Employee onboarding

Employee onboarding process complete guide

Anna Stelmaszyk
Employee onboarding process complete guide

The employee onboarding process is the introduction of a new hire to work. It is a key HR process because employee retention depends on the proper onboarding process. Research shows that a poor onboarding experience can make a new hire start looking for a new job quickly. So how to build an exemplary and effective onboarding process? You'll find out everything in a moment!

What will you find in this text?

  • What is a new employee onboarding?
  • Why is it worth investing in a new employee onboarding?
  • How long should onboarding last?
  • What stages does onboarding consist of?
  • Who is responsible for employee onboarding?
  • Does onboarding always mean the same thing?
  • Offboarding, i.e. saying goodbye to an employee
  • Online onboarding and stationary implementation - is there a difference?
  • How to monitor the onboarding process - and why is it worth it?
  • Onboarding plan
  • Automation of the onboarding process
  • Why and how to personalize the implementation process?

What is employee onboarding process?

Onboarding is a long-term process of introducing a new hire to work. It covers various phases and involves many roles in the organization, primarily the HR department, hiring manager and onboarding buddy. In an ideal scenario, it starts before the new hire starts working and ends when the new employee is able to independently support the team in achieving results. We will tell you in a moment how this ideal relates to reality.

In the meantime, we will still mention how onboarding is sometimes referred to differently and what the process is definitely NOT.

You may associate concepts such as adaptation, induction or orientation with the process of introducing a new hire to work. Not all of them mean full onboarding.

  • Adaptation of a newly employed person is the closest to the full employee onboarding process and can be used interchangeably with onboarding. The adaptation process assumes supporting the newly employed person from the moment he or she accepts the offer until he or she becomes independent in the position.
  • orientation/induction is the initial phase of onboarding. It usually covers the first few or a dozen days of work. It does not involve detailed introduction of the new hire to the organization or job position, nor does it involve strengthening his or her bonds with other employees. There will be time for this during the next onboarding phases. The purpose of this phase is to generally orient the new hire to his new work environment.
Onboarding an employee - a compendium of knowledge | Gamfi Blog

What is NOT an onboarding process?

Onboarding program is not an official welcome of a new hire to the company. Or at least not only - this is only a small fragment of it. It is also not limited to formal issues - collecting HR data, providing a contract or ordering equipment for new team members. We also cannot call onboarding the sending of a package of educational materials to an employee on the first day of work. It's about much, much more.

Before we move on, you need to know one more interesting concept.

Onboarding 4Cs

Talya N. Bauer, an American management professor, created the 4C onboarding model. According to it, a good onboarding process should cover 4 areas:

  • Culture - implementation into the workplace culture (mission, values, strategy, CSR activities, etc.);
  • Connections - introducing an employee to other team members and building relationships between the new hire and his or her colleagues;
  • Clarification - introduction to the job, duties and role in the organization;
  • Compliance - formal part of the onboarding programs (providing the necessary documents, signing the contract, granting access, handing over the equipment, etc.).

Why is it worth investing in employee onboarding?

A well-thought-out and well-developed onboarding process brings a number of business benefits.

Effective employee onboarding process saves money

According to our calculations, the cost of employee onboarding is 7 average monthly salaries.

In the case of onboarding for a specialist position, this cost increases proportionally. When the process fails, all that money is simply lost.

Thanks to onboarding, employee turnover is reduced

It's easy. Well-introduced employees are willing to stay in the company for longer. In turn, of all employees who decide to leave their jobs, as many as 20% do it within the first 45 days in the new organization - literally during the onboarding process. Good onboarding process is your ally in maintaining high employee retention. Bad - well...

It also increases the productivity of entire teams

The faster and better a new hire is introduced, the earlier he/she is able to support fully his/her colleagues in achieving real business results. Overall job satisfaction in the team increases, and the new hire feels useful, which affects his or her employee satisfaction with the new job.

A well-designed onboarding frees up managers' time

As we know, managers do not complain about too much free time. A well-organized, and preferably automated, onboarding relieves them of repetitive, onboarding administrative tasks. It also allows you to better organize cooperation between HR, the new employee's supervisor and the onboarding buddy.

Onboarding optimizes recruitment costs

Poor onboarding often influences the decision to leave a new job. In such a situation, the organization bears double costs: for the onboarding and recruitment, which was ultimately not successful. And vice versa: the more effective onboarding, the more money saved in the recruitment budget.

Quality onboarding means a long-term investment in human resources

A well-thought-out onboarding also pays off in the long run. The organization successively builds teams dominated by long-term employees with good substantive preparation. What's more, successful onboarding means a consistent educational process. Employees have the same scope of information in their heads, and the risk of knowledge gaps is reduced.

Onboarding supports employer activities branding

Well-implemented employees who are satisfied with onboarding are the company's best ambassadors. Research shows that as many as 96% of such people are willing to recommend others to work in their organization. Therefore, it is worth investing in a good employee onboarding process as part of employer activities branding.

How long should employee onboarding period last?

The real purpose of onboarding

Effective introduction of a new hire to work takes from 3 to even 9 months. Why so many?

The aim of onboarding is for new employees to achieve full effectiveness at work. This is a situation in which new employees are able to perform his duties 80-90% on his/her own. In short: when he/she no longer needs supervision and provides real support for the team.

The already mentioned Talya N. Bauer in her publication “ Onboarding New Employees : Maximizing Success ” states that an employee needs about 90 days to be able to really start to prove himself/herself in the job. We can therefore assume that a quarter is the absolute minimum that we should spend on the implementation process. This is confirmed by statistics. According to BambooHR, 31% of employees quit their jobs within the first 6 months, of which as many as 68% leave within the first quarter.

Application? The first three months are a key onboarding period of a new employee's stay in the company. If we provide a good onboarding process during this time, we have a good chance of gaining a great employee for years to come.

How long does it take for Polish organizations to implement a new hire?

Unfortunately, the reality is not good. Our research on how long onboarding takes shows that as many as 56% of companies in Poland spend less than a week on employee onboarding - 21% of which only one day (!), and 35% - from 2 to 6 days. Only 16% of new employees had more than 1 month to adapt to the new professional duties and company culture. Interestingly, 8% of new employees did not experience the adaptation process at all.

Take a look at how this relates to new employee needs:

Duration of onboarding in the company and time needed for full preparation for work.

And when does onboarding begin?

We have already determined when the implementation process ends. And when should you turn on the onboarding counter? The answer may surprise you a bit.

Good onboarding should start immediately after the recruitment process is completed. An employee's acceptance of a job offer should immediately trigger the onboarding program.

Why? Because the time between the end of hiring process and the first day of work is an extremely sensitive stage in the relationship between the company and the new employee. The candidate is then often on notice (up to 3 months) with the current employer. He may be tempted by his organization with better working conditions or harassed by competing employers.

How to deal with it? The first solution is good pre boarding process- we will tell you about it in a moment. The second important issue is cooperation between the recruitment team and HR employees and hiring managers who are responsible for the implementation of new employees in the company.

What stages does onboarding consist of?

As we have already mentioned, well-thought-out onboarding is a long-term and multi-stage process. It consists of several phases, each of which has a slightly different goal and a different supervisor.

Employee onboarding phases and participants.

Preboarding process

It's that strange time between I'm-not-a-candidate-anymore and I'm-not-yet-an-employee, the period between the end of recruitment and the start of the first day of work. It can last from a few days to even several months and is an ideal opportunity to build loyalty and positive onboarding experience with new employees.

Well-managed pre boarding minimizes the risk of losing an employee before the official start of work.

At this stage, you can successfully introduce the future employee to company-wide processes, principles and values. You can also provide him/her with basic information about the position, role in the form and possible development paths. Pre boarding is also a great time to take care of formal issues.

How to use this stage?

  • Send the employee a welcome message from their assigned manager and/or buddy.
  • Share the onboarding tool.
  • Successively send small portions of information about the company culture and the position.
  • Ask them to complete questionnaires, sign consents and applications - preferably online.
  • Send for occupational medicine tests.
  • Check out the employee benefits offer.
  • Provide a choice of equipment for work.
  • Provide them with an agenda for the first day and tips on what to wear, what documents they need, how to get to the workplace or connect with the team remotely.
  • Prepare the workplace and access to systems.

A lot? It all depends on whether and how you plan this onboarding phase. Later in the text, we will tell you how to do it wisely.


The famous welcome day and welcome week or simply the first day/first week of work of a new hire. Just, because on this day your task is to do everything to make the new hire feel really comfortable in your company. After all, you only make the first impression once!

Remember: this is only an introduction to theoretical and then practical implementation. The worst thing you can do at this stage is to bombard the new hire with materials about the company or overwhelm them with implementation tasks. It's like in school: the key to success is the proper distribution of the material.

Onboarding an employee - a compendium of knowledge. | Gamfi Blog

How to use this stage?

  • Get to know the employee with the new hire's manager and buddy.
  • Introduce team members - you can organize an introductory lunch.
  • Complete tasks connected with the formalities, including signing the contract.
  • Show your workplace.
  • Provide access to systems and help with the first login.
  • Take a tour around the office, point out where the toilet is and where the kitchen or social room is.

Organizational implementation

This is the part of onboarding that introduces the employee to company-wide processes, principles and values - both formal and informal. A time of intensive basic training, e- learning , presentation of company policies and implementation meetings with various people in the organization. At this stage, the employee's education should be quite universal. This means that implementation into the company culture should be more or less the same for each new hire, regardless of their position or work pattern. The whole thing is usually supervised by the HR team.

What areas of knowledge can you include at this stage?

  • History, company's mission and values
  • Details regarding the organizational structure
  • Locations of individual branches
  • Product offer
  • Development strategy
  • Customers and business partners
  • Formal and informal internal processes
  • Tools and systems used in the company
  • compliance issues
  • How to submit leave requests
  • Remote work rules
  • Rules for organizing meetings

On-site implementation

This is perhaps the most important stage of the entire onboarding process. It assumes intensive development of the employee in a given position. On-the-job onboarding is the domain of the new employees direct manager. He/she should introduce him/her to the duties, assign tasks and hold accountable for them, as well as answer any questions and doubts that may arise.

Unfortunately, as many as 26% of the new employees we surveyed admitted that what they missed most during the onboarding was introduction to the position and scope of responsibilities.

What did employees lack the most in the process of onboarding to a new company?
N: 1082, nationwide sample in the Ariadna panel, study from November 5-8, 2021 commissioned by Gamfi

A new hire who does not feel comfortable in a given position and does not fully know what he/she is responsible for will not be able to perform his/her job well. This state of affairs will, over time, turn into frustration, and it's not long before you start looking for a new employer. How to prevent this?

How to use this stage?

  • Create an onboarding plan with specific milestones.
  • Present the employee's goals for the coming weeks and months. Divide them into thematic areas, e.g. goals related to: getting to know the organization, getting to know the position and role in the company, performing duties.
  • Gradate the amount of knowledge transferred, the level of difficulty of tasks and the level of expectations.
  • Introduce new hires to various situations and environments. So that after onboarding is completed , he will be able to move freely in various contexts related to the company policies.
  • Encourage them to ask questions and clarify doubts.
  • Provide feedback to new hires as often as possible, and also be open to feedback from the employee.

At the end of such on-the-job training, the employee should:

  • know your position and responsibilities well,
  • be able to perform independently at a level of 80%-90%,
  • know the team, the organization and its various modes of functioning well,
  • build the basic flow of your independent work and cooperation with the team and manager.

Who is responsible for employee onboarding?

HR department

HR is usually responsible for preboarding , welcoming and introducing the new hires to the company's structure. It builds a bridge between the recruitment stage and the actual start of work by the newly employed person. Along the way, HR specialists deal with matters such as sending the candidate a welcome pack and basic information about the company, and organizing a welcome week and conducting basic training.

All this to prepare a new hire for on-the-job training and hand them over to the manager. Is this the end of HR's task in the context of onboarding? We would add one more goal - supporting the supervisor in introducing the new hire to new duties.

In the onboarding program, HR should work hand in hand with the business. Effective employee onboarding is in their common interest.


The manager's domain is on-boarding, which is the last, longest and, perhaps, most important phase of onboarding. Effective on-the-job implementation should equip the employee with knowledge and skills thanks to which he or she will be able to independently achieve the goals set for him/her. In short, it is about preparing a new person to support the team in business team processes at the same level as other employees. Buddy supports the manager in this preparation.


Buddy is a kind of "buddy" who accompanies the new hire throughout the implementation process. He/she is the link in communication with the manager and helps him adapt to the team. He also shares with him his informal knowledge about who-is-who and how the organization works. In a word, a newly hired employee gains an employee handbook to the nooks and crannies of company life.

Onboarding an employee - a compendium of knowledge. Buddy in the onboarding process. | Gamfi Blog

Buddy also serves as an informal ambassador of the company, because he or she is largely responsible for the first impressions that the organization makes on new employees. Sometimes, buddy also supports the manager and the HR department in administrative tasks, such as signing a contract, preparing equipment and a workplace for new hires, or supervising the training schedule.


The task of the IT department is to equip a new employee with the necessary equipment and access, which are often requested by the superior. Sometimes, together with the newly employed person, IT employees also perform the first login to the systems and hardware configuration.

HR and payroll

HR and payroll must collect the necessary data, documents and certificates from the new employee in order to complete all formalities related to his or her employment. From their perspective, the most important things are the completeness of documents and the correctness of data, and everything must be done in accordance with the GDPR.

Is onboarding always the same?

In short? NO. There is no single correct employee onboarding model. The onboarding can vary not only between different organizations, but even within the same company. For example: in a logistics company, we will implement an IT or headquarters employee differently than a delivery truck driver.

You can deploy to:

  • positions,
  • roles (e.g. first time manager, junior),
  • departments,
  • types of work (office work, production, field work),
  • situation (return from maternity leave, moving to a new office),
  • working modes (remote, hybrid, stationary).

What is reboarding?

Reboarding is a special type of onboarding. Applies to a situation in which we are implementing an employee returning to work after a long absence.

  • A mother who is just finishing her maternity leave.
  • An employee who is home after a year office returns to the office permanently.
  • A former employee who, after several years spent with another employer, returns to the "old trash".

In each of these situations, we can talk about starting work again. And this requires proper implementation.

Offboarding, i.e. saying goodbye to an employee

Offboarding is the process of ending cooperation with an organization. Regardless of who made the decision to leave the company (employee or employer), it is important to standardize the procedures related to an employee leaving the company and take into account the needs of both sides. Offboarding should be treated as seriously as onboarding into the organization.

The last impression counts as much as the first one, and the departing employee has great power in shaping the brand of the former employer.

Offboarding checklist :

  1. Establishing the terms of departure
  2. Informing co-workers about the decision of a colleague
  3. Transfer of responsibilities
  4. Exit interview - obtaining the employee's opinion on the organization and work process
  5. Administrative arrangements - disabling access, returning equipment, canceling the benefits package
  6. “Let's stay in touch”, a program for alumni

Onboarding and stationary implementation - is there a difference?

Online implementation can be as effective as stationary implementation. Bah! With appropriate technological support, even better results can be achieved remotely.

Using the example of our clients, we note:

  • 21% shorter implementation time into the organization,
  • 40% time savings for managers and HR
  • 71% greater employee engagement
  • 15% lower employee onboarding costs
Onboarding an employee - a compendium of knowledge. Onboarding online vs. onsite implementation - is there a difference? - GIF | Gamfi Blog

However, this does not mean that remote implementation does not pose some challenges. One of them is to provide new employees with good and equal access to knowledge.

How to monitor the onboarding process - and why is it worth it?

Ongoing monitoring of the onboarding process first allows you to gain control over the implementation of specific new hires. In a broader perspective, however, it enables the improvement of the entire company onboarding.

As we have already mentioned, implementation is not a homogeneous process. It is divided into different phases, each of which has its own specificity and so-called pain points.

We will place emphasis elsewhere during preboarding or the welcome day, and elsewhere during induction into the organization and then on-the-job implementation. A new hire's perspective and needs also change over time.

After initial enthusiasm, doubts and questions begin to emerge and need to be addressed. This will only be possible if we are even aware of their existence. This is why onboarding cannot be left to chance. It needs to be measured.

Employee onboarding process phases and timeline.
Testing of individual parameters should be well planned and spread over time.

What to research and how?

Satisfaction level - we check how the first weeks/months in the company are going from the employee's perspective (whether he/she is satisfied, whether he/she is missing something or is bothering him/her).

Knowledge retention – in the context of onboarding , it is about the effectiveness of assimilating information during onboarding. We measure the level of knowledge adoption from training, meetings and courses on the e-learning platform.

Performance – yes, employee efficiency is also one of the elements of onboarding research. However, the key issue here is how to research and calculate such data.

Not just a new employee

Evaluation should also concern the manager and buddy. They also have their implementation problems, and let's remember that onboarding is a system of communicating vessels. When one element fails, the whole begins to fail.

Onboarding planning

What really makes the onboarding process effective and efficient? Its structuring! Well-thought-out and well-timed onboarding minimizes organizational chaos. Everyone knows what to do and what their role is in the process, and the new employee acquires knowledge and skills freely and sequentially. How to achieve this effect? It is worth mapping the entire onboarding process first , and only then start implementing the ready-made plan.

How to map the implementation process step by step?

1) Determine the necessary points of the implementation program in your organization. What sentences, stages, messages sent to the employee or "milestones" should the entire process consist of?

2) Define contact points, i.e. how the employee and other people in the process will be informed about a specific task. Will it be an e-mail with educational materials, sharing e-learning in the onboarding application , or maybe a live meeting?

3) Place the implementation elements defined in this way on the timeline. Plan what is going to happen and when - down to the day or even the hour.

4) Try to predict what questions may arise in the employee's mind at particular stages of implementation.

5) The same goes for emotions! Determine what the newly hired person feels and at what moments. Will it be exciting? Or maybe stress or impatience?

6) Now you can supplement your process map with pulse-check studies or other types of feedback surveys. They will help you keep your finger on the pulse and control the onboarding process.

7) Finally, assign onboarding roles. Build an implementation team and assign an owner to each stage of the process.

Onboarding process - automation

Traditional, "analog" onboarding places a heavy burden on the time and processing capacity of the HR team and hiring managers. It involves performing many repetitive tasks, such as collecting data for a contract, applying for equipment or arranging basic training.

The problem increases with the growing scale of employment. Then, employing each subsequent employee means performing the same activities when employing each subsequent person. Such a process is expensive, ineffective, chaotic and error-prone.

Thanks to the automation of the onboarding process:

  • you can start onboarding already at the recruitment stage, when the employment decision is made,
  • launching and coordinating onboarding processes requires little work,
  • you reduce the number of repetitive tasks and relieve the calendars of all process participants,
  • you can easily scale onboarding to any number of newly hired people,
  • you make the education process of new employees more consistent,
  • you can measure and monitor every process on an ongoing basis,
  • you are building a positive employee experience for new employees,
  • you operate in line with the latest trends in engaging onboarding.

Why and how to personalize the implementation process?

Even the best-thought-out and automated implementation will fail if it lacks the human factor. That's the first thing. Secondly, in the era of streaming services and personalized services, we are all accustomed to an individual approach and... choices. This is also what the onboarding process should be like.

From the employee's perspective, everything should look as if it was prepared only with him in mind.

Onboarding an employee - a compendium of knowledge. Why and how to personalize the onboarding process? - GIF | Gamfi Blog

What ways do we recommend to personalize onboarding?

  • Send a personalized welcome message (even in video form).
  • Give the opportunity to choose the content of the welcome pack.
  • Enable new employees to choose equipment for work.
  • Create the opportunity to choose non-wage benefits.
  • Contact the employee by phone before the first day of work.

Phew, that's almost all. Almost, because after this solid portion of theoretical knowledge, it's time for some practice! Test our Gamfi application and see how effective, automated onboarding works.

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