As your company scales, so must your employee onboarding process. A spreadsheet or project management tool may have worked fine early on, but it’s not cutting it now. Or, perhaps you’re using an employee onboarding platform that simply isn’t meeting your needs. Onboarding has a lot of moving parts, between signing paperwork, provisioning accounts, and helping your employee acclimate to their new role at your organization. Plus, employee onboarding is the perfect time to jumpstart engagement and retention, which require more of a red carpet experience than your average onboarding program.
You also know that you need new employee onboarding software to help you scale your team more efficiently and strategically, but you’re not quite sure how to evaluate solutions. Well, you’re in the right place. We’re going to walk you through a typical employee onboarding evaluation process so you can make the choice that’s right for you.
Different organizations have different goals and workflows, which may require specific software features and functionality to support them. It’s important to begin the evaluation process by understanding what those are, and which are most important to you. This allows you to evaluate each employee onboarding solution thoroughly against the things that your organization needs to be successful.
It can be helpful to set up an evaluation taskforce to gain different perspectives from other people involved in the decision making process, as well as product users. For instance, rope in someone from Finance, IT, and Operations, as well as hiring managers and even some recent hires. Leverage this task force to develop a crystal clear understanding of what you’re looking for in a solution.
The first step is to understand why you’re looking for new employee onboarding software. Some common goals are to:
You’ll want to see how each employee onboarding solution you consider helps with these goals.
Consider your current onboarding workflow, and what would make it better or easier. Let’s say, for instance, you would like to send each new hire a welcome email, and get them set up with a G Suite account prior to their first day. An onboarding solution that allows you to store a welcome email template and auto-provision an email account can help you build a more efficient process. Or, if other departments often forget to complete tasks in a timely manner, a solution that sends automated task reminders can allow you to focus on more important things.
As you think through your goals and workflow, pair them with the employee onboarding software features and functionality that support them. Make a note of which are must-haves, and which are nice-to-have.
Here are some features to consider:
New hire onboarding isn’t all documents and signatures—it’s the beginning of the employee experience. Look at these features not only from the lens of your internal stakeholders, but from those of your new hires as well.
Once you’ve determined the features and functionality you’d like to see in an employee onboarding solution, build your shortlist of products to demo. With 132 employee onboarding software vendors represented on Capterra, it would be quite time consuming to look at every solution on the market. Narrow them down by speaking with other HR professionals in your network about your needs, browsing vendor websites, and reading third-party reviews. Some organizations will send a formal Request for Proposal, in which they ask the vendor to complete a questionnaire about the product functionality and features. Use the information you gather to create your shortlist, and reach out for a product demonstration.
Attend the demo with your goals, ideal workflow, and prioritized list of features and functionality you’d like to see in a solution. Walk through the entire employee onboarding process, as both the employer and employee, then do the same for offboarding. Make sure you see all of your must-have features in action, and take note of how they meet your needs. It can be helpful to bring in key stakeholders at this point to make sure they will sign off on it, and actually use it—although an additional demo can also be arranged for this purpose.
Following a product demo, some organizations will review a customer reference with similar goals and needs. Customers can provide helpful insights and best practices around using the software, and paint a realistic view of the possible benefits and shortfalls you may experience. Keep your own priorities in mind, and be prepared with specific questions that will help you determine whether the software meets your specific goals and needs.
Modern employee onboarding software can help you manage the many administrative tasks associated with hiring a new team member, while also supporting strategic initiatives to engage and retain talent. But, as every organization is different, it’s important to evaluate software based on your own needs and priorities. It’s not about finding the solution that has the most robust feature list, it’s about finding the solution that has the right feature list, and partnering with the right team that truly understands your company and needs.