What Is an Onboarding Specialist?

February 27, 2024 in

Modern companies have different HR specialists to ensure a positive working culture and stimulating environment and have the best candidates onboard. From talent acquisition to onboarding specialists, every role in HR is equally valued. However, as there is a significant growth in demand for onboarding specialists, we wanted to discuss more about their role in the industry. So, what is an onboarding specialist, and is this the career path you are looking for?

If you are interested in the position, you will find this article insightful. We will discuss the onboarding specialist job duties, the necessary skills for the job, and the importance of onboarding specialists for employee integration into the company.

What Is an Onboarding Specialist?

As the name implies, onboarding specialists are part of the HR department responsible for the onboarding process of new employees.

The job of the onboarding specialists includes administrative and communication tasks. Namely, they develop comprehensive programs for new hires, offer employee orientation support, and are reachable at all times during the onboarding period.

With the help of the onboarding specialists, new employees can integrate into the team seamlessly and become successful assets of the company. On an administrative note, onboarding specialists are also responsible for ensuring compliance with the legal documents, helping out with the paperwork, and offering practical support such as logistics.

If you’re interested in the onboarding specialist career path, below we discuss the core responsibilities in more detail. That will help you understand what is an onboarding specialist better and what to expect from the job position.

What Is an Onboarding Specialist
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Core Responsibilities

Any onboarding specialist job description includes designing onboarding programs, giving tours to the new hires, and planning and coordinating the logistics of the new employee, among the most popular duties.

Designing onboarding programs

Creating onboarding programs for new employees is the primary obligation of an onboarding specialist. These programs are adjusted to employees' skills and abilities, and the goal is to help the new hires integrate into the company faster and develop a quality working routine.

By following these programs, the onboarding process goes smoothly and effectively. Otherwise, without effective planning, this process implementation can be a waste of time for both parties.

Facilitating new hire orientation

The onboarding specialist gives the new hire a tour to help them meet with the other company members. To help them integrate into the team better, they can organize a new hire party, introduction games, etc. This helps break the ice between the existing and new employees and allows them to get to know each other better.

Coordination and logistics

Part of the job of an onboarding specialist includes planning and coordinating the logistics of the new employee. That means it’s their responsibility to help the new hire move in smoothly and provide them with the necessary equipment and materials for the job.

Before the first day on the job, the onboarding specialist has to set up the hire's workstations, gather the equipment for the new hire, and organize their working desk. On their first day, the onboarding specialist needs to coordinate with the IT sector to set up all the necessary systems and accounts.

Providing support and guidance

Integrating into a new team can be super stressful for some. Therefore, the job of the onboarding specialist is to ensure that new employees feel welcomed and confident. Usually, during this process, the new hires may need more guidance on the programs or operational systems, and the onboarding specialist should offer guidance and support by answering correctly and calmly to each question the new hires may have.

Evaluating and improving onboarding processes

The onboarding specialist's duty is to create and strictly follow an onboarding plan. Even if it’s based on the employee, they must monitor the entire onboarding process implementation to the company. If the employee struggles with a given task or activity, they should adjust accordingly.

Required Skills and Qualifications

The onboarding specialist skills should include the following:

Communication skills

One of the primary onboarding specialist job responsibilities is communication skills. The onboarding specialist must have an understanding and a deep sense of empathy to bring the best out of the new hires. This provides a welcoming and safe feeling, as beginnings can be stressful.

Additionally, onboarding specialists need to possess excellent communication skills because they have to train the new hires and teach them how everything works within the company. They should be able to easily translate complex tasks or duties to the new hires to help them integrate into the company faster. Also, onboarding specialists must understand different learning styles so they can teach the employees about the company culture and policy in a way they can understand.

Ultimately, apart from spoken communication skills, the onboarding specialist needs to have excellent written communication skills. Part of their job involves the preparation of manuals for the new employees explaining the company's workflow and the entire operational process. They must cover all potential questions an employee may have in the beginning to ensure they will be familiar with all tasks and responsibilities. Manuals save time both for employees and onboarding specialists.

Organizational skills

Excellent organizational skills come as a second priority. The onboarding specialist's job duties include managing the entire integration process of one or multiple new hires.

Specifically, the onboarding specialist is responsible for the onboarding even before the employee's first day. They have to call the employee the day before to remind them and briefly explain what to expect on the first day.

On the first day, after introducing the employee to the company, they take care of the legal paperwork and prepare the duties for the day.

Ultimately, the onboarding specialists may have a few employees at once to monitor. They may have to track the integration of several new hires at once. On top of this, they will have to schedule meetings and organize paperwork and other relevant documents for new hires.

Organizational skills
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Interpersonal skills

Onboarding specialists must be able to build new relationships fast and learn how to maintain them. They will be working within all departments of the company, and they need stable relationships to carry out their tasks. Therefore, interpersonal skills are crucial for the onboarding specialist.

As an onboarding specialist, you will have to adapt to different situations, learn how to respond calmly and make the best decisions under pressure. Anything can happen on the first day, and it’s the onboarding specialist's responsibility to calm the situation.

Attention to detail

Ultimately, the onboarding specialists will deal with tons of details and tasks, so a strong attention to detail is vital for this role.

They are also responsible for bringing good candidates on board. They have to check for any inconsistencies in their work, background, and other verification processes that require attention to detail.

In addition to the verification processes, onboarding specialists must be alert that all legal documents are in order and everything is as discussed during the interviewing protocols.

Impact and Significance

The role of the onboarding specialist is crucial in the company as it allows new employees to integrate into the team effectively and freely. Without a proper onboarding process, the new hires may struggle to understand the company’s policy, the working environment, and most importantly, the skills and the responsibilities for their job.

Enhancing employee engagement and retention

The onboarding specialist must ensure other employees greet and welcome the new employee so they can feel included and valued. They can introduce the employee with a small welcome party where all team members can meet and get to know each other.

Such starts motivate the employees to be more productive. This improves the efficiency of the company and the overall working culture. Additionally, cultivating such working environments allows employees to build quality relationships as co-workers and become better team players. With such increased productivity, companies see improved performance and high turnover rates.

Enhancing employee engagement and retention
Source: shutterstock.com / Photo Contributor: fizkes

Supporting organizational goals

Supporting organizational goals is crucial for the final objectives. By ensuring the new employees align with the organizational mission, vision, and values, you help them understand their roles and responsibilities in the company, which helps them reach better performance and success.


The onboarding specialist has an integral part in the company. They make a significant impact on the overall organization. By creating a welcoming environment for the new hires, they are stimulating the new employees to be more productive and efficient in the company.

The skills needed for this role include strong spoken and written communication skills. Onboarding specialists need to translate complex taxes to the new employees and educate them about the working culture in the company. Additionally, they need intrapersonal skills and flexibility to ensure they can handle any changes in the company.

Besides those skills, onboarding specialists have administrative duties such as planning the work days for new employees and tracking their performance. Sometimes, they may need to track more than one employee. Therefore, they need strong attention to detail.

Onboarding specialists are vital components in a company that make any new employee feel like a friend.

About the Author

is the Recruitment Marketing Manager for Afni and brings a wealth of knowledge and tips for job seekers. She holds a bachelor's degree in public relations and marketing from Mount Saint Vincent University as well as a masters degree in digital marketing and advertising from Liberty University.