30+ Human Resources Quotes to Improve the Way You Handle Onboarding

Onboarding serves as a first introduction to your company’s values and culture.

According to the Society for Human Resources Management, onboarding success can be measured by how well new hires understand your company culture and how well they’re able to integrate into their teams.

When onboarding goes well, new hires feel welcomed, supported, and energized by the process.

But according to the human resources experts we interviewed, organizations often struggle with poor planning, confusion, and overwhelming administrative processes — all of which can leave new hires questioning their decision.

We interviewed more than 75 hiring managers and human resources leaders to discover the wisdom they’ve gleaned from years of onboarding, plus the mistakes and pitfalls they’ve stumbled into along the way. Read on to learn how to impress new hires with an effective onboarding process, based on the 34 best tips we received!

If you want to create a best-in-class onboarding experience, BambooHR is here to help. From our applicant tracking system to time-saving templates for welcome emails and checklists, BambooHR simplifies logistics so you can focus on creating better first days. For more expert tips and insights, download our Definitive Guide to Onboarding.

The 34 Best Human Resources Quotes About Onboarding

Quotes have been lightly edited for clarity and concision.

The Risks of a Poor Onboarding Process

“The risk of a poor onboarding experience is that it can lead to employee dissatisfaction, which can have long-term effects on morale and productivity. A bad onboarding process can also make new hires feel isolated, unmotivated and disconnected from their colleagues. This can cause them to become disengaged with their work quickly, leading to higher turnover rates and an overall decrease in team performance.” —Michelle Hague, HR Manager at Solar Panels Network

“Too often, companies think that by providing orientation, they are ‘onboarding’ the new employee.” Stacy Lindenberg, Founder of Talent Seed Consulting

“In today’s competitive job market, it’s important for companies to make a strong impression and set new hires up for success from the start. Common pitfalls include not providing clear expectations or direction, not introducing the new hire to their team or colleagues, and not making them feel welcomed or valued.” Shri Ganeshram, CEO and Founder of Awning.com

“Inaccessible onboarding technology and team members too busy to engage with the new hire makes for a very bad first day of onboarding. When passwords and usernames aren’t readily available, a computer or cell phone aren’t ready, and team members are too busy to introduce themselves or answer questions, onboarding becomes a chaotic, unorganized, unwelcoming experience for the new hire.” Tiffany E. Slater, PhD, SHRM-SCP, CEO and Senior HR Consultant, HR TailorMade

“Information overload happened to be our deadliest onboarding mistake.” —Ketan Kapoor, CEO and Co-Founder of Mettl

"People who don't feel like they're able to actually make a contribution, even on Day One, will often feel restless or adrift and remember that feeling for a long time. While we don't want to overwhelm a new hire with too many meetings in their first weeks, I think it's a worse sin to leave them so underwhelmed they feel like their presence is a burden rather than a joy." Jill Santopietro Panall, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, Owner and Chief Consultant of 21 Oak HR Consulting

“Throwing the employee into the fire in a ‘sink or swim’ type of mentality is the easiest way to chase an employee away.” —Heidi Kurter, Forbes Columnist and Founder of Heidi Lynne Consulting

“Bar none, the biggest mistake that I see consistently made is poorly executed planning that sends employees home with a wealth of paperwork to be completed after the first day.” —Melina Gillies, Head of Human Resources at FlexNetworks

“Many companies waste an insane amount of time by loading employees up with information they won’t recall, training they don’t need, and organizational commercials they don’t want. It is one of the least ‘customer focused’ processes that HR provides.” —Tim Toterhi, Author and Founder of Plotline Leadership

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Why Onboarding Starts During Recruitment

“Before you even begin the hiring process, set expectations with each candidate so they know what to expect in terms of roles and responsibilities. This will help put them at ease during the interview process and allow them to adjust their approach accordingly.” George Harrison, Marketing Director at PKGMAKER

“The onboarding process starts during the recruitment process. It is important to expose the potential hire to their team, the workplace culture and their colleagues during the recruitment process.” Brian Formato, Principal at Groove Management

8 Ideas for Creating Better First Days

“At our company, we believe in setting up new hires for success on their first day and beyond. Our goal is to establish a positive relationship with each new hire and take the time to give them a comprehensive understanding of what it’s like to work here. To ensure that everyone gets up-to-speed quickly on processes and procedures specific for their position and department, we assign trainers who will guide them through any tasks necessary for successful onboarding.” Richard Nolan, Chief People Officer at Epos Now

“An ideal first day at work should involve team introductions, an overview of expectations, and a sample project or two to help get them oriented with their role. They should also be given enough time to ask questions and gather resources—such as manuals or software—that will be necessary for meeting deadlines and performing tasks.” Robert Leonard, CEO & Marketing Director of Aimvein

“One of the most common mistakes during the first day of work is overwhelming a new employee with tasks, and information coming at them from multiple sides at once. The process should be similar to waterfall methodology, where completion of one task leads them to a new one.” Denis Ristić, General Manager of Ask Gamblers

Fact: Companies that use BambooHR spend 67% less time onboarding new hires.

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“New employees are the lifeblood of any company, and the employee onboarding process is essential as it helps the new hires become acclimated to their job. A good beginning marks the best ending, and the same applies conversely. Employees who feel welcomed and supported are more likely to stay with the organization in the long run.” Maria Ivanova, Founder of Mastermaid

“If you're able to tie new hires to the purpose and vision of the company from day 1, they will feel more connected. Consider having the CEO meet with new hires on their first day to discuss goals for the next 3-5 years.” Erin Campbell, VP of HR and People Strategy at Altis Recruitment

“An ideal first day of work looks like a seamless introduction to what they'll be doing. It's important to reinforce why they were hired and how they can further their career goals. It also helps to get them up to speed on your culture and set goals with them, so they feel like they belong.” Kimberley Tyler-Smith, Executive at Resume Worded

“The ideal first day for any new hire begins even before they start work and should help employees feel connected, competent, and contributing. Managers should send an email or text a few days before a new hire starts, letting them know the company is looking forward to working with them and providing important information (e.g., where to park, dress code, first week activities, etc.). We give new hires an outline of the meetings they’ll be attending, colleagues they need to meet, any paperwork or training they'll be participating in, and a small assignment that they can finish up in their first day or two. The first-week schedule provides some structure and assurance for both the new hire and the team.” Angela Champ, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Alpine Building Maintenance

“The perfect first day for any new hire will start off with an induction session to facilitate easy assimilation into the team and culture. Next, new hires meet their peers, managers, and have a brief chat with one of our top execs. Finally, we'll settle the new team member into their desk whether remote or on site. Making sure they have everything they need, have clear goals and benchmarks are key and need to be taken care of during the first day.” Alex White, Head of Talent Management at Sell My House Fast

8 Human Resources Quotes About Onboarding Best Practices

“It's unrealistic to anticipate new hires to stop what they're doing and search for the nearest employee development LMS training terminal. Different people process information in different ways. As a result, providing a variety of resources that accommodate various learning styles can enhance memory and recall.” Jeff Romero, Founder of Octiv Digital

“We use an automated process for our onboarding that gets all of the administration work out of the way before the first day. All documents are signed and the information is collated so we can get on with the onboarding process without distraction. As a business we separate onboarding from induction, both are important but from experience when they are combined the focus becomes blurred and neither are done correctly.” Heidi Brockman, Head of Human Resources at House Buyer Network

New hires have a short window during which they are open to absorbing the culture of your company. If this opportunity is missed, they may never feel they fully belong as a member of your team.

“New hires have a short window during which they are open to absorbing the culture of your company. If this opportunity is missed, they may never feel they fully belong as a member of your team. To avoid this, you should set your employees up for success by showing them your company values, communication styles, and overall vision.” David Aylor, Founder and CEO of David Aylor Law Offices

“If a new employee doesn't feel welcome or isn't given direction on their first day, it's an indicator their colleagues, manager, and company haven't invested time to set the employee up for success. The employee, already feeling disengaged, may already decide it's time to start looking for a new job. A strong onboarding program makes that much of a difference in an employee's desire to stay at a job.” Eric Mochnacz, Director of Operations at Red Clover HR

“Onboarding shouldn’t stop once paperwork is complete; developing management skills of supervisors (and other decision makers) should be a core component of every onboarding program so managers can confidently guide each new hire through both successes and failures alike with expertise rather than scattershot advice or unnecessary micromanagement styles.” Wolfe Bowart, CEO of Vivi.Pins

“It’s crucial for supervisors to provide regular check-ins throughout the onboarding process to ensure that the new hire is adapting properly and developing relationships with their colleagues. An open line of communication is key for a successful onboarding experience.” Linda Shaffer, Chief People Operations Officer of Checkr

“Onboarding is the responsibility of the manager. Oftentimes, the biggest mistake I see is a manager not taking the lead on onboarding tasks.” —Ricky Joshi, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Saatva

“Forcing too much information on new colleagues will raise pressure and can quickly overwhelm them. As an onboarding expert, you have to think of what will be important for the employee in the first week, in the next three weeks, and within the first six months.” —Stefanie Frenking, Head of Global Recruiting at Spreadshirt

The Critical Importance of Providing Clear Expectations

“Without clear instruction, a new hire won't know what is expected of them, nor will they understand how best to perform their duties. Instead, you must ensure that the onboarding process is structured to be comprehensive and to answer all of the new hire’s questions and concerns. This way, new onboards can quickly get up to speed and work productively in their new position.” Max Wesman, COO at GoodHire

“I’ve seen a lot of small businesses that don’t have any onboarding process, formal or
informal. The new hire shows up for their day of work and they aren’t sure what they should be doing. They know they have a job to do — but they haven’t spoken with anyone from management or HR about company expectations and processes. It doesn’t leave a good first impression of a business.” —Bob Ellis, Founder of Bavarian Clockworks

“If you don't capture your audience from the first few words, then you're never going to catch them. The same rule applies to onboarding—if you don't start your new hires on the right foot from a tooling, culture, and processes perspective then you're essentially undercutting their understanding of what they're doing, why, and how for a long time to come.” Dragos Badea, Co-founder and CEO of Yarooms

Integrating New Hires Faster Brings Productivity Faster

“Too often, onboarding consists of a new employee (or even a group of them) sitting in a conference room with someone from HR, watching onboarding videos or a powerpoint presentation of the handbook. A better approach is to integrate onboarding into the work environment. With this strategy, the new hire will get up to speed and start contributing to the team faster.” Jon Hill, Chairman and CEO of The Energists

“Some key elements of an effective onboarding program include providing new employees with clear expectations, giving them the tools and resources they need to succeed, and offering consistent feedback and guidance throughout the process. Additionally, it is important to encourage your new hires to ask questions, collaborate with their colleagues, and actively participate in training programs.” Arno Markus BA, MSc., CPRW (Certified Professional Résumé Writer), Founder and CEO of iCareerSolutions

“A poorly structured onboarding process may prevent an employee from comfortably becoming part of the team or understanding their roles effectively, therefore they will find it difficult to make significant contributions or feel value within the organization. As a result, organizations will struggle to retain valuable staff while also seeing lower productivity levels. Consequently, having an effective onboarding program is essential for any organization looking to optimize performance and ensure long-term success.” Karolina Kijowska, Head of People at PhotoAiD

“The goal is for all newcomers to feel a sense of belonging from the moment they walk in the door: they take an office tour, have a meet-and-greet with our management team, and join a new hire ‘group chat’ so they can build rapport — and lasting relationships — with the people they are spending their first day with, regardless of whether they are located.” Jessica Arias, Senior Director of People and Culture at OnPay

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