Employment Hero

New Employee Onboarding Guide for 2020 [Step by Step]

What is new employee onboarding? 

Employee onboarding is a vital stage in your recruitment process and involves helping new hires settle into their roles. This is an important stage of the employee lifecycle as you want to equip your new hire with everything they need to fulfil their role. 

This is done by managing the early stages of their employment whether that be over the first few days or weeks. The sooner an employee feels welcome and prepared, the sooner your company will be rewarded with their skills and expertise.

What should be included in employee onboarding? 

It’s essential to involve your new employees in your company culture from day one. As employees are more likely to invest themselves in a company’s success if they feel personally aligned with the business. The best way to do this is for new hires to spend time with a variety of members of the business from different areas and levels of seniority. 

If you want your new hire to embody the company’s mission, vision and values, then it’s important that you include this in the onboarding process. You should also show them where the business is headed so that they can understand their own goals and how they relate to the big picture.

What are onboarding activities? 

Activities can be great to improve the effectiveness of your onboarding process so that your new talent can jump right in and start making meaningful contributions to your business. To help you with this, we’ve come up with a few activities you can implement into your onboarding process to engage new employees and help them feel welcome: 

  • Start the onboarding process early – Starting a new job can be daunting for many employees, so it’s important to make sure that the employee onboarding process starts before their first day. Meaning, keeping the lines of communication open even after they’ve accepted their offer. This could be suggesting the best places to park, train stations that are close by, or even your favourite cafe. You should also ensure that all of your new hires meetings are set up in their calendar and a welcome lunch is organised for their first day. 
  • Connect them with their new team – It’s a good idea to introduce your new hire to their fellow team members as soon as possible. Whether your team is onsite or remote, you can connect via email, Slack or LinkedIn.
  • Allocate a buddy  – A broader team effort can also boost the effectiveness of your employee onboarding process. For example, introducing your new hire to the company lingo. . Onboarding buddy programs have also shown to increase productivity and improve new employee satisfaction

What should be in an onboarding manual?

There are a few things to consider when designing an onboarding manual. At Employment Hero, we have our very own employee onboarding checklist. In here, you’ll find some ideas you can include in your manual. 

Before your employee’s first day

Beginning your onboarding process early can help your new hire start off on the right foot. There are several things you should do before your new employee’s first day to help them get off to a cracking start. 

  • Prepare their work area and equip it with stationary and other supplies — have a think about what you use on a daily basis.
  • Order necessary access keys and make sure they work.
  • Order their new business cards and organise parking (if applicable).
  • Order technology equipment and software, and arrange to have their systems set up in advance like assigning them to printers and providing access to common drives.
  • Add their names to relevant email lists .
  • If your business requires uniforms or name tags, have them ordered and ready to go. 
  • Share the news about your new employee with everyone in the business and share some fun facts about them — this can help break the ice when other employees make an introduction.

First day

  • Have a small gift waiting for them on their desk (this could be company merch or even some chocolates).
  • Give them a tour of the office and introduce them to key team members.
  • If you haven’t already given them necessary onboarding paperwork, be sure to give it to them on their first day and give them time to complete it over the week. 
  • Sit down with them and their manager to explain the expectations of their role. Your new hire needs to understand what they’re supposed to be doing and why.
  • Have their manager assign any straightforward tasks.
  • Introduce them to their buddy and take them both out to lunch. 

First week 

  • Introduce them to co-workers from other departments and depending on the type of work you’re in, have them shadow them so they can experience different aspects of the business.
  • Check in to ensure they have signed necessary paperwork and have read and understood company policies. This is also a chance for you to answer any questions they may have.
  • Check in with them and their manager regarding any tasks .
  • Have their manager assign them their first project. 

First month 

  • Hold regular check-ins and evaluate the progress they’ve made over the past month.
  • Ask how they’re getting along with the team and how they’re finding their work.
  • If they have any training needs, arrange for them to be actioned.

What are the 4 phases of onboarding? 

Effective onboarding isn’t a one-day orientation. Rather it’s an ongoing process that can last anywhere from 3 to 12 months. The following phases of onboarding are designed to ensure that your new employees contribute to the success of the company. 

Phase one

The first phase is about the employee’s pre-arrival to ensure that they have a seamless integration into the business. One method of doing this is getting all the necessary paperwork out of the way i.e. their employment contract, policies that require acknowledgment, payroll forms, legal documents and any other work requirements like visa forms. That way, you can focus on the more practical aspects of on boarding before their first day which we outlined earlier.

If you’re looking for a HR software that can help you onboard your employees digitally, we’ve put together this handy guide to help you choose the perfect HRIS for your team. 


Phase two 

Phase two focuses on making the employee feel welcome and comfortable in their new environment. Just like first impressions, a new employee’s first day is important in setting the tone for their experience with the business. Both yourself and other members of the team can do small gestures to make their first few days memorable for all of the right reasons.

Phase three 

The third phase is about being conscious to not overload your new hire with information. Try to think back what it was like on your first day and all the new things (and names) you had to remember. Therefore, extend all the training processes over the first month — everyone learns at a different pace. This also gives the employee a chance to learn more about the company and settle in. 

Phase four

Finally, phase four is where you implement your training program so new employees can learn how to do their job. This is also a time for you to have a discussion with your employee and set goals. Be sure to give feedback, not only for recognition of the work they have done but it also gives them a chance to improve. Following up and checking in even after the training is done is just as important to track their progress and performance. Keep a record of these check-ins so you can have something to refer back to! 

How do you make an onboarding experience fun? 

Employee onboarding can get a bad rep for being drawn out and boring. And while there are certain processes that require time and attention, you can break it up with some of the following options to make it fun. Think about the kind of experience you’d want to have or ask other members of your team. Some of our suggestions include: 

  • Send out some company merchWater bottles, mugs, hats, t-shirts or any other company merch can make great welcome gifts and are a fun way to introduce your new employee to the business.
  • Take them out for lunch or happy hour – This is another way to get to know your new employee in a more relaxed environment and build relationships within the team.
  • Send a care package – Nothing says “we’re happy you’re here” like a care package. When deciding what to include, ask yourself the kind of message you want to send and how that aligns with your company’s values. For example, if your business is focused on sustainability, a KeepCup could be a good idea.
  • Ice breakers – There are a bunch of different ice breaker games out there. Choose the ones that are best suited to your team and give it a go. Ice breakers can be a great way of getting to know one another and finding common interests.

What do new hires want from onboarding? 

Onboarding can be the make or break of how new employees perceive their company and how productive they will be. So it’s important that you think about the needs of both your business and employees throughout the onboarding experience. To find out more, we’ve included the results from a survey LinkedIn did on what new hires want during onboarding: 


survey results showing what new hires want from onboarding

Source: LinkedIn 


What do these results tell you about your current onboarding program? In what ways could you improve it to meet your new employee’s needs?

What companies have the best onboarding practices?

In a previous article about Killer Onboarding Programs, we had a look at several companies who go above and beyond in their effective employee onboarding practices. Don’t hesitate to look at other companies for inspiration — they’re successful for a reason.


Netflix logo

Source: Variety 


Netflix takes a dynamic and hands-on approach that encourages employees to get involved from day one. The company places a significant amount of trust in the abilities of their new employees by assigning them a project to work on after orientation and equip them with all necessary tools and equipment.


This illustration is of people surrounding the LinkedIn logo

Source: Kinsta  

The team at LinkedIn put a great amount of effort into understanding what their new hires want from their onboarding experience. Successful candidates receive a congratulatory email followed by an interactive guide detailing their role and what to expect on their first day. They also receive a LinkedIn Culture Code, which introduces them to #LinkedInLife which gives them an insight into the company culture.


Image of the Twitter logo

Source: NY Times 


Twitter takes a ‘Yes to Desk’ approach to help a new hire settle into the company. They do this by ensuring that the period between saying ‘yes’ to a job offer to arriving at the ‘desk’ is as welcoming as possible. On their first day, new recruits have their login credentials, a healthy supply of merch and a bottle of wine waiting for them. This is followed by a complimentary breakfast, a tour of their new workplace and then group training begins.

How do you build an employee onboarding process? 

Before HR can come up with a plan of action, there are a few things you need to consider before implementing your program such as: 

  • When will it begin? At Employment Hero, new employees start on a Wednesday in group settings so induction sessions are held together. Not only is this helpful in building connections, but it also makes the process easier to manage!
  • How long will it go for?
  • What lasting impression do you want to make?
  • What are key bits of information new employees need to know about the business? 
  • What role will HR, managers or fellow team members play? This is when you should think about potential buddy candidates.
  • What goals do you want to set for them? When should they be achieved? 
  • How will you evaluate the success of the program?

How can onboarding improve employee engagement? 

Employee engagement is one of the most important factors in achieving overall business success and greater productivity. By investing the time and energy into developing your program you can use it as a means to boost employee engagement. 

Certain elements of onboarding can do just this. For example, building strong relationships between your new talent and management, reinforcing the business’ commitment to supporting an employee’s professional growth, and a chance for management to recognise talent.

Why is onboarding an employee important? 

When done well, onboarding can set your business up for long-term success. As this process is your opportunity to prepare your new hire for their future success as a long-term employee.

The right amount of support can make a difference in their ability to perform, integrate into the team as well as enhance retention. As we’ve mentioned before, it’s important you look at this as an ongoing process that goes well beyond their first day. As nearly one-third of new hires quit their job within the first six months

How is remote/virtual onboarding done? 

COVID-19 has required us to make many adjustments in our lives, and onboarding is no exception. It’s shown us that remote first working will become an expectation for many employees (see the results from our survey below). With this in mind, Employment Hero can help you make your remote onboarding experience a great one for your new hires.



Employment Hero survey results on remote working

Source: Employment Hero Remote Work Survey 2020 


How does onboarding impact the performance of an employee? 

There’s a lot to take in when starting at a new company, so it’s your responsibility to make sure new employees feel settled with their new team as well as introduce them to fellow colleagues or managers they will work with. That way, they become recognised and integrate naturally into the company. 

An effective employee onboarding program can make the difference on the longevity of an employee’s performance, with 82% of recruits being more likely to stay with their new company for three years. Effective programs are also known to contribute to an 11% increase in employee performance

How can HR evaluate the success of an onboarding program? 

There are several ways for HR to evaluate the success of your program. Both qualitative and quantitative measurements can be used, so we’ve listed a couple to get you started: 

  • Employee feedback – Surveys are always a great option to gather valuable feedback. Some questions to ask could be surrounding role clarity, self-evaluation on their competency, social integration, knowledge of company culture. Interviews are also useful for receiving detailed feedback from both new hires and those leaving the business.
  • Retention rates – Ongoing measurement of turnover rates allows an organisation to go back can compare with years past. High turnover could be a reflection of your onboarding process and can cost an organization up to 300% of the replaced employee’s salary.
  • The time it takes for an employee to reach productivity goals – this is something you should discuss with your new employee in the early stages of onboarding. Having goals that are time bound can make this process easier.  

How do you track onboarding? 

Onboarding also comes with a lot of documents which can become a slow and draining process to complete. So it’s best to get that over and done with quickly and efficiently. Using tools like Employment Hero can help you do just that so you can better track the process of your onboarding. 

With Employment Hero, you can paperlessly onboard staff, provide induction content, conduct visa checks and performance reviews. We can also help you stay compliant with built in contracts, policies and HR templates ready to go.

The wrap up 

Having a positive employee onboarding experience is important for setting the tone for your new hires. If your new hires don’t feel welcomed, you could see top talent walk straight out the door. With this in mind, you should never underestimate the power of a great onboarding experience and always aspire to go above and beyond for your team.  

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