I continue to be amazed at how many different definitions of onboarding there are running around out there.  A few days go I came across a background and drug testing vendor who–you guessed it–defines onboarding as the process of ordering background and drug tests.  All the federal and state tax and benefits forms, all those policy forms, all that socialization and provisioning stuff, well you’ve probably already automated that nonsense; what’s really important when it comes to onboarding is buying my stuff.  This doesn’t seem like a good way to define a system.

This led me to wonder, what is the single bigges expectation of an onboarding system?  If there were any single feature that is universal to an onboarding system, what would it be?  Well in my unofficial verbal survey–executed using less than scientific means, mind you–over the last few days, the overwhelming single objective and expectation I am hearing is–drum roll, please–eliminating the paper in the new hire process. 

Now I pretty much expected this, but not necesarily as the #1 objective; I would have thought that ensuring compliance and automating data would have been 2 objectives which might have ranked higher.  I’ll continue to gather data, unscientifically of course, but if you have thoughts on what the #1 objective of an onboarding system should be, let me know!