Blog: Why Digital Onboarding is the Future

As part of  our LinkedIn blogging series our HR Business Partner, Alison Murphy discusses why Digital Onboarding is the future…

With more and more companies now adopting the hybrid working framework, digital onboarding is revolutionising the recruitment process for new colleagues. According to an article from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (June 2022), the proportion of people saying that their main place of work is their own home now stands at 22% or more than four times greater than pre- so employees need to adapt their processes for a remote workforce. The recruitment and onboarding process is the first thing that candidates will come into contact with – get that wrong and you’ll run the risk of not being able to recruit the right people into the right roles.

Here at Onward we’ve adapted to the new ways of working by creating Onward Workspace with the focus on work being the thing that we do that makes a difference to our customers, not the place we go. Therefore, with the changing ways in which we work, the way is which we onboard our colleagues must also follow suit and having a robust digital onboarding process is now more important than ever.

Through digitalising our onboarding process, it has enabled us to streamline the way we share information with new colleagues, so they have everything they need for their new role at their fingertips ahead. It has also helped new colleagues settle in and feel part of the wider organisation and understand how their role clearly contributes to the Onward Difference, irrespective of the physical or remote workplace.

So how do Companies ensure that their digital onboarding processes are successful in the new hybrid world? Take IT as an example…gone are the days where IT could set up the equipment for a new starter on a desk in an office and iron out any IT issues there and then. These days there’s much more to think about if a colleague is predominantly working from home – What equipment will they need? Is their work set up suitable? What happens if they can’t log in on their first day?

Want to learn more? Check out our tops tips for a successful digital onboarding process…

  1. Plan Ahead – It’s important for colleagues to feel that they are part of a wider Organisation so set some time aside to plan what your new starter will be doing in their first few weeks. Advise on some key stakeholders that they should connect with so that they can find out more about the organisation and how their role contributes to the Company’s goals. Assign a buddy from the team who can provide additional support to the new starter for any day-to-day questions. It’s easy to have this support readily available in an office environment but much harder in a remote working environment so having a buddy to help with any queries could make the world of difference to a new starter.


  1. Check the Tech – Make sure new starters have everything they need to work remotely. In addition to things like a laptop, other things to consider are mobile phones, monitors etc…What does the new starter need in order to do the best job? At Onward we also ensure that colleagues who are working from home can request a desk or a chair for home through our intranet.


  1. Keep in Touch – Some new starters may have a while before they can start their employment so agree how you will keep in touch – think about setting up an informal Microsoft Teams call so they can meet the team and other key stakeholders.


  1. Adapt Your Induction – At Onward we want all of our employees to feel that they are part of the Company and understand how their role contributes to the Onward Difference. Part of how we go about doing this is through our Company induction process. We’ve adapted the way in which we have delivered our Onward induction with the changing ways of working, moving to a fully digitised approach during the pandemic. We’ve continued to deliver our induction in this way and have inducted 175 colleagues through this process from July 2020 to date. We have also developed a Digital Onboarding module which we’ll be launching soon. Our Digital Onboarding module serves as a warm welcome to Onward and contains two parts – The first will take colleagues through some key business details including our Corporate Plan, Vision, History, Values, and details of the Board and Executive Team. In the second part colleagues will learn about some key areas and systems that will support them in their role, our reward package including the benefits in place, and how we recognise colleagues and support their wellbeing. The module is a self-directed and therefore will fit into our flexible ways of working.: We use Microsoft Teams to ensure that are colleagues still feel connected and don’t lose out on that face to face contact.


5. Utilise Different Digital Channels: We use Microsoft Teams to ensure that are colleagues still feel connected and don’t lose out on that face to face contact. Tools such a Microsoft Teams are vital and will ensure that new starters can build relationships with their new colleagues and work in a cohesive and consistent manner. At Onward we’ve also devised a welcome video so new starters can hear from our current colleagues about why Onward is a great place to work!

Take a look : Onward Onboarding Video MARCH 22 – YouTube

Lisa Dawson (Supported Housing Manager) joined us in May this year and talks about her positive experience with our digital onboarding process ahead of her joining us at Onward ‘My experience of being onboarding into Onward has been positive, I received a speedy verbal response and offer following the interview. All documents were received promptly for my signature and return. My manager kept in touch with me on a couple of occasions during the notice period for my former employer, which was 12 weeks and I was invited along to a Planning session. At the session it was great to hear more about the business objectives and meet some of my colleagues prior to joining the business. An email was received from my manager to outline my first few days and on day one I received all my I.T equipment needed to get me started.’

With the ever-changing way in which we work we want to ensure that our Onboarding process is adaptable and flexible as an effective means of welcoming our new starters to Onward. As we continue to delve into a digital world we want to take our new colleagues on this journey with us and ensure that colleagues have everything they need order to achieve their full potential from day 1.

Join our friendly team…

There are lots of great reasons to work at Onward. We offer a competitive salary and a comprehensive benefits package, generous annual leave, flexible hours and a pension scheme.

We’re a friendly bunch, and provide our colleagues with a professional and caring environment to work in. And we’re all about developing our people so they can reach their full potential. That’s why you’ll be given all the support and opportunities you need to go further.

Check out all of our latest vacancies here