Meaning of Onboarding Process

A simple meaning of onboarding is to welcome a new hire into a company. It is a series of organized steps to ensure new employees feel comfortable and at ease. It is a vital part of an employee’s journey and is thus everyone’s collective responsibility.

A successful onboarding process is pivotal for employee retention, engagement, and peak performance. Therefore, organizations need to develop cohesive and detailed onboarding plans that encompass every possible aspect of company introduction.  

The contents of the article are what follows:

If you want to know the exact definition of onboarding, we recommend you to take a look at the article Definition of Employee Onboarding, which lists several versions from an academic point of view.

Who needs onboarding

who needs onboarding

When we talk about the meaning of onboarding, it is linked with new joiners in a company. However, it can be tailored to anyone the company wants to establish plausible working relationships with. It’s essential to onboard everyone we are intended to collaborate with or to sustain the partnership.

Few recipients of onboarding other than employees can be:

  • Customers or app users
  • Suppliers and vendors

However, the scope of this article is employee onboarding, and thus we will focus on many aspects relevant to that only. 

Importance of onboarding process in HR

hr onboarding importance

Onboarding is vital for a Human Resources function as it establishes a company’s reputation for a new joiner. Onboarding can make or break an organization’s image forever in a new employee’s mind. It is the start of an employee’s journey in a company and, therefore, must be flawless, consistent, and conducive in every possible way.

A robust onboarding process in place immediately engages an employee and builds an emotional connection with company values, culture, and legacy. Moreover, it familiarizes a new hire with company policies, rules, code of conduct, and important procedures.

A well-conducted onboarding ensures the timely completion of documentation and new joiner formalities. It further eases introducing a new employee into the payroll system and employee database.

It also serves as a chance to demonstrate open communication with HR personnel in the long run.

Importance of onboarding in the employee journey

employee onboarding at work

A new employee will always remember their first day at your organization. Therefore, the significance of a systematic onboarding process cannot be ignored.

Onboarding is an employee’s formal introduction and welcome in their new journey. The organization is responsible for making the new member feel comfortable and at ease.

Onboarding apprises new employees with their roles, duties, accountabilities, and expectations. Moreover, it allows them to get to know their team and adjust to a different environment. Onboarding is the time when an employee assesses their decision and maps their value system with yours.

An employee looks at the company from a fresh perspective and as its part. A pleasant and friendly experience will stay with them throughout the organization.

How employee feels at a new organization

work starting process

The first day at a new job brings its own set of uncertainties and fears. It can be overwhelming for even the most experienced ones among us. No employee wants to feel like an outsider in their new career journey.

New joiner has a lot going on in their minds, and it’s natural to feel that way. They are likely to think if they’ll be a good fit, perform well, get along with the team, or achieve their personal and professional goals.

They remain vulnerable for a few months until they adjust to the company culture and norms. HR, peers, team leads, and leadership are responsible for ensuring every employee feels welcomed and not left out.

Elements of an ideal onboarding process


Every organization can customize onboarding as per its needs and practices. However, the process broadly contains the following elements.


Pre-boarding starts after the candidate accept the offer. It usually includes sending across a welcome pack with company-branded merch and a welcome note.  

Moreover, it is ideal to link the new joiner with an existing employee. It helps the latest hire feel comfortable and well-received.  

Another helpful tool could be an onboarding software to automate the onboarding process itself. It might be helpful to perceive this whole process in an online way.

Meet & Greet

It is the official welcome of a new employee in the company on their first day.

It includes HR orientation on important company policies, an employee handbook, and necessary documentation. Employee work station and essential IT & network set-up is also completed at this stage. 

Moreover, the department, peers, and company leaders all have specific roles in the meet and greet part of the onboarding process.

On the joining day, a new employee is acclimated with company values, culture, norms, and legacy and should never be compromised.   

Initial Role-specific Training

New employees receive initial training for familiarization with the duties and responsibilities and working relationships specific to their role. 

The training also equips them with skills to work on relevant software and systems. The training gets them in working mode and eases the transition.  

Buddy System

A new employee is assigned a buddy who is an existing employee. The onboarding buddy assists their new colleague to get hang of everyday office practices. 

This buddy ensures to answer the new employee with common queries and establish valuable connections within the organization.   

The buddy stays with the new employee throughout the onboarding process. The main goal is to ensure that the new joiner does not feel alone. The buddy plays a vital role in a successful employee induction into the company and its culture.

Benefits of an organized onboarding process

benefits of onboarding

Each organized onboarding process has multiple benefits that are good for both employees and leaders of the company. The main meaning of onboarding is to provide an experience that is both educational and encouraging.

A smooth and organized onboarding process guarantees:

  • Elimination of new hire ambiguities and uncertainties;
  • Employee comfort and ease of transition;
  • Communication of company culture and values;
  • Familiarization with people and policies;
  • Role and function-specific training;
  • Employee engagement;
  • Employee retention;
  • Healthy and long-lasting connections.

Final thoughts on meaning of onboarding

Onboarding is the process to induct a new employee into the company. However, it is not limited to employees only. Anyone a company intends to establish a working relationship with should go through an onboarding process.

However, employee onboarding specifically holds a pivotal value for not only new joiners but also for HR and the company. Now you know the meaning of onboarding and how good one should look like.

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