Definition of Employee Onboarding

Employee onboarding is the first step in the journey of a new hire.  Employees are more likely to stay with the organization if they have experienced a positive onboarding.

Therefore, it is highly essential for companies to have a better knowledge of employee onboarding process. Its understanding will be incomplete without knowing its true definition. In this article, we have compiled a number of definitions as well as other useful information on the theory of employee onboarding.

The contents of the article are as follows:

A Few Definitions of Onboarding

The following definitions will provide you a comprehensive understanding of employee onboarding. There are various content sources, each with a reference to let you know where we got it from. This will also allow you to refer to it specifically if you use it in a presentation.

New employee onboarding is the process of integrating a new employee with a company and its culture, as well as getting a new hire the tools and information needed to become a productive member of the team.

The Society of Human Resource Management

A definition outlining the role of the onboarding process in a company’s core HR processes. New employee onboarding is crucial for building a strong foundation for long-term employment, emphasizing the importance of aligning new hires with the company’s values and operational ethos.

It’s not just about paperwork and procedures, but also about nurturing a sense of belonging and equipping the individual to contribute meaningfully to their team. Moving on!

Employee onboarding is the design of what your employees feel, see and hear after they have been hired. Often, companies confuse onboarding with training. While training does have a role within the onboarding it doesn’t represent the entire scope of the process.

Michel Falcon, Entrepreneur, Author, Keynote Speaker

A definition that includes a view of its importance from the employee’s perspective. Employee onboarding transcends mere orientation and training. That way encapsulating the entire experience of a new hire from their first impressions to the nuanced aspects of their integration into the company culture.

It underscores a broader, more holistic approach that goes beyond skills training, aiming to foster a deep connection with the company’s ethos and community from the outset. Next!

Onboarding starts with satisfying the most basic of Maslow’s psychological needs: belonging. New hires shouldn’t arrive at an empty cube and be forced to forage through corridors searching for a computer and the bare necessities of office life. A new hire isn’t a surprise visitor from out of town. Plan for their arrival.

Jay Samit, Independent V.C., Deloitte

Definition from a reliable scientific source. It highlights the importance of addressing the foundational psychological needs of new hires, specifically their sense of belonging, as a critical first step in the onboarding process.

It underscores the necessity of a thoughtful, welcoming approach that ensures new employees feel valued and prepared from day one, rather than feeling overlooked or undervalued. Which can negatively impact their initial experience and perception of the company.

Onboarding or socialization, frequently called socialization, refers to the process of helping employees adapt to a new job and new organizational culture. It includes new employee orientation but is a more comprehensive approach aimed at helping new employees make a connection right away to reduce costly turnover.

DeCenzo, D. A., Robbins, S. P., & Verhulst, S. L. (2016). Onboarding. In Fundamentals of Human Resource Management (pp. 173–173). Essay, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Definition from the foundations of people management education. This definition emphasizes onboarding as a multifaceted process of socialization that extends beyond mere orientation to facilitate a new employee’s holistic adaptation to both their specific role and the broader organizational culture.

It highlights the strategic objective of fostering immediate connections for new hires to minimize turnover, pointing to the understanding that effective onboarding is an investment in the employee’s success and the company’s long-term retention goals.

Employee orientation (or onboarding) provides new employees with the basic background information (such as computer passwords and company rules) they need to do their jobs; ideally it should also help them start becoming emotionally attached to and engaged in the firm.

Dessler, G. (2017). Orienting and Onboarding New Employees. In Human Resource Management (pp. 233–233). Essay, Pearson Higher Education.

And lastly, this definition frames employee orientation—or onboarding—as not only a process for disseminating essential operational information to new hires, such as computer passwords and company policies. But also as a crucial phase for fostering emotional engagement and attachment to the company.

It suggests that the ultimate goal of onboarding extends beyond the logistics of starting a new job, aiming to cultivate a sense of commitment and involvement in the company’s mission and culture from the very beginning.

The comprehensive definition of employee onboarding will help organization to implement a successful onboarding process

Who Conducts Onboarding

Although usually accredit to HR Department; everyone has a role to play in effective employee onboarding. The main stakeholders are:

HR Department: To conduct initial orientation, paperwork, facility tour, company history, and organizational chart.

Training Department: To deliver training programs on company culture, values, vision, goals, and objectives.

Direct Supervisor: To discuss job role, duties, responsibilities, and expectations, introduce team members, and explore the department.

Peers: To share how teams work around and who to turn for support.

Leadership: To connect new joiners with the company vision and culture and make them feel part of the organization.

Buddy: To help new hires with everyday questions and navigate through systems until they get a hang of it.

How Long Does Onboarding Last

The ideal length of an employee onboarding process is 90 days. However, some organizations may have an onboarding process lasting for a few weeks or even one year.

Each company has a different set of rules when it comes to onboarding. The main goal is to create an environment for the new employee to feel comfortable, able to learn and be as productive as possible.

Employee onboarding is highly crucial  as it helps get new hire familiar with the culture and norms of the company

Common Stages of Employee Onboarding

Onboarding commonly has the following steps:

  1. Pre-boarding – it starts after the employee accepts the offer. It includes the provision of a welcome pack, e-mail, set-up, and linking the new employee to a buddy.
  2. Orientation – it’s the formal employee introduction with the company and to address all the necessary paperwork and documentation.
  3. Role-focused Training – employee attends a role-specific training on duties and accountabilities.
  4. Mentor Program – a mentor or buddy supports the new hire during the entire onboarding program.

Who Needs Onboarding

Every new employee is required to go through a comprehensive onboarding process. Additionally, employees returning from a long period of absence or relocating workers may also need to be apprised of certain company aspects. 

Final Thoughts

Employee onboarding is essential for all new joiners. A good onboarding process addresses all aspects to ensure a smooth transition. It’s everyone’s responsibility to make the new team members feel comfortable and welcome.

To get the best out of onboarding and to improve it further, it needs to be measured. Even the best processes need to be adapted to new needs and technologies over time. We have also compiled the best KPIs to measure the onboarding process.

Learn how the employee onboarding goes in different organizations in these articles – Here’s What Onboarding at Disney Looks Like and What is Google onboarding process like.

Featured Articles

Welcome to our featured articles block dedicated to the topic of onboarding! Here, we will dive into the world of onboarding, providing expert insights, practical tips, and real-life examples of successful onboarding programs. Whether you're looking to improve your current onboarding process or create one from scratch, our articles will provide you with the knowledge and tools you need to set your employees up for success.

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New Employee Onboarding Process

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Does Onboarding Mean I Got The Job

In this article we will answer your question whether onboarding means you got the job and in which cases it matters.