any of the various tasks necessary to complete your onboarding process.

On The First Day

When it finally comes time to welcome your new employee for their first day, the pre-boarding tasks of your onboarding process should be complete, and have set the stage for the rest of the onboarding experience. Now it’s time to further demonstrate your great company culture by providing a warm welcome and getting them up to speed on what their day-to-day will look like.

Cover the basics

It may sound simple, but the importance of giving your employees a lay of the land on their first day is invaluable to making them feel welcome and prepared. Be sure to cover the basics by showing them around the office, pointing out where their colleagues are sitting, and how to work the coffee machine. If you’re a remote company performing a remote onboarding process this may look like sharing relevant Slack channels, going over their calendar, and checking to ensure they understand how to use the equipment you sent them.

Make introductions

Whether in person, over Slack, or in a staff meeting, create an opportunity early in the day to introduce your new hire to the company. Since you’ve already prepped employees during the pre-onboarding process, your teams will be primed to expect this new employee and ready to give them a warm welcome. However you introduce them, be sure to make it fun and express your enthusiasm in having them join the company. Check out our guide to new employee welcome messages for best practices and examples to pull from.

Personalize the process

Amid the formalities of the onboarding process make room for opportunities to personalize the process. This shines a light on your unique company culture, and infuses some fun into an otherwise transactional process. There are countless ways to personalize your onboarding process such as creating a fun slide for your company staff meeting that shares a photo of your new hire with fun facts about them or preparing a new employee welcome kit filled with some of your new hires favorite snacks and company swag.

Check in

Your new hire’s first day should be informative and filled with introductions, training, and excitement, which may also leave the employee with questions about what they’ve learned. Be sure to set aside some time at the end of their first day to check-in with them to see how they’re feeling and provide any clarity or direction they may need.

After The First Week 

A lot transpires during the first week of the onboarding process, employees are bound to have questions and you’ll likely have action items that need following up on. Take this time to provide continuous support, close any pending loops, and prepare your employee for the future of their role.

Check in

Support is the name of the game for an engaging onboarding process. Schedule a check-in with your new hire at the end of their first week to answer any questions or concerns they may have, and offer words of encouragement as they embark on their journey in their new role.

Tie up loose ends

At the end of your new hires first week, take stock of what action items have been completed, and any that are still pending for their onboarding process. Make sure to follow up by sending reminders and communicating deadlines on time-sensitive tasks such as tax documents or payroll details, and get recurring and important meetings on their calendar.

Prep for the future

At the end of their first week, your new hire should be relatively familiar with any basic systems you use as a company to communicate such as email or messaging platforms. They’ve now attended any standardized onboarding training, and are up to speed on the basics. Now is the time to look ahead and get them set up for more technical training they may need to perform in their role. This may require you to collaborate with their manager, and should be proactively scheduled so the employee has a good understanding of what is expected of them in the coming weeks and months.

In The First Month

The onboarding process begins before an employee’s first day, and extends past it as well. Maintaining your engagement and support beyond the first day or week of a new hire’s time at your company is essential to setting them up for success and productivity. This is the time to set longer term goals and motivate them for the future of their tenure in the role.

Plan for the future

Your employee and their manager will learn a lot in their first 90 days on the job, which makes it a perfect opportunity to connect and offer any feedback on their performance. Once your employee is settled into their role after the first week, put it on their radar that a 90-day performance review will be scheduled to help them find success in their role. This will provide them an opportunity to set goals, play to their strengths, and make any course corrections early on to promote success.

Keep the momentum

Now that your employee has moved through the majority of the onboarding process, keep up the momentum by scheduling 30-60-90 day check-ins to help maximize their productivity. This process will help break down large goals into smaller, actionable steps, identify a metric system for measuring success, and provide purpose and direction for your employee’s work. Check out our 30-60-90 Day Plan Template for a deep dive on best practices, as well as a customizable template to guide the process.

Automate Your Onboarding Process with Omni

As you can see, the onboarding process is anything but simple. There are countless action items to think about, tasks to follow up on, and paperwork to complete — even the most seasoned HR professionals require a strong system of organization to ensure a consistent and efficient onboarding process.

HR automation allows HR teams and managers to easily track, schedule, and follow-up on the various tasks and documents required during an onboarding process. With Omni, you can access customizable email templates to welcome new employees, schedule and automate personalized onboarding communications, track and follow-up on important onboarding documents, and eliminate cumbersome manual processes like data entry that are prone to errors and delays.

onboarding process

Omni frees HR from the many time-consuming tasks of the onboarding process, and provides a consistent and uniform experience for new hires, all in one, easy-to-use system.

Learn more about how Omni’s automated onboarding workflows can increase employee engagement, and give you back your valuable time to focus on strategic planning that drives business outcomes.

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