What is onboarding?

Last updated: 2023-02-23
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What 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

What is involved in taking on an employee

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 onboarding process includes:

  • preparation for the actual onboarding (pre-onboarding)
  • onboarding and the first days of the employee's employment (onboarding)
  • 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

Who are involved with employee onboarding

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

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.

Preparing and sending a welcome letter or email

Once the decision to hire a new employee has been made, you need to notify the new employee and welcome them to the new company. This is actually the first official message from the prospective employer. Such a message is important because it should build and support a positive impression from the interview.

  • A warm welcome to the team
  • Information about the place, date and time of recruitment
  • Contact information of the first contact person
  • Provision of a list of documents to be brought by the employee
  • Information about the first day's programme 
  • Explanation of the expected dress code
  • Other information material about the company

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.

  • 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

Employee starts - first day

  • Familiarization of the employee with the detailed job description  
  • Issue of work tools and other equipment (passwords, keys, access cards, mobile phone)
  • Introducing the employee to the workplace
  • Setting up the working environment and permissions
  • Familiarizing the employee with the key processes, regulations and rules in the company
  • Familiarizing the employee with formal and informal company practices, and company culture 
  • Familiarization with the company strategy

Employee adaption

Adaption takes place in the first few days after their start, and apart from the first day itself, (which is special and important), the activities are planned for the first week, month, or first three months (7-30-90 days)

  • Completion of the training required by the job description and duties
  • Familiarizing the employee with other company processes, regulations and policies
  • 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.