Onboarding refers to the universal term used by Human Resource professionals to describe the mechanism through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors to become effective organizational members and insiders of a business.The term was coined in the early 1970s, but it gained popularity in business circles only in the last decade, when businesses started emphasizing the preliminary training of new hires. Initially, the process was just filling out some paperwork and taking a quick tour of the office. Today, onboarding is much more personal and focuses on making each new employee feel at home in their new place of work.Joining a new company is like turning the page to a new chapter in someone’s life. It’s essential to make sure that this life event is a happy memory, and not remembered as the day as the day you wrote your name in block letters fifty times. When we introduce ourselves to someone new, we try to establish a warm connection with them so that we can go on to build a working relationship in the future. This concept of welcoming someone was not deemed necessary in the initial days of onboarding.The traditional onboarding process has proven to be quite problematic.Providing offer letters, employer contracts, health insurance forms, etc. is time-consuming and requires a lot of effort. With so much information relaying back and forth from new employees and the HR team, there’s a high risk of errors occurring while manually transferring information (which is how more than half of HR managers go about it today). Over the years, the way people communicate has drastically changed, and Human Resources markets are now more competitive. Companies soon realized that to increase retention rates and ensure that there’s a sense of loyalty cultivated amongst employees, it’s important to make them feel like they belong – which starts with the onboarding process.The future of onboarding has been brightened by the rays of technological innovation and the growing importance of branding.With advancing technology and a dying Earth, it’s vital for us to chuck the paper-pen method of filling out employee forms and move onto a more secure, online method. There are several HR software tools on the market today that have streamlined and automated the entire hiring process – increasing efficiency; reducing logistical problems, errors; and helping business save time and money. Some excellent HR software tools are BambooHR, Qualtrics, UltiPro, and iCIMS Onboard. The best part – employees now have the opportunity to fill all this information out at home rather than waste their first day of work.With social media, new workers can learn about veteran employees beforehand – allowing them to know more about their colleagues when they arrive on their first day. In addition to acting as an icebreaker between old and new employees, social media could also be used to depict the company’s culture, current status, and latest updates. The goal of all this should be to make the workers feel like they are a part of the company, and that means knowing and trusting the people around them.Hardware enhancements are also predicted to revolutionize the onboarding process.As drones become more popular, terms/phrases like ‘remote office’ and ‘sending the office to the employee,’ are being used in a literal sense. Wearable technology will allow businesses to create an ‘experience’ for new starters through an augmented reality. Take, for example, the Google Glass. Imagine a new employee picking up a Google Glass and walking around the office. From day one, he would be able to identify co-workers and navigate around the office space independently and comfortably. Advancements in office furniture technology will help a new employee adapt his surroundings to his needs rather than the other way around.Studies have shown that it’s imperative to innovate the onboarding process continuously. It’s a relative concept that has to be modeled based on the brand, values, and culture of a business. Forbes recently did a case study on a company called, Red Hat. New employees are welcomed to its headquarters for an intensive multiple-day program in which the starters are walked through the company’s brand book, also known as its cultural ‘Bible’; introduced to employee ambassadors, and given an iconic team-building tchotchke (decorative trinket) – a red Fedora. The company shows that it genuinely cares from the beginning, not only by explaining its culture and values but also by branding its new employees as its own, using the Red Hat uniform. No employee should be left to navigate the waters of a new job alone. Taking good care of new talent during this critical time will be beneficial in the future – guaranteeing better job satisfaction for employees, an increase in employee retention, and a more positive work environment.