Key trend in On-boarding: On-boarding goes digital

Posted by Quinten van Es on Thu, Sep 15, 2016
technology_online.jpgIn common with many other HR processes, we are now seeing technology assume a central role in the formatting and streamlining of On-boarding. It provides a quick and easy way to ensure that all the traditional paperwork is completed through ‘new joiners’ portals, particularly as systems now have the capacity for documents to be digitally signed. This is an added bonus for hard-pressed HR teams as the amount of manual work, and risk of potential errors, is reduced in the formal processing of new employees. 

Another benefit for HR should come from the amount of data that technology can provide, allowing easier reporting and offering the chance to gain valuable insights that can inform process enhancements, thereby helping to improve effectiveness. A portal (or intranet) providing new hires with access to all relevant information about the On-boarding process is regularly provided by 88% of participants. A relatively new development has been to provide access ahead of start date, something that around 18% allow. The opportunity to get a lot of the formalities out the way early should lead to a rise in the adoption of this trend.

One major benefit provided by an online system is the facility to keep track of all On-boarding steps and tasks, knowing that they have been completed, without the need for manual checking. This is an emerging trend, with 34% of participants in our research already offering a platform that tracks progress on completion of all tasks and activities (see table 7). Along with allowing access ahead of commencement of employment, we anticipate this will become an increasingly common practice over the next couple of years.


When looking at the key uses for technology within On-boarding, we can see clear parallels with the way it is used for Learning & Development. There is the potential to identify learning needs, create a learning plan, and set up specific e-learning modules. There’s also a social element. Through collaboration and sharing with other learners, outcomes can be measured and tracked for improved awareness, greater understanding, enhanced capabilities and better performance. Many solutions also incorporate strong elements of mobile technology to help with a blended learning experience.

Several employers in our research ensure that technology is embedded in the On-boarding process. A global business services provider has a mandatory web based e-learning course, available to each new hire, offering detailed information about the organisation’s background and resources, which must be completed within 30 days of joining.

Technology is also used to help employees connect, engage and share. A large manufacturing business has restyled their e-learning interface to support Onboarding with strong social and interactive elements. Their pages reflect a style more associated with some online retail and review sites, incorporating news, social conversations and messages, with user ratings and comments for modules, and further learning links.

One strong example from a pharmaceutical business included a microsite where key information for On-boarding was presented in a creative, fun and visually attractive way. This linked from a fully interactive On-boarding platform containing video content, guides, checklists, helpful information and tips, and links to relevant information on the company’s intranet. There were also two separate sections - one for the new employee, and one for the manager – displaying more personalised information and supporting documents.

Five key trends
'On-boarding goes digital' is one of the five key trends we have identified in the On-boarding report. These five key practices should be included in today’s On-boarding processes.

Download the full On-boarding report to learn all about the current trends in On-boarding and how organisations deal with these trends in their business processes.

Topics: On-boarding