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Digital Onboarding: Changing The Employee Experience (For the Best?)

5 min read
digital oboarding

We’ve all heard those first-day-of-work horror stories. Occasions where employees are thrown into the deep end and left to sink or swim without sufficient introduction or training. Or left alone with an overwhelming number of tasks and no one to turn to. The stress builds up, cracks start to show, and new recruits may feel like they got more than what they had bargained for. This can be especially true for new employees undergoing digital onboarding and remote onboarding.

This is not uncommon, particularly if the employer needs a new recruit to fill a role fast. Yet, this often leads to high turnover and low retention rates. Now employers are shifting their focus and placing the onboarding process higher up on their list of priorities. Many are turning to digital onboarding to welcome and introduce their new recruits to the company. 

Today we’re going to look at the process of effective digital onboarding, its benefits, and who’s using it. We will also find out how you can personalize your own process of employee onboarding. 


What is Digital Employee Onboarding?

Onboarding is crucial to any employment process. This essential part of welcoming a new hire helps introduce them to the company culture, their team, and the overall business goals and objectives. If approached correctly, it can set up a new worker for success in the future. Yet, poorly organized onboarding schemes are one of the main reasons why many new employees leave the company within the first few months. 

Now in the technological age, companies are turning to digital tools to create and deliver their digital onboarding process. Whereas traditional onboarding is typically done face-to-face with managers and the team, web onboarding is 100% online

The Digital Onboarding Process

Many employers think that employee onboarding begins on the candidate’s first day on the job. Yet, employers who want the best out of the onboarding process, begin onboarding from the minute the candidate sends a CV.

Digital Pre-Onboarding Process

If you want to avoid high turnover rates, then it’s a good idea to provide the best impression you can, right from the start.  The best way to do this is by focusing heavily on the pre-onboarding process, also known as preboarding.

The first step in the digital onboarding process is sorting out administrative procedures and making sure that employees sign the correct forms, set up accounts if need be, and provide the correct documentation for employment and payment.  It is possible to complete this part of the process before the employee’s first day at the office.

Welcoming New Employees Remotely

Aside from preparing the correct onboarding documents and tasks for new employees, you’ll want to make sure that new hires feel welcomed.  There is a difference, however, between onboarding vs. orientation. The former is about making sure employees understand their duties and feel comfortable with their responsibilities, whereas orientation is more about giving new hires a brief introduction to the company.  Both are essential in welcoming new members to the team.

The second part of the onboarding process consists of preparing an onboarding kit for new employees, onboarding activities, and connecting new hires with existing employees.  Although this can present additional challenges for those managing employees who are working from home, there are many activities and options for remote onboarding available.

Optimizing the Digital Onboarding Process

Above all, make sure that new remote employees have a clear channel of communication with their team members and managers, and receive the tools and training necessary to do their job.

For the best results, use an onboarding checklist that outlines the process from start to finish.  This will help you to ensure that your digital onboarding process goes smoothly.

Digital Employee Onboarding in Tech Companies

Even though companies across many sectors now adopt digital models, digital onboarding in tech companies is nothing new.  The majority of tech companies including Twitter, Soundcloud, and Google use online onboarding approaches. It is typical for tech-based start-ups and companies to use this process as they are already familiar with digital tools and employee onboarding software.

However, companies across other sectors are now implementing this practice. For example, businesses in the financial and fintech sector, such as BBVA and Deloitte are conducting onboarding processes digitally.

Other companies with onboarding processes that go the extra mile include marketing business Bazaarvoice, retailing company Warby Parker, and energy data giant OPower. 

Benefits of Digital Onboarding 

So why go digital? Let’s take a look at some of the benefits.

Digital Onboarding is More Efficient

Digital processes are much less time-consuming as they can be done at the new recruit’s pace and in their own time. Having all onboarding information at their fingertips saves managers from having to sift through endless paperwork. What’s more, online onboarding can begin before the new employee sets foot through the door. This speeds up the process and saves on resources.

Accurate Storage of Onboarding Documents

Storing and presenting information digitally helps to ensure accuracy. Materials are centrally kept within a documents manager and can be updated or checked at any time. Therefore, whether there’s a small team of 20 or a global team of 2000, information is consistent, up-to-date, and accurate. 
document management

Digital Onboarding Means Accessibility at any Time

Onboarding software is accessible at any time and long after the new recruit is engaged within the company. As such, any lost or forgotten information is easily accessible online at a later date. 

E-Signatures for New Employees

Onboarding programs have in-built checklists and confirmations, which employees check off as they go. In addition to this, electronic signatures can be made online, saving new hires from having to come into the office.  Integrations with software like Signaturit are great for offering e-sign capabilities. 

Digital Employee Onboarding is Cheaper

As onboarding employees digitally requires less one-to-one in-person training, your company will spend less money on manpower. This comes in the form of training personnel or HR managers.

Challenges of Online Onboarding

Perhaps you have found a new employee via online web recruitment. Now online employee onboarding can begin. However, a concern employers have is that it can seem impersonal. This is because, unlike traditional onboarding which is entirely in person, a digital approach is remote.

Employers may feel as if the new recruit is too removed from the company in the early stages. As such, they may miss out on a proper introduction to key functions. It could also prevent them from grasping a real sense of the company culture. In turn, employers fear this could demotivate recruits and eventually lead to a higher turnover rate. 

Given that a company has created a proper onboarding experience, it can be just as effective as a traditional one. In order to do this, it is crucial that the company personalizes its onboarding. Doing this will ensure that the experience is unique. What’s more, new employees won’t feel like they’re missing out on anything. 

Improving the Digital Employee Onboarding Experience

Using web recruitment as an introduction offers new hires a taste of the culture of the company, its values, and functions. Yet, how can a company personalize its online onboarding to follow this experience? By including some fun, innovative, and exciting practices that improve employee experience! Let’s take a look at how this can be done.

Digital Training and Learning

In short, onboarding involves equipping new hires with the tools they need to effectively perform their job. Therefore, learning and development must be essential parts of the process. A good way to set up new recruits for success is to include learning modules. One-to-one sessions with HR professionals and pre-recorded videos on company values and ethics are also useful. 

Innovative ways to communicate

Effective introductions are key to building teams and getting past initial milestones with communication. Encourage employees to engage with one another by using fun quizzes, questionnaires, and ice-breakers. Problem-solving exercises are also great for onboarding new employees. 

Start onboarding before arrival in the office

A key factor in securing a new employee is to start integrating them asap! It is not uncommon for a recruit to sign the offer letter and pull out just before their first day. Onboarding must begin the minute they have signed on the dotted line. This kick starts integration and development. 

Digital Onboarding Solutions

Online web recruitment is revolutionizing the recruitment process. Now, digital onboarding is becoming the future of new employee acclimatization within a company. It is essential that businesses personalize the experience if they want to successfully integrate new hires into the company. Effective onboarding can change the way employees view the business and can foster long-lasting relationships. Ultimately, if done correctly, everyone’s a winner!

Digitalize your onboarding with Factorial

Contributed by Charlotte Stace; Edited by Tanya Lesiuk

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