In 8 weeks an onboarding program as solid as a rock!

Has that new employee just signed the contract? What happens until the first working day? Onboarding is a crucial phase to make and keep employees successful from the start of their job.

Prevent that your new employees will go looking for a new job after the first 91 days. Focus on your onboarding process! Employee Experience has an important role, also within onboarding. Research among 250 international HR managers showed us 88% expected the employee experience to become even more important in the near future.

With the Appical roadmap your onboarding program is live in no time!


What kind of organization are you? And in which sector are you active? We help you to choose the optimal structure and user flow.

Anyone who thinks that onboarding is only important for millennials, you’re wrong… People need effective onboarding regardless their age. This makes them feel at home and they will develop more easily into productive and successful employees.

Discover which ‘unwritten rules’ apply to millennials, senior employees and flex workers. In addition, discover which best practices there are within your sector. We understand that you are looking for a frame of reference and have therefore listed a number of case studies for you. We would like to show you examples of organizations within finance, healthcare, retail, logistics, non-profit and SMEs. Earlier on we wrote a blog about attracting and retaining employees within retail & FMCG.


Create impressive slides. All parts are predesigned and can easily be converted to your company branded house style. Games, Augmented Reality, video. We have thought of everything!

Successful organizations do start much earlier in the crucial onboarding process. Ask yourself the question: when does onboarding starts? What information do I make available? Who is responsible? And how do we make a special experience of the first day? Curious about the 7 questions to find out if your onboarding is successful?

New employees already get to know colleagues through the Peoplefinder. They watch a welcome video from the manager and get a look at the office via Augmented Reality. The employee can also check whether all required documents have been signed and submitted and they will receive all information for the first working day via the app.

Once started, the employee can chat with the manager or buddy and feedback can be given directly in the platform.


Is your Appical platform the way you want it? With a single click, we publish your app in the app stores. Of course you can also access it via the desktop.

Traditional approaches to onboarding were very HR-oriented. But as onboarding is not just for millennials, the implementation of the onboarding process have to be not only dependent on HR. Discover which stakeholders you can involve best in setting up an effective training program and GO!

Together with you we create an online onboarding program that will be as solid as a rock within a few weeks. We do this with our own designed Onboarding Game! From the eyes of a ‘new hire’ we look at what information is needed and when. After this we ensure that a blueprint of the first version of your app is ready. This is the point at which your project group can give concrete meaning to the content for the app. Our blueprints give you the first push in the right direction!

Onboarding is hot! This is the time to choose the right onboarding solution for your organization.

Organizations with a good onboarding program do have:

  • 66% better relationship between time and productivity
  • 54% higher employee satisfaction
  • 50% higher retention of new employees

Step by step to the ultimate onboarding program with Appical in just 8 weeks?

FEATURE UPDATE: Launch of the new Appical web player!

After months of developing, tinkering and tweaking... the time has finally come!
We are happy to announce our new web player! 🎉

We would like to update you on the biggest improvements in our platform and it’s user flow, so we sat down with our Product Owner Maybe Gil to discuss why is this launch so important, the impact it has on our development team and company and moreover how will it benefit our customers and all the employees who use our platform.

The next milestone

Launching the new web player means a lot for the user experience of our users and the technical improvements in the performance of our platform. Last year we launched the new Editor and Natives Mobile Apps for Android and iOS. The new web player comes last, but for sure not least!  

User experience

From now on, users will have the same experience on desktop as on mobile, one slick uninterrupted journey! The navigation and resizing of the platform have improved as well, in order to give customers and end users the high-quality experience they deserve. It’s highly important to us keep the user experience in mind when we talk about the employee experience.

‘Dashboard’ before

‘Dashboard’ after

Technical improvements

With this new player, the technical performance of the app improved by more than 50%. 
Now, loading time is much faster and the employee journey got a boost of fun with those new animations that we added. Two other things that I would like to highlight are the new dashboard and favorite pages.

The latest mobile app update introduced a new design for the quiz pages (Assign, Ranking, Order Image, Order Video). This means you will no longer have to create separate interaction pages for the mobile version! Hurray! Following, the new dashboard was redesigned as well, and is now more coherent, with the aim to give the user a clear overview of their progress immediately. We also introduced ‘favorite pages’. Adding the star-shaped button on the corner of every page, allows users to click on it and add the page to their own favorite library, which is located in their profile.

The road to it

With time, we will guide all customer and help them to switch to the new web player. 
To make sure everyone will be using the much more interactive and beautifully designed version, we added the ‘New Player’ button! Trust me, if you’re used to it, you will never go back 😉 

As Product Owner I have prioritized the development of features, we set a deadline and we had to manage the design, development and support teams to work on this together. 
Before launching the new web player we did extensive research with our customers and their employees and also within our own company.

Because of the positive feedback we’ve been receiving since we launched the Native Apps for mobile last Autumn, we wanted to follow the same style for the web player as well. 
We had two months of active development, which was full of learning and having fun while we were crafting this amazing experience for our users. Every week the product team was testing it and working hard to get feedback and improve.

Following, we did an ‘internal launch’ within our development team, shared a BETA version with several customers and organized testing sessions with colleagues from different teams (sales, customer onboarding, development, and support). After all this we are finally ready to go live and we hope you enjoy it 🙂    

Sneak peek

‘Chapters’ Before

‘Chapters’ After

Onboard large numbers of employees in an interactive way. Thanks to the scalability of the Appical platform, it is also possible to onboard colleagues in different countries! Is there a lot of turnover within a certain period? Guarantee valuable feedback from former colleagues. Request a demo.


Attract and retain employees within retail & FMCG? This is how you do it!

Customers expect that soon they’ll be able to try on new clothes via virtual changing rooms and won’t have to leave their home. With many retail and restaurants, it is already possible to order from the menu via an iPad or tablet. New colleagues expect a special first week of work. Therefore, provide a good onboarding to your own employees and thus deliver your organization's’ culture and feeling to your customers! ❤️

Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first – Simon Sinek

Customers notice when colleagues “breathe your brand” and put in a little extra in their work. Therefore, provide employees with the same VIP experience as you give your customers. For example, use a virtual tour or a video to present a new collection. Only when employees can identify with the vision and organizational objectives, will they give their own interpretation to this. This is especially important within the retail sector.

Recent research by sector organization Koninklijke Horeca Nederland (Dutch) shows that the number of catering staff in the Netherlands will increase by 15 percent between 2016 and 2021 from 407,000 catering staff in 2016 to 467,000 in 2021. The sector will, therefore, have to recruit more than 90,000 people a year.

For customers there is the loyalty program and/or loyalty point system, for your employees there is the onboarding app. Treat employees as your best customers.

Keep employees involved and reduce turnover

In the war for talent, good onboarding is crucial. It guarantees a smooth integration process for new employees. As a (retail) company you want to have well-trained and loyal staff, which really contributes to your company mission. Recently the article ‘Why restaurants should rethink their training programs’ was published. This shows that the turnover in 2017 increased by 70% compared to 2016. Employee turnover has a big impact on the operation, continuity and keeping up a high level of work/service. Costs to replace an employee in hospitality can easily be € 5005 per employee.

Do you have to deal with several (worldwide) locations? More and more shops, supermarkets, hospitality, FMCG and hospitality businesses are putting the employee at the center and have more focus on recruitment, retention and development. 

How focusing on development can help you

Traditional training and work-in programs are often outdated and do not match the needs of employees who do not have a fixed desk to work on. Let go paper, send colleagues to deliver messages, make sure that information is always and easily available and that personal development is not dependent on the manager. Ask yourself these seven questions to find out if your onboarding program is successful and follow in the footsteps of organizations such as Ahold, Bugaboo, Miss EtamHunkemöllerHeinekenPepsicoRituals and Nutricia!

Onboard large numbers of employees in an interactive way. Thanks to the scalability of the Appical platform, it is also possible to onboard colleagues in different countries! Is there a lot of turnover within a certain period? Guarantee valuable feedback from former colleagues. Request a demo.

Try Appical 'the onboarding app'

Ideally, onboarding new hires at an organization should be a strategic process and should last at least one year to ensure high retention, say staffing and HR experts. However many companies approach onboarding as something that stops “when all paperwork is signed and the employee’s first day is complete”.

Newly hired employees are 58 percent more likely to still be at the company three years later if they had completed a structured onboarding process.

Aberdeen Group's study found:

  • 66 percent of companies with onboarding programs claimed a higher rate of successful assimilation of new hires into the company culture

  • 62 percent had higher time-to-productivity ratios

  • 54 percent reported higher employee engagement

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FREE DOWNLOAD: ROI Of Recruitment And Onboarding

When it comes to talent acquisition, most HR and recruitment teams are measured by the twin metrics of cost per hire and time per hire. The key measure for recruitment success is usually considered to be quality of hire, but most organizations find this hard to quantify. Is it the length of time someone stays with you, or how productive they become within a certain period? Some might prefer to look at longer-term milestones such as promotion, whilst many companies now seek to assess the influence an employee has on both their teams and the outcome of projects on which they work.

Whatever measures are used, it seems that both the cost and time of hire are increasing, and vacancies are remaining unfilled for longer. In a 2014 report, global business forecasting and analysis consultants Oxford Economics concluded that the full business cost of replacing a member of staff could be around £30,000. This included the logistical costs of recruiting and integrating a new employee as well as the cost of lost output whilst they got up to speed. This latter factor, also defined as the cost of someone being less effective until they reached optimum productivity level, accounts for over 80% of the total cost. 
Estimates from the UK usually back this up, with a figure of around £5,000 as the average cost of recruiting an employee. US figures are often a little different. In 2015 the talent acquisition software business iCIMS estimated that the cost of having a desk unfilled could be
as high as $500 a day (which translates to around £390 or €435) and that the average length of time to fill a vacancy was 44 days. Around the same time, global business insights consultancy CEB (now Gartner) found that the length of time to fill a regular vacancy had risen by over 60% since 2010.

Through the use of video, checklists, quizzes, interactive assignments or virtual reality, Appical allows you to get your new hires hit the ground running by completing all onboarding formalities and meeting the new team virtually before they even come onboard.

Across Europe, there are reports of skill shortages. Concerns over both the quality of future management pipeline and access to the skills necessary to keep the business agile regularly top the list of CEO and business leader challenges. Whichever measures we use, the costs associated with recruitment and retention are rising. For many businesses, the focus is usually on the transactional expenses of advertising, interviewing, accessing digital career sites and briefing staffing agencies. However, as we have already seen from the Oxford Economics research, the associated costs of recruitment can be very high.

More about Appical here

What is the ROI of a good onboarding programme?

As Team Appical, we work for a large number of super cool companies in various branches. When we meet potential customers, we are often asked: “What is the real result, in terms of ROI, of a good onboarding programme?" That question is not an easy one to answer. Every company is different. Still, looking at our customer base, they do have a few things in common.

To answer this question properly, we recently developed a new ROI calculator. This calculator provides insight into the savings during the four crucial stages that each new hire goes through, both in SMEs as well as multinationals.

The key to succes

Putting your employees first is the key to successful, involved employees. This sounds simple, but in practice, it often isn’t. It is important to provide new hires a great experience, so that they start their new job without any problems and get a real ‘wow!’ feeling. In the recruitment phase, candidates are promised the world, because you want them to come work for you. But then, the new hires fall into the famous black hole. A pitiful introduction, day two months after your first working day, boring information on the Intranet, or worse still: a bulky manual for new employees. In which four phases of the employee journey can you save time as a HR employee by setting up a good onboarding programme?


Preboarding, or starting the introduction as soon as the contract is signed, offers you the golden opportunity to keep that euphoria of a new job alive for longer. In that phase, just after signing, new hires often have questions and doubts. These are only discussed in the first few weeks of work. And that is a shame! Answering their questions, making them feel welcome and removing their doubts, is a good first step to improve the dialogue and keep them enthusiastic.

HR is already working on the required paperwork in the preboarding phase, Such as employment contracts, tax forms, certificates of conduct and company codes. In addition, there are also lots of logistic issues that needs to be sorted, such as passes, parking and staff numbers.

This costs HR around 5 hours in this phase. Your new employee needs an average of 16 hours to read the documents and arrange other matters.

The first day of work

Usually, new employees only get to see their new working environment and meet new colleagues on their first day of work. The introduction period comprises the first few weeks in the office, a lot of personal attention, and the obligatory tour of the building. Questions such as: ‘Where is the coffee machine?’, ‘What is the printer number?’, ‘How can I book a meeting room?’ are usually at the top of the list. Usually, HR will appoint a colleague (buddy) to show new hires the ropes. Although it can be quite a challenge for a new employee to familiarise yourself with the office, your new duties and new colleagues, it is as important and stressful for managers. To ensure that an employee is a successful and productive addition to the company team, it is crucial that the new employee feels at home from day 1, feels part of the team.

On average, a new employee spends around 4 hours on the tour and a welcome session with a senior manager, but more is also possible.

Onboarding in the organisation

Onboarding is a broader term than introduction period, and focuses on shortening the time needed by the new employee to achieved the minimum expected level of productivity. The onboarding period starts on the first day and it can last between three months and one year, depending on the complexity of the function.

When onboarding starts (on the first working day), a new employee spends around 4 hours looking for the necessary information. In more complex environments, such as the professional service sector, this can be up to 20 hours or more.


As a manager, you have to ensure that you pick up all relevant insights and points for improvement ‘along the way’, instead of waiting until the annual evaluation review. We see that employees, in an onboarding programme of three months, spend around 2 hours on giving feedback. Because it is done that way… Nearly all our customers indicate that the feedback they receive from new employees is very valuable. New hires look at the ingrained company processes with fresh eyes, as opposed to the colleagues who have been there for years. They will look at the processes and think: Well, that’s how it’s done here… New hires are not burdened with this occupational blindness yet, so use their fresh eyes and request honest feedback. In their onboarding app, organisations such as Hunkemöller and Coolblue, for example, actively ask for critical feedback from new hires, and use this feedback to tackle their processes.

Functional onboarden as a new phase

Onboarding not only involves multiple departments and colleagues, such as recruitment and HR, but also multiple layers within an organisation. Dr John Sullivan outlines the five layers of onboarding at an organisational level, location level and individual level. We see that various high-performing organisations, after the regular onboarding programme, focus on functional onboarding as a new phase.

  • Organisational level
    This includes recruitment and organisation-wide standards and values.
  • Location level
    This includes information and issues in respect of the country/region and the location where the new hire will be working.
  • Departmental level
    This relates to the department where they will be working.
  • Team/functional level
    This includes the team and the position of the new employee.
  • Individual level
    This includes issues on a team level which relate to the unique and diverse needs of this person.

Onboarding looks different for the various function groups within a company. Suppose you regularly hire new sales staff, software developers, sales representatives and technicians. Although they all have different jobs, they need to be offered a basic introduction that includes information about, for example, the company where they will be working and the work location in particular. Once they have received this information, it is time for a functional training, depending on their role. This means that their onboarding has to continue.

This is the biggest challenge of a successful onboarding programme. How do you create a consistent basis, with common denominators where possible and differences where necessary?

On average, functional onboarding costs 11 hours per employee. This does not include job-specific (group) trainings.

What advantages does a good onboarding programme have for your company?

Many HR departments are thinking about onboarding. Eventually, the question always is: what is in it for us? If you want to make a business case, to convince the board for example, you can use our ROI calculator to see what the advantages are of a good onboarding programme. This calculator is already filled with average values, coming from (international) surveys and from experience of our customers. All these variables can be altered.

6 reasons why offboarding is important

Most companies realise the value of onboarding new employees. They focus on getting individuals more settled in their roles and productive earlier. They know the costs of employee attrition and of having underperforming teams should positions remain open for too long or are filled with a bad hire. And they are only too aware of the importance of a positive external reputation - showing them as a great place to work - so make sure that everyone joining has a positive experience. But what about when an employee wants to leave? The offboarding stage..

Do we show them the exit quickly, giving them a negative impression of the type of business we are? Are we too concerned that their dissatisfaction may influence otherwise settled employees and try to move them on too fast? And what about the important recommendations and referrals we rely on to find the talent for those hard-to-fill jobs? Leaving ex-employees with a bad memory can cost us in the long run.

More businesses now realise the value in keeping a strong relationship with ex-employees, which is why the process known as off-boarding – literally the reverse of on-boarding, where we give people leaving a positive experience and smooth transition out of the business – has been gaining importance on the corporate agenda. Maybe slowly at first, with 2015 research from Aberdeen Consulting showing only 29% of organisations having an offboarding programme, but more recently the need for a smooth exit has gained traction.

And there are strong business reasons why we need effective offboarding…

1. Ex-employees are ambassadors and advocates 

Their experience of working for us will appear in online review sites and be shared amongst their networks. They are our ambassadors for employer branding. A positive review from someone who has left can be a powerful tool when attracting new people to join. Ex-employees can recommend people to work for us – or dissuade them if we give them a poor experience. When we are struggling to fill key positions their networks are important and can give us exposure to a wider talent pool.

2. Ex-employees are customers too

We don’t only want to retain their loyalty as an employer – we need their custom also! If our products and/or services are customer facing we want ex-employees to remain as customers, and to keep recommending us to other potential customers.

3. Power of an alumni network

People who have worked for us are part of a wider community of those with connections to the business. We need to think of their potential as conduits of business messaging and make sure they still receive company and product information, positive trading updates and employer brand content. We need to keep them informed and encourage them to be part of our sharing network.

4. They are part of our knowledge network

It’s easy to forget that those leaving the business have knowledge of our market and industry that we want to keep in touch with. New employees may not have the necessary experience to step fully into the roles that have been vacated, so alumni who do not move straight to another role can play an important part as mentors, trainers and coaches.

5. They can work for us again

In a business climate where we find ourselves constantly hiring for new roles that have no precedent, and require skills we haven’t recruited before, our alumni network can help connect us with people we might not otherwise be able to reach, and can come back and work for us again if they have moved on and developed new skills. The concept of ‘boomerang hires’ – where we re-hire people who have worked for us before – is buoyant in the US but less popular in Europe. That is set to change and maintaining good alumni relations will be crucial.

6. The growing gig economy

Not everyone who leaves us will go on to another permanent job. Some will become freelancers, consultants and gig-workers. As the need for a contingent workforce grows, with people able to work on a contract or project basis providing much needed skill enhancement, it will be the alumni network that can provide access to talent who can join and seamlessly integrate.

The Employee Journey is the common denominator. Do you want to know more about the other 3 stages within the employee journey as well? You can read this in the blog: a good employee journey contributes to employer branding.

Open lines of communication

With so many business positives arising from maintaining strong relationships with ex-employees, it is vital that offboarding is done well. This means creating a positive experience – focusing on what has gone well rather than what hasn’t – making sure the exit paperwork and contractual formalities are all dealt with efficiently, and having open lines of communication to be able to share information and receive recommendations.

The people who truly understand a company – particularly its values, culture and the way it goes about its business – are the people who have already worked there. When this understanding is shared positively and readily, it can only enhance business success.

Employee Experience more important than ever!

You can't avoid the topic: employee experience and trends like employer branding, employee journey, candidate experience and employee centric. It is clear that the employee is central in 2018.

- The first blog in a diptych about Employee Experience & the Employee Journey -

The year of the employee. This means that we as an organization must take good care of our own employees. As an Employer Branding Specialist, I am therefore regularly present at events with these themes. For example, I was present at the event Inspiration for Employee Experience on January 23rd, the first event in the Netherlands focusing on the so-called ‘EX’. That is why I would like to share my expectations for the future with you. At the start of next month, we will also map out the most important trends for 2018 in the area of the entire employee journey.

‘For years, marketing has been about the Customer Experience, the brand and the product of the company. 2018 is the year of the Employee Experience.’

Challenges for HR

Employee Experience is the new challenge for HR. 88% of HR managers worldwide see Employee Experience grow in importance in the coming years (survey KennedyFitch, 2017) via Happy People Better Business. And that makes sense, because happy employees ensure happy customers.

When I received a LinkedIn invitation from Heleen Mes to become a member of the Employee Experience Netherlands / Belgium group during the middle of last year, I found it cool to see that more and more attention is being paid to the journey that every new employee has to make and what is important to facilitate as an employer. Upcoming time I am going to talk with Appical colleagues and customers to map their employee journey and I will look for best practices for their biggest challenges in this area.

7 reasons to start with employee experience

  • Our organization has difficulty attracting talent.
  • We spend a lot of time onboarding new employees and would like to use an interactive platform to make this more fun and easy for both the new hire and the manager.
  • We are working on our ambassadorship internally, but this is difficult because we do not have a specific story. Each department does this in its own way. Often the responsibility for onboarding lies with the supervisor, but we want everyone to get the same ‘generic’ part (see organizational story).
  • We want to put the employee more central and encourage us to provide useful feedback from the first day or even before that.
  • We want to connect more and more online and offline. We see an increasing need here, both for young professionals and for all our other employees.
  • Certain training courses come back annually. We also want to bring this in a more interactive way than through the intranet, from static to dynamic.
  • As an organization you always have to deal with turnover. That is not bad, but we would like to secure knowledge and ensure that someone leaves us ‘happy’ and would recommend us.

Event – Inspiration for Employee Experience

Personally, I was very curious about the challenges and trends that exist among colleagues in the HR field. ABN Amro, a Dutch Banking company, talked about how employees experienced their career at the bank and how they are distinctive in this. Mars (known from many chocolate brands) talked about the integration of values as a condition to make a difference for employees and how they recognize internally, initiatives and contributions. Oracle talked about the latest technologies that can contribute in this process and JvH Gaming was named Best Managed Company 2017 and told how successful onboarding contributes to internal and external success when it comes to the employee journey. JvH Gaming has been using the Appical platform (pre- and onboarding) since July 2017 and we were therefore pleased to see that they wanted to share their experiences on their own initiative. We are very curious about what the entire employee journey looks like and how they will further professionalize this in 2018. The event ended with a ‘compliments session’ and I was happy to see how giving compliments strengthens the motivation in daily practice. The event honored its name. It was an inspiring event where sharing knowledge about the main topic employee experience was central and where you as HR manager, recruiter or marketing manager can immediately get started with!

Tips from Appical

The employee experience and what it delivers to put your employees first, have been longer under scrutiny. In case you were wondering if it was the umpteenth HR hype .. No! Companies that ignore the ‘hype’ will have difficulty getting their growth targets.

In my next blog I will tell you how good pre-, on-, and offboading contribute to your Employer Brand.

You will receive answers to the question of how you can shape your employee journey in order to recruit and retain talent. For example, asking yourself the following questions:

  • Why should I pay attention to the employee experience?
  • Why are a fair organization story and transferring your corporate culture so important?
  • What do I need to think about when I reach my target group?
  • What pain does a good pre- and onboarding process take away for HR and managers?
  • How does an onboarding process work exactly?
  • Why is it so important to organize offboarding properly?