What is Onboarding in HR?

The process of introducing a new hire to their role within an organization. The onboarding process typically begins on a new hire’s first day and covers administrative responsibilities (like signing up for a health care plan or setting up direct deposit), introductions, training, and the first several months of work as the employee gets up to speed.


Carrie’s onboarding went so smoothly – within a day she’d completed all the paperwork, and within a month she was working as efficiently as anyone on the team.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is Onboarding the same as training?Training (the process of learning the tools, systems, and processes you need to do your job successfully) is a hugely important part of the Onboarding process, but it is not the only part of the Onboarding process. Onboarding should involve as much training as is necessary to bring a new hire up to full competency, but Onboarding also includes administrative work (intake paperwork, signing up for benefits, etc), employee socialization, initial performance reviews, and anything else that integrates a new employee fully into their role at the organization.
  • How long is the typical Onboarding process?The length of an Onboarding process can vary dramatically depending on the industry, the organization, and the role itself. An entry-level retail worker may have 3 days of paperwork and training then be considered a fully integrated hire, while a mid-career office professional may go through an entire 30/60/90 day plan and have regular check-ins throughout their entire first year before the Onboarding process is considered complete. For a typical office job, experts recommend an Onboarding process that lasts between 3 months and a year, in order to ensure not only proper training, but continued support, socialization, and the meeting of performance goals.
  • What administrative work is part of Onboarding?In addition to making a new hire feel welcome and confident in their position, Onboarding also encompasses a number of administrative tasks to make sure that the company stays organized and legally compliant. These tasks can include (but are not limited to) ensuring that:
    • All government forms are properly filled out
    • The employee is properly reported to the state
    • The new hire is set up with the payroll system
    • The new hire has selected benefits plans
    • The employee has received proper documents needed for success such as the Employee Handbook, an org chart, and security access info.
  • What makes a good Onboarding process?A good Onboarding process should not only cover the administrative tasks outlined above, but also provide full training, a proper introduction to the office and the new hire’s coworkers, regular performance checkins with the hiring manager, a clear road map for what success looks like in their first month, 3 months, and year at the job, and opportunities for new hires to integrate socially with the rest of the staff. In short, the Onboarding process should include anything a new hire needs to be legally recognized, confident, and like a real member of the team.


The workplace is evolving faster than ever before thanks to new HR solutions, rapidly developing technology, ever-present digital security threats, and more, and you need a partner that will help your organization stay agile and on top of the moment.

From strategic talent management to the best onboarding technology, Rival offers secure platforms that enable people to thrive in a changing workplace. Contact Rival today to talk to an expert to see how we can help you attract the best talent and keep them on board and performing up to your expectations.


Rival goes beyond traditional talent management to help our clients attract, retain, and align people to their business.