Your Guide for New Hire Onboarding Best Practices

Follow these onboarding best practices and your new teammates will be up to speed in no time.

September 11, 2023
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How would you describe your job to a five year old?
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First impressions matter, and the way you welcome new employees to your company is no exception.

In fact:

  • 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboarding.
  • Onboarding improves a company’s retention rate by 82% if conducted properly.
  • 70% of employees who had exceptional onboarding experiences say they have "the best possible job".

In other words: best practice onboarding can transform retention rates and employee engagement within your company.

Despite this, 51% of employees think their onboarding experience at their current job was subpar.

Read on for the rundown of the best practices to follow if you want to create a retention-boosting onboarding experience across your organizations. 

Onboarding Best Practices

Stick to these new hire onboarding best practices to make sure every employee that joins your team gets up to speed as fast as possible:

Reach Out to New Hires Before Their Start Date

Want to make a great first impression on your new hires?

Don’t wait for their first day to make them feel part of the team.

Reach out before their start date with a welcome pack that gives them a rundown of what they can look forward to about working for your company, like the benefits they’ll be entitled to and how to take advantage of them.

For the best chances of getting off on the right foot with your new hires, send them company swag to ensure they feel like part of the team from day one.

Set Expectations Early and Often

23% of employees who quit within six months say that clear guidelines on their responsibilities would have helped them stay at the job.

Create a 30-60-90 day plan that lays out the projects that will be on your new hires’ plate during their first quarter at your company. This way new hires know exactly what’s expected of them.

This plan should include everything your new teammates need to navigate their first few months at your company. Set the scene with:

  • An overview of the company and its culture
  • The tech stack they’ll be using
  • A description of the roles of responsibilities of their teammates

You’ll also want to include all the important links they’ll need so their at hand, including:

  • The company knowledge base and internal wiki
  • Specific links to the documents and SOPs they’ll need in their role
  • Any additional reading that could help them hit the ground running

Don’t Overload Your New Hires

There’s a lot to take in when you’re joining a new company. Remembering all your teammates’ names can be enough sometimes. 

Don’t expect too much from your new hires. Give them a lax schedule, and bake in plenty of time in their first few weeks to meet their colleagues, get up to speed with your industry, and ask questions.

Introduce New Hires to Everyone They Need to Know

The sooner new hires get to know their teammates, the faster they’ll feel at home at your company.

You can help speed things along here by arranging half-hour meetings between your new hires and each of their teammates throughout their first few weeks at the company. 

This way your existing employees can not only help show their new teammate the ropes, but it will also give them the chance to get to know each other – which can have a huge impact on how fast your new hires fit in.

Make the Onboarding Process a Two-way Street

An easy mistake to make when it comes to onboarding new employees is to focus all your efforts on getting them up to speed with the way your company works.

While that’s undoubtedly important, to make onboarding a new employee as smooth a process as possible, you also need to know how your new teammate works, thinks, and operates.

Take the time to get to know your new teammate as part of your onboarding process instead of just bombarding them with information.

Use Onboarding Software to Streamline the Process

You’re setting yourself up to fail if you try to hit all the best practices for onboarding new employees every time a new hire joins your team without the help of tech. Things are bound to fall through the cracks if you’re relying on remembering to tick all the onboarding best practices from memory each time, and that will have a real impact on your new teammates’ first impression of your company.

Automate your onboarding process with software that comes with tools tailored to provide the best employee onboarding experiences – like a new hire survey and icebreaker questions. This will ensure you don’t drop the ball on any aspect of the onboarding experience for your new hires.

Provide Ongoing Support and Training

38% of workers who quit do so in the first year – and 66% who leave in the first year do so in the first six months.

Onboarding doesn’t end after a new hires’ first few weeks. Keep checking in on how your new hires are doing during one-to-ones and through surveys to make sure they’re settling in okay throughout their whole first year with your organization. 

What Not to do During the Onboarding Process

Just 12% of employees believe their employer's onboarding process is adequate or successful.

Avoid these common mistakes for the best chances of becoming one of the minority of businesses that gets onboarding right with each new hire:

Having No Onboarding Process

A haphazard approach to onboarding your employees leads to haphazard results. Yet 35% of companies have no formal onboarding program in place at all.

If you’re part of that 35% then you’re making a huge mistake. Your managers aren’t going to hit all the employee onboarding best practices by accident – especially if time isn’t set aside in their schedule to help their new hires settle in and get up to speed.

Arm your managers with an onboarding best practices checklist to follow – and the time to follow it – to make sure you’re not falling at the very first hurdle with your new hires.

Being Too Busy for Your New Hires

Every successful business is busy, but the companies with the best onboarding practices know that if they don’t set aside time to make the new people they bring on board feel at home it will come back to bite them.

Here’s the thing, one of the worst things you can do to a new teammate is make them feel like an afterthought.

Bake time in your people managers’ schedule to give their new employees a memorable welcome. Don’t carve this time out for your managers and you're setting them up to fail, as they’ll simply have no chance to hit all the onboarding best practices on top of their usual workload. 

Don’t Overlook Your Remote and Hybrid Employees 

Remote work is here to stay. Which means the companies set to thrive are the ones who understand virtual onboarding best practices.

The best practices for onboarding remote employees are largely the same as for your in-office staff: make sure they’re made to feel welcome, give time to settle in, and encourage them to ask any questions they have.

However, there are a few remote onboarding best practices you should be aware of:

  • 24% of people say their biggest problem with remote work is loneliness. Take extra care to regularly check in with your remote and hybrid employees in their early days at your company, when they still don’t know anyone very well.
  • 25% of remote employees say their biggest problem with working remotely is that they struggle to unplug from work. Set expectations early that your employees don’t need to stay glued to their laptop screens or you’ll quickly run into big burnout problems.
  • 70% of remote employees continued to work while they were ill during the Covid pandemic. Encourage your people to take time off when they need to to avoid the presenteeism trap.

How to Implement Onboarding Best Practices

The easiest way to bake onboarding best practices into your organization is by leveraging the latest and greatest onboarding tools.

For example:

  • A new hire survey will help set your new teammates up for success – and give you a much better idea of how they work and what’s important to them
  • Icebreaker questions make it as easy as possible for your teammates to get to know their new colleague, which is the fastest way possible of making them feel at home within your organization.
  • Daily recap, company news feed, group and project feeds, and weekly status updates help get your new hires up to date with what’s going on in your company and with the projects they’re working on.
  • An internal wiki and knowledge base will empower your people with all the information they need to hit the ground running – and a Get Help flow will make it easy for them to quickly get answers to any questions they have that aren’t answered on those resources.


Stick to the steps we’ve outlined here, avoid the mistakes we’ve mentioned, and your new teammates will be firing on all cylinders within weeks.

Browse our Free Employee Recognition Guide

Get the foundational knowledge on creating an employee recognition program that boosts employee engagement and helps them feel valued.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Assembly SOC 2 compliant?

Yes, at Assembly, security is a top priority. Each quarter, we have ongoing security work that is everyone’s responsibility. While we maintain a strong security posture, it was important for us to prove to our customers that we do everything we claim to do. This led us to pursue a SOC 2 Type II report that would provide evidence of our compliance with industry gold-standard security practice.

What's the ROI for employee recognition?

There is study after study showing that employee recognition leads to increased engagement. This in return creates an environment where employees are happier and more motivated which increase productivity and reduces voluntary turnover significantly. In order to filled critical roles, companies tend to spend nearly twice the value of an annual salary. Assembly is an investment in your employees that supports your bottom line.

Does Assembly offer longer-term contracts?

Yes, we will offer contracts for companies with longer-term agreements to help larger customers have more certainty around future costs.

The minimum agreement term is a 12-month subscription.

Does Assembly offer onboarding support?

We do and for FREE! Any new customer needing further support to get started with Assembly to ensure you're set up for success can request custom onboarding support. Improving your employee experience is about much more than just using our amazing software; it’s about transforming your business to create a workplace that people love. That’s much easier to do with the personal support and advice from our passionate people experts.

Is there a free version of Assembly?

Yes. We offer a completely free plan for up to 50 team members. This plan is intended for teams or organizations that are looking to get started with an employee engagement tool. Keep in mind, this plan is limited in features.

All customers can open an Assembly account for free and get started without a credit card. Then you can change plans as necessary.

How much do rewards cost?

At the time of redemption (when your employees exchange their points for a paid reward) you'll pay face value. If a reward is a $10 Amazon gift card, your cost will be $10. All paid rewards are billed for on a monthly basis.

The good news is that you don't have to pay for rewards upfront because we only charge you when points are redeemed, not when they're earned.

Does Assembly offer discounts?

We offer discounts or educational or charitable organizations. In order to secure a discount, you'll first need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

For all other organizations, we are willing to consider longer-term agreements in exchange for discounts. To set up annual plans or longer, you will need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

How do I cancel my plan if needed?

If you're on a month to month plan, you can go here and cancel anytime. If you're having concerns or need help setting up your account for success, you can always book a demo with a customer support specialist.

If you're on a longer-term custom plan, you'll need to reach out to your customer support specialist to cancel your account or email us at

What customizations are available?

Great question! You can customize your core values to match your organization's to boost and track alignment. You can change your currency from the 🏆 emoji (our default) to any emoji of your choice. You can swap our logo for your own. You can also set up company culture rewards such as, "Lunch with the CEO," "Buy a book on us," and so much more!

Who can give or receive recognition?

While we recommend a peer to peer set up where anyone in your organization can give or receive recognition, you can set up Assembly however you want. If you need to limit the people who can give or receive recognition, that's perfectly fine and can be done from your Admin, here.

What integrations are available?

Assembly connects to the tools your employees use every day to offer an easy, seamless experience with minimal change management.  

Assembly has integrations with HCM/HRIS systems like ADP, Google, Office 365, and Slack. We also integrate with communication tools like Slack and Teams so you and your employees can access Assembly wherever they work now.

What's your average adoption rate?

That depends on the company's permissions set up. That said, over 90% of the employees on Assembly's platform are recognized on a monthly basis. That means nearly every employee across all of our customers are receiving regular recognition from their peers, managers, or leadership. We're extremely proud of this.

Must rewards be set up to use Assembly?

They are not required. You can use Assembly without having rewards set up. However, we don't recommend it if you intend to have a high adoption and usage rate. You can always keep the costs down by offering internal culture rewards that are fulfilled by you internally.

Are points required to use Assembly?

No, you can remove allowances from anyone or everyone. It's up to you but we do recommend using points whether they're worth a real dollar value or not. Companies that use points have a much higher engagement rate even if those points don't exchange for real dollars.

Could find the answer you are looking for?

Please schedule time with an expert and we will help you to get all your questions answered