What are the stages of onboarding?

Laura Parker
Jan 2024

Embarking on a new job can feel like setting sail on uncharted waters. For employees, this journey is guided by the onboarding process, a critical voyage that ensures they are ready to navigate the challenges ahead. The 5 stages of onboarding provide a structured map for this journey, ensuring no one is left adrift. Understanding what are the stages of onboarding for employees is not just a matter of paperwork; it’s about integrating new crew members into the ship’s rhythm, helping them understand their role, the company culture, and the tools at their disposal. This article dives deep into these stages, illuminating each step to ensure a smooth sail for both the employee and the organization.

Man in suite with purple tie holding and iPad for onboarding

What are the five key steps in order of the onboarding process

The five key steps of the onboarding process—pre-boarding, orientation, role-specific training, integration, and ongoing support—are essential for seamlessly welcoming new employees into an organization. Let’s delve into each of these employee onboarding stages.

  • Pre-Boarding: Engagement begins before the first day. Pre-boarding sets the stage for a smooth entry, dealing with paperwork and initial communications.
  • Orientation: The initial days focus on orienting new hires with company culture, policies, and their specific role, setting a positive and informative tone.
  • Role-Specific Training: Tailored training in this stage equips new employees with the necessary skills and knowledge for their specific job functions.
  • Integration: Building connections within the team is crucial. This stage emphasizes the importance of understanding team dynamics and fostering a sense of belonging.
  • Ongoing Support and Feedback: Continuous support and feedback from supervisors and colleagues are vital for the employee’s growth and adjustment within the company.

Understanding and effectively implementing these stages can transform the onboarding experience, ensuring new hires are not only welcomed but also prepared and motivated for their roles in the company.

What are the key stages of the onboarding process

The onboarding journey, while unique to each organization, universally revolves around several key stages. These key stages of the onboarding process are instrumental in fostering a smooth transition for new employees.

  • Welcome and Introduction: Setting the right tone from the start, this stage involves a warm welcome and an introduction to the company’s culture, ensuring a positive first impression.
  • Training and Development: Here, new hires are equipped with the skills and knowledge specific to their roles, an essential step in building their confidence and capabilities.
  • Mentoring and Networking: By fostering connections through mentoring and networking opportunities, this stage enhances the new employee’s understanding and integration into the company.
  • Performance Management: Regular performance reviews and goal-setting align the employee’s contributions with the company’s objectives, a vital step in their professional development.
  • Feedback and Adaptation>: The final stage involves continuously refining the onboarding process based on feedback, ensuring its effectiveness and adaptability to meet both the employee’s and the organization’s evolving needs.

Incorporating these 5 stages of onboarding into a company’s onboarding strategy can significantly improve the new hire experience, leading to higher engagement and productivity levels.

What are the levels of onboarding

Understanding the levels of onboarding is critical for tailoring experiences to various roles within an organization, ensuring that each new hire, irrespective of their position, is adequately prepared and feels valued.

  • Entry-Level Onboarding: This level focuses on welcoming individuals who are starting their career journey. It includes essential training, an introduction to company culture, and building foundational professional skills.
  • Mid-Level Onboarding: Aimed at employees with some professional experience, this stage involves more in-depth, role-specific training and understanding departmental objectives. It also starts fostering leadership and managerial skills.
  • Senior-Level Onboarding: For those in higher management roles, this level delves into strategic orientation, leadership training, and a comprehensive understanding of the company’s long-term goals and vision.
  • Executive Onboarding: Tailored for top-tier management, this stage is critical for integrating key decision-makers. It encompasses a thorough insight into the company’s strategic directions, operations, and decision-making processes.
  • Specialized Roles Onboarding: Focused on roles that require unique technical or niche skills, this level of onboarding is intensely specialized, ensuring that these individuals are well-integrated into their specific teams or projects.

Identifying and effectively implementing these levels of onboarding is a crucial part of answering what are the stages of onboarding for employees. It ensures a tailored, inclusive, and comprehensive onboarding experience across the board.

Which phase of onboarding should supervisors provide feedback

Feedback is a vital component of the onboarding process, and supervisors play a pivotal role in this. Identifying which phase of onboarding supervisors should provide feedback can significantly enhance the effectiveness of this process.

  • After Orientation: Post-orientation is a crucial time for supervisors to provide initial feedback. It helps in addressing any immediate questions or concerns the new hire might have and sets the stage for open communication.
  • During Role-Specific Training: As new hires undergo training for their specific roles, supervisors should offer targeted feedback. This helps in fine-tuning the training to the employee’s needs and clarifying any role-specific duties.
  • Throughout Integration: During the integration phase, continuous feedback is essential. Supervisors should monitor how well the new employee is adapting to the team and the work environment, offering guidance and support as needed.
  • Post-Training Evaluation: After the formal training period, a comprehensive evaluation provides insights into the employee’s understanding and capabilities. This is a critical time for supervisors to offer constructive feedback and set future objectives.
  • Ongoing Support Phase: Continuous feedback should be a part of the regular interaction between supervisors and new hires. This ongoing support helps in the employee’s long-term development and ensures alignment with the company’s goals.

Timely and constructive feedback from supervisors at these key moments not only enriches the onboarding experience but also serves as a practical application of what are the five onboarding stages for managers. It exemplifies how managers can actively contribute to each stage, fostering a culture of growth and continuous improvement within the organization.

Man in suite with purple tie holding and iPad for onboarding

In wrapping up, it’s clear that mastering the 5 stages of onboarding is pivotal for any organization committed to nurturing a thriving workforce. By adeptly steering through what are the stages of onboarding for employees, businesses can ensure that new hires are not just introduced to their roles but are fully integrated into the company’s culture and vision. With the right approach, supported by innovative tools like beSlick, onboarding becomes more than a process; it transforms into a journey of growth and belonging.

Elevate your onboarding process with beSlick. Discover how our platform can make each onboarding stage a step towards success for your employees.

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, Author of The Dirty Word and CEO at beSlick

Alister Esam is a successful entrepreneur and investor, having bootstrapped his fintech software business eShare to international status operating in over 40 countries and servicing 20,000 board directors, before successfully exiting to a multibillion-dollar organisation in 2018. He now invests in a variety of startups and on a global mission to make work, work.