Onboarding a new employee is a challenge, and it cannot easily be surmounted just by subscribing to a new service or hiring the right consultant. You need to put serious thought into your onboarding process. More than that, you need to monitor it and adjust it as necessary to ensure that onboarding matches the process, culture, and spirit of the team that your new employee is joining.
Not too long ago, we wrote a guide on what a successful, quality employee onboarding process should include. It includes everything from mentorship to communication frameworks to the Four Cs. If you’re curious about it, you can find that post here.
Today, we’ve decided to compile a list of a dozen tools you can use to help establish or optimize your onboarding process. Using the linked post, you can determine what you need to build for your onboarding, and using these tools, you can implement it.
So, without further beating around the bush, here are a dozen helpful onboarding tools:
Trello is a cloud-based collaborative platform for project management. You can think of it as a corkboard or whiteboard, except digital. The digital conversion gives you a range of benefits over managing a bunch of paperwork and notes, in particular in terms of organization and categorization of tasks.
While Trello isn’t a dedicated employee onboarding platform, it can be used to manage any project, including the onboarding of a new employee. It’s one of the explicit uses of the platform; so much so that they’ve even developed a custom board template specifically for onboarding.
The main benefit of using a tool like Trello is that it essentially provides an interactive and adaptive checklist of every step of the onboarding process. It’s not stored as a single piece of paper someone in HR keeps at their desk. Rather, it’s accessible to everyone involved in onboarding, from the new employee themselves to their mentor, their manager, and the HR team responsible for the paperwork.
As a bonus, Trello has a free version that includes unlimited members and unlimited cards, for up to 10 project boards. You can try it out in an HR setting and see if it works for you before committing to buying a business plan.
Eduflow is an online platform for educational courses. It is used in an educational context by universities looking to provide courses to students, but it’s also used by companies for training and, of course, onboarding. Much like Trello, this isn’t simply implied; they have a dedicated onboarding course template you can use.
This template covers introductions to the employee’s team, the company’s products and services, the meeting workflow and communications channels they will have open to them during normal operation and the onboarding process, and more.
The template is, of course, completely customizable. If you want to establish a different meeting process, if you have different workflow considerations, or if your employee’s position doesn’t require certain parts of the onboarding process, you can adapt it completely to your needs. The template is simply a sample of what you can create.
One of the main benefits of Eduflow is the use of videos on demand. Video onboarding, particularly if you’re working with virtual onboarding, can be especially powerful. To quote Panopto:
“In forward-looking companies, videos have already become an essential part of [investment in onboarding], helping to scale and expand onboarding activities.”
Zenefits is a comprehensive HR platform, which includes onboarding, as well as benefits management, compensation management, and tracking, and a lot of automation with regards to the entire hiring, onboarding, and human resources process.
Automation is an extremely powerful tool for any business process – when used correctly. As Heidi Lynne Kurter writes for Forbes:
“Automating the paperwork and normal onboarding practices increases productivity for everyone involved. Human resources can focus on building more engaging and efficient processes to support their employees and less time following up and chasing them.”
In addition to smoothing out the onboarding process, Zenefits can automatically send offer letters and manage compensation packages for new employees natively. This helps to eliminate a lot of the tedious paperwork and, more importantly, get your new employee up to speed and taking advantage of company benefits immediately. This can be more helpful than ever, especially these days where some benefits (such as health insurance) are of critical importance to many new workers.
4. Bamboo HR
Bamboo HR is another comprehensive HR platform, including an applicant tracking system, employee management, benefits and payroll, and even company culture management features. Company culture is especially important for new employees and is one of the Four Cs of onboarding. As such, having a platform that can monitor, engage with, review, and notify managers of culture and performance is extremely important.
Automation is also a core feature of Bamboo HR onboarding. It can automatically manage an onboarding process, sending defined tasks at defined intervals, and can even assist with generalized icebreakers with a “get to know you” introduction email to the new employee’s team.
It can be a steep buy-in to switch your entire HR process to Bamboo’s ecosystem, but the transition is well worth it simply to have everything managed and controlled in one place. The automation is just icing on the cake.
If your organization has already established an ATS and an HR platform, you probably don’t want to uproot everything and transition to a comprehensive platform like Bamboo. It’s completely understandable, which is why some platforms are much smaller in scope. Talmundo is one such platform.
Talmundo is a specialized onboarding platform. It can integrate seamlessly with your preexisting HR and ATS platforms and is cloud-based for fully remote, mobile, and on-the-go access. It allows you to create experience-based and interactive onboarding processes, including mentorship connections, onboarding quizzes, and dynamic company-branded content.
Perhaps most importantly, Talmundo monitors a wide range of key metrics for the onboarding process, including engagement and interest. This allows you to continually customize and adapt the onboarding process for new employees, to smooth out wrinkles and ensure engagement, minimizing turnover in the first six months of employment.
Click Boarding is an “end-to-end employee experience platform.” It handles onboarding and offboarding, with security and compliance along the way. Their platform offers a customizable, white-label interactive onboarding process, ranging from first-day icebreakers and paperwork to ongoing learning and video content to help immerse a new employee in company culture and norms.
There are two major benefits to Click Boarding. The first is that it takes 99% of the paperwork out of your hands, and out of paper. The fully compliant system manages and maintains paperwork necessary for a new higher, and has e-signature capabilities to eliminate the need for printers and filing.
The other benefit is the ability to upload a broad range of resources for your new employee to use and access as necessary. These include everything from simple training videos and task lists to maps of your office, employee directories, and contact information for mentors. All in all, it provides everything you could need from an onboarding platform.
Kin is an HR platform that made our previous list of the top 100 talent acquisition tools as what is primarily an onboarding and employee management platform. In addition to onboarding, the platform offers features for feedback processes, data management, and time management.
Kin allows you to use one centralized app to manage benefits and vacation information, employee profiles and data management, task lists, scheduling, delegating, employee reviews, and much more. You can create a customized welcome page for new hires, manage their paperwork and introductory task lists, and provide a communications channel all through the single platform. If there’s a process that you need to create, chances are that they already have a roadmap available for it.
Kin is also one of the cheaper introductory platforms available, with their onboarding platform only running you $5 per user per month. Overall, it’s a fantastic and powerful platform that doesn’t get in the way of other systems you use, like an ATS or a benefits manager.
Scoro is a centralized platform meant to take up a position in the core of a company’s management efforts, and gradually replace a wide range of different, fragmented apps that manage workflows, onboarding, ATS, and other systems. As is common with many small businesses, picking up another cheap or free platform to complete a given task is common, but leads to a fragmented workflow with a lot of productivity lost to faulty or partial integrations and conversions.
To quote Bit.AI on this one:
“New employees can quickly use Scoro to read documentation, manage their tasks, visualize assignments, and see deadlines- all in one neat looking dashboard. With project templates and task bundles, users can automate routine tasks and be productive from the get-go.”
Perhaps the best feature is the task matrix; a grid and chart that managers can use to manage workloads and avoid over-assigning or under-assigning tasks to given employees.
ChiefOnboarding is another onboarding platform that covers the entire onboarding process. It begins with preboarding, where you can set up employee orientation videos, culture immersion programs, dress code requirements, and anything in between. It integrates sequences, workflows that begin with simple tasks and guide an employee through their first day, their first week, and beyond. They also have a unique Slack chatbot, that can be used as a means of contact, question answering service, or self-help system.
Perhaps most interesting is that ChiefOnboarding is free and open-source if you host it yourself. It does require a server infrastructure that can run it, but a talented dev can make it work on pretty much any system, local or cloud, that your company owns. A managed version is a flat $990 per year, as well, in case you don’t have the in-house infrastructure available to run it.
Lessonly is a hybrid between an onboarding platform and an educational platform. It’s built to use automated workflows, developed by HR and managers, to work through the entire onboarding process.
While it tends to focus on education and training, as well as interactive tasks and lessons, it can be used for more flexible applications as well. It also has API hooks to link up with many of the other major tools you might be using in your HR processes.
Kissflow is a platform with a handful of distinct offerings, which can be used separately or in tandem with one another. Their core offering is an all-in-one digital workplace platform, but the individual segments are useful on their own.
These segments include Workflow, an end-to-end workflow manager; Project, an intuitive project management platform; HR, a human resources manager for employee benefits, scheduling, and everything from hire to retire; Procurement, a flexible procurement platform; and School, a digital learning platform similar to something like Lessonly.
The one downside to Kissflow is the pricing. It’s higher than several others on this list, and to get a complete onboarding system you’ll be paying nearly $400 per month for 20 users. If you need more users or advanced features like HIPAA compliance, you’ll be paying even more. Still, it can be well worth the price if you make use of every aspect of the platform.
One of the best tools you can have for an onboarding process is, simply, a checklist. Writing down everything that needs to be done, in a convenient list format, customizing and adapting it to new employees, and working your way through it is crucial. Developing such a checklist can be a difficult matter of trial and error, which is why several of the above systems have checklists or templates built into them.
In this case, we’re going to recommend TalentLyft’s checklist. This template checklist provides not just a checklist of tasks and processes that need to be completed, but a robust array of sub-tasks for each to ensure that they go smoothly. It’s overkill for many small businesses, but mid-size firms and enterprises can make use of much more of it, and it can be customized to your needs regardless. It’s always better to start big and pare down than it is to start small and struggle to grow.
What did you think of these tools? Did we miss any? Do you have a favorite you’d like to recommend? Do you need help with your onboarding process? Share with us in the comments below! We’d love to hear your thoughts and we do our best to reply to every comment.
Andrew Greenberg’s roots in recruiting date back to 1996. He has experience both on the agency-side and corporate-side of the staffing business, with a focus in the financial services space at companies like Bloomberg and UBS. He also has core experience with information technology staffing, and has worked for major software companies such as SAP Business Objects and IBM/Informix Software. To get in touch with Andrew, you can reach him by email or by phone at (800) 797-6160.