What is employee onboarding?

Last updated: 2024-02-20

What employee onboarding means

Employee onboarding is the entire process of onboarding a new employee, which begins with an interview and ends with the employee's full adaptation to the new job.

  • the goal is to quickly integrate the employee into all work processes, the work environment and the work team
  • includes "paperwork", training and handover of work tools and workplace  
  • the whole onboarding process starts with preparation long before the employee starts 
  • mastering the onboarding process is very important for companies
employee onboarding process

What is employee onboarding about 

The onboarding process includes all activities from the moment the decision is made to hire a candidate until the employee is fully adapted to the job. It is a very complex process that involves not only the HR manager, but also many other people in the company.

The employee onboarding process includes:

  1. preparation for the actual onboarding (pre-onboarding)
  2. onboarding and the first days of the employee's employment (onboarding)
  3. adapting the employee in the first days, weeks, and months (adaption)

As this is a very complex process, the organization has to coordinate all the stakeholders very well. It is therefore important to have all onboarding steps planned and under control

What have to bee coordinated during employee onboarding

Who is involved in employee onboarding process

The whole onboarding process involves activities that are carried out not only by the employee and the HR manager, but also by other people in the company. The people who are most often part of the onboarding process are: 

  • The HR manager, whose responsibility is all the formalities, documentation, employment contract and other "paperwork"
  • Office manager or someone else responsible for issuing work equipment, keys and other access to the company 
  • The IT person who issues the computer and arranges access to company systems and applications
  • The employee's immediate supervisor, who will introduce the employee to the work environment, including an initial interview
onboarding and adaptation activities

It all starts with the decision to admit the applicant 

It's important to stress that the entire onboarding process starts with preparation long before the employee starts. In fact, it starts the moment the decision to hire an employee is made based on the interview. This part is called pre-onboarding and includes all the preparation for the actual onboarding.

1. Preparation for the employee's arrival (pre-onboarding)

Onboarding preparation is important to ensure that everything is ready in time for the first day. It includes both the preparation of documentation and the preperation of the working environment.

  • Sending welcome letter
  • Preparing the employment contract for signature and other personnel documentation
  • Completing the formalities required by the legislation in force (payroll and registration)  
  • Introducing the employee to the organisation's systems, setting up accounts in systems and applications, setting up email, etc.
  • Preparation of passwords, access cards and keys
  • Preparation of work aids
  • Preparation of the working environment and workplace
  • Informing future co-workers of the change

2. Employee's first day(s)

The first day of the new employee is crucial. Everything must be prepared in such a way that the employee receives everything he needs both from the point of view of administration, legislation, and from the point of view of his job title and work. Usually, on the first day, work equipment are handed over and familiarization with the work environment and processes takes place.

  • Sign all paperwork
  • Familiarizing the employee with the key processes, procedures and rules in the company
  • Introducing the employee to the detailed job description
  • Providing access and login details (keys, access cards, login, passwords, etc)
  • Issuance of work equipment, protective equipment and work tools  (laptops, machines, PPEs, etc)
  • Introducing the employee to the workplace
  • Setting up the working environment and permissions
  • Training or instruction about the work environment, work tools and work safety
  • Acquaintance of the employee with co-workers
  • Familiarizing the employee with formal and informal company practices, and company culture 
  • Getting to know the company strategy

3. Employee adaptation process

Adaptation typically lasts the first three months after the employee joins the company. Adaptation is typically planned for the first week and the first three months after starting (typically 7-30-60-90 days). Depending on the demands of the profession, the overall adaptation can be longer and is intertwined with the employee's personal development.

  • Completion of the training required by the job description and duties
  • Familiarizing the employee with other company processes, policies and procedures
  • Adaptation and socialization in the new team, getting to know the closest co-workers and supervisors
  • Getting to know other contacts inside or outside the company 
  • Setting personal development goals

See how you can set up such a list for an employee onboarding in Aptien.