A Short Guide to Understanding the Key Stages of HR Onboarding

New employee shaking hands with manager

Employee onboarding is becoming a critical part of every organization. A structured onboarding program leads to higher productivity levels, enhances employee engagement, and, most importantly, helps retain top talent.

Effective onboarding allows your employee to start this new career phase with positivity and enthusiasm. Onboarding targets integrating new employees into your company and making them a part of the organization right from day 1.

When a new recruit joins your company, his mind is loaded with questions about their assigned role, the company, the processes, and the culture; an effective onboarding program is designed to answer all these queries and helps them or in preparing for a better future in the organization.

An effective HR onboarding software helps the department create an onboarding process that is engaging and solves all the employees’ concerns, whether big or small.

Employee retention increases by 50% if they go through an effective onboarding process. A positive onboarding experience helps them understand the company better, making them feel more committed and engaged. It is all about thinking from the employee’s perspective and helping them settle into their new role.

4 Phases of Employee Onboarding

Onboarding sets reasonable expectations for everyone right from the start and hence should be seen as an opportunity by both HR and the employees. It is a great way to help and guide employees during their initial months with the help of simple and automated employee onboarding software.

Phase 1: Pre-onboarding

The first onboarding phase is pre-onboarding, which begins as soon as the candidate accepts the offer. It is a highly crucial period because of the presence of uncertainties in the new candidate’s mind. If there is a slight misunderstanding, they can doubt their decision to join the firm; starting work with an uncertain mindset can later cause concerns and hampers their productivity.

During the pre-onboarding phase, they get a rough idea of what to expect from their first day and what it will look like. They get ample amount of time to finish off the necessary paperwork and get done with all the tasks from their previous organization. They get a complete corporate overview, employee handbook, social media and blogging policy, if any, and compliance policy. This list of resources helps the employee to be successful in their role. Also, a good pre-boarding ensures you create a great impression on the new candidate regarding the company and the work culture.

Phase 2: Welcoming New Hires

Phase 2 of employee onboarding is called orientation. It is your employee’s first day at your organization; therefore, it is exceptionally crucial that you set the tone right by initiating the proper communication and interaction with them. Phase two of employee onboarding is the perfect time to get the new hire onboard with the company’s ethics, way of working, and culture. It starts on Day 1 and lasts for up to a few weeks.

The new employee will be given a tour of the company and meet and greet every other co-worker. If you follow hybrid work culture, they are introduced to the software and systems they will need while operating from home. Some companies also choose to give the hardware they will use while working remotely.

Once the new hire gets accustomed to their new routine, teammates, and reporting manager, they are ready to take up their new role.

Phase 3: Role-Specific Training

The third phase is the training phase of onboarding, where the new hire is given role-specific training to let them know what is expected of them. An effective training plan helps the new hire feel welcomed and motivated. Without formal training, your employees may develop a feeling of isolation and might get disheartened as well.

You can conduct workshops and seminars to familiarize them with the work and the organization’s systems. You can also use innovative learning methods such as blended learning and microlearning.

Also, when you use effective onboarding software, you can upload all the necessary materials to one place, which they can access and refer back to with ease.

Phase 4: Helping Them Adapt to Their New Position

The last phase of employee onboarding is the transition phase which is meant to help employees transition from new hires to full-fledged company employees. The reporting managers should set clear expectations of what is expected of them and motivate them to achieve their goals.

After 15 days or a month, they should conduct a performance review to analyze their efforts and motivate them to push their limits further. This way, they will feel appreciated and encouraged to make a mark in the organization.


Implementing effective onboarding programs in the organization can immensely enhance retention rates. This guide will help you understand the significant phases of HR onboarding that are essential to help the new recruits get accustomed to their new roles.

Create a memorable onboarding experience for your employees and ensure they get off to a great start.

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