In HR, employee onboarding is the process of welcoming and integrating new hires into the company and its culture. The onboarding process starts from the moment a candidate submits a resume and continues until the new employee has fully adjusted to their role.


Why is onboarding important?

In today’s tight talent market, attracting and retaining top talent is a major challenge for HR departments.

Employee turnover is, of course, unavoidable. Nevertheless, properly onboarding new hires can significantly reduce voluntary turnover and increase employee engagement.

Being able to provide a clear path of what is going to happen can help the candidate feel embraced and ignite excitement about the workplace which, in turn, improves retention.


What are the challenges of a traditional onboarding process?

The three major challenges posed by traditional onboarding processes are:


1. Time-consuming manual tasks

The traditional employee onboarding process consists of many time-consuming steps.

On average, HR departments spend approximately 23 hours on screening applications for a single new hire – and that’s just the first step.

On top of that, it takes up to 5 days for a small to medium business to create the employment contract, send it out for signature, and receive it back.

The hiring part of the onboarding process alone represents a whole week of tedious administrative work. It significantly slows down the recruiting process and negatively impacts the onboarding experience.


2. The cost of onboarding a new employee

Another challenge associated with the standard onboarding process is the high cost.

Studies show that HR departments spend 39% of their time performing administrative tasks.

The average yearly salary of an HR manager is €60,000 which means that businesses spend approximately €23,400 on administrative HR tasks. Not to mention the costs associated with printing, scanning, and sending contracts by post.

Therefore, businesses incur significant costs when dealing with the onboarding process manually.


3. Protecting the personal data and privacy of candidates

In 2020, clothes retailer H&M was fined €35.3m for processing employees’ personal data in violation of the GDPR. This shows that data privacy is more important today than ever before and data breaches will lead to hefty fines.

Manual onboarding processes pose serious data privacy risks since candidate data is often collected through insecure channels such as email or unencrypted internal communication tools.

To ensure compliance with tightening data privacy regulations such as the GDPR, HR departments need to eliminate manual processes and embrace digital technologies instead.


What is digital onboarding in HR?

Digital onboarding leverages social, mobile, analytics, and cloud technologies to provide a more engaging, secure, and effective onboarding process for new hires.

Digital onboarding solves the major challenges mentioned above by enabling HR departments to remotely onboard new employees in a faster, convenient, and GDPR-compliant way.


What are the benefits of digital onboarding?

Digital onboarding helps HR departments simplify their work and deliver a better experience to new hires. Say goodbye to documents trapped in file cabinets. Digital platforms allow you to better organize and easily access employment contracts, employees’ information, and other relevant documents.

Tired of printing, scanning, and manually sending employment contracts for signatures? Digital onboarding tools allow you to digitize paper documents and incorporate them into the hiring and onboarding process. Hence, HR departments can easily and conveniently collect digital signatures and retrieve documents at any time and from any device.

On top of that, digital onboarding can help HR departments save time. Onboarding tools and software allow HR employees to automate numerous processes such as:

  • sending employment contracts out for digital signing,
  • sending automatic reminders to new hires that have not yet signed their contract,
  • collecting candidate data through online forms,
  • and sending onboarding materials to new employees.

This ensures that all new hires will have a consistent experience.

The automated onboarding process requires little to no manual intervention and it is more convenient from an employee’s perspective too.

Last but not least, digital onboarding provides a superior level of security when it comes to handling and storing the personal data of employees. Most onboarding tools provide:


1. Secure employee data collection through web forms

Digital solutions allow HR departments to securely collect employee data through web forms.

The HR department will create the required fields (name, surname, passport photo, personal identification number etc) and then send the form to the new employees.

The system requires eID authentication to open the form, which means that the new employee is the only one who can access it. Upon submission, the data is sent back to the HR department, securely stored in the cloud, and automatically deleted upon request.

Employee data collection via web forms


2. Secure signature collection

Sending and receiving confidential documents over email is never a good idea since it poses a huge security risk.

The most secure alternative is using digital signing and data collection software. This ensures contracts are moving through encrypted channels and can only be accessed and signed via eID authentication. Upon signing, contracts are securely stored in the cloud.

A digital signature solution creates a comprehensive audit trail and can help HR departments meet relevant regulatory compliance requirements.


3. Restricted access to personal data

Digital onboarding solutions ensure that access to personal data and confidential documents is only granted to authorized staff within the HR department. This ensures that employees’ data won’t fall into the wrong hands.


How can Penneo help HR departments with digital onboarding?

Penneo is a platform that provides secure and GDPR-compliant digital onboarding – from automated signature collection paths to sending onboarding materials to new hires.

At Penneo, we know that implementing digital technologies can be challenging. Therefore, we are here to help you:

• Digitize your documents and contracts

Recruitment is a crucial part of the onboarding process since it’s the first impression candidates have of your business.

Emailing employment contracts that the candidate must print, sign, scan, and retrieve by mail is a very bad look on your company. Furthermore, it can even push away talent.

Penneo’s cloud-based solution allows you to digitize manual processes and speed up the onboarding process. At the same time, it provides a better candidate experience due to its ease of use and high level of convenience.

• Reduce administrative costs with digital signatures

Penneo helps you automate recurring administrative tasks and easily collect digital signatures from candidates.

Our software reduces administrative burdens and considerably simplifies onboarding for employees. HR departments no longer need to meet candidates face-to-face to obtain a signature. On top of that, automatic reminders can easily be sent to candidates that have not yet signed.

This means that costs associated with paper, ink, postage, and administrative tasks are significantly reduced.

Penneo’s digital onboarding solution will not only improve your company’s image but will also provide you with a competitive advantage in your industry. When it comes to your employees – they will enjoy a smoother and more secure onboarding process.

The following example highlights the difference between digital onboarding using Penneo and a traditional onboarding process.

Digital vs traditional employee onboarding process


Find out how we can help you create the best employee onboarding experiences.



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