7 Important Onboarding Activities and Their Benefits

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 26 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Onboarding involves introducing new employees to their roles, the organisation and the company culture. Effective onboarding aims to make you more comfortable with your job duties and work effectively as part of the company. Understanding onboarding activities can help you learn how to perform your duties effectively and fit into your new work environment. In this article, we define onboarding, list the various activities the process involves and mention the benefits of the programme and tips for maximising its gains.

What is onboarding?

Onboarding is the process of familiarising new hires with the organisational structure of a company and their roles. It involves activities that help new employees have a deep understanding of their job functions and the resources they require to complete duties. Effective onboarding processes can make you more comfortable with your new position and allow the company to position itself as an ideal place of work. Proper implementation of onboarding processes can make you confident in your ability to perform your responsibilities effectively by integrating you into the company structure.

The human resources department organises onboarding processes with relevant departments of the company. Depending on the size, structure and scope of the organisation, the onboarding period can last between a few weeks to a year. If your role requires specialised on-the-job training, you can expect a year-long onboarding process, during which the company equips you with the skills and personal qualities required to excel in your position.

Read more: What Is Onboarding?

List of onboarding activities

Here's a list of seven onboarding activities employers can use to prepare you for a new role:

1. Pre-boarding

The first step in the onboarding process is pre-boarding. This activity involves your employer or the human resources department sending you an introductory email that contains this information:

  • new employee paperwork and forms to complete

  • your start date, time and location

  • a copy of the company handbook

  • your schedule for the first day or first week

  • usernames and passwords to get access to the employee portal and relevant company accounts

  • a list of documents or information to bring on your first day

  • information about the company dress code

  • instructions for office hours and directions to the office

The above information allows you to prepare adequately for your first day at work. You can fill most of the paperwork at home so you can focus on work when you resume to the office. Since you have passwords and usernames to access company networks, you can quickly start work instead of wasting them to get those details sorted on your first day. Some organisations may also send you an employee ID, branded company paraphernalia and other supplies you might require to function effectively as a staff member.

Related: Top 15 Tips for a Great First Day at Work

2. Company tour

On your first day at work, a person from HR or your department might give you a tour of the company. The tour can involve showing you your workspace, the kitchen, toilets, meeting rooms, where to get supplies and your supervisor's office. An extensive tour of the company grounds allows you to navigate your work environment confidently and makes working with other people easier.

3. Introductions

During the tour, you're likely going to be introduced to your colleagues, superiors and other people in the organisation. That way, you can start developing acquaintances and building relationships in the workplace. The introduction can also include meeting a human resources personnel who can explain company guidelines on issues like work hours, overtime pay and paid holidays.

4. Team meeting

After introductions, the next onboarding activity can involve having a meeting with your team or manager. Depending on the organisational culture, this can be an informal lunch where you meet and socialise with other members of the team outside of the office. Doing this can remove the invisible barriers present in the work environment, making it easier for you to know your team members and superiors personally and build a good working relationship.

5. Formal meetings with superiors

Once you've established the basis for a relationship with your team and superiors, your manager may meet with you and other new employees. The agenda of the meeting can be to review your job functions so you understand the duties of your role and the employer's expectations. During this meeting, you and your manager can set goals based on your position. You can also use this occasion to ask questions about your role and the resources required to complete your tasks.

Related: Different Types of Employee Training Programmes and Methods

6. Workplace setup

Once you know your job duties and teammates, the next step in the onboarding process is to set up your workspace. During this phase, the human resources personnel may take to you to your office space and ask you to log into a workstation using the account information they provided earlier. That way, you get to use the company's software systems and ask questions about its functionalities. You can also use this time to decorate and personalise your workspace.

7. Follow up

An important element of the onboarding process is a follow-up meeting. This meeting can help managers evaluate how you're coping with the new environment. It can also help them assess your performance and get feedback from you on how to improve your productivity and efficiency. During this phase, let your manager know of the challenges you're facing in completing your tasks. You can also suggest strategies that can make the office environment more conducive to new hires.

These are some of the most important elements of the onboarding process. It can have other components, such as in-class training, meetings with the senior executive and C-suite and sending of gifts and office supplies to remote employees. Regardless of the content and duration of the onboarding programme, it's important for the activities to prepare you for the demands of the new role and help you function as an integral part of your team and the company.

Related: How to Write a Welcome Aboard Email (With Template and Example)

Importance of onboarding

Here are some benefits of effective onboarding exercises:

Enhances productivity

Successfully implementing onboarding plans can make you a more productive employee. This is because the activities prepare you to use important resources required to complete your tasks effectively. For example, during the onboarding process, you learn how to operate equipment and software and ask questions regarding the company's expectations. This reduces the time for learning on the job, as you have an experienced person to guide and boost your confidence to deliver results.

Improves compliance with company rules

Onboarding gives you the chance to learn about company rules and procedures. That way, you know how to interact with other members of staff, conduct yourself professional and avoid conflicts. This knowledge not only makes it easier to perform your roles, but it can also help you build relationships and collaborate effectively with your team and other members of the organisation.

Boosts collaboration

A well-implemented onboarding programme can promote positive communication and make it easier for new hires to collaborate with existing staff members. Because you get to know each team member from the first day, it's easy to share ideas and concerns regarding work duties and even develop friendship with other people. An atmosphere that supports effective communication and cooperation among teams can also boost productivity and performance.

Increases job satisfaction

One goal of onboarding is to make you feel like a part of the company. The process shows you the company culture and helps you align with the organisation's mission and goals. By helping you fit into the company structure, the process can enhance your job satisfaction and even make you committed to working for the employer long term.

Tips for making the most of onboarding programmes

Here are tips to ensure you optimise onboarding programmes:

Learn about the company's mission and vision

To get the best out of your onboarding activities, prioritise learning about your new employer's mission and vision. Knowing about these two elements can give you deep insights into the company's values and the philosophy behind its culture and objectives. That way, you can work towards attaining the organisation's standard of performance and prepare yourself for a successful career.

Learn about the company's expectation

Use the onboarding process to have an in-depth understanding of your duties and responsibilities. If you have questions, ask the HR, your manager or team members so you can perform your job functions and meet the expectation of the role. Prioritising your core functions during the onboarding process can shorten your learning curve and help you start the new position on a strong footing.

Grow relationships

The onboarding process is the time to build relationships. Share contacts with members of your team to facilitate effective collaboration on projects. This is also when you want to find people in the organisation who can mentor you on the job, especially if you have zero or little work experience.

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