The magic in digitising employee on-boarding


Streamlining employee on-boarding with digital technologies not only makes the process more interesting and engaging, it also infuses more trust for the organisation within the new joinees.

It has long been felt that on-boarding employees into organisations is not easy. The priority has mostly been to get employees to understand their job / responsibilities and help them integrate with the team, so that they become productive in the shortest possible time. However, organisations are now realising that the joining experience is critical, so that employees form a positive connect with the organisation.

Employee on-boarding is about helping new employees unambiguously answer the question, “Have I come to the right place?” in the affirmative, right from the time they accept the offer till they are well integrated into their teams.

While the benefits of effective on-boarding are clear, it is an area which has been difficult for HR teams to manage. Traditionally, the effort involved in offer management, employee data management, joining formalities and induction training has been so high, that it was always difficult to seek feedback and implement ways to improve the on-boarding experience.

The figure below covers the broad areas which organisations seek to accomplish as part of on-boarding.

As with other areas of HR, digital technologies have assumed centre stage in ensuring that the on-boarding experience is satisfying for the employee and productive for the organisation. All leading talent management platforms today have rich functionality for on-boarding, which provides good user experience, and also automates tasks which earlier required considerable effort.

The key technologies which have had a lasting impact on on-boarding are:

Cloud platforms
Cloud talent management platforms today offer leading functionality coupled with a good user experience. The entire on-boarding process (post selection to employee induction) is configurable without the need for custom development. Cloud platforms also eliminate the need for costly upgrades with new releases being delivered seamlessly.

Self-service empowers candidates and employees without the need for effort and time in intensive, and at times error-prone, administration by administration teams. The onus of data submission and accuracy can now be fully transferred to the candidates and employees, with provision for approvals and certain edits by administrators.

Process configurations available in leading talent management platforms allow for automation of the on-boarding process (other than compliance and other procedural requirements) reducing effort, time and cost. Additionally, this extends to flow of information to other systems, which in the past required frequent monitoring and intervention.

Social tools
Social tools today enable candidates to converse with managers and HR teams to seek clarifications. Other than that, forums where candidates can obtain information and also share details and experiences with other similar users online have democratised the availability of consistent and accurate information.
A variety of methods today are leveraged for employee induction learning programmes. These typically use eLearning and social systems, coupled with instructor insight where required.

Provision of apps designed for mobile devices allow anytime anywhere access of functionality to candidates and employees through their preferred device. The number of users who prefer to transact with mobile devices continues to grow rapidly.

Most on-boarding platforms powered by digital technologies, include functionality for portals which can host information about the company/sub-units. They offer features that help submit and manage documents, view videos and other content, connect with other users, manage reporting information, induct employees, obtain and act on feedback, along with other relevant features over the entire on-boarding lifecycle.

Clearly, investment in digital technologies for on-boarding provides immense tangible benefits in terms of employee motivation, satisfaction and productivity.

(The author is a lead consultant to the Human Capital Management Centre of Excellence at Tata Consultancy Services. The views expressed in this article are his own. Follow him on twitter @rbharath)


  1. So true and aptly touched upon through digital initiatives of cloud,mobile, self service and social. Loved reading it !!

  2. Thank you for a very informative post, Bharath.

    The ideal method is to imbue digitisation with a never-to-be-forgotten personal touch (which was the hallmark of Shri J.R.D. Tata) while onboarding employees.

  3. Very well covered by Bharath on digital extensions.
    This is what I feel, embrace ‘DIGITAL’ to the best extent. When it comes to sensitive matters like personal touch etc., is where scope for innovative ideas comes into play, as to – how to preserve this long felt benefit at the same time enable Digital.
    Questions am asking myself now are, irrespective of generation(s) as workplace today, do they have craving for (that) personal touch?? – not sure, or do they see value in time saved elsewhere and spent efficiently?? – don’t know…

  4. Having worked in an On boarding role myself , I absolutely feel this has been well summarised and captured in a concise manner . The common notion is that Onboarding solely consists of Induction training , However , Bharath has been able to capture the nuances of the 3 stages in the process. Really wonderful !

  5. Digitalizing onboarding is truly important concept as employees are mostly on various gazettes using for professional and personal purpose.

    I liked this article, Thanks !

  6. Thanks for your feedback, Deepak Bhat, Chandrima Nag, Murthy. If anything, I believe adopting Digital tools better equips you to spend time with joinees and bring about a personal touch in a deeper and more meaningful manner.

  7. Extremely well captured and articulated, it’s remarkable the way in which technology has empowered HR over the years, especially the last few years has been transforming. The article summaries this journey, very helpful.

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