Who is Involved in Onboarding?

Employee onboarding is crucial to the success of employees. But it's not just for the manager. Learn who at a company needs to play a role.


Let’s talk onboarding. Before we get into the who and why we have to define what the process really is and what it means for your team. 

Simply put, an onboarding program is a set of strategic activities that introduce new employees to an organization. 

Of course, it’s also so much more. Onboarding can take different forms depending on the size of the business. At smaller companies, the CEO might be an active player. At larger companies, specific departments might help different employees. Because these efforts can vary, you need to know who is responsible when. 

Onboarding is the first step toward successful employment. A recent study by Brandon Hall group shows that a streamlined, structured and collaborative experience increases the chances of retaining the talent by 82 percent. If you don’t have a structured approach, you’re less likely to help your employee get accustomed to your company culture, increasing the likelihood of turnover.

Does your onboarding system lack a clear delineation of responsible parties? That’s to say, does your company expect 100 percent of onboarding to be handled by HR alone? 

If that’s the case, you and your new hires are prone to overwhelm. But before we get into why shared responsibilities make for a smoother transition, let’s see what an onboarding process should look like.

Onboarding Process

Most HR experts say onboarding should last at least 12 months. So, before you start planning out your onboarding process, make up a strategic plan to answer the following questions:

  • When does the onboarding start?
  • How long will the onboarding last?
  • What activities need to be done before the first day?
  • What should the first day look like?
  • What do the candidates need to know (policies, benefits, culture, rules, job, etc.)?
  • What are the roles of the manager, directors and colleagues?
  • What are the KPIs and goals?
  • What are the future opportunities? 

And finally, how are you collecting feedback?

Onboarding should span from the day of hire through one year. If the employee has time to feel comfortable, confident and clear in their role, they are much more likely to stay. 

Why should everyone be involved in onboarding? 

HR is the first (and probably only) team to pop into our heads when we think of onboarding. 

Consider HR as the managers of the onboarding process. They make things happen, but they’re not the only party involved. Really, your program requires buy-in from every department across the organization. 

This is because onboarding is more than a set of tasks. Each phase should move the employee closer to full integration. You’re creating a welcoming atmosphere that folds your new hire into the company fabric and prepares them to take on their individual responsibilities. 

When recruiting and retaining top talent, you need to build a strong foundation. It’s crucial to help new employees get up to speed. Taking the time to provide a customized framework could separate your company from the competition. Still, it’s a commitment that not many companies prioritize. They think there are other, more pressing priorities or budget items. HR’s often left to pick up the slack, and unnecessary pressure falls on the hires themselves.  

Onboarding need not be a honeymoon phase. You hired your employees to work hard, and they’re happy to. But they can only do their jobs effectively if you train and scale them to fit with the company’s growth plans. 

Classify your onboarding into two separate phases:

  1. Conducting the standard efforts that bring an employee into a company.
  2. Providing sufficient support so that they can become experts in their role. 

This approach ensures that no matter how fast your company grows, there will always be resources to ensure your employees (whether in-house or remote) employees have what they need. 

Now without further adieu, let’s discuss who’s who in the onboarding process. 

Who is involved in onboarding?

While the whole company should, in some aspect, support onboarding, here are the five parties that must own some part of the shared responsibility. 


As we mentioned earlier, HR is the mastermind behind all things onboarding. The HR team is responsible for strategizing, planning, recruiting and ensuring that the transition is successful. 

Below are the tasks typically handled by HR. 

Knowledge Sharing

HR is responsible for presenting the company’s employee handbook or sharing the central knowledge base containing information about policies, rules, benefits, compensation, payroll, work environment, etc.

They are also responsible for ensuring all paperwork is signed upon hire. 


HR is also responsible for introducing the employee to the organization and connecting them with other onboarding shareholders. 

Company Culture 

For an employee to buy in, they need to feel part of the team. You only have one chance at a first impression, and this introduction is pivotal for engagement, motivation, productivity and overall retention rates. 

Skill Training

Employees often have a lot to learn when joining an organization. Teaching can be tricky with a hybrid or remote workforce. HR is in charge of determining what knowledge, skills, and tools employees need for success. These can be role-specific or company-wide. 


Direct managers play a vital role in new hire success. In fact, a study by BambooHR shows that 33 percent of new employees feel that their manager has the most influence on their onboarding’s effectiveness. 

Where HR ends, management begins. It’s often up to a supervisor or director to determine what the job entails and develop educational materials

A manager will also introduce a new hire to their team, assign an onboarding buddy and set KPIs. As the employee gets into the flow of things, their manager will eventually evaluate their progress and set up training as needed. 

Onboarding Buddy

A buddy can make all the difference in employee acclimation. Most new hires are hesitant to ask questions during their first week. Assign a peer to check in with them, whether on scheduled 1:1s or via communication channels. 

Also, be sure to prioritize team collaboration. Schedule a call with the whole department so that your new employee can get to know everyone in a low-stakes environment. Their buddy could help them break the ice or otherwise support a positive interaction. 

The more comfortable your employee feels, the more likely they are to ask questions, collaborate and put forth their best effort each day. 

IT rep

IT plays a brief but crucial role in onboarding, especially for remote workers. An IT rep hands off the hardware and software, meeting requirements as necessary. They’ll also likely be checking in to ensure your employee has their login information and will respond in cases of technical difficulty (like when that login information doesn’t do what it’s supposed to). 


The CEO or CXO’s involvement depends on the job position and company size. They may support the interview and orientation process for a start-up venture. Likely if you’re building a team from the ground up, individual skillsets can shape what the positions look like and how they serve company goals. Whereas, for big fortune companies, the CEO and other CXOs are only involved in onboarding for positions like VPs or department leads. 

Onboarding is everyone’s priority

When you get down to it, the whole company can support your onboarding program. As your new employee works their way through the funnel, everyone they meet should be able to help them. Whether it’s formal training, checking in or simply showing them where the bathroom is, each touchpoint is an opportunity for a positive experience. 

Design a process that seamlessly integrates a new hire into the company culture and its operations. Don’t be afraid to ask other teams for input – make sure that shareholders understand their contributions and work to make it a priority. The sooner they do, the sooner your new employee will feel like part of the team.