Do You Really Need an Employee Onboarding Portal?

Posted in Best Practice Thoughts & Culture

If you’re new to the onboarding game, you might still be hung up on the idea of employee portals as being the only onboarding system. The thing with these comprehensive content portals is, they provide a dreadful welcome experience for your newest employees.

So, is your employee portal scaring away your bright new talent by unnecessarily overwhelming them when you should still be trying to delight them?

We’ll explain the pros and cons of employee onboarding portals, and why we chose to build Enboarder using web-based software instead.

Why Enboarder chose not to use a portal

Well for starters, that wouldn’t be very employee experience-focused of us, would it? Then we’d have nothing to get up on our soap box about every week.

Truth is, onboarding portals aren’t intuitive, interactive, or user-friendly. Depending on the provider, age, and functionality of your portal, most aren’t pretty either. Do looks really matter? In the case of providing outstanding employee experiences, yes, they matter.



You don’t want your new hire’s first exposure to your company’s tech systems to be a clunky, 90’s-lookin’, user-unfriendly interface. And you really don’t want to provide a passive onboarding process that requires the employee to do all the hard work; to, of their own accord, set up a profile in the clunky portal, log into it, work through the scores of paperwork, training modules, and checklists, and go bounding into their manager’s office upon completion seven months later to advise they are still alive, they do still work here, and they’ve finished their induction! Huzzah!

What’s wrong with onboarding portals


  1. They’re a dumping ground for all organisational information; policies and procedures, induction checklists, employee training modules, HR forms, IT forms, accounts, you name it – it’s in there. It takes an adventurous spirit to tackle that overgrown content jungle and find the meaningful.
  2. They require overwhelmed new hires (and managers) to set up a profile and consistently log in, of their own accord, to work through the information. But because they may not be sure about what information is actually relevant to them, personally, they commit to reading E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G (see point #1).
  3. A static online portal is not onboarding. It’s a source of information, yes, but it’s not a pleasant journey to find it. Most portals still view the onboarding process as efficiencies-based induction activities and don’t offer a welcoming and enjoyable employee experience.


How onboarding portals work

We haven’t rung the death knell for employee portals, they still have their place in your organisation. They’re a valuable source of corporate information; they’re easy to search for the documents you need, when you need them. But, portals shouldn’t be your onboarding system.

Here’s a high-level view of onboarding using a portal –

Step 1: Employee signs contract.

Step 2: Send employee welcome email with first day instructions.

Step 3: Employee’s first day induction – email them the link to online portal with log in instructions.

Step 4: Employee sets up account login and works through the new hire induction tasks as listed in their portal workflow.

Step 5: Employee remembers to log in every day to check their task list and complete modules by requested due date.

How Enboarder’s new hire journey works

Enboarder is neither an app or a portal. We chose to be web-based because it provides the most user-friendly onboarding experience without compromising on any technical capabilities.

We believe new hires should be provided a clear employee journey and clear messages at precise moments along the way. Much like leaving delicious cookie crumbs along a path and inviting them to follow, nibble by nibble.

Step 1: Employee signs contract.

Step 2: Employee begins their onboarding journey – conversation-centric, experience-focused workflows will drip tasks, introductions, and important messages from contract signing through to their first-year work anniversary (and beyond, if you please!)

Step 3: Employees receive frequent, engaging communication from managers, IT, Accounts, and/or HR, by way of SMS, Slack, email, or Facebook @ Work as actions or events require.


We’re a delivery mechanism for information

If you love your portal, the good news is we’ve set up the Enboarder experience so that companies can still drop a link to their employee portal in their engagement led onboarding workflow, but at the right moment for employees.


So, instead of overwhelming them with all the information while they’re still trying to remember what floor they sit at and which way to turn when leaving the lift, you can deliver clear messages to them at clear points in their onboarding journey, so the information shared can be absorbed and not repelled under the weight of information overload.

That is key to delivering an enjoyable onboarding experience.


With web-based software and intuitive workflows that automate tasks and conversations, you’re better able to guide your employee’s onboarding journey for a more personalised experience.

Instead of dumping a link to the portal and sending them on their way to set it up and figure it out on their own in their own time, you can deliberately design the new hire’s journey to drip out tasks over time in a more motivating and enjoyable way.

You’ll be lifting a crushing weight from their overloaded shoulders to create a more memorable employee onboarding experience.

On-demand webinar: learn employee engagement from the best

Canva was crowned #1 in the 2018 Best Places to Work Study. Talk about impressive!

Now find out how Canva built an engagement-driven culture that has talent clamouring to get in its doors.

We will discuss how Canva has made employee engagement a part of its DNA, and how its Team Happiness staff approach the onboarding of new hires, from pre-boarding through to day 1, and over the next few months.

You can watch the webinar here.

Become an Enboarder insider!