What Is Onboarding For New Employees? Tips And Importance

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 4 March 2023

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When you get hired for a new job, it is imperative to feel eager to join the organisation. Before you join the organisation and make a transition into a new role, employers expect you to know everything about onboarding and its process. If you plan to work for a new organisation, preparing yourself in advance about the new position can instil confidence and make you comfortable at the new position. In this article, we answer “What is onboarding?”, understand what you can expect from it, explore its importance and discover the tips for preparing yourself for the onboarding process.

What is onboarding?

The answer to the question “What is onboarding?” is that onboarding introduces and orients new employees into an organisation. The process takes you through various stages to gain the knowledge, behaviour and skills to become an effective team member. It helps you feel more comfortable in the new job and helps to understand more about your job role. The onboarding process can help you integrate with the company's work environment and culture.

During the onboarding process, you work with the human resource department. This process includes giving a job offer, offering training and providing the offer. Ultimately, the purpose of onboarding is to make new hires like you feel more comfortable, competent and confident in the workplace.

Related: Top 10 External And Internal Recruitment Strategies

Importance of employee onboarding

Employee onboarding is an essential step towards understanding everything about your job role. Here are a few reasons it is essential for employees:

  • Ensures you are more productive: During the process, you understand the job role, which can help you become more productive faster and reach your goals on time.

  • Teaches you about the job role: An onboarding process includes training that helps you gain knowledge about the job role, which helps you meet job expectations. This can help you associate with the work culture of the company.

  • Reduces anxiety about the new job: Joining a new organisation can be stressful, especially if you have little information about the job role. A stronger process reduces your stress levels by giving detailed information about your job role.

  • Engages you with the company: You are likely to engage more when you know how to perform your work in the organisation. Also, it provides you with information on whether you made the right decision to accept the job.

  • Improves workplace communication: This process helps you facilitate communication between you and the team. It helps you work together in the future, allowing for greater workplace productivity and increased morale.

  • Builds team relationship: Onboarding helps new employees form a good relationship with existing team members. Early development of healthy team relationships can foster a strong team that reaches organisational goals.

Duration of the onboarding period

Typically, an onboarding process can last from several weeks or months. The training and knowledge that you receive might vary from position to position. A longer program can help you feel more comfortable in the workplace. It helps adapt to the company's culture, develop better relationships with the existing employees, become more productive and perform work more efficiently.

What to expect during the onboarding process?

You can expect the following during your onboarding process:

1. Receiving the offer

In many organisations, the onboarding process starts when you receive the offer letter from the company. Companies usually send a welcome email comprising your job role, responsibilities, salary information and job expectation with the offer letter. As these emails are time-sensitive, focus on acknowledging and signing the offer letter as soon as you can. Having a transparent approach helps you get familiar with the organisation's culture.

Related: New Employee Welcome Email Template With Example Emails

2. Accepting the offer

Upon accepting the offer from a company, you are likely to provide an office tour. After the office tour, many companies can start the onboarding process by giving you access to training material and an employee portal. Many companies can schedule welcome calls and provide job expectations to enhance employee engagement.

3. On the day of joining

On the first day of your job, hiring managers show you around the office and ask you to sign several HR documents. Employers expect you to sign papers related to the company's policies, insurance, benefits and compensation. Some companies have a completely online boarding process, but others might involve some paperwork. Also, during your first day, HR provides you with access to emails, passwords, office supplies, access cards, keys and workstations. To help you get accustomed to the job environment, HR professionals discuss the onboarding plans and help you go through the employee induction program.

During the process, you learn to use communication tools the company uses. Often, HR professionals schedule a meeting with the manager and introduce you to all your team members and how they might work for you. The HR professional might schedule meetings with directors or company heads, depending on your role.

Related: Employee Information Form For New Employees Format And Tips

4. Training and orientation

Training and orientation sessions provide you with the organisational goals and insights into a company's culture. It helps in speeding up the learning curve and allows you to start your work at the earliest. The training and orientation sessions give you an overview of the organisation's culture, mission, vision and goals. During the training process, the HR team regularly monitors your progress. Often, to understand the level of training required, employers might assess your skills. Based on the result, they develop a personalised role-based specific plan to improve your skills.

Tips to prepare for the onboarding process

Here are some tips you can follow to prepare for the onboarding process:

  • Know the terms and conditions of the job offer: Before accepting an offer letter for a job proposal, ensure that you know and understand the terms and conditions of the contract. This can help you during the onboarding process.

  • Ask about your date of joining: During your initial discussion with HR, confirm your date of joining and understand when you can show up at your office. Having information about your reporting manager and knowing about the onboarding process is essential.

  • Foster relationships with your teammates: Building a relationship with teammates and managers can help you make the transition to the new role. Consider introducing yourself to colleagues outside your workplace to build rapport and connections.

  • Ask relevant questions: When you ask relevant questions to your colleagues, it creates an opportunity for two-way communication. This way, you learn more about the company and the job role.

  • Speak with your mentor: Usually, many companies assign mentors to every new hire because it can make new hires feel comfortable at a new workplace. A mentor can help you assimilate into the company's culture at a much faster rate.

  • Show enthusiasm: Make sure you are enthusiastic about your first day. Letting your managers and teammates know you are looking forward to working with them can help you build long-term professional relationships.

Related: What Is The Onboarding Process In HR? (With Benefits)

Onboarding vs. training

Onboarding and training are two different tasks an employee undergoes when joining a new organisation. The training discusses the processes of your job, provides guidance on completing it and gives training on the technology, tools and equipment required to complete your job duties. Though the training process can occur during employment, onboarding occurs when a new hire joins an organisation.

Onboarding integrates new hires into an organisation using various training and orientation programs. Though training and onboarding are different, they complement each other and are essential for a new hire's success.

Onboarding vs. orientation

Orientation is usually a one-time event for new hires that welcomes them to the company. Orientation is a part of the onboarding process, which helps new hires get equipped with the company's culture and understand how they can contribute to ensuring overall business success. During orientation, the employer might deliver information such as the company's mission, culture and vision through a presentation. Onboarding is an ongoing process that lasts several weeks and primarily focuses on the essential aspect of every department to achieve organisational goals.

You can attend an orientation program to familiarise yourself with the company's mission and culture. In contrast, you require an onboarding process to understand how to help a business meet its goals.

How are onboarding and retention related?

There is a direct relation between onboarding and retention. The onboarding process is a strategic process that usually lasts several months and ensures higher employee retention. When an organisation employs an onboarding process, employees trust the organisation. Also, when employees stay organised and partake in the best practices, it enhances productivity and increases employee retention.

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