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How Long Should Employee Onboarding Take

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3 min read

5 Ways to Simplify the Onboarding Process

Office setting with lots of cubicles Managing an active HR office is demanding work on a typical day. When a new employee arrives for orientation, an already-hectic day gets a bit busier. So how can you simplify the onboarding process to handle these transitions with greater ease?

There are plenty of ways to set yourself up for success before the new employee walks in the door for their first day. A consistent routine ensures that you and your team members are ready and organized for each new worker.

Below, we’ll dive into:

1. Designing a collaborative onboarding process

2. Prepping your paperwork

3. Communicating your process with the team

4. Evolving as you go

5. Utilizing onboarding software

6. Tips for simplifying your schedule


It’s all about finding a system that works for your organization and cutting out the typical wave of prep work before each new recruit. By building a set onboarding process, you can save your team both time and energy without rebuilding the wheel each time.


1. Collaborate on a System

To begin, turn to your team for ideas. The onboarding process is a collaborative effort. Each member of your team—and often many department heads—play a role throughout the orientation day. If you don’t have a large human resources department, collect information from your hiring managers or those typically in charge of welcoming new employees.

Determine which piece of the puzzle each person will supply when a new hire comes on board. Consider who will facilitate different portions of training and orientation. For example, designate who will print and organize a welcome packet, who will be responsible for arranging the new hire’s desk and IT needs and who will greet and support the employee on their first day.


2. Prepare Your Paperwork

Compliance and organization are top priorities when a new hire starts on their first day. It’s common to have a very limited window of time to catch their attention for these concentrated tasks. However, starting off with tax, payroll and benefits information will put both you and the new employee at ease. This reassures the person that you’re on top of your game and their contract will be honored without error.

Create an onboarding filing system with pre-printed packets of company policy information and benefits information at the ready. Include an onboarding paperwork checklist at the front of each folder if there are any additional forms to print for each specific employee before they arrive.

This system is particularly helpful if you are asked to onboard a new employee last minute or if you need to instruct a team member on prepping on their own without your assistance.


3. Set the Standard

Once you’ve determined both the standard orientation and paperwork filing system for new hires, inform all relevant managers and support staff of the plan. Leave room for flexibility in your schedule, as each department will have its own training needs. This structure simply provides a starting point for the onboarding experience.

Communicating your orientation plan also involves more members of the team. When everyone is made aware of the set onboarding structure, they can plan their own department training accordingly. Your team members will also know how to best support you during the transition, especially when you require department-specific information. 


4. Learn as You Go

If an onboarding system is a new concept for your department, remain open to changes as you progress. Each orientation brings valuable lessons about what works and what doesn’t. After a wave of new employees arrives, check in with your team and the managers involved in orientation to see how the process can be streamlined further.

Go a step further and speak with the new employee several weeks after their start. Was there information they felt was skimmed over? Did they stay engaged throughout the onboarding schedule? Where can you improve? This also encourages an ongoing conversation with the new employee and HR after orientation wraps up.


5. Utilize Onboarding Software

With today’s technology, there’s no need to stick to old paper-based methods when onboarding an employee. Utilize top onboarding software to digitize all form completion, ensure compliance and guarantee all data is backed up via Cloud storage.

Online onboarding cuts down on human error during the transfer process or and keeps you in the know about the employee’s progress as they complete the forms. In addition to saving time and cutting down the risk of error, onboarding software also sets an eco-friendly standard on the employee’s first day.


Tips for Simplifying Your Onboarding Schedule

When it comes to orientation itself, break up the day into manageable pieces that benefit both you and the new employee. Training for a new position can feel overwhelming for a new recruit; it is a lot of information to take in at once. For example, consider breaking your orientation into the following phases:

  • Welcome breakfast and introduction to company culture
  • Tour of the office and facilities
  • Paperwork overview and time for independent completion of forms
  • Benefits package presentation
  • Vacation and holiday policies
  • Introductions to department heads and important team members
  • IT orientation


This varied schedule combines a mixture of lecture-based instruction and independent time to focus on paperwork. The new employee can settle into the space and learn the layout of the office. Some managers may prefer planning a welcome lunch or breakfast to break up the formal part of the day as well. Once you’ve determined your ideal onboarding schedule, arrange documents and files in a way that simplifies prep for each new employee.


Human Resources provides a foundation for a positive employee experience as well as workplace compliance. There is enough on an HR manager’s schedule on any given day, new employee or not. By setting a standard for your onboarding process, you can simplify your process for your team with predictability and care.

If you'd like more detailed steps on creating a simple onboarding program we break it down even more over here.

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