Creating an Effective Employee Onboarding Program

Employee Onboarding

Generally, employee onboarding has been treated as a single event rather than a process. The latest changes in the workplace and the workforce require organizations to consider how they acquire new employees into their business culture and develop them to be productive as quickly as possible.

When employers see onboarding as part of an overall talent management strategy, they position themselves as real leaders. They need to understand the company's long-term vision, and then align HR programs and processes with the organization’s overall strategic plan. The HR department plays an important role in the development and implementation of any structured onboarding program. Successfully taking on this role would require a different way of working in the HR space.

Clearly Define Your Onboarding Objectives

The first few days or weeks are a critical period in the employee life cycle because this time period lays the foundation for future success. Onboarding objectives help determine the structure and content of the onboarding program. Therefore, it is imperative to properly outline what new employees really need to understand about the company and the role; then you can create content that aligns with those objectives.

A structured onboarding program that accelerates learning, integrates new hires into the company, and inspires them to work hard for the company’s success is important. The core of any organization is the systems, processes, and culture that define them. Their employees are the engine and the heartbeat of that core. The commitment to growth and an information-absorbing mindset are important to a company’s culture, and that it translates into more value and better service to their clients.

Automate the Process

The availability of online onboarding systems has made it possible to automate most of the administration of onboarding. However, successful programs usually go beyond simple compliance to create an exceptional experience for the employee.

Once a business has set up an online employee portal, new employees can complete paperwork and read through the employee handbook on their own time. The employee portal allows new hires to view the organization’s history, culture, mission, and values, as well as profiles of the employees they'll be working with. New employees also have access to their training schedules. They know who they will be meeting with, what they will be learning, and what is expected of them.

Recognize the Important Roles

People throughout the organization need to take ownership of their part in the onboarding process. Especially, hiring managers and recruiters, play a key role in the process. Managers need to identify how it will help new team members become productive faster.

To ensure that the onboarding content works well, HR professionals should serve as subject matter experts. They need to provide proper inputs into training modules, present webinars, and serve as mentors for new employees. Team members should act as buddy mentors and help new hires get the tools, information, and resources they need to be successful.

Include Learning Programs

Your new hires need a more extended learning program that allows them to support what they're learning through on-the-job experience. Businesses should customize the learning to the role and also include learning through others.

The onboarding process can last from a few weeks to months, depending on the complexity of the role and the availability of resources.  Each role should have a standardized template that is designed to structure the learning process. New hires should have a schedule with discrete learning modules that are completed according to predetermined timetables. Throughout the training program, new hires should regularly meet with HR managers to share their experience, ensuring they are on track and giving them the opportunity to suggest improvements.

Businesses should also consider how to help employees continue developing throughout their employment journey. They need to set strategic, functional, and personal development goals that are beneficial to the organization as a whole and to each individual personally. A customized development plan has to be created to meet the needs of employees who change positions within the company. The plan should ensure that the internal hire is acclimating to the new position and getting up to speed as quickly as possible.


As the competition for talent is increasing, it is important for organizations to give more thought to how they can onboard new employees and keep them productively engaged from day one. By implementing an effective employee onboarding program, employers can set their employees up to be successful, which, in turn, sets the business up to be successful as well.

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