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How to Implement an Optimized Employee Onboarding Workflow

The onboarding experience can seriously impact employee retention as 64 % of employees will possibly leave within their first year if they receive a poor onboarding experience.  Only a structured onboarding program can reduce employee attrition by helping new hires to integrate into the company culture well and assume their role faster. A structured onboarding program follows an efficient onboarding workflow, helping to build a more productive workforce.

What is an employee onboarding workflow?

Employee onboarding workflow is a group of prescribed onboarding steps that are followed by the HR and onboarding specialists when a new hire joins the company. By planning the onboarding process, organizations can engage the employees at the very beginning. Also, it will create a positive impression on new hires.

The Issues with the Outdated Onboarding Workflow

Most businesses already have onboarding workflows for the new employees. But these workflows are mostly outdated and focused on completing paperwork, such as filling out employment forms, signing tax documents, reviewing compliance documents, etc. So, most of the time, employees end up spending their first day only filling out forms and signing documents. They may receive a short orientation and a chance to review an employee handbook before they are left with their own work and responsibilities with little or no guidance.

This kind of onboarding is not effective and detrimental to employee productivity and retention rate. According to a study, only 12 % of employees stated that they are satisfied with the way their company handled their onboarding process. Therefore, companies need to improve their onboarding program. As 22 % of the hires will look for other opportunities if not satisfied with the onboarding experience.

Outdated Vs Modern Employee Onboarding Workflow

Filling Out Necessary Paperwork

The onboarding process consists of important paperwork and new hires need to fill out a lot of forms during the onboarding process. The employers have legal obligations to complete the tax and other procedures for the new hires.

Additional paperwork often involves things like insurance, retirement plans, and benefits. Depending on the nature of the job, non-compete, non-disclosure documents, and other security documents need to be completed before the new joiner starts working in the company.

Outdated Workflow

New employees who are keen to show their value are buried under the piles of paperwork on their very first day. So, they immediately lose their enthusiasm which leads to a poor onboarding experience. Also, it is unlikely after such an experience employees will refer the organization to their friends and peers.

Modern Workflow

So, the process must be streamlined and optimized. The manual paperwork should be replaced by the online paperwork with employee onboarding software and to prevent the duplication of the effort, the dynamic online forms should be adopted. In these forms, once information is entered, the users don’t need to enter it again as it will be updated in the relevant fields automatically. Many of these e-forms have drag and drop and point and click facilities for the users. Tax and other government forms can also be filled out through this employee onboarding software. These forms are easy to understand and fill out. Also, with employee onboarding software there is no chance of making errors while filling out the forms.

Routing Paperwork

Starting from accepting the offer, the process of documentation begins and the main purpose of this paperwork is to incorporate the employee in the employee management system and payroll process. The sitting arrangement, system, and other devices must be provided to the new hire. All these activities are done after all the documents are sent to the appropriate departments and people.

Outdated Workflow


The outdated workflow makes the HR or onboarding personnel take printouts of each document and manually sent them to the different personnel in the different departments. It also increases the chances of errors like misplacing the documents, routing them to the wrong person, or missing one of them altogether. Also, it is more time-consuming and inefficient.

Modern workflow

Automated routing of paperwork ensures that the documents are sent on time and to the right person. Also, issuing reminders makes sure that tasks are handled on time and that none of them are missed. It also makes the onboarding process and routing documents more straightforward.

Collecting Signatures

Collecting signatures are another important task of the onboarding process. Many forms and paperwork must contain signatures otherwise they cannot be processed. Also, there may be legally binding contracts like NDA ( non-disclosure agreement) to protect sensitive company information.

Outdated workflows

Several challenges are involved in collecting wet signatures of the new hires. The first one is the higher turnaround time. The documents must be printed, signed, scanned, and emailed by the persons responsible for the onboarding and the new hire. Also, the paper, ink, and delivery involve expenses and time. It is also not environment-friendly.

Modern workflows

The dynamic forms have options for digital signatures. Therefore, new employees can sign these e-forms using a computer mouse or with their fingers. This reduces the turnaround time significantly and once signed, the forms are sent to the right person automatically. The time and resources are saved and HR or onboarding persons can concentrate their effort on more meaningful onboarding activities.

Implement onboarding workflow with the right software

Driving the onboarding program well is key to improving employee engagement, retention, and productivity. So, utilizing an employee onboarding software that has the required features to support a modern onboarding workflow is necessary for accomplishing efficient and successful onboarding practices. It will make your employees up and running faster and help them to perform better, promoting organizational growth and success.

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