Guide to building the best employee onboarding process

Table of contents

An employee onboarding process can make or break employee retention at a business. According to Glassdoor, employee retention is improved by 82% at companies with the best employee onboarding processes.

The best onboarding processes build excitement for employment and encourage engagement in job roles. Positive workplace environments develop productive working environments and drive growth.

Valuable resources can be wasted on replacing job roles on a regular basis. Productivity is dampened by initial training and a changing workplace. It’s key to ensure that your employees want to remain in their job and keep retention numbers up.

Ensure that you are providing your newest employees with all of the tools that they need to succeed. Here’s our guide to building the best employee onboarding process for your business.



Onboarding begins before a hiring decision is even made. During the application process, your business is on display. While you assess your candidates, your candidates are assessing your company and its culture. 

Employees have more control over their choice of jobs than ever before. Job roles, hours and the companies need to suit them, or they will happily look elsewhere. A candidate’s time is just as important as a recruiters’, so take the time to sell applicants on your company.

Your application process needs to be the face of your company. It’s important to demonstrate good organisation and communication skills. You should also show that you value your staff and their time. There are a few areas that you should optimise during the application process for your new role. 

Job advertisement

Take the time to really consider your job specification. You should be aiming to answer as many potential candidate questions as possible. This is an opportunity to filter out irrelevant candidates, and really focus on the ones that suit the role.

Don’t be afraid to list salary and other benefits. Your candidates will want to know this information. Staff are people, and they deserve to be rewarded for their work. Salary expectations are key to feeling valued at an organisation.


This will be the first time that a candidate enters their potential workplace, so make a good impression. Ensure that you give an informative tour, and show them where they will be working. 

You could introduce them to their potential new team, and their individual workspace. Make candidates feel welcome and comfortable, to make the interview more enjoyable. A positive interview experience plays an important part in your candidates’ decision making.

Contract negotiations and pre-onboarding

Now that you’ve made a decision, you need to prepare your new employee. This stage is all about building excitement, and demonstrating that you value your new hire. You also need to make their transition as smooth as possible. The new staff member’s experience as an employee begins here, so ensure it’s positive.

Contract discussions

Some people like negotiations and others are stressed by them. It’s likely that your candidate is already uncomfortable bringing up their needs. But it’s important to listen and understand what the employee needs to be successful. Sometimes this might mean a flexible working policy, flexibility with hours or changes to the benefits package. It’s important to take the time to listen and adapt if you think they’re the right fit. 

It’s important to understand that a happy employee is a productive employee. They need to be as happy outside of work as they are at work. Try to be as accommodating as possible in salary discussions and workplace negotiations. This will make your new hire feel valued, right from the beginning.

Working materials 

Your new hire will need access to your company systems. If they are flexible workers or remote workers, you might also need to provide a laptop or other computing supplies. 

Don’t delay speaking to HR about your new hire. Give yourself plenty of time to get emails, logins, and profiles set up.

Your new employee should feel prioritised. Setting up new accounts and email systems will also generate excitement for their new role. This is especially important if your new hire will be working remotely. All of these systems will need to be in place before their first day. 


Your new staff member is likely to have questions between the day they accepted an offer and their first day. Be as transparent as possible, and keep an open line of communication.

Ensure that they feel familiar with you, or other staff members, before they start at your company. They should know who their manager is, and where to ask questions. Open and clear communication will benefit your new hire, and make them feel welcome.

Overview of training 

If possible, let your new hire get early access to some of your online training. At the very least, you want to let them understand what will be expected of them through the onboarding process and to give them an overview of the process. But ideally, your online training will be built in such a way that they can even start some of the modules before day one! 


First day

The first day of a new job can be nerve-wracking. As their new employer, you should ensure that your new staff member is comfortable. Ensure that everything is set up and ready for the new employee, and their team is ready to welcome them.


Avoid overloading the new employee on their first day. Spend some time settling them in. You may wish to plan a tour of the building or a team welcome meeting. 

Plan some time to go over admin, too. This may be physically signing a contract, supplying them with a handbook, or other important tasks. It’s important to get this done quickly, and will give your new employee something simple to focus on. They will have plenty of time to get work done, so allow them to take some time to get settled in.


A schedule, especially for their first day or week, will help them to plan their time and ease any uncertainty. Ensure that you have scheduled their first day. 

This could include individual or group meetings to introduce themselves, time for an assignment, or admin time. Make your expectations for their first day very clear. 


You may wish to assign a piece of work to settle your new employee into the flow of work. Try to avoid anything too complicated, as they will likely already feel overwhelmed. However, it’s beneficial to provide them with something to focus on. They can demonstrate their value on their first day.

Virtual day one

A virtual first day is slightly different. Here you need the right set of tools to connect the new employee with their new colleagues. Think about tools that can facilitate the sort of water cooler chat that occurs in an office. Schedule one on ones with the new hire and key team members, and make sure that you have robust online training in place. 

Remote onboarding can be challenging, that’s why online training is critical. If you look at the top Software Companies from Salesforce’s Trailhead to Hubspot’s academy, they all offer comprehensive, engaging and fun online training. If you are onboarding remotely, you need an onboarding approach akin to this. Otherwise, you risk burning out the new team member or just losing them with too much information. 


The best employee onboarding processes don’t stop after an employee’s first day or week. Onboarding should be ongoing. Your employees continue to need support throughout their career with your company. Ensure that you are providing them with all the resources that they need to improve.


Progress requires training. While new employees will need work-based training for their new role, existing employees can benefit too.

Digital experiences can provide a platform for training on company culture, regulations and more. Always encourage employees to learn more. They should be able to access further training around their job role, or progressive training for promotion. 

Training increases engagement, and employees feel valued by employers who offer opportunities for promotion. Ensure that your hires have these opportunities within your company, or they may look elsewhere.


Encourage your employees, especially recent hires, to provide feedback on their experience. The best employee onboarding processes take time to develop and improve. With each new set of employees, consider building surveys or one to one time to discuss. 

The best onboarding processes increase employee engagement and retention. Ensure that your employees are happy in their workplace, and have room to communicate concerns. This will increase loyalty and productivity within the organisation. 

At BAD, we believe that training and upskilling is key to employee and company development. We generate digital experiences to develop new hires and existing employees. Contact us today to discuss your training needs.

Get the BAD bits

Download our behavioural science insights to help you design better digital experiences.