Jessica Dennis Avatar

Written by
Jessica Dennis, Lead Writer
Read more by Jessica →

Kaiti Norton Avatar

Reviewed by
Kaiti Norton, Editor
Read more HR content →

Jessica Dennis Avatar

Written by
Jessica Dennis, Lead Writer
Read more by Jessica →

Kaiti Norton Avatar

Reviewed by
Kaiti Norton, Editor
Read more HR content →

What is employee onboarding software?

Employee onboarding software manages the documents, forms, and processes businesses use to onboard new hires. It helps transition new hires out of the recruitment process and into fully-fledged employees working toward company objectives. Through employee portals and email drip campaigns, onboarding software gives new employees access to complete new hire forms before their first day.

Human resources staff and hiring managers can use checklists, e-signature tools, and document management features to set up automated onboarding workflows for each new hire or role. This allows a new employee to complete paperwork and orient themselves before their first day on the job.

With the right integrations, onboarding software can also share new hire data with electronic verification services and critical HR tools like payroll, benefits administration, and performance management software.

We reviewed 14 top onboarding software solutions and narrowed it down to the best of the best:

  • WorkBright is best for mobile onboarding.
  • BambooHR is best for new hire communication.
  • Kallidus is best for new hire training.
  • GoCo is best for employee preboarding.
  • ClearCompany is best for onboarding compliance.

May. 25, 2023: We added our expert recommendations and made stylistic changes for simpler page navigation.

Jun. 14, 2023: We restructured the page to put our expert recommendations front and center. We also added dynamic design elements to improve the visual flow of information.

We picked our choices with you in mind.

First, we evaluated 14 solutions based on current options and the reviews of customers like you. We then narrowed our selections to the platforms that best addressed your top-of-mind concerns, such as user experience, preboarding capabilities, and I-9 compliance.

As the market changes, we reevaluate our choices so you always receive the best insight for your purchasing decision.

What is the best employee onboarding software?

WorkBright: Best for mobile onboarding


Pros

  • E-Verify integration checks employment authorization automatically.
  • Third-party authorized agent for checking I-9 forms remotely.
  • Optional applicant tracking system (ATS) module.
  • Provides industry-specific onboarding, like construction training and regulatory documentation, to stay compliant.

Cons

  • Remote I-9 capabilities are an add-on feature with an additional fee.
  • Does not include native human resources (HR) software integrations.
  • Limited ability to send onboarding documents to a select group of new hires.

WorkBright helps HR teams manage the paperwork portion of their onboarding workflows. It also streamlines preboarding by automatically transferring applicant information from their applicant tracking system module, eliminating duplicate data entry for HR teams.

WorkBright’s mobile-friendly capabilities make it easy to onboard employees from anywhere on any device. This is especially helpful to employers with offsite employees. For example, managers from industries like construction can use their phones or tablets to collect onboarding paperwork from their new hires in the field.

Similarly, WorkBright automates remote onboarding for companies with distributed workforces by emailing remote employees links to complete the necessary paperwork at their convenience. Automated email reminders let HR teams stop chasing employees for this information and remain compliant.

Fingertip signatures: WorkBright allows employees to sign electronically using their fingertips on their mobile devices or a mouse on their desktops. This helps companies comply with federal and state regulations and speeds up mobile paperwork processing.

OCR functionality: With WorkBright’s optical character recognition (OCR) function, new hires can use their phones to scan in their I-9 identification. WorkBright then transcribes and populates this information into the appropriate form fields automatically. As a result, OCR reduces duplicate data entries and errors while simplifying the onboarding experience for new hires.

Smart I-9: WorkBright’s Smart I-9 tool guides new hires through filling out the I-9 form using easy-to-understand language. Alternatively, companies can also choose to have a third-party representative help complete the I-9 while reducing the risk of errors and ensuring compliance.

WorkBright's Smart I-9 feature displays a photo of the user's passport card.
Employees can use their phones to scan their identification information to mitigate the chance of input errors. Source: WorkBright

WorkBright’s mobile-friendly design supports a wide range of technological skills and device accessibility needs. As a result, this standalone employee onboarding platform is a great choice for companies needing to manage field service workforces without accessing desktop computers or physical paperwork.

BambooHR: Best for new hire communication


Pros

  • Modules to support the entire employee life cycle and consolidate your HR tech stack.
  • Ability to track completion rates of required company onboarding training.
  • New hire and IT checklist templates to ensure onboarding compliance and consistency.
  • Free trial available.
  • Over 120 integrations available.

Cons

  • Onboarding features are restricted to the more expensive Advantage plan.
  • User interface may be too simple for businesses that need advanced customization.

BambooHR is a human resources (HR) software suite with modules covering most aspects of HR, from hiring to offboarding. Its stripped-down user interface makes it an appealing HR software for small businesses.

Companies can use BambooHR’s automated email reminders, new hire checklists, and training schedules to ensure their new employees stay informed throughout the onboarding process. In particular, BambooHR’s simple onboarding features help new hires ramp up without overwhelming them.

Moreover, with the Advantage package, companies can access BambooHR’s ATS. This means data collected on new hires during recruitment flow across all of BambooHR’s modules. As a result, managers avoid duplicate data entry, freeing them up to prepare and implement successful employee onboarding training instead.

Get-to-know-you emails: BambooHR allows users to include customized icebreaker questions for new employees to answer during self-onboarding. Companies can ask new hires anything from their professional accomplishments to their favorite ice cream flavor. BambooHR then sends the complete answers to the new hires’ team members so they have something to bond over on the new hire’s first day.

New hire checklists: BambooHR’s new hire checklists act as guidelines for HR teams, managers, and new hires to follow during employee onboarding. In particular, these onboarding checklists can reduce new hire stress by highlighting the critical items for them to complete during their first few days in their new role.

Learn more about BambooHR’s onboarding features in this video:

BambooHR is a user favorite due to its user-friendly interface and breadth of features targeting core HR functions. Its ability share new hire information across its modules makes it a great platform for companies wanting to minimize data entry and improve the employee onboarding experience.

BambooHR is one of our favorite HR software solutions — check out how it compares with others in our shortlists for the best HRIS systems and top performance management software.

Kallidus (Sapling): Best for new hire training


Pros

  • Employee portal for easy and quick completion of preboarding documents.
  • Onboarding task automation to reduce the involvement of HR teams.
  • Integrates with all Kallidus products, including performance management and employee engagement software.
  • Industry-specific training in construction, healthcare, manufacturing, and technology.
  • Dedicated account and customer service managers.

Cons

  • Complicated back-end user interface.
  • Non-transparent pricing and confusing software package tiers.

Sapling started as an onboarding and core HR software platform but, as of October 2022, rebranded to its parent company’s name, Kallidus. In addition to collecting onboarding paperwork, Kallidus users can use its learning and development tools to help new hires grow in their roles after orientation.

According to LinkedIn’s 2019 Workplace Learning Report, 94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development. Kallidus has eLearning courses to help new hires start working quickly and increase employee retention. This benefits key HR metrics, like time to productivity, while increasing employees’ likelihood of remaining engaged and satisfied in their roles.

Onboarding pipeline analytics: Kallidus gives HR teams and managers a birds-eye view of new hire onboarding progress, including paperwork and training module completion. Users can also organize the data into customized dashboards to gain insights on improving onboarding efficiency and engagement.

eLearning modules: Kallidus includes eLearning courses in core areas like:

  • Safety.
  • Compliance.
  • Security.
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
  • Workplace violence prevention.

Kallidus also includes industry-specific courses so new hires don’t have to switch between multiple platforms for their training. Moreover, if Kallidus does not include a pre-built course, companies can create their own courses through its Bespoke eLearning tool.

Kallidus’ platform supports new hire training for multiple industries. Plus, with its other human resources management system (HRMS) modules, Kallidus is an excellent option for companies needing an all-in-one solution to strengthen talent retention through continuous learning.

GoCo: Best for employee preboarding


Pros

  • Supports multi-person workflow collaboration.
  • Integrates with top ATS, including JazzHR and Greenhouse.
  • Complies with remote I-9 verification requirements.
  • Supports third-party benefits brokers.

Cons

  • Limited advanced features with embedded payroll from ExecuPay.
  • Lacks native training tracking.
  • Requires manual onboarding processes for international hires.

Although all of our top employee onboarding solutions include preboarding features, GoCo offers more advanced customization capabilities.

GoCo allows companies to tailor their workflows depending on the information and tasks needed during the employee onboarding process. So, if the new hire requires a laptop, GoCo users can easily collaborate with internal IT departments and external vendors to set up their equipment.

Such customization allows GoCo to accommodate non-traditional preboarding experiences, including those requiring collaboration from multiple people outside the HR department. Companies will likely have more success creating flexible, individualized onboarding workflows compared to vendors like BambooHR.

Personalized onboarding forms: GoCo’s Magic Docs feature allows companies to convert company-specific documents into digital forms with legally binding e-signatures. GoCo accommodates businesses’ needs by allowing them to transform their existing forms, create new ones, or use GoCo’s default templates.

Preboarding self-service: In addition to completing forms like I-9s and W-4s, new hires can access GoCo’s self-service portal before their start date to set up their direct deposit and compare benefits costs. This way, HR teams can focus on training new hires from day one instead of following up on onboarding paperwork.

Customizable onboarding workflows: Companies can create customized workflows to automate new hire paperwork and remind team members of essential onboarding duties. This reduces manual back-and-forth, ensures timely task completion, and frees up stakeholders for higher-priority work.

GoCo's automated onboarding workflow displays the statuses of multiple HR tasks, including employee onboarding, expense reports, performance reviews, and promotion requests.
With GoCo, HR teams can quickly monitor various onboarding and HR workflows, identify bottlenecks, and pinpoint areas needing immediate attention. Source: GoCo

GoCo offers granular onboarding workflows, which benefit businesses with multiple onboarding stakeholders, dynamic processes, or unique documentation needs. Its focus on HR efficiency and employee self-service also makes it a great fit for businesses with very small HR teams.

ClearCompany: Best for onboarding compliance


Pros

  • E-Verify integration to check employment authorization automatically.
  • Smart forms to pre-fill information.
  • Team welcome messages and videos.
  • Choice between a full-suite HRIS or standalone talent acquisition and performance management packages.

Cons

ClearCompany is a jack-of-all-trades human resources information system (HRIS). Outside of its onboarding tool, ClearCompany includes modules for talent acquisition, performance management, employee engagement, and analytics and reporting.

In terms of onboarding, ClearCompany stands out for its compliance features. The software adheres to privacy standards that affect companies worldwide, like GDPR and CCPA. ClearCompany ensures companies hiring internationally can avoid privacy breaches that result in violations or penalties.

ClearCompany also supports employee engagement from onboarding to offboarding. For new hires, companies can create and send personalized welcome messages and videos to introduce them to the team and company culture. This helps new employees build relationships with their coworkers and perform well in their positions before their start day.

Security protocols: ClearCompany offers security features like two-factor authentication and access removal protocols  The company also holds semi-annual system penetration tests to identify and fix software vulnerabilities before they affect their clients’ data.

Native background checks: ClearCompany offers a low-cost background check service so companies do not have to integrate with third parties. For industries like healthcare and finance where background checks are required, ClearCompany’s native solution speeds up the process by preventing HR teams from working out of separate systems.

ClearCompany is a well-rounded HR platform with tools for employee onboarding and workforce management. This makes it a more robust software compared to solutions like WorkBright. In addition, ClearCompany’s focus on onboarding compliance is particularly helpful for new businesses that want to avoid expensive labor law violations.

Find your new employee onboarding software

Employee onboarding software FAQs

Onboarding software manages the myriad administrative details involved in getting a hire ready for their first day. Because onboarding software often works as a data collection tool and pipeline into larger HR software, they rarely include skills training and culture acclimation features that help individuals learn about the company and their role in it.

Most companies will also employ a learning management system (LMS) to standardize and scale their training tools. From ensuring that sales teams follow the right protocol to teaching developers about the company’s microservices architecture, companies can make sure that their employees start their careers on equal footing. To learn more about how an LMS can improve your onboarding and training process, visit our LMS Software Guide.

Task management

Task management features are checklists, automations, and deadline tools that help HR, hiring managers, and new hires get all of the necessary paperwork completed before the employee’s start date. These tools act like project management software for the onboarding process by showing a new employee’s completed forms, reminding hiring managers of important dates, and keeping the HR staff updated as to everyone’s progress. Look for task management tools that let you set up a template for recurring jobs, allow for individual customization based on role or other factors, and provide automatic notifications and alerts for upcoming deadlines.

Mobile forms

Businesses have largely moved away from paper-based HR systems, and the most technologically advanced companies use onboarding software that makes HR forms easy to fill out with mobile devices. While not everyone has a computer at home that they can use to complete your onboarding tools, nearly everyone can access the internet on their phone. Mobile-ready HR forms in the onboarding tools increase engagement and participation from new hires by making these forms more accessible to the wider population.

E-verify connections

E-verify is a US-government supported program that checks a person’s employment eligibility within the United States. The program can check employment eligibility for both US and foreign citizens, and is required for some government agencies and contractors. Onboarding software that includes connections to E-Verify will automatically submit your new hire’s information to the system to jumpstart the process and get your employees to work faster.

E-signature features

The onboarding process requires employees and employers to certify documents with their signatures. Traditionally, these signatures would be obtained in a mass document-signing session on the initial employment date. But since more teams work remotely and fewer companies keep paper copies of records, it’s increasingly important to obtain these signatures digitally. Whether the onboarding software connects via an API to an e-signature tool or includes these features within the software, this is a critical feature for any onboarding process.

Automatic email drip

While these features are most commonly found in marketing automation and email marketing software, an automatic email drip is a great way to keep new hires engaged with the onboarding process before their first day. With an automatic email drip, the HR rep chooses a program to send to the new hire, and that program automatically sends a new email every couple of days to remind the new hire to complete paperwork, engage in pre-work training, and sign important documents. Advanced features will turn off the drip when the employee has completed all of their paperwork.

Background checks

Background checks are increasingly used by employers to flag up any troubling history for new hires, and are especially important in childcare, education, and healthcare industries, or companies that take on government contracts. An onboarding software may have a direct integration or data exports to enable background checks in bulk.

Employee testing

Outside of background checks, you may want to use skills, personality, and communication types testing to gain insight into how to best begin the new hire’s integration into your team. Onboarding software does not usually include employee testing features within the software itself, but many will provide integrations with testing tools and the ability to include the data from these tests in the employee’s file.

Streamlined workflows

Onboarding tools are designed to ensure that the most important documentation is sent to new hires, completed, signed, and stored for compliance or audit. The automated workflows simplify this process for the HR department by automatically sending the right forms and storing the employee data. And an automated workflow means that the software will prompt employees to fill out the right documents at the right time and in the right order. A workflow can even send notifications and reminders to reduce delays and improve compliance.

Fewer documentation errors

It’s so easy to miss a signature or not print a form during the bustle of the employee’s first day — and gets even easier when you’re onboarding multiple employees on the same day. When each employee logs in to a self-service portal or is emailed their individual documents, the forms automatically upload to the employee’s new HR profile. This means less data entry for the HR team and fewer documentation errors overall.

Better employee engagement

A signed acceptance letter isn’t a sure thing, and some new hires may have second thoughts in the weeks leading up to their first day. But onboarding software can quell those fears

by sending automatic welcome emails and getting the employee involved in filling out their new hire documentation quickly. These tools reassure the employee that you’re looking forward to their start date and can reduce attrition before the first day.

Onboarding doesn’t require special software or tools. A company can get by — for a while — with a written checklist, a project management software template, or relying on the HR team’s memory to ensure that all the onboarding tasks are completed. But as a company grows, their hiring efforts will need to scale. And choosing the right onboarding software is critical to that scaled growth.

When you’re choosing your onboarding software, consider whether you’re going to need to upgrade your HRIS, or whether you need a tool that will bolt onto your existing system. Consider whether you perform background checks and E-Verify lookups. If so, you’ll want these features included in your software.

And consider the user experience (UX) for new hires. You’re reaching out to a new hire at a vulnerable time. You need a tool that aligns with your company culture, your business needs, and the positive, helpful impression you want to give your new employee.