Software decisions are never easy, and there’s always a lot to consider. Take these steps to determine what onboarding software will get your new hires up to speed and invested in your organization.
Identify Your Main Users
Although designed by HR, onboarding programs are carried out primarily by your managers. They’re the ones responsible for executing onboarding plans and bringing employee experiences to life. You don’t want to design a great onboarding program that gets ignored because managers hate the software.
Think about what software your managers will actually use. For example, managers should be able to easily access onboarding checklists and templates from tools they’re already using every day. Asking managers to add yet another system and login creates the risk of them losing interest or feeling put out (and less engaged). The onboarding software should be simple to use, with managers assigning tasks and setting up workflows with as few clicks as possible.
The other audience to consider is, of course, your new hires. They should be able to easily view workflows to see what’s in store for them and how long the onboarding process will last. Software integration matters here, too. Delivering targeted content to the new hire’s channel of choice can help them learn about the company and their role in an engaging and interactive way.
Other key stakeholders include IT and leadership. IT plays an important part early in the onboarding workflow in helping get new hires set up with the equipment they need to get started. Your onboarding software has to make it easy for managers to send and for IT to receive and process tech requests.
Finally, don’t forget that company leaders are key in the decision-making process. They need to see the value of the software you select. Make sure that the tool you decide to implement has clear data tracking and reporting abilities in an easy-to-read dashboard.
Rethink Onboarding for the New World of Work
These days, experience is everything. But traditional onboarding wasn’t designed for the experience era. Before adding tech tools, pause. Rethink how onboarding can meet your needs today.
First, take a minute to remember past onboarding experiences, then map out your process as it is today. Traditional onboarding processes have been overwhelming and underwhelming at the same time. With a focus on compliance, we’ve bombarded new hires with paperwork and training modules. But when it comes to the aspects of onboarding that leave the biggest impression — connecting new hires with people and purpose — we’ve been absent or unfocused.
Survey your managers and recent hires to learn more about their experiences: the highs, the lows, and everything in between. They can give you powerful insights into how to rethink onboarding as an employee experience. You might find that recent hires need more communication and support from their managers, for example. To solve this problem, redesign your onboarding template to include frequent check-ins with targeted conversation prompts.
Once you have a blueprint in hand, move on to the next step in the software selection process.
Make a List of Your Must-Haves
Fend off feature fatigue by making a list of the software features you really need (as opposed to those that are just nice to have).
If you want an agile solution that can grow with your company, you definitely want to opt for a cloud-based system. The good news is that most systems today are cloud-based to support onboarding across workplace types (on-site, hybrid, remote).
A customizable workflow is a key feature in top onboarding solutions. You need the flexibility to adapt software to your processes. You don’t want to be locked into a workflow only to find that your organization’s needs have changed. Choosing a vendor with flexibility helps small businesses to scale and enterprise businesses to evolve seamlessly.
Find a system with a streamlined user interface. Onboarding can be overwhelming for the new hire and their manager, so you need onboarding tools that are intuitive and easy to use.
Of course, compliance still matters even as you build better experiences. Find solutions that can help you streamline the complexity of new hire paperwork.
Determine the features most important to you before you start looking for onboarding software, even as you remain open to new ideas. Most onboarding systems use a software-as-a-service model and include a free trial period. Take advantage of those opportunities so you can see what it would be like to commit your workforce.
Look at Your Current Tech Stack
Any systems you add to your tech stack (which is, no doubt, pretty robust) have to be able to communicate with what you’ve already got.
Onboarding software should integrate with your ATS and your general HR management software. These solutions should be able to pull new hire information from your ATS so that neither you nor the employee needs to re-input data. Onboarding software should plug into the tools you use for the basics (payroll, benefits, time) as well as more advanced solutions, like performance management or employee engagement.
The tools your team uses in the flow of work are among the most critical integrations. Your people spend a lot of their day using tools for communication and task management. If your onboarding software can’t connect with those systems, your employees won’t want to use it.