What is an onboarding process?

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Employee onboarding is the process of welcoming a new hire into your organization and setting them up for success in their role, on their team and in your company in general. More than simply filling out paperwork or taking care of logistics, a structured onboarding process is designed to accelerate productivity and build belonging. It introduces new employees to your company’s culture, work norms and expectations.


Why is an onboarding process important?

There are several reasons for being intentional and structured with respect to the onboarding process for your new hires.

When done well, onboarding boosts short- and long-term retention

First impressions matter, especially in a new work setting. In this tight labor market, workers know that if their early experience in a new company is lacking, they can easily find a role somewhere that’s a better fit. Alex Duell, VP of People at Cutover, says today’s new hires are not afraid to cut their losses and move on to the next role: “We’re in a stage now where we’re working to retain people from day one onward, not just from year one or year two.” Research also shows that being intentional about onboarding can pay off in the long run. Employees are 58% more likely to still be at a company in three years if they were welcomed with a structured onboarding process.


Good onboarding leads to more engaged employees

The Great Resignation showed us that most people are looking for a workplace that’s aligned with their values, where they can do work they’re genuinely proud of. Onboarding that intentionally introduces new employees to the company culture and values leads to greater motivation and excitement about work – 54% of companies with structured onboarding report higher levels of employee engagement.


Inclusive onboarding contributes to a positive employer brand and employee wellbeing

Onboarding is a key step in building an inclusive organization. It’s an opportunity to show employees from different backgrounds that they are welcome and valued members of your workforce. The majority of HR pros (69%) believe inclusive hiring and onboarding practices – like creating a positive experience for distributed employees and introducing new hires to your employee resource groups – have a positive impact on a company’s brand and contribute to greater employee wellbeing.


Effective onboarding is connected to better performance and business outcomes

New hires need time to get ramped up and become productive in their roles – that’s to be expected. But onboarding can help shorten that ramp-up time, especially when you take a structured approach to sharing knowledge and developing skills. This approach can also have a significant impact on employee lifetime value.


How does Greenhouse define the employee onboarding process?

Just like creating a structured interview process can transform the candidate experience and your company’s approach to hiring, Greenhouse believes structured onboarding is the key to creating a scalable, consistent process that sets the tone for the rest of an employee’s tenure.

There are many ways to create a structured onboarding process for new hires, but some of the key components are:

  • Calibrating and uplifting a new hire’s understanding of your company’s mission, values, culture and purpose
  • Showing how the new hire’s team fits into your overall mission and purpose
  • Showcasing the value they’ll bring to your organization to give them something to work toward
  • Empowering new hires with information (who to go to for IT/HR/facilities support, what they can expect from their managers, what’s expected of them, when to ask for extra support, how to do their job, etc.)
  • Setting the tone for company culture
  • Giving a strong impression of what their work life will be like at your company


This is even more important in a distributed or hybrid setting, where new hires won’t have chance encounters with coworkers in the hallway or kitchen. The most effective onboarding programs consider how to build belonging while giving new hires everything they need to be successful on the job. Download the New hire onboarding guide to learn more about how to set up your onboarding process.

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