How to Use Kanban for Onboarding New Employees

Finding qualified employees for your business can be a time-consuming and tasking process. It requires a lot of time, money, and patience. More importantly, once you find suitable candidates and hire them, it takes a certain amount of time to onboard them. According to a survey conducted at Harvard, it takes about eight months on average for an employee to feel completely comfortable in their new role and achieve peak productivity. In some cases, that could be too long to sustain a business, especially a small one. Still, using Kanban for onboarding new employees could shorten that time and increase employee productivity.

Kanban is one of the most popular methodologies for planning, organizing, and managing teams. Its intuitive Kanban board can be used for delegating and organizing tasks among the team members and completing them effectively before the deadline. 

Managers, especially HR managers, could benefit from using Kanban for onboarding new employees, but also managing the hiring process efficiently. Kanban is a strong organizational tool that can help shorten the lengthy hiring process and even lengthier onboarding process

We wrote this article for all managers who struggle to take care of onboarding new employees. Follow along to learn how to use Kanban for onboarding new employees. 

How to Use Kanban for Onboarding New Employees?

There are a lot of things that you have to consider when trying to integrate a new employee with the rest of the team:

  • How the working process is balanced and organized
  • What specific tasks should other employees do to better introduce the new employee to the scope of work?
  • What is the best way to educate and train new employees?
  • How will the employees communicate?

All these questions and many more questions bother HRs when they should onboard a new hire. That’s why creating Kanban boards and other Kanban templates can make things much clearer for both your new employees, as well as you.

Many tools allow you to create a Kanban board for new employee onboarding, we opted for Kanban Zone because it’s swift, intuitive, and packed with various features that will make creating templates easier and more fun. 

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Creating a Simple Onboarding Project

If you want to start onboarding new projects using Kanban Zone, you will need to create a new form for your employee. You can name it simply, something like “[Employee Name] tasks” or “[Employee Name] Onboarding Template”. The name doesn’t matter much, as long as it’s simple and it allows you to organize tasks among other employees too. 

If you have more than one new employee, you’ll have to create a template for each one of them, which allows you to have something like a personal portfolio of onboarding tasks and obligations for each new team member. 

You can use any template that you’d like. If you’re a small business then you can make just a simple Kanban board which is a bit more detailed to-do list. That way, you can highlight which tasks your employee needs to do and they can highlight which tasks are in progress and which tasks are complete.

Kanban Zone’s board is a very simple employee onboarding checklist and allows you to just drag and drop the tasks you’re working on or you completed. One such example is the image below.

onboarding kanban board

This simple onboarding consists of five containers – Backlog, To Do, In Progress, Verify, and Done. Of course, you can always keep it simple with only four or three, but we believe this approach will achieve the best level of productivity among the employees and the HR team. 

A little more complex onboarding template is displayed below. This approach consists of six containers and an explanation for each one. We won’t detail the backlog because it should contain items and actions that are on the back of the HR’s mind, as well as a manual on how to use this board correctly. However, other boards include:

  • Preparing: It should tell employees how to prepare for the first day at work, whether they need to bring something, dress code, etc. If you’re making an individual board for each employee, it should contain a list of tasks they need to complete.
  • First day: It contains tasks and information about things that should take place during the first day at work, like learning what employees’ responsibilities are, who their team members are, onboarding meetings, and more.
  • First week: It contains all the tasks that employees should cover during the first week at work, like learning about other departments, setting goals per sprint, meeting managers, and others.
  • First Three Months: Includes tasks like completing sprints, active communication with managers and team, stand-up meetings, and reviews.
  • Done: Tasks that were completed should go into this container.
Onboarding Kanban Board With Explanations

Having one board for all employees may be a bit more difficult, but is a great option if your business isn’t big. Every employee will be located in the container they belong in and have their tasks detailed inside the card. 

How to Use Kanban in HR?

Did you know you can also use Kanban in HR? Kanban board for recruitment is more than easy to make thanks to Kanban Zone’s templates. Here is a small example of how a hiring Kanban board should look like. You can either make a smaller board or a detailed board that looks into every aspect of the hiring process.

Hiring Kanban Board

We split the hiring board into three parts so you can take a look at the basic selection screen and the initial assessment and testing. On this screen, you can have an overview of people who applied and how they performed through the initial screening. You can also drag them to the feedback container to comment on their performance on the initial test.

Interview Verification Sections On Kanban Board

If your company has multiple interview processes like screening interviews, technical interviews, and other types of interviews that consist of several stages, this Kanban board can provide a detailed overview of how each candidate performed. Accept and Reject containers at each stage give an insight into how far each candidate reached.

offer hire sections on kanban board

Finally, if your offer and hire board can contain the conditions and benefits for each candidate. You can also track the progress in Offer Status. Once the candidates accept the offer, you can move them to the Hire container where they will complete all the forms and contracts and get ready to start the onboarding process.

You can always make the hiring board much simpler and more intuitive. However, to have a good overview of all the candidates, it’s more than welcome to experiment with containers and options. That way, you can see all the aspects where candidates stand out and get a better idea about their working habits and skills.


Although onboarding new employees can be a stressful job for HR managers, Kanban boards can simplify the process and allow the managers to learn more about the employees they are onboarding. 

It can also be used to simplify the hiring process and allow you to learn more about the candidates through different stages of the interview. Join Kanban Zone and see how well-organized boards and templates can improve employee engagement and organization.

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About the Author: Danica Simic

Danica Simic, Author
Danica Simic is a software and data engineer with great passion towards planning and tech. She started writing to be able to pay for studying but it wasn’t too long before she decided she wanted to work as a full-time tech writer. She’s focused on academic writing and copywriting but also enjoys writing about artificial intelligence, productivity, planning, organization and everything tech. Her hobbies include swimming, reading, drawing and gaming. She also runs a few tech Instagram accounts and offers data & AI consultations to small businesses and data science students.

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