Employee Onboarding?

Employee Onboarding: What’s It Mean?

What does employee onboarding mean? Because one of our software tools helps to automate many of the tasks and documentation commonly associated with new hire onboarding, this question is asked of me quite frequently. And while the definition certainly changes from one workplace to another, I think it is helpful to break it into two main categories: 

New Hire Onboarding

I think you can also refer to this as “short-term” onboarding.  What I mean by that terminology is that this definition is pretty limited to the initial documents/forms/tasks associated with a new hire. Tax forms, policy acknowledgements, direct deposit sign-up, etc. are good examples of things that tend to be done right upfront for any new hire. These need to be completed before that person is able to really jump in and start their employment with the organization.  From my experience over the past few years, this tends to be what most people in the SMB market space think of when they hear about onboarding.

Employee Onboarding

A little different than above, I would tend to refer to this more as “long-term” onboarding. While all of the items mentioned with short-term onboarding would certainly be a part of this process, it doesn’t stop there.

Instead, this process often can go on for the first several months of an employee’s stay with an organization. Likewise, this tends to be done in phases within those first few months on the job for a new hire.  Examples of things that are included in this form of onboarding include: training/safety videos and acknowledgements; provisioning of different items (laptop, phone, desk space, etc.); job-specific learning milestones, etc.

Currently, this definition of onboarding tends to be found more in larger organizations.  However, with technology continuing to progress, I’m seeing more and more SMB’s going this route.

Guidelines For Onboarding

Regardless of how your organization views onboarding, there are some core guidelines that apply to everyone:

  • You must follow the old adage of “you never get a second chance to make a first impression”. Make sure new hires feel welcome and that there is an organized process to assimilate them into your company.  Do everything you can to reinforce their decision to come to work for you.
  • Have a methodology to keep track of where people are in the onboarding process.  This may be onboarding software, or it may be a simple checklist.  Either way, be sure nothing slips through the cracks.
  • Stay organized and compliant.  It’s imperative that you keep record of the various documents (I-9’s are a great example) new hires complete, as you may be required to provide them at some point in the future.

Onboarding new employees is a critical function for companies of all sizes. Pay attention to this and stay close to your onboarding process to ensure that new hires are engaged, which will improve the odds that they’ll stay with you well into the future.


To learn more about how ExactHire can optimize and automate your HR processes, including new employee onboarding, we invite you to contact us today!
By Lhb1239 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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