Why Apps Suck for Employee Onboarding (And What You Can Use Instead)

Posted in Talent & Onboarding

Are you making your first impressions count?

If you’ve been thinking about using employee onboarding software to lighten your administrative load, enhance your onboarding experience, and increase new hire engagement – well, good for you. You’re clearly one of the smart ones.

But not all onboarding systems are created equal.

App-based onboarding software may sound cool, but rarely provides a frictionless experience (for employees OR their managers). So, before you empty your dusty money satchel on an app, you might want to check out what you’re signing up for (and how we’re doing it better).

The difference between onboarding apps and web-based software ⬅ that’s us

We don’t want to get too techy, so to sum it up simply:

  • App-based software runs through a specific app which must be downloaded and installed onto user devices – that’s for both employees and managers.
    • Apps must be distributed through marketplaces, like Apple’s App Store and Google Play.
  • Mobile-first web-based software is stored on a server and its user-interface is accessed through a web browser (AKA – The Internet).
    • If your priorities are content-driven and about ease-of-use, then web-based solutions out-perform on user experience.

Don’t get sucked into the app trap

Here are a few common pitfalls of apps for employee onboarding:

  • You can’t rely on new hires to install an app on their phone, and access it when prompted.
  • App-specific notifications aren’t reliable or prioritised (how often do you swipe to ignore?!).
  • Everyone is getting app-fatigued – average app life is 30 days!
  • There’s no choice to personalise your experience – apps can only send notifications and therefore rely on the receiver to open the app when it’s convenient (if they remember!). Users might prefer other communication channels, like email, Slack, or SMS.
  • Upgradability is expensive and restrictive – updates are pushed out to phone users who then need to action them.

From our perspective, apps are more expensive, difficult to build and maintain, difficult to customise or adjust, and subject to app marketplace rules, checks, and costs. Which means less time creating better (mind-blowingly awesome) functionality and experiences.

We prefer to focus on innovation, not maintenance.

That’s not to say apps don’t have their place – we love Candy Crush as much as the next commuter, but unless your priority is to create an interactive gaming-type environment or hyper-personalised solution, like Evernote, then an app probably isn’t your best option.

So, why make onboarding harder than you have to?

Why web-based onboarding is #winning

We don’t mean to gloat, but, here are a few ways our web-based solution trumps those pesky apps:

  • There’s no downloading required – Huzzah! Users can instantly respond to an activity by clicking a web link, which means broader accessibility and compatibility with any device.
  • It’s cheaper, quicker, and easier to update when you need changes.
  • You enhance personalisation – employees and managers can choose their preferred communication channel during the onboarding journey. SMS, email, Slack, and/or Facebook for Work will increase engagement and response times.
  • You’ll get higher engagement and response rates with SMS – text messages enjoy 98% opens and response rates up to 8 times higher than email as they convey a sense of urgency (apps can’t SMS).
  • Best of all – there are no log ins and forgotten passwords (hallelujah!).

Web-based onboarding is designed to provide mobile-first communication, meaning it works with any smartphone or device without the need to download any pesky apps. It’s focused on user behaviours and experiences; making things easy and frictionless for all your stakeholders (even HR!).

Here’s the cherry

No really, HERE’S the cherry:

Other onboarding companies pride themselves on new hire activation rates of 80% for their apps as best-case scenario, which means you’ve already lost the engagement of 20% of your new hires!

We don’t think that’s good enough.

Our data shows our new hire engagement is 98 per cent. This is because you can tailor the message to the most useful and relevant channel for each user with a simple 1-click link for instant content access.

Remove the barriers; increase your response rate.

So, is your onboarding solution working effectively to engage with your managers and new hires for a heel-clicking, thumb-tapping, onboarding experience?

The experience that a new hire has when joining a company will often dictate how long that employee will stay, as well as their level of engagement.

To help you identify which is the best platform for your needs, ask yourself:

What’s most beneficial to the people using the software?

What’s going to encourage manager and employee engagement with our content and not be a barrier to their consumption?

What’s our core need and purpose for onboarding?

We make enboarding fun for everyone.

Enboarding…that is engagement onboarding. (We should trademark that.)

We’re driven to help you create impactful employee experiences during onboarding through simplicity and ease of use. We do the ‘heavy lifting’ in our backend, so that employers and their new hires don’t really need to do that much at all!

The result?

Higher engagement. Rockstar managers. Delighted employees.

It’s not even that hard. All we do is make onboarding fun, and easy, and practical.

Want to experience app-less onboarding for yourself? Find out how we deliver pure engagement, sans apps.


Become an Enboarder insider!