Tools to Develop an Onboarding Program for New Employees

Author: Eugenija Steponkute
Published: 27/03/2023
Onboarding program

If you are interested in building a new onboarding program, this blog article is for you. We will walk you through what tools are absolutely essential for one, and what solutions would come in handy. While we target business owners with this article, team managers looking for ways to improve their team’s performance will also benefit from reading it.

We all understand that onboarding is a non-skippable part of the employment. From legal document collection to training workers on the essential processes within your organisation. Often the further progression of your new hire, as well as the success they bring, are highly dependent on the grounds you’ve put in during their induction. This is why onboarding needs to be handled with a strategy in mind and cover more than a simple exchange of documents. Easier said than done, right?

Although the best onboarding samples sound intricate to copy and use within one’s organisation, very often they aren’t. The trick is that behind every good onboarding program, there are a number of digital tools used. While they indeed do replace some human engagement, this doesn’t mean they jeopardise human connections. In fact, they help drive them. And so, in this article, we will be looking into such tools. 

The 5 Cs of Onboarding

There are 5 key elements required for the onboarding to be successful. They all start with a C, therefore are known as the 5Cs of onboarding.

  1. Compliance. Naturally, you don’t want to break the law when bringing new workers on board. At this stage, you also want to introduce your hires about your company's rules and policies.

  2. Clarification. Communicate to them what are their exact responsibilities and what are your expectations. 

  3. Confidence. You can’t make one confident, but you can be encouraging and positive in your approach to help them achieve it. 

  4. Connection. One of the challenges in onboarding is getting new hires to become part of the team. It’s therefore important they connect and build relationships with their colleagues.

  5. Culture. Working together means sharing company values and vision. They must therefore become known to the new starters.

Ticking these boxes in the process helps your new starters blend right into your company and begin applying their skills and knowledge.

Mandatory Onboarding Tools

While the 5Cs are mostly revolving around the human aspects of onboarding, they are strongly influenced by the tools you use. Naturally, since digital solutions focus on automation, they don’t rely on humans and therefore don’t build relationships. On the other hand, they provide assistance in making the process quicker and smoother.

Document Management Solution

A document management platform is easily the most vital part of any onboarding program. Simply put, this is where the documents submitted by your new employees will be stored. Ideally, you want a solution that is a combination of the onboarding system and the document storage one. In that case, it would be used to collect the documentation and store it within the platform at the same time. 

A good idea would also be getting a document management solution that integrates with e-signing. This way you can begin the onboarding process right at the contract signing phase. The proposed approach will significantly reduce the time of gathering the documents and make them easily accessible in the future. What’s more, you can always upload documentation from your side to the new starter’s folder too where they can access them at their convenience too. In other words, this is a great tool to establish compliance and aid in clarity. 

Workforce Management System

You want to understand where your employees are applying their time and effort from day one. Such visibility helps you tailor better processes, identify new opportunities and quickly eliminate any potential dangers. In terms of onboarding, it also provides you with nearly instant visibility of where the new starter fits in the existing workflows. What’s more, this allows you to shift around the time of other workers to make sure they get to spend time with the new hire. And it’s going to be done without sacrificing the performance and efficiency of your team. 

Moving forward, the system will also enable you to see how the new worker is getting along. Not only will this be beneficial when the evaluation time comes, but also be a good way to analyse the efficiency of your onboarding program. As you must have gathered, the tool’s primary function is not onboarding, however, it plays a big role in making the process smooth, innovative and data-driven. In addition to that, it will be a great addition to your overall strategy, covering both older employees and fresh starters. 

Tools for Smoother Onboarding

Just as there are must-haves for onboarding, there are also nice-to-haves. The tools we are about to talk about aren’t necessary. However, they are a great addition to those who want to create a truly unique onboarding program. Without further ado, let us introduce you to key tools that can make your onboarding process stand out. 

Employee Training Platform

No matter how much prior experience your new hire might have had in the industry, they will still need to be trained. Mostly on how things are done in your company. This can cover anything from very specific processes to the software you use. And if the candidate is still relatively new in the industry, you will be on the duty of teaching them the ins and outs. In other words, training is not a skippable part of onboarding. Giving it a miss will simply result in lesser performance, a longer time for the worker to become fully efficient and, potentially, mutual resentment. 

Traditionally, companies assign an employee with bigger seniority yet similar responsibilities to handle the training. This is a logical and effective approach. However, is it the most efficient one for your business as a whole? In most cases - no. What it does is pull the older worker out of their routine. Instead of running their day-to-day activities and therefore driving progress, they are instead sacrificing their time and labour to train the new starter.  Even when it’s simply shadowing the senior employee, their flow will be constantly interrupted to answer questions. A much more effective solution would be getting a platform to host the required training. It’s hands-off, supplies the new started with what they need and is usually a one-time investment.

Internal Communication Outlet

Given most companies now operate in either fully remote or hybrid settings, it can be very difficult for workers to build rapport with one another. Especially when they don’t get to see each other face-to-face. We can all agree that email communication makes it very easy to misread one’s tone, intentions or actual point. Since communication is vital for your new hire to fully blend in, you need to create a proper environment for them.

A good shout would be getting an internal instant messenger. Not only it allows your teams to exchange quick short messages (nowhere near as formal as emails), but most come with additional features. For example, Slack offers regular calls, video calls, group calls and even mini-games within their internal instant messenger. They can also be used for quick document sharing and often have mobile phone apps. While no communication tool can replace in-person interactions, they offer a great alternative when it’s not an option.

Don’t Stop Polishing the Process

Now you might want to kick your feet up and relax once your onboarding process is up and running. Sorry to disappoint you, but this is not how it works. Just like any business process, onboarding isn’t a one-off and the opportunities to better it as you go are literally infinite. In other words, never stop improving.

Employee Feedback Software

You will naturally be biased when it comes to judging the efficiency of your onboarding program. Especially if the numbers are showing that your new employees are much quicker to integrate into your workflows. However, it is often forgotten that it is much more complex than simple numbers in a report. Despite showing great results in terms of meeting your KPIs, there’s always a chance that your new onboarding program wasn’t perceived as great by the party experiencing it - your worker. As we have discussed many times before, the onboarding procedure is essentially your way to set the tone and expectations moving forward. Negative experiences can become the root of future issues. You won’t be able to identify it unless you have such awareness. 

The problem is, if you request feedback during a 1-on-1 conversation, most people will naturally clamp up. Not only is it more difficult to tell something is wrong in person, but also many things are forgotten when you’re put on the spot. Employee feedback software provides a great environment for insights on the onboarding process to be collected. First of all, if done in a survey manner, your new hire won’t have to do more than simply rate their experience. Meaning this is nowhere as tasking nor time-consuming. Secondly, this is the best alternative for companies that utilise remote workers. And finally, the tool is useful for other operations, not just onboarding. It’s overall a great solution for gauging your team’s performance, engagement, overall atmosphere and much more.


Onboarding is a lot more than simple document collection. A big chunk of its success relies on the human factor too. This, however, doesn’t mean automation has no place in the process. Quite the opposite. The right tools are absolutely crucial in making sure you tick all the 5 Cs when welcoming your new hires. 

Some software like a document management platform and a workforce management system is vital in creating an efficient onboarding program. What’s more, these solutions will elevate other areas of your business as they can be used for multiple purposes. Other tools are more on the nice-to-have side, but can still make a lot of difference to your onboarding process. Overall, modern tools allow you to create quick, smooth, intuitive and relationship-focused experiences. All you need to do is choose wisely and rely on your company’s values.  

There is no time to waste on soulless onboarding practices. Start the change today.

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