10 elements of a winning employee onboarding program

Employee onboarding extends beyond a mere first-day event; it encompasses the comprehensive journey of preparing new employees, starting from the moment they accept an offer letter, and continues until they are fully prepared to assume their role's complete responsibilities. Let's discover in this Recruitery’s article about the employee onboarding process and find out what are the 10 elements of a winning employee onboarding program.

employee onboarding process

What is employee onboarding and why does it matter?

Employee onboarding encompasses the procedures through which new employees are assimilated into the organization. It comprises activities that enable new hires to participate in an initial orientation process, while also gaining insight into the organization's structure, culture, vision, mission, and values.

The influence of onboarding isn't confined to the initial day; it significantly impacts employee retention, engagement, productivity, and the overall company culture.

What To Include In An Employee Onboarding Program?

Employee onboarding should include new hire paperwork, orientation on company culture, mission, and values, along with role and responsibility review. It also involves workstation setup, introducing team processes and members, and providing essential resources.

How does an effective onboarding process benefit your business?

Let's discover a few advantages of a well-structured and adhered-to onboarding process.

Enhanced Employee Engagement

Employee engagement impacts various aspects of a business, from safety to profitability. Companies with high engagement levels have distinct advantages, such as a 64% reduction in safety incidents, an 81% decrease in absenteeism, and a 23% increase in profitability, according to Gallup. 

The initial weeks following a new hire are crucial for engagement, and a well-structured onboarding program can channel their enthusiasm into motivation and productivity. 

Improved Employee Retention

Hiring and onboarding new employees is costly, with replacement expenses reaching up to 40% of an employee's salary. The costs rise when new hires quit shortly after starting, and some may not even show up on their first day. 

Effective onboarding can boost employee retention by up to 50% for some companies. To achieve this, onboarding should commence before the first day by providing clear expectations, introducing key contacts, and preparing new hires. 

Increased Productivity

A structured onboarding process outlines productivity expectations for new hires, offering several benefits:

  • Standardizes the onboarding experience for each role

  • Guides new hires in achieving success and staying on course with onboarding objectives

  • Enables hiring managers to assess progress, providing tailored feedback and support

A well-organized plan reduces uncertainty for new hires, recruiters, HR, and hiring managers, streamlining the administrative aspects of onboarding and allowing new hires to concentrate on learning the necessary skills.


Strengthened Company Culture

Standardized onboarding processes ensure consistent resources and support for all new hires.

Onboarding plans create a welcoming and valued atmosphere, helping new employees recognize their contributions to business goals.

Fostering a shared sense of purpose, transparency, and trust during onboarding can help embed these values into the company's culture.

Exceptional Employee Experience

New hires expect a smooth transition from candidate to employee, with disorganized onboarding hindering productivity. Effective onboarding builds confidence, sets the stage for an excellent employee experience, and demonstrates commitment to their success. Enhancing onboarding is an investment in the employee journey.

10 Elements of a Successful Employee Onboarding Program

We will discuss further in this section the essential elements to make an outstanding employee onboarding program 

  1. Outline the Onboarding Process

Spend time reviewing the week's schedule with the new employee, ensuring they understand and addressing any questions. These small details can greatly impact the new employee's experience.

Help new hires understand the company's daily, weekly, and monthly routines, allowing them to visualize their work experience and better grasp their role's expectations during onboarding. A well-planned onboarding program, with training sessions and team video calls, significantly enhances the new employees' experience, making their first 90 days more enjoyable.

  1. Establish an Orientation Program

When commencing a new job, it's important for employees to familiarize themselves with their specific roles and associated expectations. To facilitate this process, ensure that you provide relevant documents, covering aspects such as the onboarding procedures, the company's work policies, and any other pertinent information.

Employee orientation plays a pivotal role in offering newcomers a genuine opportunity to succeed within the company.

A well-structured and informative employee orientation is indispensable for equipping employees with the necessary guidance to excel in their new roles. By promoting the company's culture and delineating the specifics of their roles, you foster a stronger connection between the employee and their work.

employee onboarding process

  1. Designate a Work Buddy 

Choose a colleague to serve as the new hire's approachable point person, providing them with a comfortable space to ask questions and acclimate to the company culture at their own pace. Assigning a work buddy is a valuable practice to welcome and support new employees.

Work buddies can be managers, but it often works better when an employee at the same level is selected. This approach fosters a social and supportive atmosphere.

  1. Engaged Management in Onboarding

To ensure an effective onboarding process, it's essential to designate an 'onboarding manager' who will oversee and verify the employee's onboarding tasks. This manager will regularly review the employee's onboarding and conduct routine check-ins on their progress.

Active managerial involvement in the onboarding process is crucial. It not only provides employees with a dependable source of information but also shares the responsibility of onboarding between the employee and the manager. This consistent and reliable communication channel enables employees to address any issues or challenges they encounter during their initial period with the company.

  1. Regular Check-Ins

Go beyond the first week by implementing a multi-week onboarding program with regular check-ins.

Hiring managers should schedule check-ins on the first day, end of the first week, and monthly for the first three months. These meetings allow employees to share concerns and insights, improving the onboarding experience.

Consider the 30/60/90 day model, streamlining onboarding with three key meetings focusing on checklist review. This approach helps employees transition efficiently and align with the company's mission and culture.

employee onboarding process

  1. Onboarding Feedback

Routine check-ins also provide an opportunity for ongoing onboarding feedback. Employees can share their thoughts, whether about personal issues or their onboarding journey, offering a fresh perspective on company operations.

Collecting direct employee feedback is crucial for an authentic assessment of the onboarding process. It helps identify areas for improvement and prevents recurring issues, ultimately leading to a more effective onboarding process and improved employee engagement.

  1. Remote Onboarding Essentials

The shift to remote work poses unique challenges for onboarding. Loneliness is a common issue, and new remote hires often struggle to connect with colleagues they've never met in person.

To overcome this, HR professionals have gotten creative. They emphasize intentional team-building efforts, including company-wide announcements for new hires, internal social media profiles, and icebreaker meetings and virtual group lunches during the training week. These initiatives foster quicker time-to-productivity and stronger collaboration.

employee onboarding process

  1. Distribute the Employee Handbook

A well-crafted employee handbook is invaluable for new hires to navigate their daily practices and access essential resources. It provides crucial information about employment conditions, company details, and encourages a better understanding of the organization's mission.

The handbook serves as a comprehensive resource within the first 90 days, covering not only onboarding but also company-wide policies, communication tips, and more.

  1. Foster Personal Growth

From day one, instill a culture of active personal development in new employees. Encourage them to engage with their learning and development plan, setting the tone for work as a journey of self-improvement and overall organizational enhancement.

Highlight the importance of career development, emphasizing the positive impact on both the individual and the organization. Effective remote employee onboarding aims not only to facilitate a seamless transition but also to inspire employees to excel in their roles and expand their professional skills.

  1. Workplace and Tools

Ensure your new employees feel a sense of belonging from day one, and help them navigate the workplace and access the necessary tools. Consider using time clock software to accurately track working hours, offering features like geofencing and payroll reports for enhanced productivity.

Additionally, HR project management software streamlines onboarding, assisting in understanding new hires' roles and responsibilities, and ensuring their well-being. Choose tools and providers wisely, comparing features, benefits, prices, customer support, and credentials to make a positive first impression on new hires.


The effectiveness of your recruitment strategy hinges on your company's capability to create a personalized and genuine employee onboarding program. Through onboarding, new hires receive a welcoming experience that harmonizes with both the company's requirements and the individual's needs. Recruitery hopes you can create an outstanding after reviewing our 10 elements of a winning employee onboarding program. Goodluck!