Onboarding or On-boarding? (Helpful Examples)

“Onboarding” is a common business term, and it would help to go through its spelling before writing it. This article will teach you whether it’s one or two words. If it is one word, it will also help to know whether it’s hyphenated or not.

Onboarding vs. On-boarding

“Onboarding” is one word. It’s always written as one word because we use “on-” as a prefix to modify the root word “boarding.” There is never a reason to use the hyphenated form because we do not want to treat “on” and “boarding” as separate words.

Onboarding or On-boarding?

According to Google Ngram Viewer, you can see that “onboarding” is the more popular choice of the two. The huge difference between the two in popularity shows that the one-word variation is the only one that makes sense when you want to be correct.

Onboarding or On-boarding - Statistics

It’s worth mentioning that “on-boarding” does see a bit of common usage. However, this is mostly down to people confusing the need for hyphens in the word. It’s best to try and avoid doing this if you want to remain grammatically correct.

To prove our point, we can refer to The Cambridge Dictionary and The Oxford Dictionary. Both give us a clear definition of “onboarding” as one word. They define it as a noun (and also a modifier in some cases).

Neither dictionary shows that “On-boarding” should be hyphenated. It is not an adjective form (which is the most common form to be hyphenated). Therefore, you should not worry about the rules around it.


“Onboarding” should be kept as one word whenever you write about it. It makes sense in this way because we can treat “on-” as a prefix for “boarding.” It’s also much simpler to understand when you see it in writing, so you don’t have to worry about the meaning.

Some people like to remove hyphens from words when they think they’re unnecessary. So, even if “on-boarding” was correct, it would be likely that one day the hyphen would have been dropped in favor of a simpler way to write it.

That’s why it’s much more appropriate to see “onboarding” as only one word. It still conveys the correct meaning, and that’s all we need to know.

Check out these examples to learn how the one-word option works:

  1. If you’d like to check out what we do for onboarding, we’re taking in swathes of new employees in the next few weeks.
  2. This is the onboarding process, and I expect you to take it a little more seriously if you really want to be a worker for me.
  3. It’s not onboarding without a bit of confusing presentation! I don’t know what’s going on!
  4. You should go there for the onboarding experience. I think it would be really good for you.


“On-boarding” is not a hyphenated form. We do not use it as an adjective, so we do not need to group the words “on” and “boarding” with a hyphen. This might be correct if the words were used separately more often, but they are not used in this case.

AP Style rules teach us all there is to know about how to use hyphens. In the AP Stylebook, we use hyphens to connect more than one word when that word modifies another noun.

Since “onboarding” does not modify nouns in this way, we cannot use AP Style rules to any degree.

Instead, you’d be better off checking out these examples to see how it works correctly:

  • Correct: We have found the appropriate onboarding measures have been put in place, making it much easier for us to hire new starters.
  • Incorrect: You should look into the on-boarding procedure before taking part in this any further.
  • Correct: I got a bit stuck after the initial onboarding was completed, but they explained the next steps to me just fine!
  • Incorrect: If you didn’t want to take part in on-boarding, you shouldn’t have signed up for the business. That’s on you.

Is “Boarding” Capitalized In The Word “On-Boarding”?

Typically, we would go over how to capitalize the hyphen form at this stage. However, it is not correct, so we do not need to worry about the rules surrounding it.

Instead, you only need to use “onboarding.” Since it’s one word, the only letter you would capitalize is “O,” but that only applies if you’re writing it in a title or at the start of a sentence.