There are a lot of HR processes that benefit from being completed quickly, like recruiting and hiring, but the onboarding process is not one of them. The onboarding experience introduces your new employee to their role, their team and your company as a whole, so it should last beyond the first-day orientation. There are many onboarding programs that even last a year or more.

Why the Onboarding Process is Important

A great introduction is the foundation of a great relationship. Employees who are properly onboarded, who go through a well-designed process, feel more committed to the organization. According to a survey by Glassdoor:

  • 91% of employees who went through effective onboarding felt strong connectedness at work
  • 89% of employees who went through effective onboarding felt strongly integrated into their company culture
  • 49% of employees who went through effective onboarding reported contributing to their team within the first week

Employees who feel more committed, are likely to be more productive and remain with a company. An effective onboarding process can help ensure you get your ROI from recruiting and hiring costs.

How Long Should the Onboarding Process Last?

Some companies consider onboarding only to be filling out first-day paperwork (W9s, direct deposits, eVerify, etc.). That’s really not the case. According to SHRM, onboarding is a comprehensive process involving management and other employees and can last up to twelve months. That’s because the onboarding process should include a complete training program that will give new hires the confidence to do their jobs effectively, along with integrating them into your company, their teams and the overall culture.

Arcoro administrated an informal poll of 350 HR professionals across multiple industries to ask about their current hiring efforts. The poll found many companies are falling way short of 12 months, with the largest group, 35%, focusing on offering new hires one to three months onboarding. In fact, only 8% of respondents spend three months or more on onboarding and a whopping 28% only spend one day. Let’s be clear, one day of onboarding isn’t an onboarding experience, it’s an orientation.

Example of an Effective Onboarding Schedule

So, what does an effective onboarding process look like? A great onboarding program has multiple touchpoints for communication, training and overall employee support.

Here is one example of one such extended onboarding process.


Day 1 Employee completes HR paperwork, provides legal documents and receives and signs the handbook.
All technology and tools are working.
Week 1 Regular meetings with manager and team established.

Employee completes any necessary training like sexual harassment training.

Employee completes any company and culture training.

Month 1 Employee has basic training on all necessary company tools and technology as well as job-related processes and tools.

Employee and manager establish goals.

HR check-in with employee.

Month 3 Manager does 90-day check-in.

HR does 90-day check-in.

Employee is assigned any additional training or learning.

Month 6 Manager does 6-month check-in; goals are validated or adjusted.

Employee is assigned any additional training or learning.

HR does 6-month check-in.

Month 12 Final formal HR check-in.

First annual performance evaluation, including career development discussion.

Employee and manager review and update goals.


Continuous Onboarding

Continuous onboarding is another type of onboarding that’s extended not only to new hires but to current employees as wlel. Offering ongoing onboarding to all employees makes sense because onboarding really should happen throughout the employee lifecycle. Think about how your employees grow and change throughout their tenure with a company. An employee might transfer to a different department or might get a promotion and they need the guidance, communication and training that onboarding provides.

Development goes hand-in-hand with a continuous onboarding process. An employee that wants to move up in the company may need additional training, especially if she or he is moving into a managerial role. Using a learning management system to develop employees provides the skills and training needed to succeed in their new role. The onboarding process completes the picture by making sure everyone is on the same page as to the direction the employee is going and supporting the journey.

With so much riding on maintaining your workforce (there’s currently a labor shortage out there), onboarding is one area where you need to take the time to give your employees a good experience. Arcoro’s Onboarding solution is a cloud-based tool that will help you organize and automate the process so you can focus on making your new employees feel welcome.

To chart your ideal onboarding process, start with our helpful infographic, Onboarding is a Process, not a point in time.