Skip to content
an early adopter going through the HCM onboarding process
SetuplyAug 1, 2023 11:00:00 AM5 min read

HCM Onboarding: 10 Best Practices You Need to Know

A seamless, effective human capital management (HCM) onboarding experience is pivotal in many ways. It sets the stage for a long-lasting partnership between HR tech providers and clients, empowers clients to use the new technology to its full potential, and instills a sense of confidence in clients that boosts user adoption and satisfaction.

But the reality is that HCM onboarding has its challenges. HR tech providers are dealing with a diverse client base with unique needs, the transferring of large amounts of sensitive data, and an inevitable resistance to change from the client’s workforce.

Going up against all these elements can be tough. The good news is there are strategies providers can utilize to make the client HCM onboarding process a more enjoyable experience for clients while streamlining workloads for dedicated onboarding teams. Your journey to better HCM onboarding starts here, with these 10 best practices.


1. Mitigate obstacles in accessing client data

One of the biggest hurdles in HCM onboarding is gathering historical client data. In the HCM sector, accessing past client payrolls, employee lists, employee roles, and other client information can often account for 70% of the time spent on an onboarding project. Automated data migration tools can help securely extract data from clients’ existing HR systems faster, with less risk of errors or inconsistencies. So rather than having to spend hours hunting down client data, onboarding reps can focus on being a support resource when and if questions do arise.


2. Keep clients engaged from day one

Every client has unique preferences and needs, and the client HCM onboarding process should be a reflection of that. By tailoring HCM onboarding workflows to match familiar processes and interfaces, HR tech providers can create a more user-centric experience that reduces friction. At the same time, access to personalized one-on-one support via a single point of contact helps clients feel valued and get answers to timely questions fast.


3. Empower clients with self-service portals

Clients have come to expect immediate access to information and resources in every facet of business — onboarding included. Giving clients access to a 24/7 self-service portal empowers them to upload documents, manage their profiles, and complete other tasks on their own time. Often outfitted with messaging or chat features, these portals can also make it convenient for clients to reach out for support right as questions come up. 


4. Keep clients informed of project progress

No HR tech client wants to feel left in the dark about the status of an onboarding project. Clients expect HR tech providers to regularly update them on project progress and any milestones that have been achieved. When a real-time dashboard can effortlessly relay this information, even better. While communicating project wins, it’s just as important for providers to give clients a transparent view into any project challenges so unexpected delays are met with understanding versus surprise.


5. Effectively manage the process scope

Delays in the HCM onboarding timeline are costly in every sense of the word. Onboarding teams have to throw more time and resources at the project, while clients don’t see an ROI as fast and can even abandon an onboarding project out of frustration. Clear communications throughout the onboarding journey can help avoid scope creep. This includes setting realistic expectations at the start of the onboarding process and proactively identifying and finding solutions for potential issues early on in the project.


6. Establish a repeatable process from start to finish

When asked about top investment areas for 2023, nearly half of the 118 HR leaders surveyed said HR technology. With continued growth expected in the space, it’s more important than ever before for HR tech providers to have a repeatable HCM onboarding process that is built to scale. Automated workflows, centralized communications, pre-configured templates, and data migration tools all contribute to a more standardized and efficient onboarding process. It gives HR tech providers the infrastructure they need to handle bigger client volumes without compromising onboarding quality or speed.


7. Ensure communications are consistent & collaborative

A good client onboarding experience isn’t just about good communications with clients. It’s a matter of open lines of communication and collaboration between an HR tech provider’s internal teams. For instance, when marketers communicate information they collect to the client onboarding team, onboarding reps save themselves time gathering that client data and accelerate project timelines. Alternatively, clients onboarding teams can share insights with the marketing team about client expectations and needs so they can refine their strategies and messaging to meet their target audience where they’re at.

To learn more about how to bridge gaps between marketing and customer success teams, check out our interview with tech industry leader Ben Stein.


8. Set clear expectations at the start of the process

Unrealistic HCM onboarding expectations are bound to lead to client disappointment. When HR tech providers are upfront and honest about timelines, deliverables, and any potential challenges, it lays the foundation for a transparent relationship built on trust. Not only will clients feel more ready to embark on the onboarding journey, but they’ll have a better sense of how additional requests will affect the agreed-upon scope — and with this awareness, they’re less likely to make these requests.


9. Prepare a well thought-out, engaging rollout

The success of a newly implemented HR technology banks on user adoption. Much like the client HCM onboarding process, the rollout should be well-structured and inform the client of timelines, responsibilities, and anticipated outcomes to set clear expectations. But the process to get there doesn’t have to be all work and no fun. HR tech providers can use quizzes to test clients’ knowledge, offer virtual tours of the new HR technology, and create friendly competition with a leaderboard that tracks when clients successfully complete training activities.


10. Help clients adapt to their ‘new normal’

There’s a human side to introducing a new HR technology to your client’s workforce and it can’t be overlooked. Establishing a culture of openness and transparency at the start of HCM onboarding helps early adopters feel more prepared and less anxious at every step of the onboarding journey. What’s more, open dialogue with dedicated support staff who can promptly answer questions and address needs makes early adopters also feel heard and supported. With these resources and a clear understanding of how the new HR system operates and how their processes will have to change, early adopters can become internal advocates who can then guide and encourage their own colleagues.

Interested in learning how to measure change management success? See this post.

Ready to elevate HCM onboarding for your clients without adding overhead? Setuply is a client onboarding automation platform that empowers HR tech providers to create a consistent, scalable onboarding process that will delight both clients and onboarding teams. Experience the possibilities — request a Setuply demo today!