Four Features of the Best Employee Onboarding Journeys

Four Features of the Best Employee Onboarding Journeys

Most organizations have an onboarding process in place but that generally only covers formal aspects such as documentation or IT-related tasks.  There is always an air of awkwardness for the new hire in the first few weeks and this leads to disengagement. How can we prevent outcomes like this? The answer is in the shift from thinking of onboarding as a formal event to a holistic integrative process. While most organizations don’t consider onboarding having any significance beyond forms, the companies that have the best employee ratings mindfully orchestrate the entire experience so it can be smooth and hassle-free.

But what exactly does mindfully orchestrating mean? It means that every moment in the onboarding process has been planned methodiously with the intention of helping the employee. The best way to design such experiences for all new hires is to take a step back, create a journey map of your employee onboarding processes. While mapping your process, you can document existing ones and include effective initiatives to achieve specific goals. Learning from teams with highly rated employee experiences, here are 4 features to include in your onboarding journeys.

  • Proactive Communication

In the shift of the mindset of thinking of onboarding as a holistic integrative process, it is important to start the onboarding process as early as possible. Depending on the company, it can start anywhere from a month or a few weeks prior to the start date.

As the saying goes, first impressions are the best impressions. So, consider how delight can be added in that first touchpoint. A recent trending idea is to have the hiring manager give a personal call to congratulate the new hire.

 As the start date gets closer, crucial information that will be helpful on the first day such as a new employee's first-day checklist, what to bring, what to wear, and such can be shared. This will make the new hire feel more prepared and confident for the first day. 

  • Engaging Orientation

It is important to differentiate and understand orientation as a specific component that constitutes only a small portion of the holistic onboarding process. Ensuring that the new hire feels welcomed on certain important milestones such as the first day has proven to boost confidence and productivity.  Try to create a well-rounded orientation that includes elements such as a tour of the office premises, overview of company missions and goals, introduction to the tools and equipment they will use such as the computer, email, and applications. Connecting leadership with the new hire cohort can create a powerful motivational effect as well.

With the onset of remote work, it is important to translate the same level of “fun”  and motivation virtually as well. Here are some effective ice breaker ideas for your next virtual orientation

  • Personalized Role-Based onboarding process

In large companies, as the HR team onboards thousands of employees over the course of a year, it is important that the journey feels personalized and not mechanical. A new executive leader, as well as an intern, should have their onboarding experiences relevant to their respective role with the same level of engagement.

Since onboarding is a team sport, the HR team can leverage the expertise of the hiring manager to craft an in-depth plan based on the role’s requirements. This plan could involve identifying a buddy or a mentor, learning and development goals etc

  • Collecting feedback

As you make changes in your onboarding process, getting quality feedback from your employees will allow the iterative cycle to continue to ensure that the onboarding program progressively makes improvements over time. eNPS is a useful methodology that leverages a single question to measure new hire ambassadorship.

General onboarding feedback surveys can be initiated to get quality feedback from your new hires. Specific areas such as manager effectiveness, orientation experience or benefits enrollment can be targeted and measured to compare. It is also important to provide a space for anonymous comments to get more candid feedback. 


The four features help companies move towards thinking of onboarding in a more holistic way. They cover different parts of the onboarding journey with the goal of ensuring the new hire feels valued to stay long-term with the organization and hence the HR team is able to successfully achieve the outcome of increasing employee retention and create more ambassadors.


At Squadsy, we have always been glad to develop new tools and software that helps  HR teams create an efficient and engaging onboarding process. Reach out to our team to get started!

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