You can answer the questions “What is onboarding, and why is it important?” Now it’s time to start outlining what the process will look like for your organization.

When onboarding is conducted properly, it can produce substantial results for the new employee and the hiring organization. Because of the many moving parts, planning and implementing a sound onboarding process should start with consideration of three elements: participants, information and duration.


1. onboarding participants

Who is going to be part of the process, and how are you going to prepare them? The onboarding process should involve as many applicable stakeholders as possible — including senior management, immediate supervisors and key coworkers. The strategy is to have important stakeholders and the new employee personally interact in ways that help them understand one another.


2. information distributed during onboarding

What materials will be needed (such as an itinerary, welcome package and company information) for your onboarding program to be executed effectively? The information provided should clearly inform the new employee about what is expected in terms of job performance, responsibilities and workplace behaviors.


3. duration of the onboarding process

Larger organizations run onboarding programs that can last from several months to more than a year. For smaller companies, an onboarding process that lasts a few days to a few weeks is common.

There is no single magic formula for onboarding a new employee. But with proper planning, a good process, like the one we’ll outline next, can decrease ramp-up time while boosting job satisfaction and loyalty.

the elements of a sound onboarding process

develop an outline of the onboarding process with as much detail as possible

Plan the primary drivers of your onboarding program, including duration, information that will be covered and all personnel involved. Additionally, outline all materials that will be needed, and plan both routine and nonroutine logistical situations like an office or department tour. This up-front investment pays off in the long run.

involve other employees in planning

Company leaders, colleagues or managers who will be working directly with your new hire may have specific insights for making the onboarding process more targeted and relevant. Meet with your new hire's direct supervisor to learn about the position’s role, goals, projects and duties. Likewise, incorporate feedback from employees about what they would have liked or found helpful when they were being onboarded.

choose someone to own the process

If you’re not implementing the onboarding process yourself, designate a single individual to do so. This employee should be exceptionally knowledgeable about all aspects of the company. Choose an employee who is a proven company “ambassador” with polished communication skills, a positive attitude and a personable approach. Having a single point of contact for all matters of employee onboarding can provide clarity and consistency throughout the process.

communicate to current staff that a new hire will be joining the company

This will help ensure a welcoming atmosphere.

choose a team member who will assist or mentor your new hire

The employee should work in the same or a similar area and be a proactive role model.

contact your new employee before the start date

Your new hire has demonstrated a commitment by accepting the employment offer. Return that commitment by communicating with the new employee as soon as possible and as often as needed. If there’s no concrete information to deliver about the upcoming onboarding process, a simple and genuine welcome greeting will do.

don’t neglect the power of re-onboarding after COVID-19

If your team is returning to work after stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19, re-onboarding can welcome them back and re-energize your workforce. SHRM has a brief but thorough guide to re-onboarding you can view here.

implementing your new onboarding plan

Outlining your onboarding process is a crucial first step to developing a sound and structured program, but how you ultimately implement it will determine its overall effectiveness.

Once you’ve done your planning, head over to the next article in our onboarding series to learn how to implement your new onboarding process.