12 onboarding best practices for 2024

Mattison Hofstedt


December 20, 2023

March 22, 2024

Woman onboarding a new employee.

Discover the top 12 onboarding best practices to ensure your new employees feel welcomed, engaged, and ready to contribute from day one.

Effective onboarding is crucial for organizations to ensure seamless integration of new employees, boost productivity, and enhance employee satisfaction. By implementing well-structured onboarding programs, companies can set the stage for long-term success and create a positive first impression. 

In this article, we present 12 onboarding best practices that can help organizations streamline the onboarding process and foster a welcoming environment for new hires.

The importance of effective onboarding

Onboarding is critical to the long-term success of your business. By providing new employees with a comprehensive introduction to their role and the company culture, they will feel more comfortable and ready to contribute. Effective onboarding can also help with retention and employee satisfaction, boosting productivity and engagement.

Retention and employee satisfaction

Studies have shown that new employees who have a positive onboarding experience are more likely to stay with their company long-term. Effective onboarding is a way to not only impress your new hire but also make them feel appreciated and valued from the start.

Retention is important for any business because it can be costly to replace employees. 

When an employee leaves, you must invest time and money into finding and training a replacement. In addition, high turnover rates can lead to a decrease in morale among the remaining employees, which can negatively impact productivity and engagement.

Employee satisfaction is also crucial for a successful business. Happy employees are more likely to be productive, engaged, and motivated to contribute to the company's success. Effective onboarding can help set the tone for a positive work environment and foster a sense of belonging among new employees.

Boosting productivity and engagement

A quality onboarding process will help new employees become familiar with their job responsibilities and goals.

This familiarity leads to faster ramp-up times and therefore higher productivity. In addition, effective onboarding can help new hires understand how their role fits into the larger picture of the company's goals and objectives. This understanding can help employees feel more engaged and motivated to contribute to the company's success.

Employee engagement is important because it can lead to better job performance and higher job satisfaction. Engaged employees are more likely to go above and beyond their job responsibilities, take initiative, and contribute innovative ideas.

This can lead to increased productivity, improved customer satisfaction, and ultimately, increased revenue for the business.

Overall, effective onboarding is a crucial component of any successful business. By investing in a comprehensive and positive onboarding experience, you can help new employees feel valued, engaged, and ready to contribute to the company's success.

12 onboarding best practices

1. Start preboarding early

Engage new hires before their official start date by providing essential information, such as company policies, handbooks, and paperwork. Introduce them to key team members, assign a buddy, and offer access to relevant resources. This prepares new employees and creates a sense of belonging even before they step foot in the office.

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2. Develop a structured onboarding plan

Create a well-defined onboarding roadmap that outlines the activities, milestones, and timelines for the integration process. This plan should cover orientation, training, job-specific tasks, and key touch points with HR and team members. A clear structure ensures consistency and helps new employees navigate their roles with confidence.

3. Provide an informative orientation

Conduct a comprehensive orientation session to familiarize new hires with the company's mission, values, culture, and expectations. Introduce them to the organizational structure, company history, and strategic goals. This overview sets the foundation for a shared understanding of the company's vision.

4. Assign a dedicated onboarding buddy

Pair new employees with an experienced colleague who can serve as a mentor and guide during the onboarding process. The buddy can offer support, answer questions, and provide insights into the company's culture, norms, and day-to-day operations. This personal connection helps new hires feel welcomed and integrated.

5. Tailor training and development

Design customized training programs that cater to the specific needs of each new employee. Identify their skill gaps and provide targeted training to bridge those gaps effectively. A personalized approach ensures that new hires gain the necessary knowledge and skills to excel in their roles.

6. Streamline administrative processes

Simplify paperwork and administrative tasks by adopting digital solutions and providing clear instructions. Automating processes such as document signing, employee data collection, and benefit enrolment reduces administrative burden, allowing new hires to focus on their core responsibilities.

7. Encourage relationship building

Facilitate opportunities for new hires to connect with their colleagues and build relationships. Organize team-building activities, lunch outings, or virtual social events to foster camaraderie and collaboration. Strong interpersonal connections positively impact job satisfaction and employee engagement.

8. Set clear expectations and goals

Communicate performance expectations and define clear goals for new employees. Align their objectives with the overall organizational objectives and provide regular feedback to guide their progress. Setting realistic expectations and milestones helps new hires understand their responsibilities and motivates them to achieve success.

9. Support continuous learning

Promote a culture of learning by offering ongoing professional development opportunities. Provide access to online courses, workshops, or mentorship programs that enable new hires to expand their knowledge and enhance their skills. Encouraging continuous learning shows commitment to employee growth and development.

10. Foster feedback and communication

Establish open channels of communication for new hires to voice their concerns, ask questions, and provide feedback. Regular check-ins with managers or HR representatives enable timely resolution of any issues and ensure that new employees feel heard and supported.

11. Celebrate milestones and achievements

Acknowledge and celebrate the milestones and achievements of new hires during their onboarding journey. Recognize their progress, completion of training, or successful integration into the team. Celebrations reinforce positive experiences and make new employees feel valued.

12. Evaluate and improve

Continuously evaluate the effectiveness of your onboarding program to identify areas for improvement. Seek feedback from new hires regarding their onboarding experience, and gather input from managers and team members as well. Use this feedback to make adjustments, streamline processes, and enhance the overall onboarding experience.

Check out Employee onboarding videos: 20 examples, tips & templates, to learn how you can enhance your onboarding processes with video.


Implementing these 12 onboarding best practices will help organizations create a welcoming and supportive environment for new hires. A well-structured onboarding process not only ensures a smooth integration but also sets the foundation for long-term success and employee engagement. 

By investing time and effort into developing a comprehensive onboarding program, organizations can nurture talent, boost productivity, and ultimately drive their overall business success.

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