Onboarding 2.0: Strategies for Success in a Digital Age

Asian women sitting in front of laptop

Starting a new job can be both exciting and overwhelming for new hires. They’re eager to learn about their role, the company culture, and the people they’ll be working with. If you think back to your first few days settling into a new role and you have quite a bit to say, well then it’s time we talk about onboarding!

Gone are the days of the traditional onboarding process, with its long orientation sessions, manuals and policies, and a one-size-fits-all approach. We absolutely have to adapt. “In a boundaryless world, work isn’t defined by jobs, the workplace isn’t a specific place, and many workers aren’t traditional employees. Those who partner with workers and experiment with what’s possible will create sustainable work models and elevated outcomes—making work better for humans and humans better at work” (Hatfield et al., 2023).

There are many strategies and trends in the marketplace that have made it increasingly difficult to navigate and establish what would work best. So, what does an effective onboarding process look like? Consider what you want to achieve as a starting point, then follow these guiding principles.

Preboarding: Get Started Early

Onboarding should start before the employee’s first day of work to help them feel prepared and connected. This can include providing information about the organization, the role, and the people they’ll be working with e.g., videos from the CEO, virtual meet-and-greets with the team, and even personalized welcome gifts.

Technology: Revolutionize Using Innovation

Use technology to streamline the process and make it more efficient. This includes using online portals to complete paperwork, providing digital training materials, and using video conferencing to conduct orientation sessions.

Personalization: For the Person and the Role

Every new hire is different, with different backgrounds, experience levels, and learning styles. An effective onboarding process should be personalized to meet the needs of each individual, providing them with the information and resources they need to be successful. This includes providing targeted training and development opportunities, as well as creating opportunities for new hires to connect with their team and learn about the company culture.

Employee Experience: Engagement, Support, and Buddies

Onboarding should not be a one-person job. The new hire’s team should be involved in the process, helping to welcome and integrate them into the organization’s culture. This includes regular check-ins and feedback, as well as creating a welcoming and inclusive work environment. It leads to better job satisfaction, higher productivity, and improved employee retention.

Ongoing Development: Growth Opportunities

New hires should receive regular check-ins and feedback, as well as ongoing training and development opportunities. In the Cengage Group’s 2021 The Great Resigners research (2023), having “clear opportunities for professional development and growth” was one of the top attributes employees were looking for in their new employer. While compensation was important, it wasn’t rated as highly as these other attributes.

In this competitive job market, an effective onboarding process is more important than ever, helping organizations attract and retain top talent and stay ahead of the competition.

"Effective onboarding is more than just a process; it's about creating a welcoming and engaging environment that helps new team members become part of something bigger than themselves." —

By embracing these, a more engaging and productive work environment can be created, setting new hires up for long-term success and driving business results.

  1. Hatfield, S., Mahoutchian, T., Paynter, N., Scoble-Williams, N., Forsythe, J., Poynton, S., Kamen, M., Kirby, L., Griffiths, M., Van Durme, Y., Eaton, K., & Mallon, D. (2023). Activating the future of workplace, Deloitte Insights,
  2. Cengage Group. (2023). Where are they now? The Great Resigners, one year later.
Wendy Viljoen


All views expressed are the author’s own and do not represent the opinions of any entity whatsoever which they have been, are now, or will be affiliated.