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Digital onboarding: what is it and how does it work?

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TrustCloud | Digital onboarding: what is it and how does it work?

Digital onboarding, also known as digital integration or induction, refers to the process of integrating a new employee or customer into an organization, product, or service using digital and technological means.


ypically, the process extends from the time a person first contacts the company until they actually become a customer or employee. It involves the use of online tools and platforms to make it easier for individuals to become familiar with and adapt to their new environment. 

Identification, document signing, and KYC 

Technology provides companies, banks, and fintechs with a range of solutions that streamline what were traditionally slow and complex procedures within user and worker onboarding. 

  • Document verification: In this phase, the documents provided by the new employee or client are reviewed and validated. This may include the verification of official identification, such as a passport, driver’s license, or national ID card.  The most advanced solutions integrate the analysis of an identity document with a selfie and proof of life, guaranteeing the authenticity and validity of the identity provided. In general terms, this would be the methodology: 
  1. The solution captures the image of the ID document, such as a passport or driver’s license, using optical character recognition (OCR) and image processing algorithms to extract the relevant data.
  2. A selfie is taken, and the facial features are analyzed and compared with those of the identity document, using facial recognition algorithms.
  3. The user is asked to perform a specific action as part of a proof of life, such as blinking, smiling, or moving their head (active proof of life). Sometimes, the proof of life is applied during identification, without the user needing to do anything (passive proof of life). 
  4. Finally, the solution compares the results of these stages and, if all matches are satisfactory, confirms that the user is who they claim to be and has successfully passed the document verification process. This combination of techniques provides an additional level of security in the identity verification process, ensuring not only the validity of the document but also the physical presence of the individual in real time.
  • Biometric identification: Biometric identification involves using physical traits or unique characteristics of the individual to verify their identity in one of the phases of digital onboarding. This may include fingerprints, facial recognition, iris scanning, and other methods. The technology employed analyzes and compares these data with previously recorded ones, ensuring that the person undergoing the onboarding process is the same as verified through their features.
  • KYC (Know Your Customer): KYC processes involve gathering additional information about the customer, such as address, financial history, and other relevant details. This information is cross-checked with databases and public records to ensure that the customer complies with legal and regulatory requirements set by the industry and relevant authorities. Conducting diligent KYC is essential to combat fraud and money laundering and is a good starting point for establishing relationships. There are also specific processes for businesses: KYB or Know Your Business. 

The efficient and rigorous execution of these procedures ensures the safety and authenticity of the person being integrated. 

Employee onboarding 

For employees, providing access to resources, information and training through digital platforms is also part of onboarding. From internal portals, learning management systems, online training videos, electronic documents, among other resources, the company makes it easy for the new collaborator to have a smooth transition. 

To carry out effective integration, it’s advisable not to neglect any stage, from contract signing to the first day of work. Successfully completing employee onboarding brings many advantages: 

  • Alignment with company culture and values: Effective onboarding enables new employees to understand and embrace the organization’s culture, mission, and values from the very beginning, making it easier for them to integrate into the team and identify with the organization’s goals. 
  • Swift productivity: When structured well, the process provides employees with the information and tools they need to contribute productively to their roles from day one, reducing the time they spend catching up. 
  • Improved staff retention: Employees who have a positive onboarding experience are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs and stay with the company for the long term. This reduces the costs associated with employee turnover and the need to rehire and train new ones. 
  • Boosts engagement and motivation: A well-designed onboarding process shows the new employee that the organization wants them to succeed and grow. This can increase their level of engagement, motivation, and sense of belonging. 
  • Shorter learning curve: New employees can learn their jobs and how the company works more quickly if they have the right guidance and access to the right resources and tools. 
  • Enhances communication and collaboration: Onboarding establishes effective communication channels between the new employee and their team, facilitating collaboration and teamwork. 
  • Regulatory compliance: Well-structured onboarding ensures that employees understand and comply with the organization’s policies, regulations, and procedures, reducing legal risks and compliance gaps. 
  • Increases customer satisfaction: When employees are properly informed and trained and feel that their digital identification process has been solidly completed, they trust the company that welcomes them and are better able to provide quality service and meet customer needs. 

Client onboarding 

In addition to a robust identification procedure, digital customer onboarding can include interactive tutorials, digital guides, instructional videos, and other resources accessible through electronic devices. Perfecting it brings great benefits to both the company and the new user. 

  • Enhanced customer experience: It creates a positive experience from the outset, contributing to a positive perception of the brand. 
  • Reduced friction when getting started: Digital onboarding facilitates the customer’s transition to the effective use of the product or service, reducing the learning curve and potential obstacles that may arise during adoption. 
  • Higher retention: Customers who feel comfortable and well-informed during their onboarding (for example, during an account opening at a bank) are more likely to continue using and renewing their subscription or purchase, contributing to higher retention and loyalty to the brand. 
  • Personalization and adaptability: Digital onboarding processes can be tailored to provide a more personalized and relevant experience. 
  • Effective monitoring and tracking: Digital solutions allow companies to track and analyze the customer’s progress during onboarding, providing valuable information about areas for improvement and optimization opportunities. 
  • Facilitates gathering feedback: Digital onboarding may include surveys or feedback forms that allow the company to gather valuable information about the customer’s experience and areas that may need improvement. 

The combination of advanced technologies, such as document verification and biometric identification, along with the incorporation of interactive and personalized elements, redefines how individuals familiarize themselves and adapt to a new environment. This process not only ensures secure identity verifications but also translates into tangible benefits for companies, such as increased productivity, talent retention, and customer satisfaction. As the digital landscape evolves, digital onboarding will continue to be a determining factor in success, regulatory compliance, and the cohesion of teams and communities both in the workplace and the commercial world. 

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