How to Become More Efficient in Staff Onboarding?

Author: Eugenija Steponkute
Published: 13/03/2023

Growing a team is exciting. However, bringing your new hires up to speed, as well as integrating them into existing workflows, can be challenging. In this blog, we want to help owners of quickly growing companies. Our aim is to help you build an innovative, efficiency-driven staff onboarding process. 

Every company has its unique processes, the message it wants to deliver and how it needs to be delivered. When a new member joins the team, before they can start contributing, they need to be familiarised with it all. In addition to that, there’s the bureaucratic side of things, meaning your new hire can’t even start learning the ins and outs of your company before they provide the required documentation. All this falls under the umbrella of onboarding - an essential process every company must follow when expanding. 

Now the issue is that there are many aspects involved in onboarding, so it can sometimes get pretty lengthy and confusing. Not to mention, it eats up the time of every party involved, distracting them from progress-driving responsibilities. But since onboarding can’t be skipped, what is there to do? Actually, quite a lot! And this is our topic for today. How to become more efficient in onboarding new workers. 

How to Improve the Onboarding Process (Quickly)

These are quick win tips for improving the onboarding process:

  1. Have a defined process in place

  2. Focus on the employee experience

  3. Digitise the procedure for present and future convenience 

  4. Automate as much as possible to keep it simple 

  5. Personalisation is key

  6. Continuously analyse and better the onboarding process 

These are steps you can take with little to no effort or prior preparation. They are all relatively low-hanging fruits. However, we respect you are most likely here because you are looking for a long-term solution, not just a bandaid. The above-listed tips are a good starting point, but moving forward you will need a more in-depth approach. Let’s talk about how can you develop them further.

Speed the Process Up

Swift onboarding means your new hires will be able to work at their full capacity quicker. When handled correctly, there is a chance you won’t need to sacrifice the time of other employees to walk them through the processes either. In other words, quicker onboarding is all-around beneficial to your business. So, let’s talk about how to achieve it. 

Onboarding Software and Automation

Traditionally, when handling onboarding, we are used to email back-and-forths of the required documents. Depending on how your business operates, you might even require your new hires to bring physical copies - though we don’t think this approach exists in a post-pandemic world. However, the problem is that both methods can really drag on. Humans tend to forget what they need. Some forget to send things. Emails get lost or accidentally deleted. The chase creates difficult-to-navigate threads that drown the requirements and so on. In other words, there are a thousand and one factors that can prolong the process. Or, worse, leave it incomplete. 

Thankfully, these methods can now be ditched. The era of automation didn’t pass onboarding by. In fact, there are nowadays solutions dedicated solely to it. With simple programming, you can cut to the chase. Instead of sending the list of required documents to the worker, enrol them into your system. A designated page will then provide them with the list of needed documentation, as well as an option to submit it. Not only this approach removes the friction that may occur in the course of communication, but also saves time for you to re-upload the received documents to relevant locations. With onboarding software, they are saved at the locale of your choice upon being received - available for your access right away. 

Easy Compliance 

The key reason why document collection is an essential part of staff onboarding is compliance. The government requires companies to hold certain documentation of employees. Additionally, information like bank details or national insurance are required to ensure correct compensation. Some businesses are legally obliged to collect relevant certifications or additional documentation before they can allow the new hire to start working. Problem is, if the issues we’ve described above occur, your new hire won’t just be undergoing prolonged training. They won’t be able to even start it. An attempt to let them begin without the documentation in place could land you in a serious legal issue too if spotted. 

One advantage of an onboarding system is that you can effectively use it to gatekeep your business from workers who haven’t provided the required paperwork. For example, since Timesheet Portal comes with an onboarding module, it won’t let your hires access the software unless their documents have been submitted and approved. This means they can’t start logging time, and no one wants to work for free. Additionally, with Timesheet Portal you can have visibility when time-sensitive documentation is expiring. The system will then give the employees a gentle nudge to update their information to keep your business compliant.

Ensure Positive Candidate Experience

You must remember that when you’re going through the process of staff onboarding, you are investing time in them. Naturally, you want that investment to pay off in the long run. To keep it brief, it’s not likely to happen unless you provide your new hire with the right environment to thrive in. That’s why onboarding and candidate experience always go hand-in-hand. 

Prepare an Employee Handbook

Every business has a set of values, a mission and the processes they run in day-to-day life. In addition to that, there is also software they utilise. Since all these form the core of a company, they need to be communicated to the new hire as soon as possible. While you can either walk the new hires through it all yourself or assign their immediate colleague to do so, there are certain shortcomings of this approach. First of all, time spent with the new hire is the time taken from being focused on immediate tasks. Secondly, it’s most likely the new worker won’t remember all information you’ve provided to them. They will, therefore, be asking questions further ahead. 

Now, this is not to say you should leave them to their own devices nor that it’s wrong of them to clarify things in the future. It is, however, not the best use of your or your team’s time. We propose putting together an employee handbook, that would summarise key processes and use of tools for your business. In addition to that, it should explain the team structure, and how communication is handled, and describe some of the common scenarios. So, if they are uncertain about something moving forward, they can always double-check it. Not to mention, having a handy guidebook will certainly give them more confidence in embracing your company’s culture more quicker. 

Smooth Team Collaborations

One of the biggest challenges for new starters is to blend into the existing workflows. It often appears equally challenging for the other workers too as, ultimately, they need to interrupt and adjust their ongoing processes. While it pays off in a long run, the beginning may be bumpy. What’s more, if things go wrong from the get-go, it can break the process altogether. The risk increases if your company has multiple teams that don’t communicate on a day-to-day basis.

There’s also an extra obstacle if your new hire is a remote worker. Adjusting workflows to include them without getting to talk in person can be particularly difficult. For all the above reasons, you need to find a way to help all parts of your company meet at a common ground. The best to serve that purpose would be a cloud-based collaboration platform. First of all, it can be accessed from anywhere in the world, as long as the user has internet access.  Secondly, there is no limit to how many users are logged in simultaneously. It also provides a centralised view of what’s going on in the company, keeping everyone aware of what the other person is doing and where they are within the workflow. Additionally, since there’s a log tracking changes, it’s easy to backtrack and correct errors if any arise. 

Set the Tone

You must have heard that first impressions matter. Of course, this is true at the workplace too. The rule of thumb is that when you’re interviewing the candidate, you are scoping them. When going through the staff onboarding process, however, they are scoping you. The settings you dictate during the onboarding will become the foundation of their stay with you. 

Managing Expectations

When it comes to expectations upon starting one’s contract, both parties have them. Unfortunately, you’re unlikely to gauge all of these expectations during the interview process. Simply because the candidate is trying to impress you before they lay out what (apart from compensation) is required of you. Understanding what is that they’re looking to gather through the course of their employment is an important step of onboarding that many companies miss. For example, a candidate might communicate during the interview that they expect to be working remotely. However, they wouldn’t mention they expect you to provide the equipment. 

Or, as they sign a contract for a mid-management position, they expect a career path that will eventually lead them to upper management. Thing is, you may not be able to meet such expectations, and this needs to be communicated as soon as possible to save possible resentment moving forward. Asking directly would be the quickest route, but many employees are hesitant to lay their expectations out when confronted. Instead, present them with yours in a form of a question. Here’s an example. Ask them if they are interested in deepening their knowledge as they work for you. What you’re really asking is how open they are to additional training your company might require. Their answer will indicate if they are expecting to progress professionally.


When raising the efficiency of staff onboarding there are two routes to follow. One is going for quick wins, which will work instantaneously but likely for a limited time. The other is more long-term and therefore requires some sort of investment. Both monetary and time-wise. Naturally, you want to choose the latter if you want to sustain efficiency. 

Designated software can help you automate the onboarding process. This is a relatively hands-off approach, meaning no time will be wasted on back-and-forths. It is also an easy way to keep your business compliant without manual auditing and with little effort. In addition to that, digitalised onboarding creates a more positive candidate experience, helping your new hires to blend into the team and workflows quicker. In summary, the best long-term sustainable solution to efficient onboarding is making the process digital. And we assure you it will have a positive impact on several, virtually unrelated, areas of your business too.

Curious to find out more? Give us a shout.

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Timesheet Portal online software provided by Anfold Software Ltd, a registered company in the UK.