Rival HR Buyers Guide

Are you in the process of evaluating
onboarding solutions for your organization?

Onboarding solutions are not just about forms and workflows. Onboarding is about employee experience and talent retention. You do not hire to put people on payroll systems, you hire to keep talent, develop talent, and energize talent to produce good things for your business.

Rival HR Buyers Guide: 3 onboarding elements

You will want to evaluate any onboarding solution across three elements:

  • Online forms management

    Deploy electronic forms with pre-populated data and electronic signatures to drive efficiency and accuracy

  • Personalized workflow automation

    Deliver personalized and contextual content to the right people at the right time

  • Engagement

    Connect new hires to mentors, buddies and cross-functional departments to drive engagement and acculturation

Most onboarding solutions you consider will do some basic things well. But most will never do all three – especially the ”retention things” – very well. Because retention is not about forms or workflows, it comes from engagement. To drive employee retention, engagement activities need to be intentional, personalized and supported with content that is delivered at the right time. That is why most onboarding solutions look at workflow as transactional, not engagement focused.

  • Stage 1: Basic

    Basic design and programming, “fire-hose” approach to content delivery; measurement limited to ad hoc feedback collected during or after orientation; some electronic forms

  • Stage 2: Progressing

    Emerging design and programming; some content delivered before day 1; measurement includes a standard new hire survey; electronic forms; some automated workflow

  • Stage 3: Advanced

    Progressing design and programming; more diverse content delivered in a distributed fashion via personalized workflow automation; onboarding-specific metrics tracked at multiple points in time

  • Stage 4: Strategic

    Advanced programming and design covering all engagement content areas (culture, strategy, networking, career support, and training); some content deferred for when new hires have context; surveys of key roles used to assess program impact

  • Stage 5: World-Class

    World-class programming and design that reflects all engagement content areas delivered through various methods at the right time in the journey; robust program measurement aligned to business objectives


Many onboarding solutions vendors look at onboarding technology as a way “to get data from the new hire and into the system of record”.

We call that the “data first” approach to onboarding. A data-first approach view does not lead to employee engagement. However, when you look at onboarding from an employee point of view, you see that the forms – and who gets the forms and the systems that receive the data – are the last things employees care about. What your employees care about are the things that will make them productive, contributing and successful employees as soon as possible. Rival solutions ensure you have a people-first approach to onboarding and engagement.

Rival HR buyers guide: data vs people
Rival HR buyers guide - Data-first


Takes an HRIS system “new hire data” approach and is focused on managing transactions and getting data into key back-office systems.

  • Deploys broad-but-shallow functionality across multiple business areas and modules
  • Little or no focus on employee engagement (the heart of talent retention)

  • Short-term – first 30 days or so


Takes a strategic “onboarding as engagement” approach and is focused on employee experience and connecting people to business results.

  • Rival Onboarding technology delivers all three essential components of onboarding: Forms, Personalized Workflows and Engagement

  • We onboard more than 10 million employees annually for clients around the world

  • Rival offers well-established industry expertise and thought leadership

  • Long-term approach – onboarding extends through 90 days to the first year of “firsts” and beyond

Rival HR buyers guide


Rival goes beyond traditional talent management to help our clients attract, retain, and align people to their business.