11 Best Practices for a Seamless Employee Onboarding Experience

employee onboarding

The last thing you want to think about when bringing on a new employee is endless paperwork. That’s why we asked 11 entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following question:

“What’s one best practice you use to make employee onboarding seamless, even as your company gets larger?”

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Automate Your Paperwork

“With new technologies, much of the paperwork involved in the onboarding process can be digitized, saving resources and cutting down on paper consumption. This can also remove duplication from the process, which will become more important to do as your company grows. This even includes getting digital signatures and electronically filing certain documentation for faster onboarding.” ~ Drew HendricksButtercup

2. Add a Little Fun

“Once they’re here, we give them a two-month grace period to soak it all in. They use this time to learn like crazy and get faster and more efficient at the basic processes of their job. At the end of the week, they are the subject of “Meet the Brancher” Trivia! All their new co-workers have to name interesting facts about them or guess whether the fact is about them or a famous person!” ~ Maren Hogan, Red Branch Media

3. Create a Company Wiki

“We use the company Wiki as a way to onboard new employees. The Wiki contains our business plan and allows new employees to see where we are and where we’re going. New employees can read through business practices and ask questions directly in the Wiki.” ~ Brian David Crane, Caller Smart Inc.

4. Use a Buddy System

“With a growing business, we have implemented a buddy system where a seasoned employee is paired with the newbie to show them the ropes culturally and professionally around the office. This seasoned employee is on hand to answer questions about our tools and clients, and the new employee hopefully feels welcomed on a personal and professional level.” ~ Peggy ShellCreative Alignments

5. Keep It Organized

“The one thing that helps us the most is creating a checklist that applies the appropriate party to their assigned task with due dates. For example, the sales manager is in charge of explaining processes, and office manager makes sure to get the employees the tools they need. Organization is key in having a seamless onboarding process.” ~ Jayna CookeEVENTup

6. Have a Thorough, Self-Guided Orientation Project Tailored to the Role

“We use Basecamp to create a self-guided, asynchronous orientation project. Task lists often include benefits and employment paperwork, introductory meetings and video chat checkpoints with managers, colleagues and senior staff, setting up and trying out company tools, along with role-specific projects like setting up development environments for engineers.” ~ Jacob Goldman10up Inc.

7. See How You Can Help Them

“We take onboarding very seriously. Making sure that a new team member gets comfortable quickly is integral. We have quick meetings to identify any questions or issues and iron them out. That time investment up front will show them how much you really care, and it will pay off.” ~ Thomas CullenLaunchPad Lab

8. Use Videos

“We have created a database of videos to be used for training new employees, where we show them how to use Podio, our project management solution, and other in-house tools we’ve developed. We create these quick video tutorials using Camtasia. A video is never more than 10 minutes. Their first week, they spend a lot of time watching these until they are comfortable with our tools and processes.” ~ Marcela DeVivoHomeselfe

9. Provide Them With a Welcome Packet

“We have a pretty solid process of having the employee read the welcome packet in the first hour. It is short enough to get through. Then we have them meet with their director for a half-day training session and lunch, followed by a real-world project in the afternoon. We always freelance on real projects before hiring, so we know the transition should be more seamless.” ~ Peter BoydPaperStreet Web Design

10. Have Them Get to Know the Company

“Our onboarding process incorporates shadowing time between different departments during a new employee’s first two weeks. Every new employee not only gets a sense of our culture and values, but becomes integrated into the team by sitting with and learning from fellow colleagues. In a way, it is the best opportunity for us to build positive first impressions and engage them with our business.” ~ Dave Smith, TekScape

11. Send Out Information in Advance

“Before the employee joins the company, give them an information packet or links to online content that gets all the background information out of the way so they can start with that already in their minds. That provides a way to focus on the human connection of bringing the new employee on board rather than compliance. As the company grows in new additions, this saves considerable time.” ~ Peter Daisyme, Hosting

Handshake Photo via Shutterstock


The Young Entrepreneur Council The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

3 Reactions
  1. The buddy system works especially if you want your employees to develop friendships early on. The downside with this strategy is that it cannot be implemented if you are not hiring a group of employees.

  2. This is a very interesting compilation of ideas for the employee on-boarding process. I particularly am fond of the company wiki page and video ideas. In this digital age, we as companies must adapt to using technology to improve the employee experiences. HR can offer videos and media rich content for employees to reference regarding procedures like benefits, review, etc. The company wiki page is a clever way to align new employees with the company and expand their exposure to the brand and the moving parts in the company. It can even help break down silos to contribute to better team work.

  3. Getting to know the company is critical if you want your employees to be invested in the success of the company. It’s the best way to align their decision making process with your strategic direction.

    I have seen many employees making poor decisions because they didn’t understand the impact it had on the rest of the organization. Correcting the on-boarding process to include a background and the current direction of the company fixed it.