What is onboarding?


Onboarding is the process of assimilating new employees into the workplace.

Onboarding is the process of assimilating new employees into a workplace and helping them become more familiar with their job role. This can include providing education, assistance and support to ensure that new hires are able to adjust to their environment and take up their duties with confidence. It has been a part of corporate culture for centuries, but in recent years it has taken on a greater importance as companies look to reduce staff turnover and create an effective, engaged workforce. 

History of onboarding

Onboarding as we know it today began in the early 19th century when industrialisation resulted in larger, more complex organisations. Companies needed a way to induct new employees quickly and efficiently, so they began using onboarding methods such as orientation programmes, job training and other forms of education. The onboarding process continued to evolve in the 20th century as more organisations adopted formal processes to integrate new hires into their workplace culture. 

Recent trends in onboarding 

In recent years, companies have embraced technology-driven onboarding that makes use of digital tools and services. This includes using digital platforms to provide new hires with information on their job, the company culture and operations. It has become increasingly important because many new hires now work remotely rather than go into an office. Companies have also begun to focus more on crafting an effective onboarding experience that is tailored to each individual employee’s needs. 

Advantages of onboarding 

Onboarding has been shown to have numerous benefits for companies, such as improved retention, increased productivity and a better understanding of company culture. It can also reduce the time it takes for new hires to become acclimatised to their roles and enable them to be more productive in shorter periods. Additionally, onboarding helps companies create an effective workforce that can exceed expectations and contribute to the overall success of the organisation. 

Disadvantages of onboarding 

Onboarding can be a time-consuming and expensive process, requiring companies to invest in human resources professionals as well as additional training materials and applications. Furthermore, if the onboarding process is not properly designed or executed it can result in confusion and frustration for new employees, who may leave if their experience was not in line with expectations.  

Use case 

One example of a company committed to efficient onboarding is telecom giant Vodafone, which adds new hires to its Digital Onboarding Platform as soon as they accept a job. Content is sent to them including videos and for those working remotely, and arrangements are made to deliver equipment to their door. The recruit’s manager also contacts them via email or text to answer any questions. The manager contacts them again on day one to help the recruit get logged in, and they receive an email with a welcome pack. There is also an onboarding team to help and a series of onboarding webinars.