Employee onboarding

4C onboarding or truly comprehensive onboarding

Adrian Witkowski
4C onboarding or truly comprehensive onboarding

The onboarding process is one of the key HR processes. Numerous studies show that when done well, it can bring huge business benefits and reduce employee turnover or increase the engagement of new hires. But what can we do to make sure our onboarding program is good enough? The new employee onboarding process of 4C comes with help , which allows you to prepare the onboarding process comprehensively.

New employees onboarding - the biggest challenges

According to a Jobvite report, as many as 28% of new employees quit within 90 days of starting a new job. This is most often due to a bad experience with the onboarding process.

The main reasons for this are:

  • insufficient attention given to the new team member (the so-called "throwing in at the deep end"),
  • unclear rules about his or her role in the company, job specifics and responsibilities,
  • lack of a sense of belonging to the company,
  • outdated, unclear and poorly organized processes in the company (related to formal issues, among others),
  • insufficient acquaintance with team members and lack of opportunity (for example team building exercises) to build vital interpersonal relationships with them,
  • mismatch or unfamiliarity with the company culture.

How to deal with these challenges? How to reduce the risk of a new employee turnover? How to ensure comprehensiveness of the process and make it quicker for new employees to reach full work readiness? This is where 4 C's of onboarding comes in, ensuring that you don't skip any issue that is important from the employee perspective.

Onboarding 4C - what is it?

Onboarding 4C is a model defined by Talya N. Bauer, an award-winning researcher and professor at Portland State University in Oregon and a member of the SHRM Foundation. In her article, "Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success," she distinguished four key elements that constitute the foundation of a successful onboarding program. These are 4 c's of proper onboarding:





Onboarding 4C, a truly comprehensive implementation | Gamfi Blog Throughout the onboarding process, every onboarding C has its place and time. We'd be happy to tell you about it using the example of how our application works>>.

Throughout the onboarding process, every onboarding C has its place and time. We'd be happy to tell you about it using the example of how our application works>>.

These four pillars are the answer to the biggest challenges of onboarding programs - both from the perspective of the new employee and the employer. The 4C model perfectly organizes the key aspects of the onboarding process - we even know of not one organization that has completely designed a new employee onboarding program from scratch, based on this very model. We also reflect the 4C model in the development of our onboarding application, which is designed to support comprehensively new employees, while relieving the onboarding manager, a buddy and a HR team.

Onboarding process 4C step by step

1 Onboarding 4c: CULTURE, or onboarding into the organizational culture

A smooth entry into the new company culture is the basis of successful onboarding. This area of the onboarding process should give the new employee knowledge of the company's mission and company's values, its vision, its key products, its market context. But it doesn't stop there. Company culture is made up of both formal and informal rules - and the onboarding process should also address the latter aspect, often obvious to those who have already worked long in the organization, but not written down or formalized anywhere.


Getting a new hire acquainted with the company's culture is a good idea to start in the so-called preboarding process, that is, from the moment the hiring decision is made. With this approach, we build a candidate's sense of belonging even before their first day on the job.

2 Onboarding 4c: CONNECTIONS, or relationship building.

Developing good relationships with new team members has a direct impact on when you will be fully effective at work. Without knowing what and who to approach, the division of authority within new colleagues and who the company's key HR personae are, it is impossible to work effectively. This element of onboarding programs is often underestimated. It is assumed that it is on the shoulders of the new hire to get into the team with new colleagues, show their best side, establish contacts with co-workers on the first day.

Meanwhile, this area is much broader. It should also provide information about the new hire's role to the rest of the organization, create contexts to interact with new employees outside the team, and facilitate the building of an internal network of colleagues.


In our experience and that of our clients, the role of the person responsible for onboarding new hires into Connections works best with a buddy. Appointing this function is still a rare practice, which is a shame! Putting the 4 c's plan in the Connections area in the hands of the buddy helps frame the onboarding process. In turn, it gives the buddy himself/herself a clear indication of the scope of his/her responsibility in onboarding, and that responsibility is not just about introducing team members to the new members. It's a good idea to prepare ready-to-use elements and templates to make it easier for the buddy to carry out his or her responsibilities, and these will suit the process accordingly.

3 Onboarding 4c: CLARIFICATION, or a clear message about the employee's role in the company

Bauer emphasizes that clarifying a new hires role in the company is a key factor in a successful onboarding process. The ultimate goal is to make new employees understand fully what tasks he or she is responsible for, what is expected of him or her in new jobs, where his or her responsibilities begin and end. The sooner he acquires strong foundation, the sooner he/she will be able to perform his duties effectively. This translates into both benefits from the perspective of the new hire and the employer.


As in the Culture area, job description and the new employee's role in the company structures should be conveyed already in the preboarding process. This practice will reduce the candidate's cognitive dissonance in the first days of work ("gee, this is what my day job is supposed to be about?"). It will also minimize the risk of losing a candidate who may be tried to be "bounced" by other companies or the current employer.

4. Onboarding 4c: COMPLIANCE, namely, formalities and legal issues

The last element of the onboarding process, Compliance refers to the formal and legal issues of welcome to the new organization. We're talking about signing a contract, familiarizing oneself with the necessary rules and regulations, handing over equipment or going through the required initial training. This is an area that cannot be omitted from the hiring process and that... hasn't changed for years. In most cases, it is still going on based on paper forms and scans of documents. Meanwhile, it's worth taking care of the candidate experience at this stage of the process as well, and automating as much as possible.


Build a positive employee experience in Compliance by automating the process of capturing the necessary data. One form completed online can send data to your Human Resources Management system and automatically populate sample contracts and documents.

Onboarding 4c vs. cross-processing of new employee onboarding

The 4c model tells us something very important about onboarding itself. The implementation process is a multifaceted endeavour in which a wide variety of micro-processes handled by people representing various positions, functions or departments in the company overlap and intersect. After all, who else is responsible for formal issues and workplace organization, who else is responsible for onboarding into the organization's culture, who else is responsible for introducing the new hire to the whole team and teaching the new hire to perform his/her duties correctly. And so, in the onboarding team we have both HR, and HRBP or another HR employee, and the direct manager of the new hire, and Buddy, and even the training department, IT department or administration.

How to keep it all together?

There is (or rather - should be) a method in this madness. In order for the extremely complex onboarding process to turn into a cohesive and friendly experience for all involved (especially the new hire himself/herself) instead of one big chaos, you need to structure it and base it on helpful technology.

For nearly 3 years, we have been developing a product to support organizations in an effective onboarding process for new employees. Our application is based on ready-made workflows launched right after the recruitment stage. The new hire is smoothly guided through the onboarding phases by it, and the manager, HR or buddy find in it support in carrying out their onboarding tasks. Our goal is to make employees go through the difficult and stressful onboarding process faster and more enjoyable. And as a result - motivate them to achieve above-average results at work right from onboarding. If you think about onboarding as we do, together we can do a lot of good in your organization! Will we check?

Onboarding 4C, or truly comprehensive employee deployment | Gamfi Blog

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