Nobody expected that digital onboarding would gain such importance this year. In a very short time, the onboarding process for many companies had to be converted completely to digital. Our Partner Dr. Ralph Köppen discussed with UKG’s Michael Jetten (formerly PeopleDoc) during on online panel discussion how to ensure that digital onboarding can be successfully implemented. Read here the results about the new best practices in onboarding.

In the first part, we first summarized why good digital onboarding is so crucial. We’ve put together a checklist that identifies the important processes and technology best practices. These should help with the rollout of a new onboarding process and the supporting software.

Good digital onboarding is always done through the new employee’s point of view. The entire onboarding process should be defined in all three phases (pre-boarding, day 1 and onboarding) through the eyes of the new hire. This can be developed, for example, in design thinking workshops with recent new hires. They have experienced the onboarding process in the company themselves and can provide valuable feedback and ideas. During the design workshop, it is important to identify the so-called “moments that matter”, the instances which are particularly important for the employee experience. It is important to precisely identify these moments precisely and to focus on these points. Particularly if onboarding is carried out only virtually, it is important to support the socialization of the employees in the organization, as this must be structured in a fundamentally different way than if it is carried out on-site. Examples could be videos of the team and other colleagues, online games, joint online lunches/dinners or virtual coffee breaks.

If a good digital onboarding process has been created, it succeeds in generating a timely and tangible added value to the new employee. The time to achieve maximum productivity can be reduced, maximizing the productivity level of the entire organization. This includes reducing absenteeism, but it also means that underperforming individuals can be quickly identified and corrective action can be taken swiftly. It also means preventing costs from failed onboarding and necessary new hires. Successful digital onboarding therefore maximizes the efficiency of the process and measures this continuously using various key figures (e.g., fluctuation rate).

Employee engagement is greatly being influenced by good digital onboarding. The new employee feels less welcomed and supported by the continuous assistance. For example, the following perceptions should be evoked in the new employee because of successful digital onboarding:

  • “I have a meaningful role and understand the connection with the rest of the organization.”
  • “I feel safe and welcome to contribute my talents and personality for the maximum benefit of the organization.”
  • “I have digital access to all necessary resources.”
  • “I can easily initiate/use forms, feedback, training, sharing, etc. via mobile and digital self-services.”

Digital onboarding is only the starting point of the entire new-joiner or employee journey. It therefore needs to be integrated into the overall HR operation by transitioning directly into, for example, performance management, feedback and employee development.

The onboarding process is not subject to a formal timeline in which all learning and integration must take place. However, it is important to define and, if necessary, adapt the duration of onboarding for each employee individually, as well as the individual contact points, learning content and milestones, to achieve the best possible employee experience.

These are the best practices in digital onboarding.

Checkliste Best Practices für digitales Onboarding

In the following, we only look at some selected, important aspects in detail:

P1: Design Thinking

With the goal of reducing rapid terminations (new employees who quit within 30 days) and integrating new employees quickly, design thinking principles were applied at Genpact. This resulted in several new starting points. For example, initial tactical onboarding time was reduced from eight hours to less than one, and documentation was significantly streamlined. (For details, see:

P6: Staggering information delivery

To avoid information overload for new employees, the pace of onboarding contacts and learning content should be thought through. The goal is to achieve sustainable knowledge building and intensive personal contacts.

P7: Cognitive technologies

A combination of personas, business rules, and cognitive technologies can be used to predict when new employees need relevant knowledge and where or how it should be delivered. An anticipatory knowledge management system can proactively provide new employees with situationally relevant information in their new careers.

P11: Knowledge Maps

Use knowledge mapping to capture expert knowledge from colleagues and make it available to less experienced, new employees. As part of this process, learning journals can be created to help managers determine a sequence of training sessions.

T1: Intuitive use without need for training

Employees use various technologies and platforms in their personal lives, so the onboarding platform should be similarly easy to use.

T6: Pro-active compliance & personalization capabilities.

HR staff should be empowered (e.g., via role-based access and content) to design global and proactive management via the onboarding platform. Configurations in the software (e.g. for workflows) can be entered by HR staff or managers themselves without external help or support.

For more detailed information about “New Approaches to Onboarding”, you are welcome to watch the entire recording of our HR expert talk from 10/27/2020. The recording can be found at the following link: