How to Build an Employee Onboarding System Using WordPress

11 Min Read

How to Build an Employee Onboarding System Using WordPress

In today’s rapidly changing business landscape, remote work and distributed teams are not just trends but integral components of modern organizational structures. With these shifts comes the pressing need for robust digital systems, mainly when introducing new team members. Remember, onboarding isn’t just a one-off event—it’s a holistic journey that can significantly influence an employee’s perception of the company, their performance, and their longevity with the organization. A well-orchestrated onboarding experience establishes a solid foundation, ensuring new hires feel welcomed, informed, and prepared as they embark on their new roles.

But with the shift to digital, how do businesses seamlessly transition their onboarding processes online without losing the personal touch? This is where WordPress, often hailed as the go-to platform for bloggers, showcases its versatility. Beyond its reputation as a blogging platform, WordPress is a dynamic tool that offers myriad functionalities suitable for various business needs, including employee onboarding. With an expansive ecosystem of plugins and an ever-evolving suite of tools, WordPress can be tailored to deliver an onboarding experience that’s both engaging and effective.

“We often tell clients not to underestimate the versatility and flexibility of the WordPress ecosystem. With the right plugins, a simple WordPress installation can be transformed into a powerful multi-functional platform,” says Donald Chan, founder of IMPACT, a web design agency in Singapore.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll navigate the realm of WordPress-based onboarding. We’ll explore three standout methods, from the simple to the sophisticated, to help you architect an onboarding journey that resonates with your new hires and aligns seamlessly with your organizational ethos and goals. Whether you’re an HR professional seeking to overhaul your onboarding process or a business owner aiming to establish one, this guide is your roadmap to creating a memorable first impression for your new team members using WordPress.

Employee Onboarding Explained

For our modern Human Resources Management and organizational development, the significance of a well-structured onboarding system cannot be underestimated. It is the foundation for new employee integration, productivity, and long-term retention. Here, we delve into an onboarding system’s core components and importance.

What is Onboarding and Onboarding Systems?

Onboarding is a multi-phase process designed to facilitate the successful assimilation of new hires into an organization. It extends beyond the initial “welcome aboard” phase, encompassing everything from understanding the company’s ethos to the nuances of one’s role. Onboarding System refers to the collection of tools, strategies, and best practices that an organization adopts and implements to ensure the onboarding process is as effective and seamless as possible.

Key Components of an Onboarding System

  • Orientation: A foundational step where new hires are introduced to the company’s mission, its core values, strategic objectives, and overall ethos. This phase sets the tone for what the organization represents and expects from its members.
  • Documentation: This involves streamlining and overseeing the completion of various administrative tasks. Whether it’s contract signing, understanding employee benefits, or setting up tax documents, this component ensures all legal and operational boxes are ticked.
  • Role-specific Training: Here, the focus narrows down to the specific duties of the new hire. This includes familiarizing them with necessary tools, software, and job responsibilities, ensuring they’re primed to contribute effectively.
  • Mentorship and Peer Support: New employees are often paired with mentors or peers to foster a sense of community and provide direct support channels. This aids in navigating the nuances of the company culture, understanding unwritten rules, and having a go-to person for any immediate concerns.
  • Feedback and Evaluation: Constructive feedback mechanisms, whether through formal reviews or informal check-ins, allow organizations to gauge the effectiveness of their onboarding process and make necessary adjustments.

Why are Onboarding Systems Important?

  • Standardization and Consistency: Ensuring that every individual receives a consistent onboarding experience is crucial in larger organizations or those with high turnover rates. It upholds the brand’s reputation and ensures the uniformity of knowledge dissemination.
  • Timeliness and Efficiency: A well-structured system minimizes administrative delays and facilitates faster integration, allowing the organization to capitalize on the skills of the new hire sooner.
  • Boosting Engagement and Morale: An effective onboarding process resonates with employees, making them feel valued, understood, and an integral part of the team from the outset.
  • Optimizing Productivity: By reducing the learning curve and offering support during the initial phases, new hires can achieve peak productivity levels more rapidly.

Onboarding vs. Training

While often used interchangeably, there’s a clear distinction between onboarding and training. At its core, training zeroes in on the provision of specific skills or knowledge tailored to a particular job role or task. Its primary objective is to equip individuals with the necessary competencies to perform their duties effectively. Onboarding, on the other hand, takes a more encompassing view. While it does include elements of training, its scope is broader, aiming to integrate new hires fully into the organization. This means not only familiarizing them with their role but also immersing them in the company’s culture, ingraining its values, and acquainting them with its operational norms. In essence, while training prepares an employee to do their job, onboarding prepares them to be a part of the organization.

As the corporate world becomes more dynamic and competitive, the nuances of onboarding systems become increasingly paramount. They not only set the stage for individual success but also influence an organization’s overall health and trajectory. In the upcoming sections, we will go deeper into several onboarding methods to ensure you’re fully equipped.


Related: Mastering Employee Onboarding: A Guide to Leverage WordPress HRM Plugins


Effective Onboarding Systems

1. Simple Blog Posts or Pages

Simple blog posts or pages with previous and next navigation can be a fast and easy solution to a complex issue: onboarding. This method capitalizes on the foundational capabilities of WordPress, specifically harnessing its post/page creation mechanics, to curate a step-by-step onboarding journey. Rather than relying on external tools or software, this approach utilizes the innate structures within WordPress, turning what is traditionally a content platform into an interactive onboarding system.

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Setting Up

  1. Creating a New Post or Page for Each Onboarding Step: Begin by mapping out the various facets of your onboarding procedure. Break them down into distinct stages or modules. Once you’ve outlined these, each segment should correspond to a unique post or page on your WordPress site.
  2. Linking Each Post/Page Using Previous-Next Navigation: This is pivotal for seamless navigation. By embedding ‘previous’ and ‘next’ navigation buttons, users are intuitively guided through the onboarding stages, facilitating a logical transition from one topic or task to the next.
  3. Design Considerations: Consistency is key. Aim to create a unified visual and content experience across all your onboarding pages. Employ a consistent color palette, choose uniform typography, and maintain a steady layout structure. Additionally, enhance the content by integrating relevant multimedia elements — think images, videos, GIFs, or even infographics — to break monotony and boost engagement.

If you’re searching for a no-frills, direct, and linear onboarding pathway that doesn’t delve into intricate branching scenarios or offer multiple avenues of exploration, this method shines. It’s particularly beneficial for businesses that want to get started quickly without a steep learning curve.

wordpress post

Creating New Posts on WordPress

Pros

  • Simplicity at its Best: The setup is straightforward with no dependency on external tools or plugins.
  • Content Richness: Leveraging WordPress’s robust editor, you can craft diverse content spanning text, visuals, and other multimedia elements.
  • Economically Viable: A boon for businesses watching their budget, as it sidesteps additional expenses tied to specialized software or tools.

Cons

  • Interactivity is Somewhat Hamstrung: Unlike dedicated onboarding platforms, this method can’t offer features like quizzes, intricate simulations, or real-time feedback loops.
  • Maintenance Overhead: As your company grows and evolves, so will your onboarding needs. This might entail frequent updates to your pages, becoming a bit of an administrative chore.
  • Analytics aren’t Inherent: To glean insights on user behavior, progression metrics, or areas of improvement, you might find yourself seeking third-party plugins or tools to bridge this analytical gap.

While this method might seem elementary in its approach, its beauty lies in its simplicity and directness. By weighing its advantages against its constraints, organizations can discern if this onboarding strategy is congruent with their goals and operational framework.

2. Documentation Plugins

Within the broad array of WordPress plugins, documentation-focused tools like BetterDocs are instrumental in establishing well-organized, structured, and user-friendly onboarding resources. BetterDocs is a comprehensive documentation solution tailored for WordPress users, designed to provide an efficient, structured, and visually appealing platform for knowledge bases. This plugin aids in reducing support pressures by presenting answers and resources to users instantaneously, eradicating the need for elongated support ticket procedures.

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Setting Up

  1. Installation of BetterDocs: This plugin, curated by the team behind WPDeveloper, offers an effortless installation process. Once integrated with your WordPress site, it brings forth powerful features tailored for creating standout documentation.
  2. Structuring Documentation: BetterDocs offers templates to jumpstart the design of your documentation site. You can ensure content is easily digestible and navigable by categorizing your onboarding materials into well-defined sections.
  3. Utilizing Advanced Features: Beyond the basics, BetterDocs boasts:
    • Interactive Table of Contents (TOC): An automated TOC creation, which offers users a snapshot of your documentation’s structure.
    • In-built Advanced Search: Assists users in pinpointing the exact documentation they require.
    • Customization Options: From elementary settings adjustments to employing shortcodes and widgets, the plugin provides expansive customization potential.
    • Gutenberg and Elementor Compatibility: The plugin integrates seamlessly with popular page builders, availing design freedom.

If your onboarding encompasses diverse resources, policies, or multifaceted protocols, BetterDocs offers a platform to present this plethora of information in an organized manner. Its capabilities extend beyond basic documentation, offering analytics, instant answer bots, multiple knowledge bases, and even internal knowledge management.

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BetterDocs Dashboard

Pros

  • Rich Templates: Access to multiple ready templates for documentation landing pages, aiding in swift design.
  • Search and Navigation: Advanced search capabilities and intuitive Table of Contents ensure users navigate content effortlessly.
  • Flexibility: Whether utilizing the Gutenberg editor, integrating with the Elementor page builder, or creating multiple knowledge bases, BetterDocs caters to varied needs.
  • Support and Analytics: Integrated analytics provide insights into documentation usage. Also, its instant answer bot is tailored to reduce support queries.

Cons

  • Learning Curve: With its expansive feature set, some users might need time to master BetterDocs’ functionalities.
  • Potential for Overhead: Maintaining updated and relevant documentation, especially with multiple knowledge bases, can be time-consuming.

BetterDocs emerges as an advanced documentation tool, enabling businesses to offer users rich, structured, and easily navigable content. Its potent feature set is supported by testimonials from experts in the WordPress realm, asserting its proficiency in documentation creation. Adopting BetterDocs means not only simplifying onboarding but enhancing user experience across the board.

BetterDocs is a free plugin, but they also offer BetterDocs Pro which starts at $55.20. If you have further questions or need more guidance regarding this tool, you can always visit the BetterDocs Website and BetterDocs on WP Plugin Repository.

3. eLearning Plugins

eLearning plugins have emerged as indispensable tools for organizations that want to provide a thorough, engaging, and efficient onboarding process. They not only give a platform for disseminating information but also allow for interactive experiences. Let’s explore this method with a particular focus on a standout option in the field: Tutor LMS.

Tutor LMS is an advanced WordPress LMS (Learning Management System) plugin that facilitates the creation and selling of online courses. It provides a comprehensive platform for designing eLearning environments without requiring any coding. The ability to create quizzes, interactive lessons, and detailed reports ensures that the learning experience is not just engaging but also measurable.

When it comes to onboarding, imagine having a new employee go through a structured course that introduces them to the company culture, policies, role-specific tasks, and more, all while tracking their progress and ensuring they are thoroughly engaged. That’s what eLearning platforms like Tutor LMS offer.

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Setting Up

  1. Plugin Selection and Installation: Choose an LMS plugin suitable for your requirements. In the case of Tutor LMS, it’s a straightforward installation process on your WordPress site. They even offer a free version for those who want to test the waters before diving in.
  2. Designing Your Onboarding Course:
    • Lessons: Draft a curriculum covering all essential new hires’ topics. With Tutor LMS, you can use the intuitive advanced course builder to create unlimited courses and lessons.
    • Multimedia: Enhance your lessons with multimedia attachments. Tutor LMS supports a variety of video sources, including YouTube, Vimeo, and self-hosted videos.
    • Quizzes: Design challenging quizzes to test the understanding and retention of the content. The advanced quiz builder in Tutor LMS supports multiple quiz types and even allows for setting time limits, number of attempts, and passing grades.
  3. Monitoring and Reporting: One of the strengths of using an LMS for onboarding is the ability to track employee progress. With Tutor LMS, you get potent reports and analytics that provide insights into how well new hires understand the material. This helps in identifying areas where they might need additional support.

eLearning plugins like Tutor LMS are ideal for organizations that require thorough onboarding, especially when they want to ensure high engagement from the new employees. It’s also beneficial for companies with remote employees or those with a steady influx of new hires who need a standardized yet effective onboarding process.

tutor lms dashboard

Tutor LMS Dashboard

Pros

  • Engagement: Interactive lessons, multimedia content, and quizzes ensure high engagement levels.
  • Standardization: Every employee goes through the same onboarding process, ensuring consistency.
  • Flexibility: Employees can go through the onboarding material at their own pace.
  • Measurable: Detailed reports and analytics provide insights into the progress and areas of improvement.

Cons

  • Initial Setup Time: Designing a comprehensive onboarding course can be time-consuming.
  • Tech Challenges: Some non-tech-savvy users might face a learning curve while using the platform.
  • Maintenance: LMS platforms require updates and occasional troubleshooting like all software tools.

The basic version of TutorLMS is absolutely free which offers free license, free version updates and community support. Additionally, they offer flexible TutorLMS Pricing Plans starting at $199/year. For any additional information or assistance, you can check out the TutorLMS Website or find TutorLMS on WordPress Plugin Repository.

While eLearning plugins require an initial investment of time and resources, they offer an unparalleled level of engagement and effectiveness, making them a valuable method for onboarding. TutorLMS, with its feature-rich environment and user-friendly interface, stands out as a prime example in this category.

Comparison Table: Effective Onboarding Systems

Feature/AspectSimple Blog Posts or PagesDocumentation Plugins (BetterDocs)eLearning Plugins (TutorLMS)
Setup ComplexityLowMediumHigh
InteractivityLowModerateHigh
Content Types SupportedText, Images, GIFs, VideosText, Images, GIFs, VideosText, Images, Videos, Quizzes
CostFree (Inherent in WordPress)Free & Premium versions starting at $55.20Free & Premium versions starting at $199/year
Maintenance OverheadModerateModerateHigh
Analytics SupportThird-party plugins/toolsIntegrated AnalyticsIntegrated Analytics
User Engagement PotentialLow to ModerateModerateHigh
FlexibilityModerateHighVery High
Learning Curve for UsersLowModerateModerate to High
Search and NavigationBasic Previous-NextAdvanced Search & TOCCourse-based Navigation
Support & UpdatesWordPress CommunityBetterDocs SupportTutorLMS Support

Our Recommendations

When considering the best approach for your onboarding system, weighing the pros and cons of each method and aligning them with your organization’s goals, resources, and the target audience’s needs is essential. Here’s what we recommend:

  • Simple Blog Posts or Pages: If you’re just starting or a small organization with limited resources and technical expertise, this is an excellent choice. The simplicity of this method ensures that you can get your onboarding system up and running quickly without much fuss. It’s especially suitable if your onboarding process is linear and doesn’t require intricate branching or simulations.
  • Documentation Plugins (BetterDocs): For organizations with more detailed, structured, and varied onboarding content, BetterDocs offers a well-organized and visually appealing platform. If you foresee the need for regular updates to your onboarding content and wish to offer users a more structured navigation experience with the added advantage of analytics and support features, BetterDocs would be a strong contender.
  • eLearning Plugins (TutorLMS): Large organizations prioritizing employee engagement and interactive learning should lean towards this option. TutorLMS provides a comprehensive eLearning environment that is well-suited for intricate onboarding processes. This is the method for you to ensure standardized yet engaging onboarding across diverse teams, especially in remote settings.

In summary, your choice should reflect the complexity of your onboarding content, your organization’s technical capabilities, and the experience you aim to offer your employees or users. Always remember that while the initial setup might vary in complexity, the long-term benefits of a well-implemented onboarding system can be significant, fostering better employee engagement, retention, and productivity.

Conclusion

Onboarding, whether for new employees or users, is a critical component that shapes an organization or platform’s initial impressions and experiences. As we’ve seen, with its versatility, WordPress offers multiple avenues to create an onboarding system tailored to specific needs. The options are varied and robust, from the straightforward approach of using blog posts or pages to the structured environment of documentation plugins like BetterDocs and the comprehensive interactive landscape provided by eLearning plugins such as TutorLMS.

The key to a successful onboarding system is understanding your audience’s needs, the depth of information you wish to convey, and the resources available. WordPress provides the tools to make it happen whether you’re a small startup looking for a no-frills solution or a large enterprise seeking a comprehensive and engaging platform.

Ultimately, the focus should always be on delivering a seamless, informative, and engaging experience. An effective onboarding process not only educates but also integrates newcomers, setting the tone for their journey ahead. By carefully evaluating the methods and aligning them with organizational goals, businesses can ensure a smooth transition for their new members, ultimately paving the way for sustained growth and success.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is onboarding systems?

Employee onboarding software streamlines and automates welcoming new hires into the workplace. In short, you’re bringing new hires on board with software. This ensures a smooth transition for new employees, integrating them into the organization most efficiently.

What are the 4 phases of onboarding?

The four onboarding phases are pre-boarding, orientation, training, and integration.

What are onboarding tools?

An onboarding tool is a dedicated software solution designed to facilitate the onboarding process for new hires.

What is the role of HR in onboarding?

Human Resources oversees or facilitates completion of official and required documents related to pay and benefits, wellness, rules, and policies, as well as completion of new hire paperwork.

What is onboarding in WordPress?

Onboarding in WordPress refers to guiding users or employees through a structured introduction to a website or platform using posts, plugins, or eLearning systems.

What is the walkthrough plugin for WordPress?

Simple Tour Guide is an easy-to-use step-by-step onboarding user guide that lets you create an interactive guided tour for your visitors.

What is BetterDocs plugin?

BetterDocs is an advanced documentation & knowledge base plugin for WordPress that will help you improve your user experience and reduce support tickets.

Is BetterDocs free?

The free version of BetterDocs lets you create docs and customize them. You can also enjoy other features such as archive pages, live search, sidebar, and table of contents.

What is tutor LMS?

Tutor LMS is a complete, feature-packed, and robust WordPress LMS plugin to create & sell courses online quickly. All the features of this learning management system hit all the checkpoints for a full-fledged online course marketplace.

Is Tutor LMS free?

Tutor LMS is one of the few LMS plugins that lets you sell courses online with its free version. Additionally, it offers paid versions as well.