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Online onboarding: What HR should look for



How HR can improve the onboarding experience and improve retention

This column was originally published in HR Technologist.

A new study released by software company Digitate found that employees who had a negative onboarding experience were twice as likely to look for new opportunities in the near future. With the hiring market in the hands of applicants, many organizations are focusing on making improvements to their recruitment and retention strategies. 

One way to improve the new hire experience and retention is to use an online onboarding system, which reduces the administrative burden of bringing on a new employee.

But how should HR leaders think about comparing the different onboarding solutions? Here are some of the things you should look for when evaluating a system.

Online onboarding

First, what is online onboarding? With an online onboarding solution, new hires can upload all their personal information, such as identification documents, Social Security numbers, addresses, emergency contacts and other details before they even begin working. Employers can provide company handbooks, benefit booklets, and other relevant hiring information.

These platforms ensure compliance, maintain records and allow the employee to complete all the necessary paperwork before their first day. As a result, HR is able to make in-office onboarding process more valuable by focusing on training or other high-value activities. What should you look for in an online onboarding system?

First, you will want to compare all-in-one HR systems that include onboarding functionality to point solutions. Some organizations may have unique needs that require a standalone solution, but most will benefit from an all-in-one platform.

The advantage of a comprehensive HR solution is that new hires only have to fill out their relevant information once when they onboard. These solutions also provide benefits administration and other HR functionalities, but because the employee’s information is already there, HR only has to deal with one system and information source.

Next, you will want to look for the following form functionalities.

Federal standard forms

For forms such as the 1-9, W-4 and W-9, look for a system that has these capabilities pre-built. Because every employee will have to fill out the information on these forms, the system should be able to collect them as part of its core functionality.

State withholding forms

Similarly, these capabilities will be required by enough users that any system you adopt should have these capabilities pre-built as well.

Custom forms

There are multiple types of needs when it comes to custom onboarding forms. Some groups may collect a variety of personal information that isn’t required to be printed onto a government form. Any HR platform that has customizable onboarding functionality should be able to collect information like this. Think workplace preferences, training information or even shirt size.

A more complicated functionality is customizable forms that also need to be printed for compliance purposes. An example of this is a local withholding form, like those required in Lansing, Michigan. For forms like this, it’s unlikely that a platform will have this capability pre-built.

Rather, look for a system that prompts employees to enter the relevant information and maps responses onto the required form.

Why functionality is key

As with most software solutions, effective adoption is key to maximizing the user’s return on investment. If an organization's onboarding system makes it difficult to upload and store the required information and forms, the benefits of moving online will be minimized. Looking for the above functionality will help small and mid-sized organizations find the right system and reap the advantages of online onboarding.

Bernard Health clients have access to BerniePortal, an all-in-one benefits and HR platform that makes onboarding a breeze. Want to learn more? Click below to schedule a consultation.

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