What are the different phases of onboarding?

Nov 16, 2022
min read

What are the different phases of onboarding?

New hires are one of a company's most important assets. They bring new perspectives, skills, and ideas to your organization. But even after you hire and onboard your new employees, they're not a part of the team until they feel like they're part of the team.

Onboarding is all about making sure new hires get off to a good start in their new positions so that they can begin contributing right away – and stay productive for years (or decades) to come. With that said, what does an effective onboarding process look like? 

In this blog, we’ll dive into why onboarding is so important, and the different phases of onboarding.

Why is onboarding important? 

Onboarding is an integral part of the hiring process. It's when you introduce new employees to their new job and company, but it should also be treated as a critical time for the employee to learn about their role and responsibilities, as well as acclimate themselves to the culture of your organization.

The most important thing to remember is that onboarding can vary depending on your organization's needs. You may need extra time for new hires who are learning specialized skills or who will require specialized training. That said, every phase of onboarding has its own set goals:

  • To help new hires get up to speed quickly by teaching them about their job, tasks, and responsibilities;
  • To ensure that each individual is effective and productive within their first 30, 60, and 90 days;
  • To create a positive experience that ensures your company’s future success;

Onboarding is a unique experience for every new hire, but you should have a standardized process in place to make things as smooth as possible.

Why you should consider implementing a standardized process

First, a standardized process is a good way to make sure that every new hire goes through the same steps. It’ll help you ensure that your new employees receive the same information in a consistent and professional manner. This helps reduce friction between departments and promotes an overall sense of unity within your company. And it’s more efficient and cost-effective – having a set process in place means less resources and time are used creating individual onboarding plans for each new employee.

Second, having consistency across all teams creates a better perception among new hires about how your company operates as a whole. They'll feel more comfortable knowing what's expected from them when they come on board, which means they'll be able to hit the ground running once they start their job. 

Third: it's easier to communicate! You don't have to create separate documents for each department or team because everyone is working off the same standard process. This allows for faster communication across teams during onboarding processes so no one gets left behind on information about their specific roles/duties.

Here are the four phases of onboarding broken down.

1. Pre-onboarding

The pre-onboarding phase is the time between the offer and the start date. It’s a great opportunity to get new hires familiar with what they can expect at your company, and to ensure that they have everything they need to succeed when they start. It also helps ensure that you have every piece of information you need from them in advance so that you can make sure their onboarding experience goes as smoothly as possible.

As part of this process, you should:

  • Send all necessary paperwork and forms
  • Contact IT to set up technology (email, computer access)

2. First day: welcome and orientation

During the first day of work, you want your new employees to feel like a part of the team. You should make sure they have an opportunity to meet and connect with their new coworkers as well as learn about your company's culture. This will help them feel comfortable in what might otherwise be an unfamiliar. intimidating situation. You may also want to take some time during this day for individual meetings between new hires and other relevant members of the leadership team in order to introduce them and discuss expectations moving forward.

If you're introducing more than one person at once (like at a job fair), be sure that everyone is welcomed with equal importance so no one feels left out or singled out for attention on their first day.

3. Training and relationship building

Training and relationship building are critical to the success of a new hire. You should provide a formal training plan that guides new hires through:

  • 30 days, where they learn the basics of the company's culture, process and products;
  • 60 days, where they build their skills and gain more responsibility;
  • 90 days, when they are ready to contribute fully on their own;

Training should be ongoing throughout this process – it's not something you do just once and then forget about it. Something important to remember is giving new hires ample opportunity for hands-on experience; while reading materials and watching videos is a fast way to get new employees up to speed, hands-on experience helps them feel like part of the team immediately instead of being constantly reminded that they're new.

4. Ongoing professional development.

The onboarding process is not something that happens just once. Rather, it's an ongoing process of learning, training, and development that continues throughout your career with your company. This is particularly important as technology advances so quickly and knowledge becomes obsolete at a rapid pace. Having an employee development program in place will help ensure that your employees always have access to the latest tools and skills so they can do their jobs more efficiently.


When you consider the cost of not onboarding new employees, it becomes clear that implementing a standardized process is a worthwhile investment. The benefits of onboarding are numerous and can be realized within every phase of the process. Whether you’re looking to improve employee retention or increase productivity, investing in your talent through a solid onboarding process is an important part of any business strategy.

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