Onboarding for New Hires

Onboarding Process Examples for New Hires

Onboarding new employees is one of the most important parts of acquiring and retaining talent.

You’ve spent time and money creating the job ad and digging through resumes. You’ve done the interviews and made your pick.

What you do next will determine if all that time and money was wasted.

With so much pressure on getting this right, it’s helpful to look at successful onboarding process examples from the companies that have found and kept the best talent in the world.

In this guide, you will learn:

  • Why onboarding is so important to get right
  • The onboarding processes used by Google, Zapier, and Zappos
  • Tips to create an onboarding process that delights and trains new hires

Let's dive in!

Why is onboarding so important?

At best, improper onboarding can lead to longer training times for good employees, costing more money. At its worst, a poor onboarding process can cause employees to quit, wasting thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of your time.

On the flip side, the Brandon Hall Group found that a good onboarding experience increases employee retention by a whopping 82%.

Better still, they found that new hires who had a strong onboarding period are 70% more productive!

Needless to say, having a formal onboarding process for new hires is worth the investment.

3 Effective Onboarding Process Examples

Creating an employee onboarding program from scratch is easier said than done. 

Let’s break down a few successful onboarding process examples from some of the world’s best companies to help you craft your process:


Google is a globally recognized company and highly sought-after as an employer. 

But it’s not just for their fun office culture and great benefits package; they’re also known for their fantastic new employee onboarding experience. 

For example, each of their new hires gets an adorable “Noogler” (New Googler) hat so other employees know they’re new and are encouraged to help their fledgling Googlers.

A group of new hires at Google wearing their Noogler hats

But a key feature of Google's onboarding strategy is the use of managers in the preparation for new hires. Just 24 hours before a new employee starts, managers receive an automated notification with five specific tasks. 

These tasks are designed to smoothly integrate the new hire into their new role:

  1. Peer or Buddy Assignment: Managers are tasked with pairing the new hire with a peer or buddy, facilitating a smoother transition into the team.
  2. Role and Responsibilities Discussion: Managers outline the new hire's role and responsibilities, setting clear expectations from the start.
  3. Coworker Introductions: Helping the new hire meet their coworkers encourages team cohesion and a sense of belonging.
  4. Regular Check-Ins: Scheduling employee check-ins over the first six months provides consistent support and guidance for the new hire.
  5. Open Communication: Managers are encouraged to foster an environment where new hires can openly discuss any potential issues or concerns.

Giving managers expectations before the new hire starts, sets clear goals and intentions for employee onboarding. And placing the onboarding responsibility primarily on the manager ensures that your new hire receives more hands-on and relevant information about their role and responsibilities.


Don’t have an in-person team? Don’t worry, we’ve got an onboarding process example for you.

Zapier is renowned for its successful SaaS product and remote work environment. They’ve effectively onboarded over 350 employees across 23 countries.

Zapier employees holding a Zapier tapestry

Zapier's onboarding process begins before the new hire's first day (a consistent theme among the world’s best companies). Preparation includes provisioning accounts, ordering their gear, and providing the new hire with their company playbook.

Zapier's company playbook for new hires

They also create a personalized onboarding document for each new staff member, outlining their first week in detail and the following weeks in broader terms. The document includes scheduled calls with team members from various departments, with some focusing on in-depth technical discussions and others on general company operations.

The first day at Zapier is focused on making the new hire feel welcome and introducing them to the company, the team, and their role. It mainly involves virtual meetings with team members.

From the second day onwards, the focus shifts to role-specific goals. This means equipping the new hire with the knowledge and tools necessary for their role, teaching them different areas of the system, and ensuring early success through small, well-scoped projects.

Zapier's onboarding approach is built around four key themes: 

  1. Expectation setting
  2. Access to resources
  3. Fostering relationships and interpersonal connections
  4. Effective communication

They also follow Michael Watkins' book "The First 90 Days" by setting job expectations and goals for the first 30, 60, and 90 days on the job.

Lastly, Zapier uses automation to streamline the onboarding process, removing unnecessary manual tasks and allowing for more personal interactions with new hires. Live sessions are reserved for building connections and practicing skills, while pre-recorded videos and lessons via a Learning Management System are used for presentations and topic-centered experiences.

Want to use automation and learning management in your employee onboarding program? Check out TalentHR’s automated employee onboarding software.

TalentHR employee onboarding software


Last but not least, we have Zappos — a shoe company that became famous for its world-class customer service and excellent manufacturing quality.

But Zappos's commitment extends beyond customer treatment. They offer new employees a unique proposition known as “The Offer”. It’s simple:

After new hires complete Zappos’s employee onboarding process, they are offered $4,000 to quit the company. That’s right — Zappos will pay you $4,000 to leave.


Because it will cost them much more than $4,000 to keep a bad hire. If someone is willing to take that money, it means they weren’t a good fit for the company culture anyway and Zappos would be relieved to not waste more resources on them only for them to leave anyway.

As for their onboarding process, it starts with a quick 6-minute video explaining the company culture and what to expect:

Once they finish the video, they are launched into the onboarding program, which involves:

CLT Training

The onboarding at Zappos begins with a four-week Customer Loyalty Team (CLT) training program. This is not just for customer service roles; every new hire, regardless of their position, participates in this training. It includes hands-on experience with customer calls, sessions on company history, customer philosophy, culture, processes, and interactions with senior employees. This immersive experience is designed to instill a deep understanding of Zappos' customer service ethos in all of their employees.

Pay to Quit

After completing the CLT training, new hires are presented with “The Offer”. If they feel that Zappos' culture and work are not a good fit for them, they can choose to leave the company and receive a payment of $4,000. This initiative ensures that only those who are fully committed to the company's values and culture stay on.

Graduation Party

For those who decide to stay, Zappos hosts a graduation party. This celebration not only marks the end of the initial training phase but also reinforces the company's focus on creating a fun and engaging work environment.

On-the-Job Training

Following the initial culture-focused training, new hires move on to more role-specific training within their respective departments, ensuring they have the necessary skills and knowledge for their specific roles.

The underlying reasons for Zappos' unique approach to onboarding include a strong emphasis on company culture, the importance of understanding customer service regardless of one's role, and the belief that happy employees lead to happy customers.

Final Thoughts

Creating an onboarding program for your company is crucial for retaining talent and saving both time and money. There are many excellent onboarding process examples to follow, but it is up to you to create one for your company.

Some common factors of successful staff integration programs include:

  • Starting the onboarding process before the new hire’s first day
  • Creating a document that details your company’s culture, vision, and values
  • Setting a schedule with clear goals and expectations and regular check-ins
  • Allowing new hires to meet and communicate with their teammates
  • Automating certain onboarding tasks like sending your new hire orientation message

If you’re ready to get serious about your onboarding process, check out TalentHR’s employee onboarding software. You can use it to build out your onboarding training program, automate onboarding tasks, store employee records, and so much more.

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