Emerald Technology Aug 3, 2022 9:12:18 AM 8 min read

What Is Onboarding And How To Get It Right First Time

“Onboarding is an art. Each new employee brings with them a potential to achieve and succeed. To lose the energy of a new hire through poor onboarding is an opportunity lost,” - Sarah Wetzel, HR Director at Engage-BDR 

What Is Onboarding? 

The term onboarding originated in corporate boardrooms across America in the 1970s. In short, onboarding is introducing and integrating new hires into the working practices of an organization.  

It includes, but is not limited to, orientation, introductions to colleagues and managers, familiarization with processes, alignment with company culture and mission.


The overarching concept is to introduce the new hire and maximize their performance in the organization from day one.  

Onboarding VS Orientation 

Onboarding essentially helps a new hire understand how things work. To help them feel welcome and introduce them to colleagues. It’s an ongoing process that, hopefully, after a period of change, helps them feel part of the team. 

Conversely, orientation is the initial step of the onboarding process. It’s understanding basic principles like company policy, office layout or going through their basic duties.  


Orientation is a short-term introduction to the business environment. Onboarding is medium term and involves processes like introductions to management, studying company culture and alignment with the overall mission.  

Why Is Onboarding Important? 

Your first day on the job is the most important. It’s one reason at Emerald we focus on a “people-first” attitude to onboarding. It’s not just crossing T’s and dotting I’s. These are real people, with genuine fears and genuine excitement about a brand-new job. It’s no shock to us that 25% of new hires quit in the first 3 months. If your new job doesn’t take the time and effort to onboard you correctly, to make you feel welcome and safe, chances are you’ll quit.  

That 25% is not because they don’t know the job, but they’re just not up to speed and have no hope of catching up. Poor onboarding affects productivity, employee retention, and staff morale. The weight of new hires quitting is tremendous on HR departments and subsequently, the company.  

Even more so when the job is remote. Hiring remotely allows companies to not lose in the war for talent, and opens many opportunities for a wider talent pool. However, remote teams open up the possibility for disengaged employees. Emerald onboards each employee with a real person from our dedicated team while embedding many human touch points throughout the process unlike platform only solutions.


Effective onboarding helps employee retention; this cuts down HR costs dramatically. Taking a human approach instead of a platform-based approach helps keep staff longer because the onboarding process is more effective when it’s person-to-person. This is especially true with EOR and remote work.  

Is Remote Work Growing? 

In 2019, around 4% of all jobs in the U.K. and United States of America were remote. By 2020 that rose to 9%, as of early 2022 it was 14% and by the end of 2022 it will be a whopping 25% of all job offers.  

Remote work is here, it’s increasing, and many businesses are not equipped to deal with it.  

According to Owl Labs, 90% of the 1000+ workers surveyed said they were more productive working from home. 84% said they would even take a pay cut for the ability to stay home and work after the pandemic.  


Remote work is the future of work, you should onboard new hires correctly or lose valuable staff to competitors who do onboard correctly.  

Onboarding As An Employer Of Record 

When you hire talent through an Employer of Record, you’re guaranteeing top class onboarding as a baked in feature. Not all global HR and payrolling solutions are created equal though. In fact, most of them are platform-only. Although this provides an easy way to streamline your workforce, it offers many challenges. The knock-on effect of platform-only onboarding is demotivating and sometimes disorientates employees, produces high employee churn rates, and ultimately, poor productivity across the organization.  


Even in the tech world, humans prefer to deal with humans when starting a new job.  

Good Onboarding VS Bad Onboarding 

So, we’ve established that great onboarding is essential to employee productivity and happiness. Let’s look at some basic examples of what happens when it goes wrong.  

Bad Onboarding 

  • Employer asks the new hire to turn up on their first day and forgets, leaving them waiting. This also applies to remote meetings 
  • The staff member is left to “figure things out” and is left with a disorganized work area/tech stack to deal with 
  • No formal introductions to team members 
  • Pay day, break schedule, required meetings are all left for the employee to figure out or ask about them. 

Good Onboarding  

  • Employer is ready to welcome the new staff member. If the welcome meeting is online, they turn up on time and have prepared for it
  • The staff member is shown how everything works, even basic software, nothing is left to chance 
  • Team members are all aware of a new staff member starting and are ready to welcome them 
  • It’s made clear when the employee will get paid, when they take breaks and when they need to attend meetings during the week. 

How We Onboard At Emerald 

At Emerald, we pride ourselves on our human centric onboarding process. We follow strict guidelines and leave nothing to chance to make sure the talent we hire as an Employer Of Record is informed, comfortable, and ready to start work in your organization.  

Our 5-step process is: 

  • Compliance 

We verify documents, forms and processes against the local laws and guidelines

  • Clarification 

We help the staff member build rapport and relationships with us and the business they are placed with. Also, who the employee needs to contact for different issues they might have

  • Culture 

We help instil company vision, mission, values, and culture from day one. This includes communicating client values to the new hire 

  • Connection 

24hr round-the-clock support through email, phone & WhatsApp

  • Check Back 

Ultimate aftercare from before their start date, when they start, and every single day after that. Monthly check-ins to see if they are getting on ok and to remind them of expenses, etc.

A comprehensive onboarding program like this, delivered person-to-person, drastically reduces your chances of losing employees through neglect or attrition. It helps employee engagement, retention, and productivity. 

At Emerald, we do it the correct way and it shows in our retention rates. 


End-to-end recruitment FAQ's

What is the employee onboarding process?

This changes from employer to employer. Most employers will have a 4 or 5 stage process and they will go through it once you are offered a position.


Will an Employer of Record handle all the onboarding if we engage talent through them?

Absolutely, one advantage of an EoR is the onboarding knowledge they have. Especially one like Emerald, we onboard with a real human consultant, not just a platform. 


Are digital signatures legally binding if I hire remotely?

Yes, they are. Both the U.S. and U.K. recognise digital signatures as legal ways of signing a contract, along with 188 other countries. 


What locations do Emerald search, hire and payroll in?

We offer a limitless solution. We source, onboard and payroll employees in every region worldwide (except sanctioned countries.)


Who are Emerald’s customers?

We support Pre-IPO, VC or PE backed technology start-ups. We are a trusted partner to some of the most innovative and globally recognised technology companies since 2000.


How quickly can Emerald onboard employees?

We can compliantly onboard employees on average of just 24-72 hours.