Digital Onboarding Playbook

Hireology Guide

the digital onboarding playbook

Set Your Employees Up for Success Before Day One on the Job


Effective onboarding is critical to any employee’s success. But many businesses don’t have a set onboarding process in place, which can lead to a mad scramble on each new employee’s first day.

This can be frustrating on the new employee – as he or she will dread spending the whole first day filling out administrative paperwork.

Disjointed onboarding can also harm your business as a whole – in the rush to get an employee onboarded, you might miss out on key documents or you might not provide new employees with enough information and training to succeed in their roles.

A strategic onboarding process that starts before each employee’s first day can ensure new employees stay engaged after signing an offer letter and start contributing to the business as soon as they join your team. It also also helps your team stay organized, which leads to saving time and money, and maintaining compliance.

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Step 1: Get Organized

The first step in any successful onboarding program is getting organized. And one way to make your onboarding more efficient is by making all required documents digital – instead of losing track of piles of paper or an old, overcrowded filing cabinet.

Make sure you have a repeatable onboarding process in place so you can be as efficient as possible on each new employee’s first day – instead of starting from scratch each time. But even with a set process, be flexible when it comes to catering onboarding to different roles, as some roles may require different training
or documentation than others.

Think about your onboarding process and answer the following questions:

Do you send onboarding materials to be completed and signed digitally before the new hire’s first day?

Does your business have a centralized digital system to store onboarding and other relevant employee information?

Did you answer no to either question?

If you did, it might be time to partner with a hiring and talent management provider who can streamline onboarding and automate error-prone processes.

Step 2: Audit your Onboarding docs

Proper documentation is key to onboarding, as it ensures you have everything you need to verify employment eligibility, pay employees, administer benefits, get employees up to speed on your business and
maintain compliance.

Critical Onboarding Documents:

Collecting each employee’s contact information – home address, phone number, email and emergency contacts ensures you’ll have this data when you need it for benefits administration and HR tasks.

Rather than paper pay stubs, most businesses now pay employees via direct deposit. Make sure you have new employees’ direct deposit information as soon as possible, so each employee can receive
their first paycheck on time.

Require each new employee to complete a W-4 before the first day so you can ensure accurate state and federal income tax is withheld from each paycheck.

These forms ensure your company is compliant with employee eligibility requirements and that your new hires are who they claim to be.

When employees read and sign the employee handbook and training documents before they begin, they’ll learn about your company culture and core values, making them even more excited to get started. And most importantly, they’ll feel empowered to begin contributing to your business immediately.

Your organization may have specific role-based needs for software or role certifications, or to complete a training series before the new hire’s first day. Include any specialized materials that they can review or complete at their own pace to be set up for success.

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Step 3: Prep For Day One

With most of the paperwork out of the way before an employee’s first day, you can get started with training right away – moving new employees one step closer to contributing to your business.

But, if you’re short staffed before a new employee starts, you might make the mistake of waiting until they show up at your business to prepare for the first day. The last thing any new employee wants is to arrive and not have a workspace or set schedule ready for them – it will leave a bad impression and might disengage the new employee.

preparING for each new employee’s first day:

Is a team member responsible for ensuring each new employee has everything they need on the first day – training materials, system log-ins, supplies?

Do you have a companywide onboarding checklist to ensure no steps are missed?

Do you have a structured training program in place today?

If you answered “no” to any of the above questions, it’s time to rethink your onboarding and training program – and ensure everything is ready for each employee before they walk in the door.

Think about the employee training program you have in place now.

Below, fill out which training sessions you run through with all new hires: a company overview or 1:1 with the new employee’s manager, ongoing training sessions or any additional steps you can add if you think onboarding elements are being overlooked in your current onboarding program.

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Step 4: Keep Improving the Process

When you have a clear understanding of what’s working and what’s not, you can outline actionable next steps for improvement.

 An easy way to do so is by identifying actions you need to start, stop and continue to make your onboarding process more efficient and ensure employees start off on the right foot. For example, you might want to start pulling all materials employees need on their first day ahead of time or stop waiting until an employee has started to schedule training sessions.

Next Steps

Following an effective onboarding process that begins before an employee’s first day is key to long-term employee success and engagement.

Make sure you have a process in place to share required onboarding documents digitally, so new employees don’t end up spending their entire first day filling out administrative paperwork in the HR office.

Effective onboarding is just one piece of a strong people process.

Hireology helps organizations of all sizes develop a hiring process and centralize talent management to build and manage their best teams.