What are the 4 phases of onboarding?

What are the 4 phases of onboarding?


The term “employee onboarding” is defined differently by each company. While the process is nearly identical, each onboarding program is distinct according to the time duration and responsibilities involved. In this article, we will be focusing on and discussing the four key phases of the employee onboarding process.


Overview of employee onboarding

You have probably heard of “onboarding” if you have ever started a new job. It is about being welcomed to the team, getting your hardware and software set up, and understanding what you will be doing. It is a chain of events that includes a variety of elements, including cultural, technical, and other factors.

New hire retention is increased by 50% when employees go through a conventional onboarding procedure. Studies show that employees who have a positive onboarding experience are more likely to stay with a company for at least three years. When onboarding new staff, the following points are key:


Everything from training to completely integrate a new worker into the office is included in employee onboarding. Employee onboarding should be a long-term strategy that lasts up to a year. Staff turnover may be reduced with a strong onboarding strategy, which can lead to more productive and satisfied employees. However, only 37% of businesses make sure their onboarding programs last longer than a month.

While some HR managers appear to regard the employee onboarding process as nothing more than new hire paperwork, more savvy and committed team members have a different take on the meaning of employee onboarding. As part of employee onboarding, they consider the entire period from the time an offer is made until the time an employee becomes a productive contributor to the company.

Related: Employee onboarding vs orientation

The four phases of employee onboarding

Higher productivity, faster knowledge acquisition, and higher retention rates can all be attributed to a structured onboarding program. Employee onboarding is an important part of confirming a new employee’s decision to join the company.

According to Roundtable Learning, companies should go through the following four stages of onboarding:

  1. Orientation – Introduce the new hire to the organization and key team members, including studying the handbook, relevant policies, and related compliance documentation, as well as learning about the company’s values.
  2. Role Training – Teach the new hires about their day-to-day responsibilities and any other information they will need to be successful in the long run.
  3. Transition [K1] – Prepare organizational leaders to assist new personnel in gaining a thorough understanding of their roles and being fully productive.
  4. Create plans for continuous career and personal improvement so that both the individual and the company can achieve their objectives and succeed.

Phase 1: Orientation

Orientation is the first step in the onboarding process. The new hire is introduced to the organization, senior leadership, and other team members during this period. It is critical that the information in this step of onboarding is uniform across your organization and conveys a clear image of your company’s values.

The following elements are commonly found in orientation:

For this stage of onboarding, companies take a variety of tactics. While it is preferable to perform at least the introductions in person, other aspects of the orientation phase may be better suited to self-paced learning. There is another potential to use technology such as augmented reality and virtual reality. Gamification can also help you better engage your learners and scale your onboarding program.

For example, a company may use augmented reality to send new employees on a scavenger hunt throughout the office. By carefully placing QR codes on posters throughout the building, an organization might create a different type of learning journey. Learners would scan QR codes to explore the workplace and learn more about their company’s history and culture, which would unlock videos or text about various parts of the company.

Phase 2: Role Training

Role training follows orientation as the second phase of onboarding. Role training informs new employees on their day-to-day responsibilities and prepares them for long-term success. Employees can carry out the primary functions of their work with greater confidence once they understand what they need to do.

The following aspects are frequently included in role training:

Interactive technology, such as virtual reality (VR), can keep learners enthralled and avoid formulaic and uninteresting instruction. Learners could, for example, work through various scenarios to get experience in workplace safety. Learners can practice safety measures in a simulation with all of the warehouse’s real-life sights and noises without endangering people or equipment. Employees who have performed the processes in a virtual reality environment are more likely to respond well in an emergency.

Phase 3: Transition

The transition period, which occurs 60-120 days after the first stage, is referred to as the third stage. The new hire is moving to their permanent employment at this phase in the onboarding process, and their direct supervisor is their primary source of development and support. Managers and front-line leaders must be able to provide support to new hires in the following ways:

  • Growth and enhancement
  • Strategies for effective communication
  • The significance of authenticity

Managers can study essential pillars of leadership, such as coaching and feedback, and then practice in an immersive VR experience using a hybrid approach. Leaders may experience the direct impact of their decisions on staff by negotiating challenging dialogues in a virtual setting. Completing these exercises can aid in the development of organizational leaders’ soft skills.

Phase 4: Create plans for continuous career and personal improvement

Ongoing development is the final stage of onboarding. This phase entails developing a strategy for continuing your professional and personal development. Employees can identify how they can continue to contribute positively to and progress within the organization by creating a long-term plan. Both the individual and the company will be able to attain their objectives and succeed in this manner.

The following elements are normally present at this stage:


We have discussed the importance and aims of onboarding, as well as its four phases, in this article. As previously said, onboarding programs must eventually provide new hires with the skills and confidence they require to succeed in their positions.

Implementing an onboarding program in an organization can enhance retention rates by 25%, according to employee onboarding data for 2020 by Clear Company. Therefore, to ensure retention rates are low, organisations should consider adopting these four phases of employee onboarding. This will help them and bring a lot of positives to the organisation.

According to SHRM, manager satisfaction rises by 20% when their staff receive conventional onboarding training, according to onboarding success statistics. However, Gallup discovered that only 12% of firms have a fantastic onboarding experience. Sharpen your employee onboarding process to ensure you are among the 12% with the great employee onboarding process.



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