Use technology to make onboarding a human experience

onboarding, technology, axonify

Published: 12th February 2018

We need to stop viewing onboarding as an intro programme. Onboarding does not have a finite end point. It is the beginning of a continuous learning experience. A study by the Aberdeen Group of senior executives and HR staffing and recruiting functions found that 86% of new employees make the decision to stay or leave an organisation within their first 6 months. Naturally, a positive onboarding experience is the difference between an employee sticking it out for the long haul, or throwing in the towel. And getting onboarding right isn’t easy and it isn’t cheap. It can cost up to 50% of an employee’s annual salary just to get them operational.

Yet, so many companies find themselves recycling age old onboarding techniques. Hours of watching videos in a backroom, or ‘just sit with her, she’ll show you the ropes’. With these tactics, we force people to digest buckets of new information in a short space of time, and then we expect them to succeed? The natural outcome here is that employees don’t have the confidence to apply anything they’ve learned, they lose faith in their own abilities or the company and then, they leave.

So, how can we set up new joiners for success?

  1. Change the perception of onboarding

    The onboarding journey needs to be viewed as a learning experience, both from the perspective of the company and the new joiner. Think about the language you use to describe onboarding and how it is conveyed to new joiners. They should be in the right frame of mind for learning.

  2. Adopt a ‘little and often’ approach

    Tempting as it is, don’t bombard your new employees with a whole wealth of information right at the offset! It’s overwhelming for the new employee and ultimately they won’t retain anything taught in this way. Instead, take a staggered approach- give the employee microlearning topics to master, leverage online content (bite sized videos, blogs and podcasts). This way, they will get in some early wins and a confidence boost.

  3. Reinforce!

    Use tools that are native to the modern employee to reinforce any new information (think smartphones, tablets and their laptops). Leverage messaging, and notifications, measure knowledge levels and motivate using gamification and constant feedback.

  4. Set up a knowledge community

    Provide your new joiners with access to a community of knowledge that will allow them to access any information they need quickly and easily. Having this at their fingertips will help them to grow in an organic way and apply knowledge in real situations as opposed to theoretical ones.

Framing onboarding around these pillars with enable you to address these critical onboarding principals: prioritise, adapt and stretch.


  • Focus only on the critical concepts in the beginning. Make sure your new joiners understand who to direct questions to, and how they can source information.


  • People are all individuals, so treat them that way. They will learn at difference paces, and some will pick up certain concepts or topics more quickly than others. The onboarding journey should adapt based on the individual. This will keep them engaged. Capture baseline knowledge levels and monitor knowledge growth – provide managers with this data so they know what and who to keep an eye on.


  • Create an environment of continuous learning. Reward employees for topics and concepts they’ve grasped but demonstrate that there is always more to learn. This should help employees stay motivated, engaged and focused on the future


This strategy really focuses on the human side of onboarding, and on the individual going through the process. But, it’s impossible to implement this successfully without the support of technology. The right tools and systems can really enhance this process and provide both the individual and the managers with invaluable data. As a tool focused on learning and on people rather than on HR as a function, Axonify can be utilised to provide a refreshing approach to onboarding.

Talk to us today about support with your onboarding strategy


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