HRMS feature overview series: Onboarding

There are a lot of implications (and complications) when choosing the right HR software, but first of all, you just need to know what’s out there, what you should be looking for. This is one of a series of overview articles, looking at the available features in different HR-related software apps. So without further ado, here are some of the features that can help with engagement and retention when it comes to the onboarding of new hires…

1. Customizable

Onboarding processes differ from organization to organization and the key factor is usually the size and complexity of the business. Whatever your size, the chances are your approach to onboarding new staff is in some way unique. Now, while new software can be a good prompt to review your processes for best practice, equally the software shouldn’t dictate the changes – a balance is necessary. In other words, your onboarding app should be fully customizable in terms of process stages, with flexibility according to the role and position being filled.

2. Paperless

It’s almost certain that technology-driven onboarding is paperless, with access (specially by the new hire) via a web browser. Not only is this a lower cost and much more environmentally-friendly, but it’s also much more rapid and secure (compare email to the postal service).

Equally, whereas in the past, new staff might have to sit through an induction event and/or corporate video in their first week, this same information can be sent to them in advance of first day, allowing them to ‘hit the ground running’.

3. Gamification

Following on from the previous point, an email with attachments to read and videos to watch may not always receive the close attention you’re hoping for. This is way some organizations are gamifying their onboarding, creating a much more engaging and interactive process to obtain the necessary information, about the company and its people which in turn leads to better retention of that same information.

4. Personalized and branded

All materials should be easily personalized to the individual new employee, and also branded with your business’s unique identifiers, logos, etc. Some applications will be linked to a branded onboarding portal through which the new hire accesses everything they need – effectively becoming used to the corporate interface before they even start in their new role. Materials (and branding for that matter) should be easy to update and require no specialist technical knowledge or skill (e.g. if your admin staff need HTML skills to be able to update the onboarding information bundle, look for another software vendor).

Recommended Reading: get in-depth information on onboarding features and more with our guide to 52 essential HRMS features

5. Automatic scheduling

Most new hires have a number of people they need to meet in their first couple of weeks – good onboarding software will take care of this, synchronizing the calendars of all necessary personnel, sending out meeting requests and monitoring responses.

6. Early integration with the team

Via an onboarding portal and/or the corporate LinkedIn page, the new hire can be guided to connect with new colleagues and key managers in advance of starting so that on Day One, they are seeing names and faces that are at least semi-familiar. The same functionality can also be used to forge an early connection with a company mentor.

7. Lays the foundations for probation

It’s best practice, recruitment-wise, for new hires to have a probationary period the passing of which depends on job performance, attendance and appropriate conduct. With a goal-setting function, onboarding software can be used to agree key targets and measures for the first few months of employment.

8. Improved compliance

Although the details vary from country to country, employing a new member of staff inevitably has a compliance angle – usually involving the collection and submission of tax data, the issue of an employment contract, and so on. An automated onboarding system automatically creates a paper trail (well, a ‘paperless’ trail really) which can clearly demonstrate that the necessary documents and data have been issued, collected and provided.

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Dave Foxall

About the author…

Dave has worked as HR Manager for the Ministry of Justice for a number of years, he now writes on a broad range of topics including jazz music, and, of course, the HRMS software market.

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Dave Foxall