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How to Choose the Best Employee Onboarding Software

Employee onboarding software

Employee onboarding software can make a major difference in the efficiency of the onboarding process.

In this article, we will discuss:

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  • Different types of onboarding software
  • The roles that these onboarding platforms play 
  • A step-by-step process for choosing the right software

We’ll follow a step-by-step process, starting from scratch, that will help onboarding specialists get a bird’s-eye view of their needs and potential solutions.

How to Choose – And Implement – New Employee Onboarding Software

Let’s look at a step-by-step process for choosing and implementing new employee onboarding software.

1. Assess Needs

The very first step is to assess the organization’s needs.

That is, HR professionals should understand and be able to articulate exactly why they need new onboarding software.

To best answer those questions, HR professionals should assess areas such as:

  • Training and onboarding programs and needs. One of the first areas to look at is existing training efforts. To analyze their effectiveness, conduct employee surveys, examine existing training methods, analyze the performance of those programs, and identify weaknesses.
  • Digital maturity. Digital maturity refers to the digital capabilities of an organization. It should be evaluated in terms of effectiveness. This means assessing the technology, as well as how effectively that technology is implemented. Factors that can affect digital maturity include the organization’s culture, the digital adoption strategy, and employee training programs.
  • Budgets and resources. As with any organizational change project, budget will determine which range of solutions are available and which are not. 

Once the right information is collected, it is time to use that information to create a strategy for improving the existing training efforts.

2. Strategize

Every HR department will need to have a reason for implementing employee onboarding software.

That strategy will often be built around performance improvements, such as increasing efficiency or accelerating time-to-productivity.

Strategies can focus on areas such as:

  • Improve the digital experience. If the aforementioned assessments revealed that the digital experience increases employee frustration, then that would be a good place to start. 
  • Increase overall proficiency levels. Or, if it becomes clear that employees take too long to become productive and proficient, then the strategic focus could aim at finding better digital training software.
  • Boost engagement and satisfaction. Another example of a strategy could be to increase engagement during the onboarding process. After all, engagement levels during the onboarding process will set the tone for the rest of their tenure.

Naturally, each organization is different, so each strategy will be slightly different.

In some cases, onboarding assessments may reveal a problem that cannot be solved by onboarding software.

If the recruitment process selects candidates that don’t fit with the organizational culture, for instance, then talent management may need adjustment.

However, onboarding software is ideal for solving many issues, such as poor productivity, a poor digital experience, and ineffective training.

3. Choose

Onboarding software comes in different varieties, each offering a unique function and a unique set of benefits.

Here are a few examples of platforms that can significantly streamline the onboarding process:

  • Digital adoption platforms. Digital adoption platforms (DAPs) are tools specifically designed to streamline the digital onboarding experience. They use contextualized learning to train users directly inside applications, which boosts time-to-competency, productivity, engagement, and other important metrics.
  • HR tools and platforms. HR software cover a range of functions. Many of these tools are catch-all programs that include payroll, attendance, help desk, and many other important HR functions.
  • Project management tools. Project management tools are versatile applications that can be used in a wide variety of contexts. There are basic tools, such as Trello, which are free and easy to use. And there are more complex applications, which offer many project management functions, from Gantt charts to time tracking.

Once the software is chose, it is time to create and implement an action plan for actually rolling out the chosen tools.

4. Plan

When designing a plan for implementing the new software, include:

  • A timeline. The timeline should be broken down into stages, with detailed descriptions of that stage’s objectives.
  • Metrics and goals. Metrics will help onboarding specialists track performance and measure the actual impact of their software implementation. These metrics should be based on the strategic aims developed earlier.
  • Responsibilities. As with any other business project, every responsibility should be assigned clearly. After all, if a task remains unassigned, then it will likely never get completed.

See below for an example of how to plan the software implementation process.

5. Roll Out

Finally, it is time to implement the new software.

It is not always wise to roll out onboarding software all at once, however. 

Instead, consider taking a phased approach. That is, test the software in a controlled setting first, then implement across the department afterwards.

This approach can offer valuable insight into the software and minimize potential risks.

Here are some of the most important stages to include when rolling out your new employee onboarding software:

  • Pilot test. Test the software with a select group of hires or for specific onboarding functions.
  • Learn. Collect data from the pilot test then use that data to understand what works and what doesn’t.
  • Refine. Make adjustments to the process – or, if necessary, change tools and tactics.
  • Roll out across the department. When the results are acceptable, roll out the software across the entire department, including all new hires in the upgraded onboarding process.
  • Optimize. Continue to optimize the onboarding process over time.

It is not always necessary to test software before widespread adoption.

In some cases, it makes more sense to roll out the software all at once.

In either case, it pays to continually assess the new software’s effectiveness and be ready to make changes whenever necessary.

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