New hire onboarding software: is it right for you?



Read time
11 mins

If productivity of your new recruits is an issue or they keep leaving after just a few months then it could be your onboarding process that’s the problem. Here’s how automating it makes for a better experience for both employee and employer

How often do you use auto-fill on forms when buying something online? It saves so much time when making those crucial purchases – whether it’s supermarket essentials or that treat you’ve been promising yourself for ages – because you don’t have to type out your details each time you place an order.

So why can onboarding a new hire be such a manual process, with the same information sometimes needing to be submitted several times?

Many of us just expect each process within a business to be automated, but that might not always be the case when it comes to recruitment. If your company still uses paper forms and booklets for new colleagues, then it’s time to consider investing in onboarding software.

Not only can this help retain recent recruits – thanks to a well-structured, consistent process that engages them straight away – but also lower hiring costs. It creates less waste, and wastes less time for all involved. Here’s why automating the onboarding process with specialist software is the correct choice for you, and how it’ll benefit you and your employees.

In this article

What is onboarding software?

Onboarding software streamlines and automates the onboarding process. It’s used to collect data on the new employee, give them details on the procedures and policies of their new employer, offer insight into what it’s like to work with their new team, and ensure that the onboarding process is appropriate (and consistent) for that particular role or location.

It has other uses, too, such as providing orientation programmes and tracking a new hire’s progress during their first few weeks and months within their new organisation. Such systems will help managers and supervisors access the necessary materials for the new addition to their team, but without adding extra pressures to their role. It also standardises the process, so you won’t lose or misfile any data from your recruit.

Your onboarding software should support your employer brand by providing information, engaging your employees and educating them – even before they start. If your induction process has been badly designed, then you risk having poor engagement with your recent recruit which could mean they leave your organisation all too soon.

What is employee onboarding software for?

There are numerous benefits to using employee onboarding software – one of which is that you can ensure your new employee receives the information they need in an organised, consistent manner. All your hires will have the same information, which will reduce any frustrations and confusion. Your process will become a standardised experience (albeit one that is tailored for specific roles, sub-divisions, or office locations as necessary), improving employee satisfaction and reducing turnover.

It simplifies this process, too. This will save your business both time and money, since your employee will get up to speed swiftly – and so become a productive part of your organisation sooner. Your new hire onboarding software can also keep track of each person’s progress during this period, which can then help you identify any areas where someone may need additional support.

You can also personalise the onboarding experience for every employee, based on their preferences and requirements. What you create will be a more effective process for your recruits and your business.

Why is a good onboarding process important?

A good onboarding process acclimatises a person to a new role, a new company and its values, and what it can offer them. The onboarding process should engage your employees and welcome them into your organisation. It should also help you retain these new hires in the long term by making them feel as if they’re a member of your team.

Making sure your employees are engaged means they’ll have a better focus, and apply themselves more to the tasks needed to effectively carry out their role. Engaged people work better with their team, are generally happier, and perform better. One 2015 study by the University of Warwick showed that the productivity of happy employees went up by nearly 20% compared with those who are unhappy.

Onboarding can not only show a new starter a clear path to being successful in your organisation, but also help them feel they belong. If they’re engaged, your employees will become committed and loyal to your organisation. And your recent recruit can become a valuable employee by being a better teammate, since there’s no compensation required for reduced productivity because their skills are being used. Another 2015 study, by SiriusDecisions, found that profitability can increase by 15% when teams collaborate and are aligned with each other.

Getting a person familiar with your expectations and culture quickly will mean they’ll have a positive attitude to the role, so they’ll be motivated to be both efficient and productive. A Glassdoor study from 2015 highlighted that this boosts productivity by more than 70%, while retention of new hires is improved by 82%. Another survey from the same year, by Lessonly, found 69% of employees were more likely to stay with a brand for at least three years if they had a well-structured onboarding programme.

What are the benefits of automated employee onboarding software?

Automating the employee onboarding process will have a positive effect on making sure your new hire is getting up to speed. Not only does it help you share and collect important information, but it also gives you the opportunity to help them feel valued and welcome.

Benefits for employers

  • It’s paperless: if you want to cut your waste output, then this is one of the best changes you can make to reduce the paper you use. It’ll save your business time, too, as new recruits can review and sign documents digitally, using tools such as Adobe Sign and DocuSign (both of which are comparable with Ciphr’s HR and onboarding software). And, of course, going digital is essentially for remote and hybrid workers
  • Collect personal data, securely: get a head start on admin by collecting sensitive information – such as bank details – securely through your onboarding platform before their first day, which will ensure they’ll be added to your payroll software in time for the next pay run
  • Remove human error: mistakes can be made when information is keyed in manually so, by allowing your latest team addition to complete forms electronically, that information can be uploaded to your HR software with the minimum of fuss
  • Track progress: this checklist will help you monitor where someone is on their onboarding journey and, if required, you can offer them further support. It can be customised, too, so you can add particular tasks to your standard onboarding programme as required, such as senior leaders meeting the CEO in their first week
  • Data is centralised: your onboarding software will store digital documents and keep them secure. So if you (or your employee) need to check something, you know where to go
  • Lower costs: many hiring costs can be reduced with automated onboarding as fewer administrative resources are being used to set up training or collate documents, for example


Benefits for new starters

  • It’s personalised: as well as all the essential information your new starter will need to know about your organisation, you can also include specific tasks for them to complete. With everything in one place, this makes onboarding easier and less daunting
  • It’s faster: there’ll be no need for your new hire to track down documents on an intranet; with onboarding software such as Ciphr’s, everything they need is in one place – whether that’s a floor plan for their new office, or instructions for enrolling in benefits schemes
  • Easy notifications: these reminders will keep employees to a schedule so they can perform well in their new role. It also helps them understand where they are in their own onboarding process, too. Notifications can be automated or manual, and sent to either mobile devices or email
  • They’ll get up to speed more quickly: if your onboarding portal can be made available to new starters before their first day, you can invite them to complete tasks such as reviewing and accepting policies, and completing mandatory training, before their first day – enabling them to hit the ground running when they start

What’s the best onboarding software?

Choosing the right onboarding software is an individual decision for each organisation. But there are a few points to consider when assessing the market.

Cost is one key factor: does the software fit your budget? Next, consider its functionality: what are your requirements, and how does the onboarding software meet or exceed these needs? For starters, it should be easy to use and have a user-friendly interface so someone can find what they want. Customisation is a must, too, so you can then adapt it to the processes that work best for your brand.

A reporting option will help you track the onboarding progress of new employees, and also identify any areas in which you need to improve. Training and support should be provided, too, so there’s help if you have any problems.

Check your chosen onboarding software can be integrated into your other business systems – particularly your central HR software – as it will make managing onboarding even easier and your information is in just one place. Your software should also be scalable, so it grows as your organisation does, plus include features such as data encryption to keep details secure.

How much does onboarding software cost?

The cost of onboarding software really depends on the functionality of the software, and how many employee records you want it to store. You’ll probably find that most vendors will quote you a per-employee per month (PEPM) rates.

It might be more cost-effective to add an onboarding module to your existing central HR software, rather than procure an entirely separate onboarding solution and establish an integration between the two systems.

If you are planning to invite new starters to sign documents digitally using a tool such as Adobe Sign or DocuSign, you’ll need to factor in an annual subscription to one of these services, too.

Compared to purchasing an entirely new central HR system, you’ll probably find that specialist onboarding software is relatively cost-effective. You should start to see the return on investment (ROI) fairly quickly, too, because your HR team will soon find that much of their administrative work around onboarding is streamlined and automated.

Should you purchase employee onboarding software?

Every organisation – no matter how many people it employs – can benefit from using employee onboarding software, as it will save you time, money and resources. There are some situations where you may wish to seriously consider it if you haven’t already.

If you’re moving towards more remote working, for instance, then employee onboarding software may prove to be an essential addition. While many people have adapted their working practices, relatively few brands have adapted their recruitment process.

If you’ve got a high level of turnover in the early stages of employment, then this software may help you here. This turnover rate may indicate your current process isn’t effectively integrating new starters into your organisation, but this could be remedied by the convenience and consistency that onboarding software can offer employees. You’ll be grateful for this addition if you’re planning a significant recruitment drive, or one over a large geographical area, as it’ll reduce the pressure your HR department could experience – especially if your industry requires numerous compliance checks.

If investing in new hire onboarding software is the correct decision for your organisation, then get in touch with Ciphr for a demonstration of our integrated HR, recruitment and onboarding software. Discover what it can do for your new recruits, and how it can boost your business and save on hiring costs.