Why Digitisation is Changing Onboarding and Employee Engagement

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Why Digitisation is Changing Onboarding and Employee Engagement

Onboarding is much more than starting an employee. It, in fact, sets the tone for an employee's first day of work, their first impression of an organisation, and plays a key part in employee retention metrics.

Statistics from KPMG show more than 80% of employees decide whether to stay at a new company within the first six months and that more than half of new hires who go through an effective onboarding process are likely to be at the company after three years. [1] However, a Gallup study found that only 12% of employees strongly agree that their organisation does a great job onboarding new employees. [2]

With this in mind, it's easy to see why optimising onboarding processes is crucial to maximise initial employee engagement and keep great employees around or avoid scaring them off in the first place. These days, digital tools and techniques are reinventing the way modern companies can onboard.

The Old Onboarding Process – Why Change?

Onboarding in the past was simple, but paper-heavy for new-starters and involved multiple in-person meetings that were time-consuming and potentially nerve-wracking for new hires. Additionally, it usually involved signing on the dotted line and being shuffled from training seminar to training seminar, or otherwise being plopped at their desk and told to “give it their best shot”. This is not an optimal way to present your company to a new employee, but a good way to limit their productivity at the beginning of their careers.

From an organisational efficiency perspective, manually onboarding new employees takes much more time than is now necessary, with the average organisation spending $4000 and 24 days to hire a new worker. [3]

Digitalisation in the Onboarding Process – Fast, Fun, and Effective

According to Deloitte, 56% of companies are redesigning their HR programs to leverage digital and mobile tools. [4] Through digitisation, onboarding can become much more streamlined, fun for the employee, and enable more effective integration to the organisation.

The average new hire onboarding experience consists of 54 activities. [5] Platforms and other tools, such as PandaDoc, make presenting and signing contracts simpler and almost instantaneous. No longer do employees need to come to the office once for an interview, again to sign a contract, and then finally one more time for their first day at work. This is where digitisation can play a huge role in improving the "first-day" experience of employees. With up to 4% of new hires leaving a job on just the first day, it is essential organisations take action. [6]

Solutions like Qualee, a digital onboarding and engagement platform, can now provide step-by-step guidance through the days leading up to the first day of work for any new employee. Company guidelines, videos, safety packets, and even instructional or training videos can all be put on Qualee's platform and perused at a new employee's convenience.

Once in the office, employees can revisit guidelines or rules whenever they like. This is much better for both parties as:

  1. Employees will be actively engaged rather than being subjected to a process that moves too slowly for comfort.
  2. Hiring organisations benefit from new employees preparedness to jump right into work from feeling comfortable and confident with their position on the first day.

Additionally, as well as engaging employees prior to their first day to ensure a smooth transition, Human Capital Institute (HCI) found that most organisations stop their onboarding process after the first week, leaving new hires feeling confused, discouraged, and lacking resources. Therefore, it is no surprise new hire retention rate suffers as organisations aren't doing a great job with onboarding when all activities are completed so quickly. A week is hardly enough time for a new hire to become acclimated to their company, culture, and role. The implementation of digital technology enables onboarding programs to extend throughout the employee's first 90 days, some may even extend out for a full year to ensure new hires are fully supported as they ramp up to full productivity.

Benefits of Digital Onboarding Process

As previously mentioned, your company's entire onboarding process is incredibly important in influencing any first impressions new employees might have of your company. Creating an effective onboarding program and ensuring that new hires receive training sessions and communication tools even before they begin can go a long way in ensuring that they stay with the company for years to come.

Below are a handful of other reasons why digital solutions just make sense during the onboarding process.

Digital Onboarding Ensures Far-Flung Employees Are Reached

Having a digital learning management systems in place ensures that your company can easily host an employee orientation, as well as hand out the employee handbook, to a global workforce or remote workers. For organizations with workers around the globe, the digital onboarding process makes work-related information and electronic documents easily accessible for a new hire.

In this day and age, more employees will appreciate being able to access any info they need from their own devices or through mobile apps.

Preboarding boosts employee confidence at early stages

Giving your new hire access to an employee portal ensures they are virtually "ready to go" before they even begin. Digital onboarding programs allow them to arrive at their new job confident and comfortable, leading to greater efficiency at work.

Digital onboarding ensures consistency of message

Without digital onboarding systems, employers risk sending out inconsistent messages and values to their team. The digital transformation of learning platforms has now allowed HR professionals and employers to send out consistent messaging to all its organizations across the globe in a timely manner. The messages may come in the form of a short video from the CEO welcoming the hiring of top talent or an online "how to answer customers" course.

Digital onboarding also gives employers the opportunity to create immersive experiences for new employees. This could be done by hosting quizzes or games.

Get social.

Remote work can sometimes make employees feel isolated within an organization. Fortunately, digital channels such as Slack and Whatsapp allow workers to connect with other people in the organization and get a sense of being part of the team.

Digital social channels also make it easier for new joiners to share their experiences and support other members who may be struggling with their tasks. Think of it as a company-wide FAQ section.


Employee turnover can be as high as 50% within the first 18 months of employment according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). [7] This is both costly and puts pressure on highly burdened resources as well as a company's financial bottom line. Digitisation puts organisations in a strong position to ensure employees are integrated into the organisation smoothly to facilitate attracting talent, engaging new employees and subsequently retaining employees in the long term.

Want to learn more about Qualee and how it can help your teams stay engaged, or make it easier to onboard new employees? Check out www.qualee.com and download Qualee for free today!


[2] https://www.gallup.com/workplace/235121/why-onboarding-experience-key-retention.aspx

[3] https://www.glassdoor.com/employers/blog/calculate-cost-per-hire/

[4] https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/focus/human-capital-trends/2017/digital-transformation-in-hr.html

[5] https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/reinventing-employee-onboarding/

[6] https://business.linkedin.com/content/dam/business/talent-solutions/global/en_us/c/pdfs/onboarding-in-a-box-v03-06.pdf

[7] https://www.shrm.org/foundation/ourwork/initiatives/resources-from-past-initiatives/Documents/Onboarding%20New%20Employees.pdf?utm_source=link_wwwv9&utm_campaign=item_235121&utm_medium=copy

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