Employee Onboarding is a topic that gets a lot of attention.

The reason is pretty simple:

In the current hybrid work landscape, where employees might be remote, in the office, or a bit of both, the traditional onboarding process needs a serious upgrade.

Think about it: 32% of global executives admit (and report) that their onboarding is weak. That's not just a minor hiccup—it could seriously dent a company's reputation and impact its bottom line.

However, it can make a huge difference if organizations do onboarding right.

In terms of tangible benefits, we can see:

  • Companies with satisfactory employee onboarding see a 2.5x increase in revenue growth and a 1.9% jump in profit margins(Devlinpeck).
  • Structured onboarding makes new hires 69% more likely to stay for 3 years. (SHRM)
  • Strong onboarding processes can boost retention by 82% and productivity by 70%. (Brandon Hall Group)

The question then becomes: how do you replicate these significant outcomes for your organization?

In this blog, we'll share employee onboarding best practices specifically designed for hybrid workplaces, as well as some actionable and fun employee onboarding ideas to create "AHA!" moments for your new hires.

TLDR: What is Included In Employee Onboarding Best Practices?

  • Pre-boarding: Introducing company basics beforehand.
  • Preparing for Day One: Ensuring logistics are ready.
  • Structured Training and Development: Offering role-specific guidance.
  • Cultural Immersion: Integrating into company culture.
  • Assessment and Continuous Improvement: Providing channels for growth.
  • The First 90 Days: Setting early goals and support.
  • Technology and Tools: Equipping with necessary resources.

30+ Employee Onboarding Best Practices(Tips & Strategies)

A. The Pre-Boarding Phase

Take away a part of the initial nervousness that new hires have. Give them an idea of what their first day might look like. Amongst employee onboarding best practices, this is a foundational one.

You can take the following four steps to pre-board your new hires:

1 - Send a welcome kit

Once a candidate is shortlisted, you can send them a welcome kit before their first day. This could include:

  • Personalized welcome letter from the CEO or the team leader
  • Company-branded merchandise such as a t-shirt, mug, water bottle, or notebook

Such tangible reminders of company culture are endearing!

2 - Send a what-to-expect email

You should consider sending a ‘what-to-expect’ email three to four days before the new hire's start date. This way, you’ll be helping them prepare for their first day.

Also, take advantage of the email template below, which has two templates for both remote and on-site onboarding. Select the appropriate template based on whether your employee will start their first day in the office or from home.

Pre-onboarding | What to Expect - Email Template

3 - Complete admin tasks

Here’s an onboarding best practices checklist for completing admin tasks smoothly:

  • Collect all required documents from the new hire, such as identification, tax forms, and any relevant certifications or licenses.
  • Identify the specific systems, applications, and resources to which the new hire will need access to perform their job duties.
  • Create security logins & access keys. If available, enable multi-factor authentication for added security.

4. Distribute IT Equipment and Access

If the company provides devices to new hires, you must coordinate the distribution of laptops, phones, tablets, or other necessary equipment three to four days before the start date.

Suppose the company has a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy. In that case, you can provide employees with information on safely connecting their personal devices to company systems on the first day of employment.

Source: Tweet from X
Source: Tweet on X

However, ensure they are informed in the what-to-expect email beforehand.

Bonus Pre-boarding Tip: Before the new hire's first day, touch base with their team leader or manager to align on initial objectives. This helps identify necessary tools and logins. Also, a casual meeting between the new employee and their manager should be organized to promote early rapport and clarify roles.

Just remember, you want to get your new hires excited!

B. Preparing for Day One

You know, when you start putting a puzzle together, the first thing you do is gather all the edge and corner pieces. Once you've sorted those out, the rest starts falling into place much more smoothly.

Well, onboarding works kind of the same way! When you take the time to do your pre-boarding right, it sets you up for a super smooth day one.

So here are some ways to make your new employees'(in-office) first-day fun:

5. Introduction & Orientation

Start by introducing new hires to the rest of the team. Provide them with a map of the surrounding area, highlighting places for quick lunches, banking, and errands.

Familiarize them with emergency procedures. Outline specific safety protocols for emergencies, such as fire drills, medical emergencies, or severe weather situations.

6. Get over with paperwork

Due to a strong pre-onboarding process already done, you'll know all the documents that need the employee's signature on the first day. Ensure you get all those signatures on the employment contracts, policy acknowledgments, and payroll forms.

7. CEO Welcome & Company Values

Take the opportunity to make the new hires better known of the company culture, such as casual Fridays and monthly potlucks. Have the CEO personally welcome new hires or share a recorded message. Discuss the company's vision, values, and history to provide context.

Source: Thread on Reddit
Source: Thread on Reddit

Regarding remote employee onboarding best practices for day one, HR folks can set up virtual meetings with the CEO or their manager(on the new hire’s behalf) so they feel connected from the beginning.

You can also review the first week's onboarding plan with new hire's supervisor.

Bonus First Day Tips:

  1. Schedule check-ins at the 30, 60, and 90-day marks to ensure new employees feel supported. Set up email reminders accordingly.
  2. Avoid overwhelming new hires by keeping their schedule moderate and allowing them time to absorb information.

Once day one wraps up, the emphasis shifts to organizing training sessions covering various dimensions crucial for enhancing employee competencies.

This signifies the next phase of onboarding - a systematic approach to training and development.

C. Structured Training and Development

People often wonder about the 'when' and 'how' regarding training and development. For 'when,' think about using that crucial first week, or even the very first day, to have a sit-down with the new hire's supervisors.

For the 'how,' we’ve broken it down into specific points below.

8. Perform Training Needs Assessment

When you're getting your new hire settled in, it's a great idea to set up a Training Needs Assessment (TNS) meeting. This is just a 30-minute chat during which you can assess their skills and determine where they might need extra training.

We've got a handy template to help guide you through it. After the meeting, make sure to touch base again within their first week on the job. And don't forget to leave some time in your one-on-one meetings for any questions or concerns they might have.

Training Needs Assessment Template by Gyde

9. Try Job Shadowing OR Pairing with a Mentor

When it comes to hands-on employee training methods, mentorship and buddy pairing stand out as the go-to methods. These approaches are very good at simulating real job scenarios, whether engaging with customers or conducting market research.

  • Job Shadowing: Allows your new hire to observe a seasoned professional in their desired field for a set period. They'll witness firsthand how to handle daily tasks, navigate challenges, and interact with colleagues.
  • Mentorship: Let the new hire develop a longer-term relationship with a mentor who can offer guidance, answer their questions, and provide career advice specific to their goals.

10. Use Microlearning To Save Time

Microlearning resources can deliver quick answers and solutions when troubleshooting a technical issue, addressing a customer query, or refreshing knowledge before a meeting.

Several microlearning platforms offer short videos, interactive walkthroughs, and FAQ articles to convey key application process features and benefits in an easily understandable manner.

Source: Comment on a Linkedin Post

11. Get a DAP for Application Training and Onboarding

Introducing new employees to the various applications they'll need for daily tasks can be overwhelming, right?

Here’s an interesting fact: An average employee needs to learn about 11 different applications. Think about the technostress a new hire faces while learning all these applications at once.

Therefore, it is wise to create separate onboarding materials for each application and give employees access when needed.

A Digital Adoption Platform(DAP) will help you do just that! It provides all the necessary training materials within the application and walks employees through each process step-by-step, making it much easier for newbies to figure things out on the fly.

Step-by-step walkthrough

For those creating the training materials, a DAP offers easy & quick content creation and easy-to-use interfaces with drag-and-drop features.

Plus, it provides analytics to show how many employees have accessed the training materials, giving valuable insights into their effectiveness.

Analytics on a DAP

12. Create Role-Specific Training Modules

As a remote employee onboarding best practice, targeted training that is specific to new hires' roles and responsibilities ensures rapid onboarding and continuous skill development. This approach cultivates more agile learners within your workforce.

It can be based on factors like:

  • Job function: Supervisors, managers, and business development reps have different needs.
  • Location: For a global company, employees in India might benefit from training materials in their native language.

Again, Digital Adoption Platforms (DAPs) can simplify role-specific application training. Tools like Gyde with AI capabilities offer features that enhance this process:

  • Content visibility control: Training creators can choose who sees which content, personalizing the application learning experience.
  • Content creation in multiple languages: Training creators can build content in specific languages the workforce needs.
  • Multilingual support: Employees can quickly translate content into their preferred language.
  • Audio instructions: Step-by-step guides can be heard in different accents for all languages.
Gyde translating its help content into Spanish

D. Cultural Immersion

A huge part that decide the success of employee onboarding is when new hires to blend seamlessly with the team vibe. We've curated unique approaches to assist you in achieving this.

13. Fun Employee Onboarding Ideas

  1. Virtual Coffee Hangouts: In-office employees can have coffee breaks that lets them vibe. For remote hires, there are virtual option such as jumping on Microsoft Teams or Zoom call, and let newbies have a virtual coffee break! It's the perfect chance for them to get to know everyone in a laid-back setting.
  2. Virtual Bingo with a Twist: Create a bingo card with squares containing fun facts like "Has a pet" or "Can speak another language." During bingo meetings, new hires mark off squares that apply to team members, prompting introductions and fostering a lighthearted atmosphere.  Consider a virtual leaderboard with points redeemable for small rewards
  3. Drawing Challenges: Channel the nostalgia and spontaneity of childhood activities by organizing virtual Pictionary or drawing challenges. Use online whiteboards like Miro or Sketchpad for the same. Divide the team and take turns drawing prompts for others to guess.  This playful exercise encourages teamwork and breaks the ice.
  4. Book or Movie Clubs: Not everyone's into games, right? No problem! How about starting a virtual book or movie club? You can pick something to read or watch together and then chat about it online. It's like our very own mini virtual book club!

14. Assign Cross-Functional Projects

Cross-functional projects bring together people from various departments. This exposes new hires to different work styles, communication approaches, and priorities across the organization.

New hires will learn how to navigate inter-team dynamics and build trust with people outside their immediate circle.

15. Celebrate Diversity

By encouraging new hires to share their backgrounds and perspectives, you're opening a window into different cultures for everyone in the organization. As people share their stories, they might find common ground and unexpected connections.

Imagine a new team member from a different country shares a traditional dish from their culture at a potluck lunch. This can be a springboard for conversations about their heritage, traditions, and even customs around food.

16. Explore Impact Groups OR Employee Resource Group (ERG)

Impact Groups are employee-led groups dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion within a company.  These groups, formally recognized and supported by the organization, provide a space for colleagues to connect around shared backgrounds, interests, or goals.

By investing in impact groups, you create a win-win situation for both your employees and your organization. Active participation in these groups showcases leadership potential among underrepresented groups and shows your organization's culture thrives on the collective power of a diverse workforce.

17. Lead by Example

Lastly, a critical concept to remember: walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Training managers, HR folks, L&D leaders – everyone involved in onboarding – should embody the company's values and cultural norms through their actions and behaviors.

This sets the tone for how new hires will experience and engage with the company culture.

And yes, there's a bonus tip: Create a special channel on Slack or Teams as a team-building activity and share random stuff. Because, at the end of the day, virtual onboarding might take extra efforts but it'll be all worth it when your new hires will have those little moments of connection, isn’t it?

E. Assessment and Continuous Improvement

This is a great approach to assess a new hire's alignment with company values! Here's how you can strengthen it further:

18. Have A Test Structure

  • Focus on Behaviors: Instead of just asking about values, ask for specific examples of how they demonstrated those values during onboarding. This provides more concrete evidence of alignment.
  • Open-Ended Questions: Use open-ended questions that encourage elaboration. For example, "Tell me about a situation where you had to collaborate with a teammate. How did you demonstrate teamwork?"
  • Variety of Scenarios: Include questions that address different aspects of the company values. Look for common threads across different feedback channels. Are there specific tasks or information new hires consistently felt unprepared for?

19. Observe and Evaluate

  • Ongoing Observation: Integrate observation throughout the onboarding period, not just after one month. Look for consistent behavior that reflects company values.
  • Feedback from Others: Collect feedback from team members about the new hire's interactions, collaboration style, and overall cultural fit.
  • Categorize feedback: Group feedback into positive aspects, areas for improvement, and suggestions for new additions.
  • Informal Interactions: Pay attention to participation in team lunches, social events, or casual chats. These can reveal a lot about a person's cultural fit.

20. Address Disconnect

  • Early Intervention: If a disconnect is identified, address it early. Provide coaching or mentorship to help the new hire adjust to the company culture.
  • Open Communication: Have open and honest conversations about expectations and cultural fit.
  • Prioritize improvements: Focus on addressing the most common pain points and areas with the biggest impact.

F. The First 90 Days

21. Take Feedback From the New Hire

Schedule periodic one-on-one meetings with the new recruit to touch base. During these sessions, actively seek their input on the onboarding process thus far and inquire about any additional support they may require.

Prioritize their comfort and promptly implement their feedback.

22. Set OKRs (Objectives and Key Results)

These are the cornerstone for goal alignment and engagement, famously used by industry leaders like Google. This structured system promotes measurable objectives and key results, driving accountability and success.

For example, If the Objective is Accelerate Onboarding

  • KR1: Reduce average time to productivity by X%.
  • KR2: Achieve X% completion rate for required training modules within the first month.

Regular review and adjustment of OKRs based on feedback and performance metrics are essential to ensure continuous improvement in the employee onboarding process.

24. Emphasize on Employee Development Plan

Develop a personalized growth blueprint that nurtures individual abilities while addressing developmental areas. Allocate resources towards their ongoing education, including access to pertinent courses, personalized coaching sessions, and other learning initiatives.

By investing in their professional development, we foster loyalty and underscore the organization's commitment to their growth and success.

Source: Tweet on X

25. Master Probation Management

Implement a structured probation management process, offering support and guidance to new hires as they acclimate to their roles.

Communicate the outcome of the probationary period clearly and professionally. Celebrate their success and discuss future goals if the employee's employment is confirmed. If termination is necessary, handle the process with sensitivity and professionalism, providing clear reasons and support as needed.

26. Discuss Expectations on Regular Intervals

Maintain open communication channels to discuss company expectations regularly. This dialogue fosters alignment, motivation, and a shared sense of purpose, driving collective success.

27. Celebrate Milestones

Recognize and celebrate early wins and milestones, stimulating a culture of achievement and a sense of supportive community. Marking the first-year anniversary is a testament to both individual and organizational success.

Use project management tools like Trello or Asana to track progress and ensure accountability.

28. New Hire (Social Media) Announcements

Introduce new hires on the company's LinkedIn page, showcasing their talents and contributions to a broader audience. This not only boosts morale but also enhances the company's brand reputation.

G. Technology and Tools

We’ve already explored strategies like implementing a DAP and providing role-specific training for application onboarding. Now, let's understand the unique impact that tools and technology have on the daily operations of new team members and discover additional ways to simplify software onboarding.

Let's take a closer look at this facet.

29.  Perform Application Specific Needs Assessment

This is all about understanding what new hires need to learn within an application. Don't waste time training them on every feature of an application they'll never use. Instead, identify the specific software processes crucial to their roles.

For example, you hire a junior marketing analyst. Instead of training them on every feature of your CRM software, train them only on basic features like generating simple reports and tracking campaign performance, unlike a senior analyst who would need advanced training.

30. Try Multi-Faceted Onboarding:

Effective onboarding combines different learning methods. You can try a blended learning approach for software onboarding and see its positive outcomes impact your new hire's digital skills. It can be a mix of the following:

  • Formal Training: Structured sessions can be instructor-led, online modules, or video tutorials. They provide a solid foundation in the software's core functionalities.
  • Hands-on Practice: Balance theory with practical exercises. Let new hires experiment in a safe, test environment. This allows them to solidify their understanding by applying their knowledge to real-world scenarios.

31. Provide Ongoing Support:

Learning doesn't stop after software onboarding. Create a central repository of information for new hire's ongoing reference, such as:

  • FAQs: Provide a collection of frequently asked questions that can address common roadblocks new hires might encounter.
  • Discussion Forum: Create a platform for employees to ask questions, share knowledge, and learn from each other. This cultivates collaboration.
  • Virtual Assistants: Give your new hires access to real-time virtual assistants by answering basic questions first and only escalating tough questions later.

Bonus Tip: Leverage Contextual Help

When people are learning how to use digital tools, it's smart to give them help that fits exactly what they're doing. Instead of making them search for answers, the help comes to them right in the app they're using.

For example, if someone needs to view specific customer details on Salesforce, a tool like Gyde jumps in to show them what to do step by step. This saves new hires from hunting for help outside the app, so they can stay focused and get stuff done faster.

Gyde integrated on the Salesforce, guiding through audio-visual walkthrough

Simplify New Hire’s Software Onboarding with a Digital Adoption Platform (DAP)

As we wrap up exploring about employee onboarding’s best practices, you may have observed one standout strategy. The integration of a digital adoption platform (DAP) for better software onboarding.

When ensuring that employees start off on the right track with minimal support ticket escalations for the applications they're learning, embracing a DAP like Gyde is highly recommended.

Gyde - DAP supports your new hires by providing interactive walkthroughs and on-demand assistance. This helps them to navigate new software with confidence and ease. It also accelerates their self-service capabilities.

Gyde goes beyond onboarding to deliver additional benefits:

  • Fewer support tickets: Gyde's contextual help features allow new hires to find answers to their questions quickly and easily within the application, reducing the burden on your IT support team.
  • Faster return on investment (ROI) for your applications: When employees can get up and running on your applications quickly, they become more productive. This translates to a quicker ROI for the software you've purchased.
  • Increased Employee Experience & Productivity: By offering just-in-time learning, Gyde helps new hires master software features quickly. Then, employees feel more confident and capable, boosting their overall experience.

Take a free demo and experience how Gyde's DAP can streamline your application onboarding process and empower your new hires to succeed from day one.


What is the onboarding best practices checklist?

An effective onboarding checklist can be broken down into three key phases:

  • Pre-boarding: Welcome email, paperwork, logistics, introductions
  • First day/week: Welcome, orientation, training, goal setting
  • Ongoing: Check-ins, mentorship, feedback

What is an employee onboarding strategy?

An onboarding strategy is a well-defined plan to smoothly integrate new hires into your company culture, role, and overall work environment. It goes beyond the first day and aims for long-term success.  An effective strategy can:

  • Boost employee engagement and retention
  • Increase productivity
  • Help new hires feel welcome and valued

Think of it as a roadmap for new hires to become successful members of your team.

What are the 5 C's of onboarding?

The "5 C's" of onboarding represent a framework developed by HR professionals and experts to guide effective onboarding practices:

  • Compliance: Ensuring understanding of legal requirements and company policies.
  • Clarification: Providing clear job expectations and objectives.
  • Culture: Introducing organizational values and work culture.
  • Connection: Establishing relationships for support and belonging.
  • Contribution: Empowering new employees to make meaningful contributions.