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Glossary: HR & Recruiting Definitions

What does onboarding process mean?

Onboarding refers to the process of introducing and integrating a new employee into an organization. The process begins when a job offer has been accepted and ends when the new hire is competent in the organizational processes and performing as expected in their new role.

What should onboarding include?

Onboarding consists of varied activities, and each organization determines how long it lasts. Most commonly, onboarding new employees takes a few months, but in some cases, it can last a few weeks or as long as a year.

A successful onboarding needs to provide a new employee with all the information and resources they will need to acclimatize as smoothly as possible into the organization and their new role. Here are some topics to cover while onboarding new employees:

  • Introduction to the company culture
  • Define the goals and growth strategy of the company
  • Outline the new employee’s responsibilities and expectations
  • Connect the new employee to their coworkers and other departments, managers, and other key contacts

How to prepare for onboarding new employees

Onboarding also includes the preparation and setup for the new employee’s first day. Here is what should be done beforehand:

  • Email the new employee a schedule of the onboarding activities
  • Designate and equip the employee’s workspace
  • Set up payroll and other necessary HR-related accounts
  • Create an email account and other logins if applicable

What happens in virtual onboarding?

These days, it is not uncommon for new employees to participate in virtual onboarding. In many ways, virtual onboarding is not so different from in-person onboarding, but a few extra steps should be considered: 

1. Set up new hires with essential hardware

Make sure new employees have laptops, headphones, and whatever else they need to participate in the virtual onboarding and start working from day one.

2. Send a company welcome pack

Help new employees feel like part of the team from the start by sending them small welcome gifts like company-branded notepads, pens, or mugs.

3. Have new employees fill out paperwork ahead of time

Send out HR-related documents before to save everyone’s time and demonstrate your company is well-organized.

4. Include opportunities for small group or one-on-one conversations

Virtual onboarding means missing out on opportunities for organic socializing. Integrate break-out rooms for smaller groups or individuals to get to know each other. Provide ice-breaker questions or conversation topics to make it easier.

5. Make a buddy system

Pair a new employee with an existing employee, so they have a designated person to answer their questions and help navigate the ins and outs of the company. 

What is the difference between onboarding and training?

While onboarding and training sometimes take place at the same time, they are not the same. Here are some of their main differences:


  • Focus on corporate culture
  • Covers the mission, vision, and values of the company 
  • Introduction to management and coworkers, and the workplace


  • Focus on work procedures 
  • Covers the technical aspects or tasks of a job
  • Introduction and hands-on demonstrations of technology and equipment

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