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Quick guide to digital onboarding header

A quick guide to digital onboarding

Onboarding is often the time when people decide whether they have a future in an organization.  Digitizing the onboarding process helps you to get new hires off to the right start and minimize churn. 


The attraction of digital onboarding

We can once again welcome new hires into their place of work to meet their colleagues and make them feel they belong.  But there will still be others hired to work remotely whose close colleagues remain physically distant.  

Digital onboarding offers a blended, more inclusive approach to induction.  Digital connectivity allows you to onboard those based in the office, in a work hub, or at home.  Making onboarding digital means you can expand the available talent pool.  It also allows you to recognize the prior experience and to fast-track people into work.  

For new hires, digitization offers easy access to what they need when they need it.  It gives them greater control of their onboarding.  At the same time, digital onboarding gives HR and L&D the ability to track progress and decide when to intervene to ensure new employees don’t become overwhelmed and isolated.

7 ways to make onboarding digital work

  • Digitize content: At a basic level, this means producing digital versions of existing paper-based resources.  You can make that learning more engaging through e-learning courses and microlearning resources.  Interactive, digital training in an easy-to-digest format is the way we prefer to consume information today.


  • Improve access: Curate, centralize, manage, and serve your digital onboarding training and resources with an LMS.  Learning management systems enable access to content across all devices.  24/7 access to digital resources puts new hires in control giving them what they need to know and when they need it without waiting on formal induction sessions.


  • Create pathways: You can use your digitized resources to build learning pathways through onboarding.  Pathways personalize the onboarding process with new employees navigating their own way and reaching milestones at their own pace.


  • Managing the journey: HR and L&D can use the LMS’s analytics tools to monitor the learning journey.  Automatically triggered notifications, alerts, and personalized recommendations keep new hires on track.  Progress can be checked on digital dashboards and reports.  Milestones are marked with digital badges or certificates.


  • Standardize: Digitization of assets and process helps standardize the onboarding experience for all new hires regardless of location and experience.  Standardization creates efficiencies and allows the embedding of the organization’s culture into onboarding.


  • Offer pre-boarding: With digital content, you don’t need new hires to arrive on their first day before beginning the onboarding program.  You can send out a welcome pack via email with access to resources, forms, and shared calendars.  Encourage new hires to post questions and facilitate online introductions to managers, HR, and other colleagues before they officially start.


  • Improve communication: Use digital technology to expand communication channels for new hires.  Encourage the use of email, IM, appointment software, and collaborative apps for both formal and informal contact.  Make use of video calls to put a face to a name.  Expanding the avenues of communication particularly assists those working remotely who may otherwise miss out on opportunities to interact with colleagues.

6 key benefits of digital onboarding 

  1. Increases engagement and retention: Digital onboarding personalizes the induction process, gives new hires ownership, makes training easier to access, and makes onboarding more relevant.  It improves learner engagement, motivation, and satisfaction, meaning new hires are more likely to stay with the organization.
  2. Saves time: Making onboarding digital allows better use of new hires’ time and fast-tracks employees into work.  It relieves managers and HR of the need to micro-manage onboarding allowing them to concentrate on adding value with targeted interventions.
  3. Reduces costs: Digital onboarding reduces the need for costly training events and induction sessions.  It saves new hires from unproductive hours spent in classrooms.  It increases the chances of securing investment in new staff saving on further hiring costs.  Digital onboarding can be scaled up quickly to increase the rate and number of hires successfully onboarded. 
  4. Improves productivity: Digital onboarding makes new hires productive quicker.  It gives them the opportunity to properly start their job sooner, improving their morale and performance levels.  
  5. Makes onboarding training sustainable: Digital onboarding is flexible and responsive.  Digital assets can be quickly expanded, updated, and repurposed.  Onboarding becomes a continuous process that dovetails with work, instead episodic events that quickly lose relevance.
  6. Promotes inclusivity: The standardization, connectivity, and personalization offered by digital onboarding mean all new hires are treated equally and individual needs are recognized.  This is critical when workforces are becoming more diverse and dispersed.


Digitization increases the reach, scope, and pace of onboarding.  What’s more, digital onboarding promotes an ethos of continuous learning and development. 



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