Despite being one of the most important processes in an employee’s time at any organisation, onboarding is a process that the vast majority of companies get wrong. Data from Gallup suggests that one in five employees report having a poor onboarding experience or received no onboarding at all. Meanwhile, only 12% of employees say that their onboarding was good.

Think about that: 1 in 5 employees go through a long application process, undergoing multiple interviews, being deliberated over by internal recruiters and hiring managers, and completing multiple pre-employment checks, just to walk through the door of their new office to find that nobody has planned out an onboarding programme for them. Without a good onboarding process, a new hire may find it hard to assimilate into the company culture and professional expectations of the new role. They might feel isolated from their coworkers, especially if their job is part or mostly remote. They’ll start wondering if accepting this job offer was the right idea after all.

So, what can organisations do to make sure they provide a positive employee onboarding process? One of the best and most cost-effective ways to transform your onboarding is to make use of an Applicant Tracking System that includes features for a smooth and consistent onboarding. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of using a high quality tool such as Hireserve Applicant Tracking System for employee onboarding.

Why is onboarding important?

Onboarding is the process of integrating new employees into an organisation. This includes administrative tasks as well as opportunities for the new hire to get to know an organisation’s structure, company culture, and values. For some businesses, onboarding might take up the first day or first week, while for others the employee onboarding process may take upwards of a month.

A great employee experience from day one

Starting a new job can be nerve-wracking and overwhelming, with lots of new people to meet and endless new information to absorb. The onboarding process isn’t just an opportunity to get new employees up to speed; it also helps them to feel welcomed and at home in the organisation. As a result, the better the employee experience in onboarding, the higher the levels of employee engagement and motivation you can expect to see in the future.

Boost productivity

Of course, the employee onboarding process is also your chance to make sure an employee gets the best possible training so they can perform effectively in their new role. Employees who receive an effective onboarding programme feel more confident in their responsibilities. And it’s not just employees’ perception of their abilities that is improved; research has found that an effective onboarding can make employees 70% more productive.

Improve retention of new hires

A successful onboarding programme can also help improve employee retention. New employee turnover is high in many organisations, in fact, around a third of new hires quit within the first 90 days of their new role. Rehiring within 90 days of a new hire is a nightmare scenario for most hiring managers who have already been stretched thin during the recruitment process, it is also an extremely costly process.

Save money

Improving employee retention is also an effective way to save money, with the cost of hiring and onboarding a replacement employee costing an estimated six to nine months of the former employee’s salary. By boosting retention with a great onboarding process, organisations can save significant amounts of money and time.

How can an Applicant Tracking System help?

While most Applicant Tracking Systems are used only in the recruitment process, the best ATS software also has features that are designed to improve and enhance the onboarding process. For example, Hireserve ATS isn’t just recruitment software but also has the features of employee onboarding software. The Hireserce portal is home to all the activities and checks that new starters need to undergo before their first day. From here, hiring managers or HR can assign tasks and manage workflows as part of onboarding. The Applicant Tracking System can provide welcome emails, staff videos, IT logins, and all the other information that a new hire needs, making them feel excited and welcomed for their new role.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways that a high quality Applicant Tracking System like Hireserve ATS can transform the onboarding process.

Speed up pre-employment checks

Pre-employment checks, including reference checks, qualification and work history checks, and sometimes even identity, criminal record, or health checks, are an essential process. HR professionals need to carry out these checks to ensure that candidates are suitable and able to work in a role. They can be time-consuming and disruptive to the onboarding process, so it’s important to complete them effectively and quickly.

A high-quality Applicant Tracking System can manage the end-to-end pre-employment checks process to allow you to focus on onboarding the new team member quickly and effectively. Hireserve Applicant Tracking System features Hirechecks, an intuitive and effective pre-employment module which allows you to:

  • Automate pre-employment check tasks to be triggered in relevant stages of the hiring process and to be assigned to users automatically.
  • View a summary of outstanding checks against a specific candidate or the vacancy.
  • Track the status of third party checks such as DBS or background checking services.

Using the Hirechecks Applicant Tracking System module, it’s easy to collate and assign all the tasks that need to be completed before the new team member’s first day. This ensures that the new hire is the right person for the job and allows the onboarding process to move quickly and effectively without any hiccups.

For tips to help you streamline your pre-employment checks and onboarding programme for a shorter time-to-hire and better employee engagement, download our pre-employment and onboarding best practice guide.

Streamline document signing

Onboarding statistics show that 27% of new hires reported that it took up to a month before all their paperwork was completed, while 11% said that it took up to three months. In addition to this being time-consuming and inefficient, having a new hire work without having signed contracts and being provided with compliance policies can lead to legal risks. Long and drawn-out paperwork processes also provide a poor first impression of your organisation.

How can HR software such as an Applicant Tracking System help cut through the mountain of paperwork? One way is through secure digital signatures.

Hireserve recruitment and onboarding software has partnered with secure e-sign facilities so that new employees can easily complete documents online from anywhere in the world. It uses automated approval workflows which trigger notifications and ‘thank you’ emails when the employee signs their paperwork, and allows hiring managers to track the status of documents at all times. The documentation is then securely stored so that the new hire and relevant HR professionals can access it online whenever necessary. With multiple levels of encryption and authentication, HR managers and new employees can feel comfortable that the information is even more secure than it would be in physical form.

Although this feature may seem simple, it can totally transform the onboarding process. E-signatures allow onboarding to start immediately, eliminating the need to spend time waiting for documents to be printed, posted, signed, posted again, and filed. New employees are able to read through the information in their own time and can subsequently access them from any device whenever necessary. Moreover, there’s no risk of documents getting lost or damaged when everything is stored in the cloud. With the ease-of-use and self-service capabilities of the Applicant Tracking System, new hires can feel more engaged and empowered in their onboarding from even before day one of their new job.

Enhance remote onboarding

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, remote onboarding has become commonplace, shooting up from 11.6% of onboarding being completed remotely before the pandemic to 47.7% during Covid-19. With many workplaces continuing to work remotely or using a hybrid policy, remote and hybrid onboarding looks set to stick around.

Virtual onboarding has its unique challenges, including everything from the problem of trying to create a real sense of welcome and connection in get-to-know-you video calls, to promoting team building in a remote or asynchronous team, or even just making sure all the important information is shared effectively.

New hires who are expected to spend all their time on Zoom calls will likely feel overwhelmed and won’t get the chance to get to know their coworkers or process the new information. On the flip side, a new hire who is left alone to work independently through paperwork and online training for the first week is likely to feel isolated and disengaged.

Fortunately, Applicant Tracking Software with onboarding capabilities is a great way to address some of these challenges. The new employee will already be comfortable and familiar using the ATS as recruiting software, allowing the transition from applicant to new employee to occur as smoothly and naturally as possible. With an Applicant Tracking System that has capabilities as both a recruitment and onboarding software, they can easily log on to the same portal they used during their application to access all the information and tasks they need for the onboarding process.

By using the ATS in their pre-boarding or onboarding, you can boost employee engagement by allowing them to use the user-friendly ATS tool in their own time. Automated communications via email and SMS can also be triggered when they complete tasks, allowing new hires and their managers to remain up-to-date with the onboarding process.

Ensure effective onboarding, every time

The onboarding process has always been important. However, in our modern world of a competitive talent market and remote and hybrid working, an effective onboarding strategy is more important than ever.

While there are dozens of different recruitment software options on the market, an Applicant Tracking System that goes beyond recruitment to include pre-employment checks and onboarding features stands out from the crowd.

To learn more about how Hireserve Applicant Tracking System can transform your recruitment and onboarding processes, get in touch today. Or request a demo of the Applicant Tracking System to see for yourself.

About the author

Tristan Potter

Tristan has a decade's worth of experience writing content and copy for organisations across Bristol and the Southwest of England. He has written on a diverse range of topics, including technology, philosophy, politics, and recruitment. His writing has appeared in The Drum, HR Grapevine, and The Guardian, among other publications. He joined Hireserve in March 2022.