The ultimate guide to new employee onboarding

Mattison Hofstedt


November 29, 2023

March 22, 2024

Woman onboarding a new employee.

What is onboarding?

Essential elements of a successful onboarding program

Creating a welcoming company culture

Onboarding best practices and strategies

Looking for the ultimate guide to new employee onboarding? Look no further. We'll cover everything you need to know to ensure a successful onboarding process for your new hires.

Congratulations, you've hired a new employee. Whether this is your first or your fiftieth, it's important to recognize the value of a strong onboarding process. Effective onboarding can set the foundation for a productive and positive work experience for your new hire.

In this article, we'll explore the key elements of a successful onboarding program, highlight the benefits of investing in this process, and provide valuable best practices, like implementing video within different stages, to help you make the most of this crucial stepping stone in your employee's journey with your company.

What is onboarding?

Onboarding is the process through which new employees gain the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors to become effective organizational members and insiders. It involves a series of activities and training sessions that help new hires understand their role, the company's culture, policies, and expectations.

Effective onboarding not only facilitates a smooth transition for new employees but also enhances job satisfaction, performance, and retention, ultimately contributing to the overall success of the organization.

But what exactly does effective onboarding entail? It's more than just a warm welcome and a tour of the office. Effective onboarding involves a comprehensive approach that includes introducing your new hire to the company's mission, values, and goals. It also involves providing them with the necessary tools and resources to succeed in their role, such as training and access to key systems and software.

The benefits of effective onboarding

Effective onboarding is more than just a warm welcome. When done correctly, it can have a positive impact on various aspects of your organization and your employees' experiences, such as:

  • Increased job satisfaction and retention rates: When employees feel supported and engaged from the start, they are more likely to stay with the company long-term.
  • Improved employee performance and productivity: By providing your new hire with the necessary tools and resources, they can hit the ground running and start contributing to the team's success right away.
  • Reduced time and costs associated with recruitment and training: When turnover rates are low, your organization can save time and money on recruiting and training new employees.
  • Enhanced employee engagement and loyalty: By creating a positive onboarding experience, you can foster a sense of loyalty and commitment among your employees.

The cost of poor onboarding

On the flip side, poor onboarding can have detrimental effects on your organization. A lack of clear communication and support can lead to feelings of confusion and disengagement, potentially resulting in high turnover rates and lower morale among your team.

Additionally, if an employee is not properly onboarded, they may take longer to reach peak performance, costing your organization valuable time and resources.

It's important to remember that onboarding is not a one-time event, but rather an ongoing process. Check-in with your new hire regularly and provide opportunities for feedback and growth. By prioritizing effective onboarding, you can set your employees and your organization up for success.

Essential elements of a successful onboarding program

Now that we've established the importance of onboarding, let's dive into the key elements that can make it a success.

Preparing for the new employee's arrival

The onboarding process should start well before your new hire's first day. Ensure that their workspace is ready and that all necessary paperwork and materials are prepared. Reach out to the employee before they start to provide them with a warm welcome and any pertinent information they may need to know prior to their first day.

At Storykit, we send out an expectations video so that all new hires know exactly what to expect when they arrive.

Additionally, consider setting up a mentorship program for new hires. Pair them with a seasoned employee who can answer questions and provide guidance during their first few weeks on the job.

First-day essentials

The first day sets the tone for the rest of the employee's time with your organization. Make sure to give them a warm welcome, introduce them to their team members, and provide them with a clear agenda for the day. Consider incorporating team-building activities or a company-wide welcome event to make the employee feel like a valued member of the team from the get-go.

It's also important to provide the new employee with a thorough orientation. This should include an overview of the company's history, culture, and values, as well as a rundown of the employee handbook and any relevant policies and procedures.

Remember they will probably be overwhelmed and it will be hard to take in all if the information that you will be throwing their way. By putting it into video, using Storykit AI, you will make it easier for them to retain more information, making them feel more comfortable quicker. 

Setting clear expectations and goals

It's important that new hires understand what is expected of them in their new role. 

Schedule regular check-ins to provide feedback and guidance and to ensure that they are clear on what they need to accomplish. Also, provide them with specific goals to work towards, giving them a sense of direction and purpose within the company.

Consider setting up a performance review process that starts early on in the employee's tenure. This can help identify any areas where the employee may need additional support or training.

Providing necessary resources and support

Don't leave your employees to figure things out on their own. Make sure they have access to the tools and resources necessary to succeed in their role. Additionally, provide them with a designated point person they can go to for support and guidance during their early days on the team.

Consider setting up a comprehensive training program that covers not only the specifics of the employee's role, but also broader topics such as communication, teamwork, and leadership.

By following these key elements, you can ensure that your onboarding process sets your new employees up for success and helps them feel like valued members of your team from day one.

Further reading: Employee onboarding videos: 20 examples, tips & templates

Creating a welcoming company culture

A positive company culture can go a long way in making new employees feel at home. Here are a few tips to create a culture of warmth and inclusiveness:

Fostering a sense of belonging

Make sure that new hires feel like they belong by introducing them to their peers and facilitating opportunities for team-bonding events. Encourage your team to make newcomers feel welcome by showing genuine interest in their work and getting to know them on a personal level.

How can you do this?

  1. Create a mentorship program. Pairing new employees with seasoned employees can help them navigate the company culture and feel supported in their new roles. The mentor can provide guidance, answer questions, and offer insights into the company's values and expectations.
  2. Create a welcome package. This package can include company swag, a personalized note from the team, and information about the company's history, mission, and values. This gesture shows that the company is invested in the employee's success and wants them to feel like a valued member of the team.

Encouraging team bonding and collaboration

Establish a culture of collaboration by encouraging team members to work together and share their ideas. Set up regular team-building activities to foster camaraderie and to nurture relationships among your staff.

One way to encourage collaboration is to create a shared workspace. This space can be a physical room or a virtual platform where employees can share ideas, collaborate on projects, and provide feedback. This space fosters a sense of community and encourages employees to work together towards a common goal.

Another way to encourage team bonding is to organize company-wide events. These events can be social, such as a holiday party or a team outing where employees can mingle in a less serious environment.

Promoting open communication and feedback

Open communication and feedback are crucial to creating a positive and productive work environment. Encourage employees to share their thoughts and ideas and provide ample opportunities to facilitate discourse between team members and leadership.

A great way to encourage feedback is to provide regular performance reviews. These reviews should be a two-way conversation where employees can provide feedback on their managers and the company as a whole. This feedback can help identify areas for improvement and create a sense of accountability.

Onboarding best practices and strategies

Here are some best practices and strategies to help you optimize your onboarding process:

Customizing the onboarding experience

Every employee is unique, and an effective onboarding process should reflect that. One way to customize the onboarding experience is by creating a plan that is tailored to each individual new hire's needs and interests. 

For example, if a new hire has experience in a particular area, you can provide them with additional training or resources to help them build on that expertise. Similarly, if a new hire is interested in a particular aspect of the organization's work, you can provide them with opportunities to learn more about that area.

Customizing the onboarding experience can also involve personalizing the new hire's workspace or providing them with a welcome gift. These small gestures can go a long way in making new employees feel valued and part of the team.

Utilizing technology and tools

Technology can help streamline the onboarding process and make it more efficient. 

Consider implementing tools such as virtual training courses or digital employee handbooks. These resources can be accessed by new hires at any time, allowing them to learn at their own pace and review information as needed.

Another technology tool to consider is an onboarding portal. This portal can be used to provide new hires with access to important information, such as company policies and procedures, benefits information, and contact information for their colleagues. The portal can also be used to track the new hire's progress through the onboarding process and ensure that all necessary tasks are completed.

→ Need help creating engaging onboarding content? Storykit's text-to-video AI is free to start using now.

Continuously evaluating and improving the onboarding process

The onboarding process should never be seen as a one-and-done task. It's important to regularly check in with new hires and gather feedback on their experience. This feedback can be used to identify areas for improvement and make changes to the onboarding process for future employees.

One way to gather feedback is to conduct surveys or focus groups with new hires. These sessions can provide valuable insights into the onboarding experience and help identify areas where improvements can be made. It's also important to solicit feedback from managers and mentors to ensure that the onboarding process is meeting the needs of all stakeholders.

Need more tips? Check out our article, 12 onboarding best practices for successful employee integration for specific onboarding steps.


A strong onboarding process is essential to creating a positive and productive work environment. By investing in your new employees and providing them with necessary support and guidance, you set them up for success and ensure their long-term commitment to your organization. Follow these onboarding best practices to create an onboarding experience that instills confidence and fosters engagement among your employees.

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