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Onboarding Software Complete Buyer’s Guide

Getting a new hire is an exciting moment for both parties. However, onboarding new employees does not always come with the same excitement as it might become quite tricky. That is the reason why the market is filled with onboarding software that promises to make the transition smoother and more efficient.

Introduction To Onboarding Tools

The onboarding process has been a debatably important part of corporate success. In the past, this process was relevant only to a handful of large enterprises around the globe. However, in the current, rapidly changing work environment, the employee onboarding process has become an integral part of middle-sized businesses and start-ups as well.

Why is that? Because of the fast mobility of employees and the fast-paced environment. Employees spend less time at one company before they move on professionally. In the meantime, the ongoing projects have to continue to meet their goals. The combination of these two factors makes the onboarding process important for any company. With efficient onboarding, the new hire can continue the work of the previous employee earlier and can help the project to be completed on time.

The advanced technological developments have presented companies with a solution in the form of onboarding software. By using certain features, the onboarding experience becomes more interactive, educational, and efficient for both parties.

What Is Onboarding Software?

By now you might be wondering what onboarding software is. The definition of new hire onboarding software is that it is a tool used by companies to streamline the onboarding workflow and simplify the necessary administrative work. In this manner, all the necessary requirements can be included in an inclusive system. Throughout this system, a hiring manager can access and have full control over the required paperwork while spectating the employee orientation. On the other end, the new hire also has complete access to the necessary documents while exploring the onboarding journey from their screen.

There are several types of onboarding tools in this growing market. Even though there are plenty of differences, there is solid common ground in terms of functionality. Some of the most important similarities are that an onboarding software:

  • Streamlines the workflow in a unified system with onboarding automation.
  • Strengthens the communication between the new hire and the manager.
  • Provides access to all necessary documents for an efficient onboarding program.
  • Innovates in terms of onboarding with new features.

The above-mentioned advantages of an onboarding tool are useful to any business that aims to improve the onboarding process. Some of the most common businesses to use such tools are presented in the following section.

Which Businesses Can Leverage Onboarding Tools?

The majority of businesses in several industries can benefit from employee onboarding tools. Naturally, these businesses have to aim to optimize their onboarding process to use such tools. Below is a list of the types of businesses, that can be used as an example:

Academic

The onboarding process in an academic spectrum can be challenging. Similar to the private sector, academic institutions need to make new staff productive as soon as possible, to meet the academic schedule. Therefore, the right onboarding software for academic use can enhance the employee onboarding process for new educators or researchers. In this way, the unexpected change in staff becomes less of an issue for the overall academic year. In addition, you can also use onboarding software to create a smoother student onboarding process.

Freelancers

Freelancers can also make use of effective onboarding software solutions. It is not rare for HR and training professionals to struggle with new hires for their clients. Especially in the past, the paperwork they had to manage for multiple clients was costly in terms of time management. Hence, it was impossible to seamlessly have full control over the process. However, with the use of onboarding software for freelancers, the new employee orientation becomes manageable. Moreover, the communication between the professional and the new hire is enhanced via the features of the tool. Overall, freelancers in HR and training management are able to work for more clients and control the employee onboarding process efficiently.

Large Enterprises

One of the most common issues reported in large companies is workforce mobility. Unlike in small businesses, employees in big enterprises tend to not stay for long in one company. This factor increases the need for fast onboarding of new hires. In this scenario, onboarding tools for large enterprises give the ability to the human resources department to speed up the onboarding process and eliminate paperwork. On the large scale, such as with big companies, saving time in onboarding means saving resources in both time and money. Moreover, large enterprises tend to have big projects ongoing, which makes rapidly engaging new hires even more necessary and important.

Non-Profits

Like large enterprises, non-profits can also benefit from efficient digital onboarding. The extra factor in the non-profit organization area is the reality of constant hiring. Non-profits tend to hire willing volunteers more frequently. This constant addition of new members brings the importance of a solid onboarding process to the surface. Similar to any other business, there are ongoing projects to which new hires should contribute fast in order to meet the project goal. An HR onboarding software for non-profits provides a paperless and streamlined solution to constant hiring. With the use of the right tool, managers in this industry can focus on larger goals rather than dealing with delays in projects.

Public Administration

Public administration is among the top areas that still suffer from bureaucracy. This condition affects, among other areas, the onboarding of new employees. For instance, new hires are called to catch up on projects with piles of paperwork, ending in frustration or confusion. In the meantime, in a bureaucratic environment, it is difficult for managers to spectate the progress of a new employee. However, onboarding tools for public administration can provide the remedy to a process filled with paperwork. With the use of a proper tool, public administration can advance its onboarding processes, increasing performance and resulting in state-level outcomes.

Small And Medium Businesses

It is not rare to see more and more small or medium-sized businesses optimize their recruiting processes. This is even more visible in businesses that aim to scale their performance in the future. In the onboarding market, there are multiple free onboarding tools that offer the basic features that small or medium-sized businesses can benefit from. Onboarding software for small and medium businesses provides a more efficient, streamlined process through which the new hire can rapidly adapt to the new working environment.

Benefits Of Using Digital Onboarding

Digital onboarding is becoming the foundation for the new era of remote workplaces. Nowadays, more and more companies are jumping into the new reality of hiring remotely. Enhanced communication, elimination of paperwork, and control over the onboarding process are among the plethora of benefits offered by digital HR onboarding systems.

The right choice of onboarding tool can offer a vast amount of benefits to your company. The most important of them are presented in the following list:

Beautiful Candidate Experiences

We all know that the first impression matters a lot, especially from the perspective of a new employee. After all, what is better than not having to read tons of new hire paperwork to adapt to your new workplace? With the features of onboarding software solutions, employee orientation becomes more creative and interactive. Including videos, digital employee handbooks, tutorials, objectives and even games in the process can offer the candidate a unique experience.

Data Integrity

One of the services onboarding software vendors ensure is data integrity. Even though each company follows a different policy regarding information privacy, they all invest in data security. Moreover, all data and information on new hires and processes are safer in the well-encrypted storage that the tools use.

Reduced Time-To-Hire

By eliminating paperwork and streamlining the process, onboarding tools promise a reduced time-to-hire. Hence, there is no need for further email exchanges that take valuable time. Furthermore, by optimizing the process of onboarding new employees, you manage to minimize the chances of costly miscommunications between the new hire and the manager/training professional.

Higher ROI

Since the time-to-hire is reduced, the ROI increases. To illustrate, the use of the proper onboarding software ensures that the new candidate will be productive faster than usual. Also, the unique candidate experience reduces the chance of employee turnover. Therefore, investing in an onboarding strategy can be beneficial in the future.

Heightens Employer Branding

As we mentioned earlier, the first impression is highly important. When the new hire has a special first experience with the onboarding, chances are that word will spread. Hence, there is an opportunity to build your brand, not only as a successful company but also as an amazing place to work.

Top Features To Look For In Onboarding Software

There is a continuously growing market for onboarding tools. Companies are starting to invest in the optimization of the onboarding process which has increased in importance over the last years. Onboarding vendors hear this call and offer multiple features on their software to get the job done. In this section, we present the top features that will assist you in finding the best onboarding software:

Recruiting Management

As a manager or an HR professional, you want to have a bird's-eye view of the onboarding process. Therefore, you might want to consider an onboarding tool that offers recruiting management. If you want to further control the process, take a look at the list of apps that also provide performance management, HR management, and performance reports.

Mobile Integration

A new recruit is eager to start a new job. As a manager, you should hear this call and act accordingly. Why shouldn’t the onboarding process start already via the hire’s phone? Take advantage of it and look for onboarding software with mobile integration.

Compatibility

Your company is already using several different tools for multiple reasons. To keep everything organized you should not underestimate the value of compatibility. Therefore, look for apps that allow integration with the existing technology you use. Some onboarding tools offer CRM integration and third-party Integration.

Data Management

We already stated earlier that automated onboarding software eliminates the paperwork of onboarding. However, that means the creation of data that needs to be managed appropriately. As we all know, data is valuable and vital to a company’s success. Therefore, you might want to consider looking for onboarding software with data import/export, Data Management, and document management.

Easy-To-Use Interface

You do not want your new recruits to be confused over the advanced onboarding process you offer. Confusion at this stage might lead to early employee turnover. Consider choosing a tool that makes the life of the new hire easy in this first step of their journey. Therefore, you might want to take a look at applications with employee profile, employee database, calendar management, and self-service portal.

Considerations When Purchasing Onboarding Software

Since each business is unique, choosing the ideal onboarding software is important. If you want to benefit from the full capabilities of your choice, you might want to consider proceeding to an onboarding software comparison with the following checklist:

Integration Capabilities And Partnerships

If your company already uses several tools and applications for data storage, project management, or communication, then you want to ensure that your onboarding tool will be compatible with them. Ensuring integration capabilities will save you time and resources.

TOC/Hidden Costs/Setup Costs

We all understand the importance of budgeting in company choices. Therefore, be extra sure you have full knowledge of the additional costs before buying.

Customization And Flexibility

If you have a tech team in your business, this can be useful. Check whether the tool is open for complete customization and align it perfectly to your goals.

Digital Signing

More and more tools nowadays offer digital signing. However, it is still a factor that you need to keep in mind when looking for onboarding software.

Data Security

Data security is inarguably vital for companies of any size. Make sure that your potential onboarding vendor provides information about data security. Specifically, you might want to take into account data storage, cloud service, encryption, and third-party compatibility.

Client Testimonies

There are a plethora of companies like yours that have used the tool before. You can check employee onboarding software reviews and avoid any pitfalls before making your choice.

Relevant Onboarding Software Trends

The onboarding process is advancing alongside technology. Nowadays, everything in this area can be done remotely with ease. This takes away the disadvantages of the bureaucratic style of onboarding in the past. It also removes the burden of paperwork and the confusion of the process.

There are always areas for improvement in onboarding. Currently, the trends in the industry are based on a unique employee experience with a paperless process and a motivating welcome.

Videos For Learning And Welcoming

Videos are the present and the future of learning. It is no wonder that famous learning platforms have thrived during the last few years. This situation was also boosted by the COVID-19 restrictions, which made eLearning and remote working necessary.

Onboarding was also affected by this situation. With the use of proper tools, onboarding has left the old-fashioned face-to-face era for a new journey in videos. Nowadays, new employees have the freedom to onboard at their own pace whenever they want and wherever they are. Pre-recorded videos for welcoming and learning are included in the onboarding software, introducing an efficient way for early productivity and success.

Completely Paperless Process

The days of the bureaucratic paper-filled processes are long gone and forgotten. In digital onboarding, paper becomes data that is easily manageable and stored. Moreover, the process becomes clearer to both the employee and the manager. No more headaches over piles of papers, lost forms, or delayed signatures. This new, completely paperless, onboarding process offers a unique experience to both employees and managers while putting a solid foundation in place for professional success.

Candidate/New Employee Experience

Accessibility and freedom are the keys to this unique employee experience in digital onboarding. Taking away the burdens of papers, transportation, and delays provides the employee with the motivation to contribute. Furthermore, by doing the onboarding digitally, the candidate sees that their new workplace is well-organized and operating healthily. In the end, the chances for employee retention are increased while, on the contrary, employee turnover and burnout are both drastically decreased.

Onboarding Software Deployment Options

In the following section, the deployment options for onboarding tools are provided, with a short description for each one. These options differ in terms of implementation and requirements but share a high quality of information safety. The onboarding software deployment options are the following:

Desktop Application

Tools with desktop applications are not rare in the industry. By using the desktop deployment option, users can access the full scale of the onboarding software by using their computers. Therefore, there is no need for a browser and sometimes not even for internet access.

Moreover, desktop applications are accessible to all. That said, they do require a top-notch operating system to run. If in need of a major update or maintenance, users can also access the browser-based application.

Mobile Application

Mobiles are becoming the substitutes for computers in the current era. People tend to work even via mobile when they get the chance. In the case of onboarding tools with mobile applications, users can access all features of the software simply by using their phones.

If you want the onboarding process to be accessible anytime, anywhere, then you should look for onboarding vendors that offer mobile applications. In this way, you will smoothen the onboarding process of your new employees and increase their engagement with it.

Self-Hosted Cloud-Based

Another deployment option is self-hosted cloud-based. With this option, the onboarding software operates on a virtual private cloud. Among the benefits of this option are security, information privacy, and customization. Hence, the buyer can customize the server to the company goals without the need for access to a public server.

Self-Hosted System

A slightly different option than the above-mentioned one is the self-hosted system. The self-hosted deployment option is used by onboarding vendors who want to have complete control over their system. Self-hosted tools tend to use private servers instead of hosting clouds. With this method, vendors manage to avoid third-party options and take full responsibility for upkeep and maintenance.

If you are looking for the right deployment option for your business, you might want to take into account the benefits of a self-hosting system. The most important one is information security. Since self-hosted onboarding tools avoid third-party implications, the risk of data exposure is certainly minimized. Moreover, self-hosting tends to show credibility since the onboarding tool company is capable of hosting, running, and maintaining the software.

Software As A Service/Cloud

The most commonly used deployment option is the Software as a Service (SaaS) or cloud. Simplicity is the key to this choice. By hosting and delivering software via the cloud, users do not have to worry about hardware requirements and maintenance. Also, there is no need for installation processes since anyone can access it through the internet. Businesses that want to avoid the headache of technical requirements might consider this choice ideal. Why? Because the SaaS onboarding software is cloud-based, there is no need for computers or other systems and all updates will be live and on time.

Licensing Options For Onboarding Software

An extra important factor to consider before choosing an onboarding tool is the licensing option. For such tools, there are three different licensing choices, as presented in this guide. The main differences between them are related to cost and functionality. You might want to take into account the following list to find your ideal option for an onboarding tool:

Free

If your business is still on the level of a start-up, or it has a limited budget for an onboarding process, then the free licensing option is ideal for you. Onboarding tools with free license offer a handful of features and basic functionality for free. It is ideal for small businesses that want to take their first steps toward optimizing the onboarding process.

Open Source

Another licensing option is open source. Onboarding tools with open source licensing offer customization to its users. Hence, with this option, the user can tailor the source code and align it to their business. This ability also allows the addition of extra features in the application.

You might want to consider this option if you have a large company with a tech team. By modifying the code, your tech team can create the perfect environment for the new hire to jump into the onboarding process. Apps with open source licensing offer more features than the free ones, but less than the following paid option.

Paid

Onboarding tools with a paid license option are the best choice for large companies. Benefits like access to premium features, increased level of security, and top-notch customer service, are creating a veil of interest around this option. The only disadvantage is the inability to modify or have third-party integrations, which, however, increases information privacy.

Onboarding Software Pricing

There is more than one pricing model for onboarding tools. The differences between them are related to functionality, the features offered, integrations, and customer service options. In this section, we present the five pricing models onboarding software companies provide:

Free

The market consists of numerous free onboarding tools. This type of tool is ideal for start-ups or businesses that aim to invest a limited amount of resources in the onboarding process. The functionality of such tools is basic since they offer limited features. Hence, if your company is a start-up or a small business then you should consider this option.

Free Trial

Paid onboarding tools with free trials are also available in the market. These tools offer the full services of the application for free for a limited time. If your business aims to invest a certain amount of resources on onboarding and focuses on testing out the choices, then you should consider a tool with a free trial.

Freemium

Like free tools, a freemium pricing plan offers the basic features without payment. The difference here is that freemium tools also offer premium features that you can buy within the app. This particular pricing plan could be ideal for businesses and start-ups and scale-ups with a focus on the onboarding processes.

One-Time Purchased License

For some businesses, it is better to purchase a one-time purchase license. That is to say, if you want to avoid paying monthly or yearly, you should consider this option. Onboarding vendors that offer this pricing model decide the price after considering the company size of the potential buyer.

Subscription

The most famous pricing model for onboarding tools is the subscription model. By choosing an onboarding tool with a subscription, you decide to pay a fixed monthly or yearly fee for the full functionality of the software. This option helps you save costs in case you want to stop using it or switch to another onboarding vendor. Normally, such tools offer free trials as well and the paying plan varies depending on the company size, customer service, and features included.

How To Choose Employee Onboarding Software

As you can understand, employee onboarding is an essential part of a new hire's journey. Don't you want to provide your new employees with the perfect opportunity to form bonds with existing team members? By implementing onboarding software, you can help every new hire build a solid foundation within your company from the very start.

But for the employee onboarding process to be effective, it needs to align your new hires with your company's mission. And, if you do aim to set them up for success, then you have to focus on positively impacting performance and boosting employee engagement.

It's not just about handling HR benefits and payroll. With these intuitive tools, your rookies will get up to speed quickly and start being productive as soon as possible. So before you choose, make sure to:

  • Clarify your requirements
  • Try before you buy
  • Set a budget
  • Review the UX
  • Evaluate device compatibility
  • Get to know reporting and analytics
  • Explore online software reviews

The best onboarding software is designed to streamline tasks. In addition, it facilitates bringing on digital transformation as tasks like documentation requirements, colleague introductions, and training planning are made easy and fast.

Do you want to kick off engagement from day one? Start exploring and comparing the best employee onboarding software in our directory.

Choosing the best employee onboarding software for your business will help you invoke a sense of loyalty and belonging. Plus, it will give you the means to improve long-term employee retention rates.

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