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I'm trying to figure out which is the right preposition to use after "onboard" (in the meaning of "integrate someone into an organization or familiarize him with one's products or services"; source).

Some options may be:

  1. onboarding new users into the platform
  2. onboarding new users onto the platform
  3. onboarding new users to the platform

As it has been pointed out, the verb is fairly new, so there might not be a definitive answer. I'd be also interested in knowing if the prepositions remains the same when speaking of things (e.g. "onboarding texts into/onto/to a corpus"). Thanks!

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  • Why do you think that only one of these is correct? Commented Jul 29, 2022 at 6:53
  • Of course other options are possible, but these three seemed to me the most likely collocations. Any idea? Commented Jul 29, 2022 at 6:55
  • 2
    What have you found already. and what is a "satisfying result"? With a relatively new word like onboarding (yuk!) you could well find a number of opinions about which prepositions might go with it. The example sentences here don't use a preposition at all, and that might be the best option: rewrite your fragment.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Jul 29, 2022 at 7:25
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    Besides searching for "onboard . . . into/onto/to", did you search for "into/onto/to the platform"? Putting those into Google ngrams, one option appears much less likely than the other two. Commented Jul 29, 2022 at 8:43
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    Being in or on a platform are different things: in implies membership or being included in a database/list/system, while on implies using or controlling a system (or maybe developing it?). Onboarding can mean various things, and you're careful not to say anything, but if you mean training, registering, or creating an account maybe say that. As it stands, the question provides very little information.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jul 29, 2022 at 9:33

3 Answers 3

1

A literal "platform" is a raised horizontal surface, often used for people to stand on, get on or come onto in order to be raised up so that many people will see them and hear what they have to say.

The Internet's appropriation of the term "platform" metaphorically borrows from its literal meaning by suggesting that such sites give users a place where they are figuratively raised up to be seen and heard by the vast masses that people cyberspace.

With that in mind, since with a literal platform, whether it be a dais or a soapbox, you get "on" it or "onto" it, not "in" it, which makes no sense, you'd likewise use "on" or "onto," depending on context. While it's true that a person can come "to" a platform, that conveys they've merely approached it, like to stand in front of it, not gotten onboard, not gotten "on" it or "onto" it.

That said, using "onboarding" and "onto" together is a tautology, redundant. It'd be more apropos to say something along the lines of: "The platform is onboarding new users," or, "New users are being brought onto the platform."

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Per the Society for Human Resource Management, “New employee onboarding is the process of integrating a new employee with a company and its culture….”

If the new verb “onboard” conveys “integrate”, then the same preposition applies, e.g. “We must onboard new users with our platform” or “Our new users have been onboarded with our platform.”

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I believe the correct usage is in sentence number one. I'm speaking in terms of an office setting. I have had to hire someone for a human resources position before and part of the listed duties included this phrase:

onboarding and terminating of individuals

With that in mind when we have to terminate someone, part of that is removing them from the company's computer system, just as when we hire someone we have to onboard them into the companies computer system. This is what gives the employees, a badge number, employee number, or locker number etc...

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    Could you explain why number 1? It's probably not easy to find references on this one, but a more elaborate explanation might help.
    – fev
    Commented Jul 29, 2022 at 9:18
  • “Terminating individuals”? Which branch of the Mafia do you work for?
    – David
    Commented Jul 30, 2022 at 18:14
  • When an employer hires someone, all the paperwork they have that person do i. e. That big packet you spend a few hours filling out that includes employee handbook and w-2 forms, is what the HR person then enters into the companies computer system they use to track that person's employment i. e. Hours worked, vacation time earned, what part of the facility they work in etc .. this is onboarding that person into that system so the employee can be tracked, so, things like getting paid, being eligible for a sick day or their movements within the facility can be verified. Commented Jul 30, 2022 at 23:40
  • And no I do not have mafia ties, lol terminate is the actual technical term. You get "your fired" because they think it's a nicer way to tell you as not to cause undue crying Commented Jul 30, 2022 at 23:43

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