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SuccessFactors Onboarding 2.0 vs. Onboarding 1.0 and the Power of Integrated Solutions


How important is it to implement a solid and comprehensive onboarding process for your new employees?

Research by the Brandon Hall Group found that organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82 percent and productivity by over 70 percent [1].

Talent scarcity and high turnover are among the biggest challenges organizations will face in 2022, so it’s important to engage and retain employees from day one. A strong employee onboarding process can help you accomplish that, while also helping new hires ramp faster, so they can be productive sooner.

For over a decade, SAP SuccessFactors has been helping its customers to carry out best practice onboarding processes through its integrated solutions. In 2022, SAP SuccessFactors customers now have access to the new Onboarding module, known as next generation onboarding, or Onboarding 2.0, which fully integrates this module with the rest of the Human Experience Management (HXM) platform suite.

Feature Comparison

Onboarding 1.0 can work as a standalone module and requires several parallel processes to take place to connect with other modules in the HXM suite. Onboarding 2.0 was designed to focus on data awareness, a single platform approach, and simple and intuitive experiences for all users involved, from the process administrator, to the talent acquisition team, to the new employee. Onboarding 2.0 is based on SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central, but will provide significant benefit whether you currently have Employee Central, SAP HR, or a third-party HRIS.

The big difference between Onboarding 1.0 and Onboarding 2.0 is that with 1.0 as a standalone module that must be integrated with the rest of the HXM suite, it takes more effort to create intelligent and integrated solutions that fully meet leading practice requirements. As an independent module with its own users, permissions, and provisioning service, 1.0 requires integration technology to sync with and pass date to and from other modules with significant logic applied to meet requests by the business areas. This impacts both the cost and duration of initial implementation, as well as ongoing maintenance efforts. Fully integrated with HXM, 2.0 significantly improves both via a single platform and tool set to manage this module like the other modules of SAP SuccessFactors HXM platform.

For example, 2.0 trades the current external portal for onboardees for new hire-specific access and content on HXM’s employee before day one, if desired. Employers can now provide new employees with company-specific experiences, leveraging existing HXM tools such as home page tiles, the Business Rules engine, and Admin Center management of users, permissions, emails, and other aspects of configuration. New features, such as SAP SuccessFactors e-Signature (click to sign), have also been integrated. As such, the greatest benefit for customers who adopt Onboarding 2.0 will be the elimination of the current required duplicate configuration.

The table below compares the two versions in terms of the most important features and their behavior in both modules.

Some of the New Features

Now that we’ve reviewed a general comparison of the two versions, let’s take a look at some features and what can be done with Onboarding 2.0.

Home Page

  • A home page framework supports the most common use cases of the Employee Portal.
  • The home page will include pertinent information for the Hiring Manager (or other relevant roles).
  • The homepage will guide the new hire (image below) through the onboarding process.

Onboarding Dashboard

  • The dashboard is a Unified User Interface (same as used in Employee Central and all other HXM modules).
  • More flexibility in task assignment via Role-Based Permissions (RBP) is available.
  • You can track all activities via a single dashboard.

Recruit-to-Hire Data Mapping

  • A new, integrated mapping tool will be provided.

Email Services

  • The Email Services framework enables timely engagement.
  • The new UI framework is also based on Fiori, meaning it is the same as the whole HXM platform solution.

Mobile UI

  • A responsive UI (runs on desktops, tables, smartphones) is available.

Process Variant Manager

  • A default onboarding process is given.
  • Users can copy existing processes and adjust to business needs.

Leading Practice from a Whole-Process Perspective

The relevance of a smart onboarding process is all about the experience. SAP found that 80% of new employees decide whether or not to stay with a company within the first six months [2]. Companies that invest in creating high-quality onboarding programs experience significant growth in profits and gains in employee engagement, satisfaction, and productivity compared to companies that employ a less thoughtful approach to onboarding.

Career development continues to be the leading reason people leave their jobs. Let your new team members know how important learning and development are at your organization by starting during your onboarding process.

Employees who strongly agree they have a clear plan for their professional development are 3.5 times more likely to strongly agree that their onboarding process was exceptional. The current candidate-driven market makes it more important than ever to instill a sense of belonging in employees and help them feel deeply and emotionally connected to a company and its mission.

Despite this, onboarding programs are often ineffective because companies don’t take the time to create an extended onboarding experience that sets employees up for success. The employee is given a one-day overview and not introduced to their peers, creating a feeling of isolation. The onboarding program can be sporadic and disorganized, leaving the employee confused.

Technology provides the opportunity for companies to rethink onboarding, targeting the issues discussed above, as a strategic, not administrative, activity. Six major trends occurring today will have a significant impact on your onboarding processes. We have outlined the themes and provided a few tips, best practices, and recommendations that can be implemented into your SuccessFactors Onboarding environment. These will help you combat the changes we are seeing in our economy and workforce.

Six Major Trends that Will Have a Significant Impact on Your Onboarding Process

TREND #1: The gig economy is rapidly growing.

Growth in freelance work around the world has outpaced overall employment growth. In the US, freelance workers currently represent 36% [3] of the total working population, and estimates suggest they could represent more than half of the workforce by 2027 [4]. It is important to focus on engaging, training, and equipping these external workers to support their daily activities.

Best practices to meet the needs of external workers:

  1. Provide visibility and integration for both the internal and external workers during onboarding activities.
  2. Increase compliance tracking for external workers.
  3. Customize workflows to fit external workers’ roles to increase engagement.

TREND #2: Working arrangements are becoming more diverse.

Currently, more than two-thirds of people around the world work remotely at least some of the time. In the US alone, over 4.7 million people are working remotely [5]. This forces companies to find effective ways to keep all employees connected and engaged. This effort is critical, as research shows “lack of social interaction” [6] is the largest drawback of remote work models. It is crucial that your onboarding process support a sense of collaboration and connection between new employees and their colleagues, even if these employees are not working in the same physical location.

Recommendations for increased engagement among remote workers:

  1. Provide step-by-step guides for new employees of their required tasks.
  2. Provide technologies, such as Slack or Microsoft Teams, that can facilitate connections and collaboration that will be critical for the employee’s success.
  3. Provide a consistent onboarding experience regardless of location.

TREND #3: Organizational structures are evolving.

Companies today are designing themselves for speed, agility, and adaptability, breaking down silos and reorganizing themselves around networks of teams. Gallup found that 84% of U.S. employees are “matrixed” to some extent today, working on multiple teams and possibly reporting to multiple managers [4]. Whether transitioning to work in a new team or a new role entirely, it is critical that employees have clear goal alignment and role clarity and efficient knowledge transfer, and are able to get up to speed as quickly as possible.

Tips for creating better alignment and clarity:

  1. Enable effective goal creation and management to drive performance and results.
  2. Personalize learning and development plans targeted to the employee’s specific goals and succession plans.

TREND #4: Employee well-being and purpose are being increasingly elevated.

Organizations recognize more and more that employee well-being is critical to creating a highly engaged, collaborative, and productive workforce. Technology now allows companies to integrate well-being as a topic specifically into onboarding content and process as a way to illustrate well-being as an embedded cultural value.

Recommendations for creating a mentally and emotionally healthy workforce:

  1. Create a sense of comfort and inclusion before day one by providing team members information and social support.
  2. Open lines of communication to facilitate conversation and allow for the employee to ask questions.
  3. Align the employee’s personal goals with the company’s purpose.

TREND #5: Employees are being treated as consumers.

Historically, companies have often said that employees are their most important asset, but have invested significantly less time and money in their employees than they do their customers. Today, organizations think differently, treating their current and prospective employees as customers, providing them with a true consumer-grade experience.

A critical aspect of this experience is that the technology provided at work is as engaging and enjoyable as the technology they interact with in their daily lives.

Recommendations for providing a high-quality user experience for your employees:

  1. Provide welcome messages and personalized access to relevant information for new hires.
  2. Use mobile-friendly forms and paperwork, including e-signature capability, to maximize ease of use.
  3. Enable technology like artificial intelligence and chatbots to provide additional support for questions and tasks.
  4. For your hiring managers, provide a mobile app that will provide reporting dashboards and checklists to make sure the tasks get done in a timely fashion.

TREND #6: Data and analytics are more important than ever.

As technology continues to evolve and become more important in business, the need for analytics is rapidly increasing.

In addition to collecting traditional HR data, organizations are now making great use of tools like surveys and polls to gauge employee engagement and happiness.

Recommendations for incorporating tools for better analytics:

  1. Create reports and dashboards to reflect data on onboarding activities and status, as well as insights across different areas, including turnover, retention, goal achievements, time to proficiency, recruiting costs and channels, and training efficiency. These tools allow HR to focus on the strategic side of onboarding while also being able to monitor and improve the onboarding process.
  2. Incorporate surveys and 360-degree feedback into the onboarding process.

If you are wondering whether it is worth implementing Onboarding 1.0 or Onboarding 2.0, or even migrating to

Onboarding 2.0, focus on the experience of those involved.

Because Onboarding 2.0 is a more integrated solution, it can improve speed, agility, and efficiency to address the trends mentioned above and provide the high-quality experience that your new hires expect. Also consider that a new integrated reporting solution in Onboarding 2.0 enables users to create reports with cross- information, which is not possible in version 1.0. These benefits help make Onboarding 2.0 the natural choice for a successful experience.

With the new version, less effort is needed to keep the module working. SAP’s approach to integrating the platform was purposely designed for this moment. Note that there are few new features in Onboarding 2.0. A well-designed process, therefore, would present little difference to end users (new employee, hiring manager).


As we head into 2022, strategic employee onboarding continues to be a key focus for many organizations. Companies that invest in improving the onboarding experience are likely to see key benefits, such as increased engagement levels, decreased time to proficiency, and decreased turnover.

But the most innovative companies understand that building an effective onboarding program is an iterative and ongoing process. Whether you’re just starting out with your program, or you’re a seasoned veteran, SuccessFactors Onboarding 2.0 can support your current goals and evolve as you do.

It is essential to consider user experiences and the impressions left by the tools used in the onboarding process. The focus should not only on be on what we need from new employees, but also on how we can help support their success from day one.

If you are interested in a getting a better understanding of SuccessFactors Onboarding 2.0 and how it can support your organization, GP Strategies® offers a Gap Analysis for Onboarding 2.0. This provides you with a specific set of actionable recommendations for migrating to or implementing Onboarding 2.0.

Learn more about the Gap Analysis for Onboarding 2.0 and start your journey to a better Onboarding experience.


  1. 10 Employee Onboarding Statistics you Must Know in 2022
  2. SAP Product Brochure – Onboarding
  3. The Future of Employment – 30 Telling Gig Economy Statistics
  4.  Onboarding in the Digital Age and the Increasing Role of Technology in Shaping Employee Experiences
  5. Remote Work Statistics: Shifting Norms and Expectations
  6. 7 Remote Work Trends that Companies Can’t Overlook

About GP Strategies

Founded in 1966, GP Strategies delivers performance improvement programs that strategically align with your unique business objectives and differentiate your global workforce, leaders, and salespeople to ensure business excellence. Our sole focus is performance improvement, and everything we do, from technical and compliance training to process improvement and human capital technology integration, is focused on helping your organization deliver meaningful results. Visit gpstrategies.com for more information.

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