What Does an Onboarding Specialist Do?

Looking to know about an onboarding specialist? You’re at the right place.

Onboarding specialists onboard new employees as the primary step of the onboarding process to allow a smooth transition into their roles within a company. They serve as a point of contact for new hires, introducing them to the company culture, values, and mission and helping them understand their responsibilities within the company.

Hiring skilled and productive employees is a challenging task for any organization. Once the organization finds the right employees, it ensures these employees are capable of succeeding in their roles. Many organizations have an onboarding specialist to ensure that new hires start performing and become productive as soon as possible.

Organizations hire onboarding specialists for employee integration and a maintaining positive work environment. Their main task is to enhance cross-functional collaboration and improve project management. This article covers the onboarding specialist job description, including the role of an onboarding specialist, their preferred qualifications, and skills.

What does an Employee Onboarding Specialist do?

Every company has a different onboarding specialist job description. Each job description consists of duties, education, and skills. However, some of their key responsibilities include:

  • Introducing new hires to the company’s culture
  • Emailing/calling new hires before their first day
  • Managing new hire’s paperwork
  • Helping new hires understand their roles within the company
  • Setting expectations for new team members
  • Providing resources and support to new workers
  • Assisting new staff members to acclimate to their new roles
  • Monitoring the progress of new employees essential for customer success

Besides the key responsibilities mentioned above, employee onboarding experts have unique responsibilities based on their company’s mission. For example, a customer onboarding specialist offers comprehensive onboarding programs to all new customers to get started with a product/service.

Software onboarding specialists train new workers to work with a software application by offering detailed orientation sessions. An HR onboarding specialist works with the HR department to develop and offer new employee orientation sessions. Their job duties involve working with hiring managers to ensure they integrate all new employees into their teams and work on achieving customer success.

Steps to Become an Onboarding Specialist

Let’s take a closer look at some of the key responsibilities of onboarding specialists job to run successful onboarding processes.

1. Creating Company Policies and Handbooks

An important responsibility of an onboarding specialist is to develop policies and handbooks that explain the company’s onboarding processes. They also provide new employees with a resource to refer to in case of any queries.

2. Welcoming New Employees

Onboarding specialists communicate with new employees and help them feel comfortable in their new work environment. They perform the onboarding process efficiently by acting as the first point of contact for new employees. Their duties involve giving new staff members tours of the office, introducing them to their colleagues, and helping new employees with any questions and queries.

3. Conducting Training Sessions

Another key responsibility of an onboarding specialist is to conduct training sessions for new staff members. Training helps new employees understand their roles and learn skills that are essential for customer success.

Employees learn about the company’s values by attending onboarding sessions. Training enables new employees to learn about the company’s culture and hit the ground running from day one. Onboarding specialists conduct one-on-one and group training sessions to increase employee retention.

The topics covered in successful onboarding programs include the company culture, products and services, policies and procedures, and the employee’s duties. For example, if you are running a profitable technology firm, your HR onboarding specialist must ensure that new customer service representatives have proficiency with your company’s software for immediate customer success.

4. Writing Manuals and Guidelines

Onboarding specialists generate manuals and guidelines to provide new hires with the guidance and support they need. These documents explain the organization’s culture, policies, and procedures in detail. They provide resources to new employees to whom they can refer for their queries.

Manuals and guidelines are essential for employees with high-responsibility roles. For example, hiring managers and sales managers often refer to the company’s employee handbook and manual. These specialists work with various departments to create such comprehensive guides. For example, an onboarding specialist works with the HR department to develop an employee handbook.

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5. Offering Technical Assistance

Companies use a variety of software programs to run their businesses and achieve customer success. Onboarding specialists must exhibit familiarity with these software programs. They also provide new employees with technical assistance related to this software.

For example, an onboarding specialist helps a new employee set up their email account and supports a new employee in installing the company’s software on their computer. In addition, they help a worker solve any technical problems.

6. Collecting and Processing Paperwork

Collecting and processing the paperwork of new staff members is another crucial responsibility of onboarding specialists. This paperwork, including the employee’s contact information, emergency contact information, medical history, and criminal background check, helps them improve onboarding processes.

Onboarding specialists ensure that all of this paperwork is completed on time. They also ensure that it is filed in the correct and safe location. In addition, they keep track of any deadlines associated with this paperwork.

7. Arranging Presentations and Demos

Organizations provide presentations and demos to new employees on their first day to create a positive onboarding experience. It is the responsibility of onboarding specialists to arrange these presentations and demos to contribute effectively to the company’s success. They must make sure that new employees understand the topics covered.

Typical Duties of an Onboarding Specialist

HR Onboarding Specialist Skills

Onboarding specialists must exhibit a variety of general and unique onboarding skills. However, a few generic skills are essential for all onboarding specialists for professional development. Let’s take a look at what skills a typical HR onboarding specialist job description entails:

1. Communication Skills

Effective communication skills are crucial for onboarding specialists. They explain things to new employees for their guidance, develop manuals and guidelines, and give presentations and demos. All of these onboarding activities require strong communication skills. Poor skills lead to confusion and frustration for onboarding specialists and new hires.

2. Effective Team Work Ability

The onboarding process is a collective team effort. Onboarding specialists work effectively with HR, sales, IT, and other departments to onboard top talent that is perfect for the company’s growth. In addition, onboarding specialists work with various personality types. Some people are outgoing and easy to work with, while others are introverted and require more patience.

Onboarding specialists must build relationships with department heads and new hires. They also resolve any conflicts that arise. All these duties demand excellent teamwork skills which onboarding specialists must exhibit.

3. Experience with MS Office and HRIS Systems

Most businesses use Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint as necessary tools for employee documentation and daily operations. In addition, many companies use human resources information systems (HRIS) to store employee data for a better onboarding experience.

4. Familiarity with Employment Laws

Familiarity with employment law is fundamental for anyone involved in the recruitment process. Therefore, onboarding specialists must have sound knowledge of labor legislation to ensure compliance with legal requirements. They must handle regulations like the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

They are also familiar with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC is a federal agency that enforces employment laws. Onboarding specialists exhibit strong knowledge of EEOC’s guidelines to prove the company as an equal-opportunity employer.

5. Excellent Time Management Skills

Professional onboarding specialists must exhibit excellent time-management skills to perform multiple tasks simultaneously and meet deadlines. Poor time management skills lead to longer onboarding processes that result in the organization’s loss and cause frustration in new team members.

Onboarding Specialists Qualifications

The qualifications of an onboarding specialist depend on the industry in which they work. However, a few qualifications are essential for an onboarding expert to excel in the role:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in human resources management or a related field
  • A few companies also accept an associate’s degree
  • Practical experience working as an onboarding employee or human resources employee
  • Experience with human resource software systems

Final Words

Onboarding specialists is a profitable career path to choose with much scope for growth. The right skill set and industry experience are helpful for continuous improvement. So, if you want to pursue an onboarding specialist career path, start working towards it today. Go through the onboarding mentioned above specialist job description and learn the required skills to offer an amazing onboarding experience.


Here is a list of the most-asked questions and answers about an onboarding specialist role:

Do you need a degree to become an onboarding specialist?

Onboarding specialists require a Bachelor’s degree in communication, human resources management, business administration, or a related field. Experience in HR and customer services is also beneficial. You must have in-depth knowledge to address employee’s concerns and provide solutions.

What is an onboarding job?

An onboarding job is a position that works for the successful integration of new hires into an organization. The onboarding process lasts several weeks or months and includes activities, such as orientations, training, and mentorship. Onboarding specialists work in the HR department of an organization and report to the HR manager.

What is a client onboarding specialist?

A client onboarding specialist is a professional who integrates new clients into an organization. They are responsible for delivering a great onboarding experience and ensuring clients are comfortable using the company’s products or services. Client onboarding specialists work in the customer service department of an organization and report to the customer service manager.

How do you become an onboarding specialist?

To become an onboarding specialist, you must gain education in HR or a relevant field, build experience in HR or training to better understand onboarding procedures, and possess necessary skills, like data-driven decision-making, strong communication skills, and interpersonal skills.


If you are looking to get an HR role, feel free to take our HR Certification Courses, where you will learn techniques to develop your skillset in human resources, build your HR network, form an interesting CV, and come up with a successful job search plan.

Josh Fechter
Josh Fechter is the founder of HR.University. He's a certified HR professional and has managed global teams across 5 different continents including their benefits and payroll. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.