digital onboarding

Do you use digital onboarding? Onboarding is a critical part of the employee lifecycle. A structured onboarding can effectively introduce the employee to the culture of your organization and set them up for future success. Find all onboarding benefits here.

In this post, you gain insights on top onboarding trends in the digital onboarding of employees. We will cover the following:

  1. When does the onboarding process begin?
  2. How Digital Tools Help Your Onboarding
  3. Onboarding benefits: Benefits and Challenges of Effective Employee Onboarding
  4. Tools, Apps, and Options for Digital Onboarding
  5. Best Practices in Digital Onboarding

Today’s HR professionals have a wide range of communication tools and practices they can use when onboarding new hires.

However, it’s important to ensure that these digital hr tools are used effectively and integrated with other communication channels.

Quick Facts on Employee Onboarding: 

  • A great welcome and well-tailored onboarding program increase employee retention 
  • Onboarding minimize time to performance in more than 60 % of cases
  • You save costs. Employees are a costly asset in the company - especially if you lose them fast. 25 percent of all employees hand in their notice within the first year. This costs a company about 75.000 USD if a salaried employee quits after 4-6 months
  • Engaged employees deliver better results and effective onboarding increase employee engagement with more than 20 %

When Does the Onboarding Process Begin?

On the candidate’s first day on the job? Once the offer is accepted? During the final interview?

Arguably, employers who focus on building strong employer brands know that the onboarding process starts from the moment an applicant submits an application. 

One or more of those applicants will eventually join the company. Every experience and touchpoint they have on the road to getting to that point will leave an indelible impression.

In this article, we’ll focus on the things that happen once a job candidate accepts a job.

How Digital Tools Can Help Your Employee Onboarding


Traditionally, the onboarding process has involved face to face interactions that might take place between a manager and a newly hired employee. It could also be group sessions bringing together several newly hired employees to go through a formal onboarding process. 

The process might involve educational sessions, the completion of paperwork of various types, and interactions with organizational leaders and key players. You can also focus on creating a digital development plan for employees

Those traditional processes are not only consuming a lot of time. They’re causing significant variation in the methods and messages to new jobholders.

Furthermore, information is likely to be quickly lost amid the myriad of messages that new job holders will be subject to.

Learn how McDonald's use digital learning to increase employee engagement. The digital learning makes a new hire feel more prepared as he or she enters the company culture.

Great onboarding has an onboarding plan that suits the end-user, and digital tools can make new knowledge provided more timely. 

Why Digital Tools Make the Employee Onboarding Process Better

Digital onboarding leverages digital tools and technology to make the onboarding process as cost-effective and efficient as possible.

Digital tools aid new hires. They give them the ability to access information and get answers to questions on a 24/7 basis - whenever they need it.

In addition, the use of digital onboarding will ensure the accuracy of information shared with new hires across the organization. No matter whether it’s a local team of 10 or a global team of 1000’s.

Employee onboarding can be done effectively, digitally, by giving employees and managers, the right tools to structure an onboarding program.

Effective employee onboarding also helps new employees feel safe and welcome on the job. Get our tips with eLearning Industry to enhance the employee onboarding process in 5 creative ways. 

Onboarding Benefits: The Benefits and Challenges of Effective Employee Onboarding


1. 86% average employee retention rate

Companies that offer formal onboarding to employees “have an average employee retention rate of 86 percent. This is 30 points better than those without. Effective onboarding has a bottom-line impact as well.

2. Higher revenue growth

2.5 times the revenue growth. This is the result if you effectively onboard new hires (according to Boston Consulting Group). This must be any CEO's favorite onboarding benefit.

3. Time

Onboarding can both be eating up a lot of time and be expensive, of course. Traditional onboarding programs require employees to participate in training events for hours, sometimes days. It’s not just their time that’s involved, but time for the trainers and participating managers as well. 

Effective onboarding also requires education about organizational policies and procedures beyond formal training. This can be the completion of, for example, documents required by federal government agencies and documents related to benefit sign-up.

4. Digital onboarding tools makes new knowledge stick

One of the biggest challenges for organizations and HR is to attain knowledge during onboarding activities. If it was ever attained at all.

Many of these issues can be addressed through digital tools that can strengthen the onboarding process.


Tools, Apps, and Options for Digital Onboarding


A combination of both face to face and digital onboarding activities will provide the richest and most rewarding experience for employees. Today’s employers have a wide range of tools and options available to them to aid the employee onboarding process:

  • Email is a commonly used digital platform to connect with and engage, employees throughout the hiring and onboarding process
  • Digital signatures and electronic document handling to minimize paperwork, provide an electronic repository for critical documents, and streamline approval processes
  • Chatbots that can be used as a tool to respond to common employee questions or requests
  • Video conferencing – live and asynchronous – making it possible to extend the useful time of a training session and ensure consistency
  • Podcasts, webcasts, and videos that can be offered on-demand
  • Interactive websites for employees to sign up
  • Benefit coverage, participate in training and in-service activities, and communicate with other staff members
  • Employee portals that can be customized based on employee needs and allow access to personal information
  • Automated surveys and polls gathering information and opinions from employees throughout their early days with the company—and beyond

The options available means that organizations can customize their use of digital—and traditional communication channels to engage their various audiences.

Best Practices in Digital Onboarding


Not all employees need, or benefit from, the same onboarding experience. Unfortunately, that’s what they usually get.

Digital onboarding, process flows, and event triggers can personalize the experience for each employee. Regardless of their role, past experience and knowledge, and personal preferences.

It is a misconception that digital onboarding is only about giving employees information. Or maybe just letting them complete required documentation (although these are critical components). 

Digital onboarding is also about administration and follow-up from managers, HR, and other departments. The ability to integrate digital onboarding activity with learning management and other systems helps to ensure maximum productivity and risk management.

Want to learn more about how to leverage the use of digital tools throughout your onboarding process? Download our onboarding guide.