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How startups can make an unforgettable employee onboarding process

Posted by Grace Townsley

February 22, 2023    |     5-minute read (876 words)

The new employee onboarding process is one of the most critical processes your startup will create. It’s a series of steps, training and experiences that sets the tone for new employees — and gives them a taste of what they can expect in the months and years to come. 

In short, your startup’s onboarding process sets your talent up for a rewarding career and valuable loyalty, or broken expectations and a high risk of flight. 

In today’s ultra-competitive startup environment, especially in the technology industry, it isn’t enough to just get new hires in the door. These team members are highly sought after for their experience and talent. 

If they don’t feel needed and appreciated from the moment your startup’s onboarding process begins, they have little reason to ignore the next recruiter call they receive. But with an effective onboarding process in place, your startup can get (and keep!) the best talent in the industry. 

Here’s a 30,000-foot view of the ideal onboarding process for startups:


1. Set a good impression before day 1

The time to start building company culture is long before your new employee walks through the doors.

Reach out to new hires before their start date to provide them with information about the company culture, the team and what they can expect during their first week. This will help them feel more comfortable and prepared on their first day.

And don’t just give your new employees a list of to-do’s and procedures. Share the vision of your company. Tell stories. Be personable and be human. That connection, established before they’re on the payroll or clocking in hours, creates valuable loyalty. 

2. Be organized

Create a detailed onboarding checklist that outlines all the tasks and information your startup’s new hires need to complete and learn during their first week, month, and beyond. Make sure everything is ready before their start date, including any equipment, software, or tools they’ll need to do their job.

Nothing is more frustrating than showing up for your exciting first day of work, then sitting around all day because the tech wasn’t ready or there was little for them to do. Have a plan to keep your new hire meaningfully engaged in learning, onboarding and making connections from every department, starting the moment they walk in. 

3. Personalize the process

New hires want to feel understood, known and valued. Personalizing their experience is an inexpensive way to show just how valuable they are to your startup, and a sense of inclusion is particularly important among members of Generation Z.

Tailor the onboarding process to each new hire’s needs and experience level. This can include customizing their training, assigning a mentor or buddy, and providing resources that align with their role.

4. Create a welcoming environment

Make new hires feel like a welcome member of the team from day one. Set up a welcome lunch, introduce them to the team, and schedule one-on-one meetings with their colleagues and members of each department. 

The more friendly faces your new hire encounters, the more strongly connected they will be to your startup. Give them ample opportunities to socialize and find like-minded peers. Because the more comfortable they feel early on, the more likely they’ll be to keep coming back — and referring their talented friends. 

5. Gather feedback

Continually evaluate and improve your onboarding process by gathering feedback from new hires, managers and other stakeholders. Ask for suggestions on how to make the process more effective and efficient. There’s always room for improvement, so don’t be afraid to ask for it!

The onboarding process is an essential part of your startup’s growth. Here’s why:

An effective onboarding process is critical for creating a positive employee experience and helping new hires get up to speed quickly and confidently. You only have one chance to make the kind of first impression that makes or breaks your employees’ loyalty — so make it count!

By being organized, personalizing the process, creating a welcoming environment and gathering feedback, you can develop a process that sets your new employees up for success. And when your talent is excited and equipped, your startup’s bottom line will reflect it. 

Every startup needs a strategic onboarding process. But you don’t have to do it alone

If your startup doesn’t have the necessary resources or team members needed to manage a thorough onboarding process internally, outsourcing this essential process to an HR services provider can be a cost-effective, efficient way to grow your workforce. 

The onboarding process for startups can be made easier with external expertise available to provide expertise, tools and ongoing support for your employees. And they’ll ensure you meet employee benefits compliance regulations. 

Ultimately, the decision to outsource your startup’s onboarding process comes down to your specific needs, resources and growth goals. If your startup is looking to stay small and focused, you may benefit from handling this process internally. But if you’re aiming to scale, preparing for an upcoming funding round and have your sights set on national or global growth, outsourcing your onboarding process can set your startup up for success from the start. 


Grace Townsley
Grace Townsley

As a professional copywriter in the finance and B2B space, Grace Townsley offers small business leaders big insights—one precisely chosen word at a time. Let's connect!

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