How to design an effective digital onboarding process?

You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression

This evergreen piece of advice isn’t just important to remember during a first date. Companies spend serious money on employer branding in the recruitment phase, but drastically decrease the amount of attention paid to new employees after they join the company. Though we can’t stress enough that the recruitment process doesn’t end when work begins.

The appropriate onboarding process and candidate experience isn’t just important in finding the right candidate, but also provides the company with a competitive advantage in the entire employee experience. A well designed and effective onboarding process helps new hires acclimate faster, and has an impact on their engagement and effectiveness as well.

Local companies are lagging behind’s overarching research survey indicated that in local companies, integrating new hires isn’t emphasized enough. Though according to the survey, every second company has an onboarding process, most of these only include a “basic” package: introduction, administration, work and fire-protection education — everything that is indispensable for getting to work as soon as possible.

In half of these companies, they don’t take time to introduce the company’s story and the various institutional departments. What’s even more surprising, is that, although our world is heading in the direction of digitization, 93% of Hungarian companies don’t use any software or programs that support onboarding.

Though effective and well-structured onboarding processes incase employee engagement by 82%.

TOP challenges

Those in charge of orientation and training don’t have an easy job, as the COVID19 pandemic and its consequences didn’t leave them out either. Classroom training completely ceased to exist, or were at least realized along serious rules. In an effort to decrease human contact, large-scale orientation days and office tours don't even come into question. Beyond that, we had to lose earlier, paper-based administration. Quickly changing circumstances came with massive administrative demands of HR people, and onboarding and training processes became increasingly harder to track.

Digitization has long held a spot in company development, but the real push was brought on by the changes previously mentioned. The Blue Colibri App team determined in a qualitative interview with 15 leadership executives and HR professionals, the leading challenges in this area:

  • digitization of materials
  • tracking processes
  • lack of feedback
  • measuring effectiveness

Key characteristics of an effective onboarding process

Similar to many other company areas, building the right onboarding and training systems can’t take place without the correct strategy and structure, which is worthwhile to keep in mind even before the first day of work.

#1 Preboarding

It’s important to highlight how much the company and the team are waiting for the new teammate before they start working. Introduce their direct teammates in a video, so that they don’t come face to face with new people on their first day. In addition to getting to know each other, it’s of key importance for the candidate to be clear on practical information, like the daily schedule, dress code, and getting to the office.

#2 Onboarding

Real onboarding starts on the first day of work. It’s imperative that the new teammate know who to turn to if they need help during the process, and understand what the concrete expectations are. In order to achieve this, those goals and processes need to be introduced that pertain to the employee. The different training for the company and the role are needed so that the new hire can understand the company environment that they’ve become a part of as comprehensively and transparently as possible.

#3 Follow up

What good is a process if we don’t get any feedback?! Two way, continuous feedback help employees see through their own process and get feedback on their achievements, and the company gets feedback on how individual employees are progressing in their own orientation process.

Who to learn from

If you’re wondering where to begin when creating the right processes, don’t worry! You can always get inspiration on best practices from “the big names.” One of these is Belgium-based KPMG’s preboarding platform, where new hires can familiarize themselves with the most important materials, rules, and processes, and even get a 360 degree office tour. This is where they share various content types, as well as KPMG’s company culture, through videos and images.

At Deloitte, new employees form teams, and learn the most important company facts online. As they answer questions both individually, and at times as a group, they learn cooperation and the material together. In addition to this, they can also take part in a virtual office tour, where they walk through the office as if it were a video game, and chat with employees. 

Cisco uses an e-learning platform to train marketing and sales employees. Through gamification, different “players” can reach different levels, and get certificates for their achievement, or badges for completing certain challenges.

An effective tool for digital onboarding and e-learning processes

Our latest development, Blue Colibri App ACADEMY, is a modern multi-featured platform, where you can easily design automated processes and upload company content for specific employee groups or for the whole company. The platform is a reliable solution for pre- and onboarding, as well as the challenges of online training and education. 

onboarding e-learning blue colibri app academy

We can share content in various interactive formats on the platform (videos, images, infographics, pdfs, presentations, word documents). Then you can measure knowledge of individual lessons with tests and questionnaires at the end of the entire training module, about which employees and leaders get detailed reports.

We can manage the entire onboarding and e-learning on an easily manageable and transparent dashboard, where you can easily put together processes and upload various content, give deadlines, send notifications, or review the statistics at our disposal.