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How to onboard a new employee: processes, best practices and metrics

Embarking on the journey of how to onboard a new employee is a process that is integral to organisational success. Effective onboarding isn't just about paperwork; it's the bedrock for employee retention, engagement, and overall satisfaction. 

In this exploration of successful onboarding processes, we delve into the key components and best practices for onboarding new employees. From personalised approaches to leveraging technology, this guide will explore how to create memorable first days, foster cultural integration, and implement continuous improvement strategies. 

Understanding the employee onboarding process 

Understanding how to onboard a new employee is more than just a checklist of tasks to complete before they start their new position. It's a strategic process designed to integrate new hires into the company culture, equip them with the necessary skills, and foster a sense of belonging. 

If you’re looking to grasp a more general understanding of onboarding, check out our blog post: What is employee onboarding

An effective onboarding process can significantly impact not only individual performance but also long-term retention within a company. Studies show that new hires who have a positive onboarding experience are 3 times more likely to feel a strong sense of commitment to their employer and 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for 3 years if they experienced great onboarding, demonstrating the clear link between onboarding and employee retention. So, by laying the foundations with a good onboarding experience, you increase the likelihood of retaining top talent for longer.

The employee onboarding process should be looked at as a series of stages aimed at integrating a new team member seamlessly into an organisation. It encompasses pre-boarding, orientation, and ongoing support phases, which each play a crucial role in creating a successful employee onboarding plan.


A strong employee onboarding process begins before the new hire’s first day. Pre-boarding involves essential steps like paperwork completion, pre-training sessions, and technology setup. This phase sets the tone for a positive onboarding experience by addressing logistical requirements and easing the transition for a new hire. 

Having an employee onboarding plan in place before the pre-boarding stage ensures that administrative tasks are streamlined, which allows the new employee to focus on building connections and preparing for their role.

Top tip: utilising HR technology platforms such as Bamboo HR or Rippling to streamline this administrative stage is not only a lot more manageable for new employees, but also saves considerable amounts of time and money for organisations. Research suggests that it costs companies an average of $20 per paper on filing, $120 spent on looking for lost documents, and $220 spent on recreating lost documents.

Orientation day

The first day on the job is a pivotal moment in the employee onboarding process. Orientation day is not just about completing paperwork; it's an opportunity to make a lasting impression. 

Welcoming strategies, introductions to the team and company culture, and a detailed walkthrough of office or remote working logistics are key components of this stage. Bamboo HR discovered that 96% of new employees want and expect an introduction to the company’s mission and values during their onboarding process, so this is an essential step that shouldn’t be missed.

Top tip: setting a new hire up with a buddy on the first day is a great way to alleviate any anxieties, turning this potentially daunting experience into a positive one. Microsoft has run a buddy program for the last few years, and they found that 76% of new hires who met their buddy 2-3 times in the first 3 months became productive quicker.

Ongoing training and development

Integral to any successful employee onboarding is a robust training and development program which can be constantly referred to throughout a new hire’s first few months. Job-specific training ensures that a new employee is equipped with the skills required for their role, while soft skills training addresses interpersonal and communication skills. 

Beyond the acquisition of technical skills, successful employee onboarding prioritises integrating new hires into the company's culture throughout the first few months to further their development. Activities and strategies that foster a sense of belonging and teamwork are vital to a new hire’s development. This includes team-building exercises, social events, and mentorship programs. Employee experience platform Click Boarding found that 76% of new hires feel that socialisation is the most important factor of onboarding.

An effective onboarding process recognises that learning is an ongoing journey, not a one-time event. Continuous learning and development should be emphasised throughout the employee onboarding process, contributing not only to individual growth but also to the overall success of the team. 

Top tip: Touch Stay produces digital guidebooks which are an excellent way to deliver visually engaging and informative new employee ‘bibles’. This kind of digital resource allows you to link all key information in one place, which can be changed and updated depending on feedback. It’s also a great way to include information in different mediums, such as video, to cater to diverse learning styles.

Essentially, the employee onboarding process is a multi-faceted journey that goes beyond the perfunctory tasks of paperwork and initial training. By understanding and implementing the key stages of pre-boarding, orientation, and ongoing support, companies can create a comprehensive onboarding experience that sets the stage for long-term success.

Best practices for onboarding new employees

Embarking on a successful employee onboarding program involves more than just a checklist; it requires a thoughtful approach that integrates proven strategies to ensure a seamless and engaging experience. These are some of the best practices for onboarding new employees that companies should adopt.


One size does not fit all when it comes to onboarding. Tailoring the experience to individual roles and personalities is a key aspect of successful employee onboarding. 

Recognise that different roles come with unique challenges and expectations, so a personalised onboarding approach ensures that new hires receive the specific information and training relevant to their positions. This personal touch not only enhances the effectiveness of the employee onboarding process but also fosters a sense of individual value and importance.

Mentorship programs

Assigning mentors is a game-changer throughout the employee onboarding process. The importance of providing new hires with a supportive figure who can guide them through the initial stages of their employment and beyond shouldn’t be overlooked. It comes as no surprise that 84% of Fortune 500 companies and 100% of Fortune 50 companies have a mentorship program.

Mentorship programs facilitate a smoother transition into the company culture and help new employees navigate challenges. Research suggests that 71% of people with mentors report satisfaction with their jobs. It's not just about passing on institutional knowledge; it's about building relationships and ensuring that no one feels overwhelmed in their new professional journey.

Utilising technology

In the era of digital transformation, leveraging technology is a crucial component in making use of the best practices for onboarding new employees. Digital tools streamline administrative tasks, making the onboarding process more efficient and less overwhelming. 

From electronic paperwork and onboarding portals to online training modules, technology guarantees an effective onboarding process which also reflects a commitment to staying current with modern workplace trends. Research shows that a company with 100 employees can save as much as 40 hours per month by using e-signature software.

Feedback and communication

Establishing open lines of communication is a cornerstone of an effective onboarding process. Regular check-ins with both managers and peers provide opportunities for feedback and clarification. This not only helps in addressing any concerns the new hire may have but also demonstrates the organisation's commitment to their success. A two-way communication channel contributes to a positive onboarding experience and sets the foundation for long-term employee engagement and development.

Continuous improvement

The journey doesn't end on the first day or even the first month. Best practices for onboarding new employees involve a commitment to continuous improvement. 

Adapting and updating onboarding processes based on feedback is vital. Regularly seeking input from both new hires and existing employees provides valuable insights that can be used to refine the onboarding experience. This iterative approach ensures that the employee onboarding process remains relevant, engaging, and aligned with organisational goals.

Incorporating these practices into your employee onboarding process lays the foundation for successful onboarding experiences. By emphasising personalisation, implementing mentorship programs, leveraging technology, and committing to continuous improvement, companies can foster an environment where new hires feel valued, supported, and ready to contribute effectively. This not only enhances the initial stages of employment but also contributes to the long-term success and retention of valuable talent within the organisation.

Employee onboarding metrics and evaluation 

Determining how to measure onboarding success is crucial in shaping an effective employee onboarding process. Success goes beyond the warm welcome on the first day. Instead, it involves a systematic approach, employing key metrics and evaluations. 

Key performance indicators (KPIs)

To understand how to measure onboarding success, start by identifying and monitoring relevant onboarding KPIs. 

Time-to-productivity is a critical metric, indicating how quickly new hires become fully operational in their roles. Lower turnover rates are another key indicator, reflecting how an effective onboarding process can retain talent. Training completion rate is another important metric, with poor training completion rates potentially suggesting too little time allotted for completion. 

Employee satisfaction scores, gathered through surveys, offer insights into the overall experience, helping you gauge the success of your employee onboarding process from the perspective of those going through it. You can use platforms such as Survey Monkey to collect the data.

Regular assessments

Regular assessments should be woven into the fabric of your employee onboarding process to evaluate the effectiveness and identify areas for improvement. How to measure onboarding success involves periodic assessments that can take the form of employee satisfaction surveys, interviews, or focus group discussions. 

These assessments should be conducted at strategic points, such as after the first week, first month, and the end of the probation period. The collected data provides a comprehensive view of the overall onboarding experience and helps in pinpointing strengths and areas that may need attention in your employee onboarding program. 

Collect feedback

The power of feedback cannot be overstated in refining an effective onboarding process. Collecting insights from new employees about their onboarding journey can uncover valuable information. When a company embeds feedback as a valued aspect within its culture, new employees will feel comfortable sharing honest insight into their experience without fear of repercussions, which is very important for continuous improvement.

Implementing a structured feedback mechanism ensures that you capture diverse perspectives and specific details about what worked well and what could be improved. This iterative process of feedback collection and implementation fosters a culture of continuous improvement in your employee onboarding metrics.

Measuring the success of your employee onboarding process involves a thoughtful blend of KPIs, regular assessments, and feedback mechanisms. For continuous improvement, understanding how to measure onboarding success requires a dynamic and data-driven approach. Use the insights gathered from assessments, employee feedback, and key metrics to adapt and enhance your onboarding process continually, which will allow you to stay aligned with evolving organisational needs and industry best practices.


In unlocking the secrets of how to onboard a new employee, we've discussed what constitutes a successful onboarding process, emphasising the significance of a robust employee onboarding plan and detailed the best practices for onboarding new employees. From tailored pre-boarding activities to technology integration and continuous improvement, each stage plays a role in shaping a positive onboarding experience.

Remember, effective onboarding isn't just a corporate formality, it's a shared investment in the individual's growth and the organisation's success. As you embark on your onboarding journey, keep in mind that the first steps a new employee takes are integral to a flourishing and integrated future for both individuals and the company.


At Touch Stay, our digital guidebooks can be used to create comprehensive and user-friendly onboarding resources that will incorporate all the best practices for onboarding new employees. 

Start your free trial now to see how you can create an onboarding resource that will revolutionise the way new employees are integrated into your company.