Onboarding software supports you in delivering an engaging experience for new hires, so they connect with their new organisation and colleagues from the moment they’re offered the job. Onboarding systems are also designed to automate and streamline many of the more time consuming administrative tasks that come with bringing new employees into the organisation.
Without employee onboarding software, organising all the activities that make up taking on new employees is incredibly time consuming and can put a strain on your already busy schedule. Key processes often slip through the cracks, and in the modern workplace where new employees expect everything to run perfectly, this just doesn’t fly.
HR has known for a while that how employee onboarding is handled can make all the difference between a quick, costly employee churn and a long productive relationship with the company. However, it is clear from our own research that many organisations are still struggling with employee engagement and retention. In a 2018 survey of 1000 office staff , 41.1% said they left a job within six months of joining and 37.5% had changed their mind before their first day. Poor onboarding is likely to play a huge part in this.
With so much to gain, and so much at stake, what should you be looking for when choosing onboarding software? We’ve picked out some key features that no onboarding software should be without.
With such a big drop-off risk before and after employees start, it’s vital for employers to engage with them from the moment they’re hired. Employee welcome portals are a common feature of onboarding software because they do just that. Acting as an information hub, they ensure a constant communication with the new employee, and offer a platform to share all the essential details they need to know before they start (date of first day, office location, directions, key contact details etc).
Since visual content is probably the most powerful way of engaging with your hire, the option to add photos and embed videos is essential; whether that’s a quick welcome from the company’s CEO, or a video showing your company’s culture (interviews, office days out etc) or highlighting your brand’s values and goals.
Check to make sure it is easy to link to documents or include content that covers other essential information, such as what to expect on the first day, or even weeks. Nobody wants to be in the dark about what to expect from their new job, so welcome portals are an effective way of putting employees at ease before and after they start.
Not all onboarding responsibilities fall solely on HR. Duties are often spread over different departments: Have IT set up the new starter’s laptop and email? Has the finance team organised payroll yet? Has their line manager arranged inductions and check in meetings? Without onboarding software, it’s difficult for HR to know who’s done what, and what needs chasing up. Onboarding solutions with a task manager and checklists however prompts actions from you, your colleagues and your new starters by using notifications, meaning that important processes don’t get forgotten about. What’s more, you get a useful overview of what has and hasn’t been completed yet, so you can be confident that everyone knows what they need to do and can chase up if important activities have not been carried out.
To avoid time-wasting duplication of effort, onboarding software and your core HRIS have to go hand in hand; your new joiner will, very shortly, become a fully-fledge employee, so any of the information you collect through your new joiner portal should flow straight into your HR system; team profiles held in your HR system should automatically appear to new joiners; and, possibly most important of all, your onboarding system needs to make use of the reporting relationships you have in your core HR system to allocate tasks and send out notifications.
Having an onboarding system that can easily integrate with your existing HR data is a real time saver, and many of the more up-to-date Cloud HR solutions now come with onboarding modules that are easy to set up and accessible 24/7 from PC, tablet or mobile. Because all your employee information lives in your integrated system already, you’re dealing with only one information source, cutting out the laborious task of constantly re-entering the same data into multiple systems.