Employee Onboarding at it’s Best: A Step-by-Step Guide

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The Importance of Employee Onboarding

Onboarding is a process by which organizations welcome new joiners within their new role. An adequate onboarding experience spans from the first day until the first full year in their new role, considering the following:


As soon as the new employee is hired and before the start of employment, this is where HR managers lay down the foundation of the onboarding experience, ensuring an engaging environment and necessary items are ready to receive the new recruit.


Spanning over the period of the first day of employment up until the first full year, where HR managers welcome new joiners to the team and ensure the effective adoption of the company’s spirit and values.

First day of onboarding

Where HR managers welcome the new joiners and focus on the orientation process.

First week of onboarding

Where team managers and HR managers cover all the basics that the new joiners will need to know to properly fulfill their employment agreement.

Joining a new company can be as nerve racking as it can be exciting, and being the “new person” is never easy—even when the career opportunity is stellar. So, to ensure a seamless integration and positive start, hiring managers should map out a thorough onboarding checklist.

There are important elements to consider at each stage when planning an onboarding experience that is both personalized and interactive. For a more detailed overview on the different stages of onboarding, read our previous blog: 4 Essential Onboarding Checklists for New Employees.

Creating a positive onboarding experience is crucial, as research has shown that first impressions go a long way. In fact, new employees who have experienced a structured and thoughtful onboarding experience were 58% more likely to stay within the organization after 3 years. A strong integration experience during the early stages of employment causes a positive domino effect, leading to 62% higher productivity levels and 50% new hire retention.


of new employees are more likely to stay within the organization after 3 years with a structured and thoughtful onboarding experience


of new hire retention with a strong integration experience during the early stages of employment

COVID-19 and the Remote Onboarding Process

With the coronavirus pandemic, remote work has become the new norm as a result of cutting down on direct human interactions within the workplace. As such, hiring managers have had to adapt to this new reality and adjust not only their approach to recruiting and interviewing, but their onboarding experiences as well.

Onboarding goes beyond lists and forms, as we saw in our Ultimate Guide to Successful Onboarding. Great onboarding is about creating an experience—making new joiners feel welcomed, immersing them in the company spirit and fostering real connections. As working from home can feel isolating or even overwhelming at times, hiring managers now have the responsibility of implementing creative approaches within the onboarding experience in order to fill the gaps where lack of human contact can affect work dynamics.

Remote onboarding involves adapting several key elements of the standard in-person onboarding experience to new norms. This includes:

  • Building engagement with new joiners by setting up ahead of time an organized two-week agenda to take place at the start of onboarding, ensuring several check-ins and assigning mentors.
  • Implementing new communication tools and technologies by adopting softwares and apps such as Zoom, Google Meet or Microsoft Teams, and even integrating AR experiences when it comes to training and tutorials.
  • Establishing strong relationships with the rest of the team by assigning an e-buddy and organizing remote social activities, such as virtual cocktail hours or online team building trivia games.

To read more on what to consider for remote onboarding, read our latest blog: Hiring From Home: Onboarding New Employees for the New Normal.

A New, Easy Solution for HR Managers

By now, we understand the importance of a collaborative onboarding experience and the positive effects this can have on a company’s bottom line. As onboarding has several stages and involves many elements, the preparation of comprehensive onboarding experiences can be lengthy and time consuming.

It can often feel like a full-time project, as HR managers allocate a good chunk of their time in order to plan and execute this successfully. Onboarding templates and checklists can help, but there is always more than meets the eye.

It’s not easy to find a turnkey solution for a problem that requires personalization. Even under the same roof, a company can host a multitude of different jobs with different skills and aptitude requirements, influencing the types of onboarding experiences needed.

This is where Softstart comes in.

Part of the GSoft family and from the makers of Officevibe, Softstart is a collaborative platform that helps make every first day the best first day. Softstart connects new joiners to the people, knowledge, tools and spirit that makes your company what it is. This means that parties from both sides—managers and new joiners—can participate in creating dynamic and memorable onboarding experiences, resulting in higher levels of performance, engagement and retention all around.

Softstart: A Step-by-Step Guide to Making Onboarding Your Strongest Asset

Preparation and Collaboration

It takes a team to build a village and it’s no different when onboarding new joiners. Preparing onboarding experiences requires the collaboration of several parties—such as HR managers, managers, and even key executives—in order to bring a variety of perspectives, knowledge and objectivity, ensuring all bases are covered to effectively onboard and integrate a new joiner within the company.

Softstart is an easy to use platform, with onboarding templates and activities, where members of an organization can come together and combine expertises in order to build a comprehensive onboarding experience.

Promoting Stronger Connections

First impressions can last a lifetime, which is why building positive relationships from the get-go and maintaining these connections is crucial for long-term employee engagement. To accommodate remote onboarding experiences, managers have to be more hands-on and set up a core support system to onboard new joiners from home. As we have seen in our earlier blog, Remote Onboarding for New Hires: The New Normal, assigning other employees to connect with new joiners during the first year is essential in making up for the loss of proximity.

With the help of Softstart, managers can easily assign and connect parties with each other and through different interactive activities. TalentLyft also provides additional inspirations for work-from-home employee engagement ideas.

Track, Review and Adjust

Each passing year brings a set of new challenges. Employee expectations have changed over the years and will continue to evolve as the world continues to navigate through COVID-19. As such, it’s safe to say that anyone’s onboarding approach should be continuously reviewed, evaluated and adjusted in order to fit the changing realities of potential candidates and new joiners. It is also important to take into account that, regardless of the context of current times, each employee has a unique working pattern and discipline. Therefore, a truly great onboarding experience is one tailored to the individual.

Softstart answers to this, offering a system where onboarders and onboardees can review the onboarding experience and apply feedback, enabling managers to apply appropriate adjustments in real time.

Integrated Support

Whether it is a manager’s first or tenth time preparing an onboarding experience, there will always be new challenges to face and new tricks to learn. Having the right support when planning the beginning stages can be extremely helpful and time-saving.

That’s why Softstart looks to simplify the process by offering inspirations of onboarding templates and activities. Templates offer a core foundation to build upon and implement personalized onboarding experience.

Follow up

A common mistake that occurs is neglecting to follow up throughout the onboarding experience once a plan is set up and started. This prevents managers to tweak and adjust onboarding experiences along the way. Regular check-ins serve as moments where managers can evaluate the progression that new joiners are making while onboarding, promoting an interactive and dynamic approach to training, and help better guide new joiners through each step by answering any questions they might have.

Softstart allows users to keep track of a new joiner’s progression and support them accordingly.

In a nutshell, Softstart is a one-stop-shop solution for building full and genuine onboarding experiences. It is an interactive and collaborative easy-to-use onboarding platform. The application can be shared between several parties within a business, allowing different collaborators to work together to create comprehensive yet cohesive personalized onboarding experiences for new joiners. The tool also allows managers to make changes in real time with the help of tracking.

Basically, when it comes to onboarding, Softstart ensures a strong start.