The length of onboarding programs varies. Some employers only assist in the first week, while others continue to provide assistance for a year or more. Program lengths tend to differ slightly between regions, with North America generally having shorter onboarding programs than other regions. Actual program lengths also tend to be shorter than what HR professionals would prefer. In addition, many organizations commence their program prior to a worker starting employment, a process known as preboarding. While this may appear overly enthusiastic to some, others point to the time savings of getting some tasks finished early, allowing new employees to concentrate on the productive aspects of their role right away.
Many HR professionals are starting to think of onboarding as a way to manage the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation in their workplace. This differs from traditional onboarding in that the target is existing employees, not a new employee, but the principle is the same. A vast majority of HR professionals see onboarding as able to teach employees the required skills to work effectively with newly-introduced AI/automation, reducing fear and uncertainty around the change. In line with growth of AI and automation, a 2019 survey found a majority of U.S. HR professionals believed their onboarding program was either extremely or somewhat prepared for this eventuality.