It’s not just paperwork — a lot goes into a successful onboarding experience. It’s about making new hires feel welcome, starting them on the right foot with training, introducing them to the team, and gathering all the right information and documents to stay compliant with local labor and tax laws.
To save time, small business owners use onboarding apps to transform these scattered tasks into one streamlined process.
But unfortunately, not all onboarding apps are neatly packaged for small businesses. Some focus on admin only, others on in-depth training. Many come with an abundance of powerful features and a high price tag to match. Finding a platform with all the tools you need — without breaking the bank — is challenging.
But we’re here to help, and we’ve put together this list of the best employee onboarding apps to give you a better understanding of what’s on the market in 2023.
In this guide, we’ll talk about what features to look for and compare the top onboarding apps according to best use cases, top features, pros and cons, and pricing to help you make the best decision for your business.
Key features to look for in employee onboarding apps
It’s hard to know where to start with employee onboarding apps — some of them don’t have enough of the functions you need, while others have features you might never use. As you narrow down your choices, consider these criteria:
- Syncs with other useful products — An onboarding app helps you digitize and automate paperwork and employee compliance training so you can dedicate as much of your in-person time to helping new hires get on-the-job experience. But it’s even better when they sync with hiring, team communication, payroll, and HR and compliance features, making your new team member feel like they’re part of your team and operations as quickly as possible.
- Accessible from various devices — Onboarding doesn’t have to happen during work hours only. And it’s a more efficient use of your time if new employees can access training videos, courses, paperwork, and onboarding announcements from an app on their phone or tablet.
- Automated documents and welcome packets — Paperwork can be overwhelming, which is why the best apps are designed to make this as painless as possible. The right solution should let you send new hires employee handbooks, welcome packets, and tax documents before a new hire’s first day.
- E-signing features and document storage for paperwork — As an employer, you’re legally required to obtain signed tax documents and employment eligibility forms and store them for three years. So, it’s important you choose a platform that lets employees e-sign documents from any device. And it’s critical that you can archive them directly in the platform so nothing gets lost in the shuffle.
- Integrates with other software — When multiple tools work seamlessly together, you don’t have to work overtime to stay organized and consistent across different platforms. Before you invest in software, make sure it integrates with software you already use for communication, hiring, payroll, and scheduling, if it doesn’t already have those tools built in.
- Affordable plans — Many options on this list have low-priced per-user plans, and these can work well for small teams. But a per-user scheme may not be right if your team is growing. That’s what sets platforms like Homebase apart: It has onboarding features for $99.95 per location per month, and it covers an unlimited number of employees, so your subscription won’t change as your team gets bigger.
Our top pick for employee onboarding apps in 2023 (+ the rest ranked)
And it’s not just our features that make us the best. It’s also that:
- A free account only takes a couple of minutes to set up and gives you tools for hiring, team messaging, time tracking, and scheduling.
- You can manage an unlimited number of employees for free.
- We price our paid plans per location and not per employee, so your subscription costs stay the same as your team expands.
But Homebase certainly isn’t the only onboarding app out there. We’ve also reviewed and curated a list of our top choices for 2023:
- Best all-in-one solution: Homebase
- Best for building interactive onboarding courses: Absorb LMS
- Best for bite-sized learning: eduMe
- Best for communicating with new hires: Connecteam
- Best for performance reviews: BambooHR
- Best for running background checks: ClearCompany
- Best for onboarding global teams: Rippling
- Best for people analytics: Zenefits
- Best for offboarding: Talmundo
- Best for tracking onboarding: Eddy
Comparison chart: Top 10 employee onboarding apps in 2023
|Payroll||Time tracking||Employee scheduling||Team communication||Free plan||Mobile app||Hiring and onboarding||Labor compliance||
|✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||Hiring features are free. Onboarding comes with an All-In-One plan for $99.95 per location per month|
|✗||✗||✗||✗||✗||✓||✓||✗||Contact sales team for a custom quote|
|✗||✗||✗||✗||✗||✓||✓||✗||Contact sales team for a custom quote|
|✗||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓ — onboarding only||✓||Connecteam Basic starts at $35/month for the first 30 users|
|✓||✓||✗||✗||✗||✓||✓||✓||Review sites say BambooHR Essentials start at $5.25/user per month|
|✗||✗||✗||✗||✗||✗||✓||✓||Contact sales team for a custom quote|
|✓||✓||✓||✓||✗||✓||✓||✓||Rippling starts at $8/month per person (contact them directly for a custom quote)|
|✓||✓||✓||✗||✗||✓||✓||✓||Zenefits’ Essentials plan starts at $10/month per employee|
|✗||✗||✗||✗||✗||✗||✓ — Onboarding only||✓||Contact sales team for a custom quote|
|✓||✓||✗||✗||✓||✓||✓||Review sites say Eddy starts at $8/month per employee|
A breakdown of the top 10 employee onboarding apps
Now that you’ve had an overview of how these onboarding apps compare side-by-side, let’s get a more in-depth look at their standout features as well as potential pros and cons.
1. Best all-in-one solution: Homebase
- Onboarding features to share welcome offers and essential documents before your employee’s first day.
- Document storage to withhold and file payroll taxes and comply with state and federal regulations.
- Homebase mobile app so that employees e-sign and submit documents from anywhere.
- A customized employee handbook designed for you.
- Team communication tools to send training videos and materials and help make new hires feel like part of the team right away.
Pros and cons
Homebase was designed for small business owners handling their own HR and onboarding processes, so the platform is super intuitive and easy to use. And a free plan gives you everything you need to hire, schedule, track time, and message an unlimited number of team members, which is perfect for employers new to team management software.
And while our onboarding features aren’t free, we offer them for a per-location rate of $99.95, keeping your subscription manageable as you recruit more team members.
However, Homebase doesn’t have in-depth training and learning tools like learning management software (LMS). So if you need to build in-depth, customized courses for new hires, Homebase may not work for you.
We offer more comprehensive features with our paid plans, which include:
- Essentials — All the free plan features, plus extras like shift notes, late clock in alerts, and geofencing tools for $24.95 per month.
- Plus — Tools for time off management and tracking labor costs for $59.95 per month.
- All-in-one — All Homebase tools, including HR and compliance, onboarding, and document storage features for $99.95 per month.
You can also add payroll to any plan for $39 per month plus $6 per active employee, as well as save 20% when you commit to an annual plan.
2. Best for building interactive onboarding courses: Absorb LMS
- Templates for simple drag-and-drop course building.
- Tools to make courses interactive with quizzes, questions, and assessments.
- Project management tools to make collaborating on course creation more seamless.
- Accessibility features to cater to learners with specific needs or impairments.
- Analytics to help you learn and improve user experience.
- Pre-made micro-courses to save you time during onboarding.
Pros and cons
Users find Absorb LMS’s interface easy to navigate and customize, making it ideal for any industry. They also say the platform’s support team is open to new ideas and easy to work with, although getting in touch with them can be difficult.
However, small business owners may find learning and using a different platform to build and manage a course library time-consuming, especially considering that it lacks hiring, communication, and team management features.
Absorb LMS pricing isn’t readily available. Contact their sales team for a custom quote.
3. Best for bite-sized learning: eduMe
- Workflows and templates to create and publish courses.
- Upload third-party content and external materials into bite-sized courses.
- Features to embed and host learning materials for a seamless training experience.
- Built-in survey tools to gather employee engagement data.
- Tools to create knowledge hubs for easy access and future reference.
Pros and cons
Like Absorb LMS, eduMe lets you design detailed courses so you don’t need to rely on generic training materials or YouTube videos to train your team. More specifically, they specialize in microlearning courses trainees can take from any device, making it a more convenient platform for employers of frontline workers.
It’s worth noting, though, that customers find eduMe analytics dashboards difficult to read, which prevents them from actioning data and employee feedback.
eduMe pricing isn’t readily available. You’ll have to contact their sales rep for a custom quote.
4. Best for communicating with new hires: Connecteam
- Onboarding course creation tools designed for mobile learning.
- Analytics dashboards to help you monitor training progress.
- Instant messaging tools to keep new hires and current employees all on the same page.
- Newsfeed and announcements make it easy to make new team members feel welcome.
- Engagement survey tools to show you where your onboarding process can improve.
- Time tracking and scheduling tools for teams with fluctuating schedules and shifting availability.
- Forms and checklists make it simpler for both new and long-time team members to stay on top of everything they need to do.
Pros and cons
Like Homebase, Connecteam is an effective team management platform with tools for time tracking, scheduling, communication, HR, and onboarding. But it also offers dedicated training software, so you don’t have to rely on separate, more expensive LMS platforms like Absorb LMS or eduMe. Customers also report that it’s a great solution for managing remote teams.
Even so, prospective customers should know: Some business owners feel Connecteam paid plans are cost-prohibitive for small teams, so it’s best to test their free plan before committing.
Connecteam has a free plan for up to ten users. If you’re interested in a paid plan, they include:
- Basic — Manage time off and track course completion for $35 per month.
- Advanced — Unlimited courses and advanced training management features for $59 per month.
- Expert — Customize onboarding and $119 per month.
- Enterprise — All Connecteam features at a custom price.
5. Best for performance reviews: BambooHR
- Onboarding workflows to help you manage paperwork and collect e-signatures easily.
- Automated tasks for new hires to help them get started with onboarding.
- Get To Know You message to make new hires feel welcome.
- Performance management assessments and workflows to celebrate employee successes and highlight areas for improvement.
- Built-in time tracking, payroll, and benefits features to pay and care for your workforce.
- Integrates with dozens of popular apps, including some of the top LMS software.
Pros and cons
BambooHR is best suited for medium and large companies that employ salaried workers and need in-depth processes for onboarding large groups of recruits. That means it may not work for small business owners who only hire a few new employees yearly.
But one element that sets the platform apart? Performance management features that help you identify team members’ strengths and weaknesses. You can use the platform to initiate review cycles with tools for self-assessments and peer and managerial evaluations, which will let you set your new hires on the right track.
BambooHR doesn’t publish pricing on its website, but review sites say:
- The Essentials package starts at around $6 per employee
- The Advantage plan starts at around $8 per employee
6. Best for running background checks: ClearCompany
- Applicant tracking features with built-in tools for texting, sending videos, and setting up candidate interviews.
- Onboarding workflows that let you send new hire packets, welcome videos, and messages from the team.
- Dedicated engagement tools for recognizing employee achievements, conducting surveys, offering feedback, and setting goals.
- Performance review templates for every type of employee assessment.
- Analytics dashboards to give you insight into your recruiting, onboarding, and performance processes.
Pros and cons
Certain industries — like healthcare and financial services — require background checks for new employees, but they can be costly and less convenient to track when running them with a third-party agency. If that’s a problem your business regularly runs into, you might appreciate ClearCompany, which lets you conduct background checks directly from the platform.
Still, some customers find it difficult to filter and sort candidates who have applied for jobs, which may make it less practical for businesses that deal with numerous applicants at a time.
ClearCompany pricing isn’t available on their website. Contact the sales team for a custom quote.
7. Best for onboarding global teams: Rippling
- HR, IT, and finance tools in one platform mean you can gather new team members’ documents, equip them with hardware and software, and issue them a company card all on a single platform.
- A step-by-step onboarding process that only takes 90 seconds for new hires to complete paperwork, enroll in benefits, set up apps and tools, and input their bank info for direct deposit.
- Dozens of integrations for customer support, communication, finance, and legal management platforms. And it’s simple to request an integration if it doesn’t have what you need.
- Global payroll and compliance tools let you pay employees in local currency, file relevant taxes, and keep up with team members’ local regulations.
- Built-in LMS lets you upload your courses or select from their catalog. Then you can decide who gets to enroll in courses and track team members’ progress.
Pros and cons
With tools to manage HR, IT, and finance processes, Rippling is the most comprehensive platform on this list for large organizations. And if global payroll and compliance have been standing in the way of your business recruiting internationally, it’s probably a wise choice for you.
And yet, as sometimes happens with platforms that promise so much, some customers say that Rippling’s HR and payroll services are substandard and error-prone. As a result, it may not be worth the high price tag.
Rippling starts at $8 per month per person. To customize your plan and add specific tools and features, contact the sales team.
8. Best for people analytics: Zenefits
- Customizable onboarding you can tailor to full-time employees, freelancers, and contractors.
- Benefits are synced to onboarding so new team members can enroll right away.
- Integrated payroll and tax filing features eliminate the need for a third-party accounting tool.
- People analytics dashboards to help give you more insight into turnover and engagement and show you how to improve your onboarding process.
- Org charts and employee directories make it faster to introduce new team members to everyone in your organization.
Pros and cons
Data about turnover, retention, and engagement can show you where your onboarding process may be lacking. If that’s a current issue for your company, you might appreciate Zenefits’s detailed, customizable people analytics.
Despite this, it doesn’t have instant messaging tools, making it challenging to coordinate daily tasks and handle unexpected issues without a separate communication channel. Customers also voice dissatisfaction about its lack of integrations and poor customer service, making it less user-friendly for business owners new to HR and onboarding platforms.
Zenefits’s tiered pricing plans include:
- Essentials — Automated onboarding, time off management, scheduling, and analytics dashboards for $10 per employee per month.
- Growth — Everything in Essentials plus customizable analytics dashboards and compensation and promotion management tools for $20 per employee per month.
- Zen — All Growth tools plus pre-built tools to conduct engagement surveys and access to Zenefits People Hubs for sharing announcements.
9. Best for offboarding: Talmundo
- Workflows to help streamline the onboarding process.
- Task management features to keep all stakeholders updated about their onboarding responsibilities.
- Digital chatbox to easily communicate with new hires.
- Templates and workflows — including feedback forms, offboarding checklists, pulse surveys, customizable forms, and goodbye videos — to create a positive offboarding experience.
- Analytics dashboard to monitor completion rates.
Pros and cons
A great offboarding experience allows you to end employee relationships on good terms and learn from past mistakes. And that’s where Talmundo shines with its tools and templates for both onboarding and offboarding. However, the platform isn’t as comprehensive as others on this list. It doesn’t offer other essential HR tools for hiring, applicant tracking, payroll, and team communication, so it’s not practical if you’re looking for all-in-one software.
Contact Talmundo’s sales team for a custom quote.
10. Best for tracking onboarding: Eddy
- Self-onboarding checklists to keep new hires on task.
- Progress dashboard to show admins which new team members have completed onboarding tasks and which are still in process.
- Built-in hiring tools to post job openings on dozens of websites and quickly set up candidate interviews.
- Document storage and employee info database to help you comply with labor laws.
- Built-in time tracking and full-service payroll for a seamless payment process. Employees can also track time and review paychecks from the mobile app.
Pros and cons
Eddy combines hiring, onboarding, time tracking, and payroll tools so small business owners can handle their core admin and HR processes in one platform. And small business customers appreciate that Eddy gives you enterprise-level features — like document storage and docu-sign features — at an affordable price.
However, Eddy doesn’t have tools for scheduling and team communication, which small business owners in the restaurant, retail, and wellness industries typically need to manage a team of hourly employees with fluctuating availability.
Eddy doesn’t publish pricing on its website, but review sites say its plans start at $8 per month per employee.
Get new hires off to a great start with Homebase onboarding
A successful onboarding experience means you can hold on to your best team members for the long haul and avoid making up for training gaps. But it also means you’ve crossed your t’s and dotted your i’s when gathering, filing, and storing all legally-required paperwork.
Some platforms on this list can help you do it all. But they’re cost-prohibitive and tricky to navigate, which isn’t always practical on a small business budget and schedule.
That’s why Homebase is our top onboarding app for 2023. At $99.95 per location per month, you’ll have access to everything Homebase has to offer, including:
- Hiring tools to help you with job posting and communicating with applicants.
- Onboarding workflows, file sharing, and document storage to start new hires off right.
- Time tracking tools that allow employees to clock in for shifts and manage time off from their mobile phones.
- Scheduling features to quickly build and share employee timetables, plus reusable schedule templates.
- Team communication to make training and scheduling more accessible.
- Full-service payroll tools that withhold and file the correct state and federal taxes.
- Access to HR experts who can answer your questions, review your policies, and even design a custom employee handbook for you.
**The information above is based on our research on employee onboarding apps. All user feedback referenced in the text has been sourced from independent software review platforms, such as G2 and Capterra, in March 2023.