What should an onboarding process include?

Laura Parker
Jan 2024

Welcome to the tightrope of business success: employee onboarding. We’re not just talking about a handshake and a quick office tour. Oh no, we’re diving into what makes an employee onboarding process the cornerstone of effective business management. The term might sound formal, but its onboarding process meaning goes beyond merely filling out forms. It’s about creating a cohesive and enriching experience that sets the stage for future accomplishments.


Post it note on a note book "hell I am... onboarding" with three coloured pens

What are the 4 Cs of employee onboarding

Let’s peel back the layers of an employee onboarding process to reveal its core—the 4 Cs: Compliance, Clarification, Culture, and Connection. Understanding these four fundamental elements is like having the blueprint to a well-constructed building. Here’s how:

  1. Compliance: This isn’t just a box-ticking exercise. Compliance ensures that newcomers understand their legal and ethical responsibilities within the organization.
  2. Clarification: Picture this as your job’s FAQ section. It leaves no stone unturned in ensuring that new hires know their roles, responsibilities, and how they contribute to the larger mission.
  3. Culture: This goes beyond bean bags and ping-pong tables. Culture encompasses the company’s values and shared vision, creating an environment that resonates with everyone.
  4. Connection: Think of it as the organization’s social fabric. Connection is what cultivates meaningful relationships among team members, weaving them into a cohesive unit.
Master these 4Cs, and you’re well on your way to crafting a resilient employee onboarding process that aligns with your company’s values and vision.

What is included in onboarding process

In crafting an effective onboarding process, every component plays a critical role. Missing even one aspect can lead to an incomplete and ineffective experience. Let’s delve into the essential elements that make up a comprehensive onboarding program:

  • Orientation: The initial introduction to the company, its culture, and operations. This is where new hires get their first impression and learn about the basics that govern their work environment.
  • Training: Specialized sessions aimed at equipping new hires with the necessary skills and knowledge. These could range from mastering software tools to understanding the company’s communication protocols.
  • Documentation: The administrative part that involves collecting essential forms, contracts, and identification. All the legal and formal necessities are covered here.
  • Assessments: These are checkpoints to evaluate the progress of new hires. They help in understanding how well an employee is adapting to their role and whether the training needs any adjustments.
  • Feedback Loops: Periodic meetings are scheduled to provide a platform for new hires to express concerns or ask questions. This ensures open communication and helps in identifying any challenges early on.
  • Integration: This involves gradually incorporating the new hires into team projects and broader company initiatives. It helps them get a feel for their role in the larger scheme of things.
  • Career Pathing: Initial conversations about future growth opportunities set the stage for long-term engagement and development within the organization.

By including these seven crucial components, you’re not just ticking off items on a list; you’re building a robust onboarding process designed to fully equip and engage new hires from day one.

What is meant by onboarding process

When people ask about the onboarding process meaning, it’s easy to think it’s just about getting new employees up to speed with company policies and their job roles. However, it’s far more than that. An onboarding process serves as a structured framework that goes beyond mere introductions. Here’s a breakdown of what that entails:

  • Contextual Understanding: Employees aren’t just filling a seat; they’re contributing to a broader mission. The onboarding process helps them understand their role within the company’s overall objectives.
  • Skill Development: It isn’t merely about the first week or month. A comprehensive onboarding process provides continuous learning opportunities to equip employees for long-term success.
  • Compliance and Ethics: Beyond the basics, the onboarding process meaning also includes ensuring that new hires are well-versed in the company’s rules, policies, and ethical guidelines. This establishes a compliant and respectful work environment.
  • Culture Assimilation: This aspect helps new hires to integrate into the company’s culture smoothly, understanding its values, norms, and expected behaviors.
  • Performance Metrics: To gauge progress, clear performance metrics are set. These serve as both a goal and a benchmark for further development.

By covering these elements, the onboarding process meaning is transformed from a simple orientation to a multifaceted framework that sets new hires up for success, both immediately and in the long term.

Person wearing blue shirt with oone hand on laptop keyboard. Mobile phone on desk

What documents are required during onboarding

Starting a new job is more than a pivotal moment in your career; it also sets in motion a set of crucial administrative steps. Here’s a tailored list of essential documents that are generally part of a sample onboarding plan for new employees:

  • Employment Contract: This crucial document outlines your roles, responsibilities, and compensation, setting the framework for your employment journey.
  • Payroll Data: This data is a linchpin for accurate tax withholdings and proper salary distribution.
  • Employee Handbook: This guidebook serves as a reservoir of the company’s policies, workplace norms, and general expectations for behavior and performance.
  • Company Playbook: This document sets out the company’s values and vision, helping to align new hires with the organizational culture from day one.
  • Employee Benefits Enrollment: This is either a set of forms or a digital platform where you can opt into various health, dental, and other organizational benefits.
  • Training Materials: These could be anything from guidelines and schedules to e-courses, and they’re generally part of a sample onboarding plan for new employees, providing a roadmap for initial training.

By incorporating all these elements into your sample onboarding plan for new employees, you establish a robust administrative foundation for an efficient onboarding process.

The Nuts and Bolts of an Effective Onboarding Process

So there you have it. We’ve broken down what an onboarding process should include, covering everything from the 4 Cs of employee onboarding to essential documents like the company playbook. It’s not just about filling out forms; it’s about crafting an experience that aligns new hires with organizational values from day one.


Ready to take your onboarding process to the next level? Embrace beSlick’s extensive template library to enhance your practices. With our intuitive tools, resources and onboarding process examples, you’re not just streamlining the onboarding process; you’re crafting a journey that welcomes new hires into a world of growth and opportunity, bolstering both their success and the success of your organization.

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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.