March 21, 2024

7-Step Checklist to Improve Employee SaaS Onboarding


Here’s how to plan a super smooth employee SaaS onboarding: one that gives new hires an excellent first impression and sets them up to add value as soon as possible.

Miranda Gabbott

A great onboarding gives a new joiner everything they need to become the role holder you need. 

Introducing your employee to the SaaS tools they’ll be using every day is a vital part of this—yet all too often, it’s an afterthought in the onboarding checklist. New hires have to chase their managers for logins and training, creating unnecessary stress and hampering early progress. 

Here’s a 7-step checklist for a methodical employee SaaS onboarding. With a little organization and cross-team collaboration, this can become a seamless part of the joining process, which leaves your hire impressed, prepared and ready to take a running jump at their new role. 

Why a proper SaaS onboarding is important 

There’s a few key benefits to giving a new employee a structured and thoughtful onboarding to the tools they’ll be using. It… 

  • Ensures the role holder has everything they need to do the job. 
  • Welcomes them into the team, demonstrating that the company is willing to be proactive, and doesn’t expect them to chase for tools nor to pretend they already know how everything works. 
  • Saves money in the long run, since the new hire won’t ask to purchase a tool that does a similar job to a tool you already pay for. 
  • Smooths team collaboration, because the new hire’s manager or coworkers won’t have to spend unexpected time training them on tools. 
  • Improves security, because a structured SaaS onboarding gives you a chance to impress the significance of your company’s best practices. What’s more, a well-coordinated SaaS onboarding means your employees won’t get frustrated and decide to just share login details with each other. 
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Checklist for a great employee SaaS onboarding 

Here’s the steps to take when planning how to onboard new employees onto the tools of the trade and ensure they feel confident to use them.  

A week before onboarding day 

1. Understand what tech the team uses

The first step to providing a clear SaaS onboarding is to take stock of which tools your new hire will need access to. You should have a central log of the tools everyone in your company uses—think messaging and collaboration software as well as HR tools, email and any platform you use to track progress and targets. 

Next up, collaborate with the new hire’s soon-to-be-manager to list out their team’s core tools. The manager should also flag any specialist SaaS your new hire will require beyond this—as in the case of a marketer who is taken on to run Google Ads, for example. 

Bear in mind that many collaboration tools offer different levels of membership—a Junior Copywriter, for example, might be able to get away with ‘view only’ access to Figma, whereas a Designer would need a full or admin account. Being aware of this can help you prevent overpaying for higher usage tiers than you need. 

Pro Tip: The list of SaaS tools your team uses is a moving target. As tools evolve and team priorities change, any manual record can go out of date pretty quickly. Software-management platforms like Cledara give live insights into which SaaS tools your team is using, and how often they use them. Better still, it allows you to turn this information into a company stack as well as individual team stacks, which you can use to create a comprehensive list of which tools new hires need access to.
With Cledara, you can record your Company and Team stacks.

2. Identify access holders   

Now you’ve got a long list of tools your new teammate needs to be able to use: the company stack, the team stack and any role-specific tools. 

The next step is to figure out who has the power to grant them access to each one. Hopefully, in most cases, the point of contact will be fairly obvious, but it’s worth planning some buffer time for the odd outlying tool that seems to be owned by no one. 

In a few cases, particularly where teammates have left the company, you might need to chase your colleagues around Slack, or even reach out to the software’s Help Centre directly. 

Pro Tip: If you use a software management platform like Cledara, you’ll never again have to ask “Who has admin permissions for X?”. Cledara provides a live central log of who owns every single tool. When you onboard new employees, you can send a notification to the account holder for each tool they need, automatically.
Cledara reveals who the access holder is for every tool.

3. Purchase extra seats 

Using the list you’ve just compiled, tell every relevant account holder they’ll need to add another collaborator to the tool. 

For tools that are designed to be used by the whole company, purchasing another seat should be fairly painless. But with team-specific tools, it’s best to alert the relevant stakeholder at least a week in advance. Depending on how expensive the tool is, they may have to adjust their budget or even renegotiate the software contract to add another team member. 

During onboarding day 

4. Issue company email 

When the onboarding day finally arrives, the first step towards SaaS onboarding is to issue your new teammate with a company email address, and instructions on how to set it up. This will be the email address they use to access company software, so share it with every relevant account holder too.  

5. Discuss security best practices

Part of a successful onboarding is introducing the new hire to the company’s values and working culture—of these, the importance of IT security should be high priority. 

Consider including a short presentation on any best practices your company follows to protect its data and the data of customers, such as: 

  • Logging into accounts using 2-factor authorization 
  • Using a tool like 1Password to generate ultra secure passwords for software
  • Following other requirements to ensure your company is SOC-2 compliant, if applicable 

If your new hire logs in securely the first time they use their tools, they’re more likely to stick to this going forward—and less likely to risk using shadow IT

6. Issue all the logins 

Everyone who must grant your new hire access to a tool is aware this task is pending. On the day of your new hire’s onboarding, check back in with them and confirm they’ve done it.  

7. Check in about trainings 

After the first day of your new hire’s onboarding, make time to run through the list of tools they have access to and ask which ones, if any, they’re unsure about. Most company-wide tools will be very user friendly, but the tools their new team uses may take a degree of mastery. 

Create an environment where your new hire can admit knowledge gaps—it’s in everyone’s interests that they get what they need to feel comfortable using the company tools.

Pro Tip: It may be better to get the IT team to ask your new hire about their tech-related training needs. After all, new teammates may be reluctant to admit blind spots to an HR professional or manager they’ve recently tried to dazzle during an interview.

After onboarding day 

8. Organize trainings  

Armed with your list of which tools the new joiner would like help with, speak to their team about what relevant training looks like. “Training” might be as simple as asking a teammate to explain the file structure, or as involved as allotting time for a new hire to complete a tool-specific course. It’s worth taking this step seriously, though it’ll look different in every case. 

This is also a great opportunity to upskill current employees, who might have joined before you started devoting resources to nailing your SaaS onboarding process.  

9. Make the company’s stack visible 

Your new joiner is now a fully-fledged teammate, with tasks and responsibilities of their own. In their first weeks, there’s a good chance they’re thinking a lot about how things were done differently at their last company.

From a SaaS perspective, there may be tools they used to rely on which aren’t part of your stack. Make sure the company’s whole tech stack is visible and searchable—even the tools individual contributors may not have access to. This way, your new hire will be able to see what’s available to them, and won’t request a tool that does the same job as another one you already pay for. 

Pro Tip: Cledara creates a searchable directory of every tech tool you use. It updates automatically, and any teammate can browse it on demand.

10. Check back in 

Once your new employee has settled into their new job, drop them a message and ask how they’re finding your tech stack. As a new joiner, their fresh eyes can be useful at identifying tools that don’t serve the team as well as you thought, and will be more sensitive to inefficiencies than long-time role-holders. 

Alternatively, after some weeks, they might notice areas where purchasing another SaaS tool could increase efficiency or reduce costs.

How to onboard employees to your SaaS stack using Cledara

It’s not impossible to run a great SaaS onboarding manually—but there will be a lot of back-and-forth chasing account holders, and there will be gaps and inefficiency where your tech lists fall out of date.  

Cledara can offer a more efficient solution, which can scale with your company. Here’s how to onboard employees to your SaaS stack using Cledara: 

1. Cledara integrates directly with your HR software, so that when an employee joins, you get a notification to your Cledara account to start their SaaS onboarding flow. 

2. In your Cledara account, go to the left menu and click on Onboarding. 

3. You will see a list of employees currently involved in workflows (those with actions you need to take regarding onboarding, offboarding or access requests). Select the entry for the employee you want to onboard. 

4. Under the action column you’ll see a button that says Onboard. Click on it to launch that employee’s onboarding workflow. 

5. In the employee’s onboarding workflow, you will see the date of their onboarding, as it appears in your HR tool. Check that this is correct, and adjust it if not. 

6. Scroll down, and you’ll see they are being added to the company stack—the SaaS tools your company all has access to. Glance over this list to check that all the tools on this list are correct—if not, you can configure the company stack at any time by heading to your settings. You can deselect any tool your new hire doesn’t need access to using the tick box.

7. Scroll down, and you’ll see the new hire’s team is prepopulated from information in your HR tool. You’ll see they’re being added to the team stack—the tools their team uses as standard. Once again, you can configure the team stack at any time by heading to your settings and clicking on teams—here’s more info on that. You can deselect any tool your new hire doesn’t need access to using the tick box.

Please note:As you’ll see, next to every tool your new teammate needs to be added to, there’s some helpful information. You’ll be able to see:
  • Which teammate is in charge of granting them access
  • How long that teammate has to approve the access request
  • Whether that teammate has granted them access yet
This information is live and up-to-date.

8. Scroll even further down, and you’ll see a heading that says Additional applications. This allows you to grant your new teammate access to specialist tools outside of the team stack. If you need to do that, use the search bar to add the relevant additional application. 

9. Once you’ve sure that this is a comprehensive list of all the tools your new hire must be onboarded onto, click Submit. This will send a notification to all of the access granters, which tells them who they need to grant access to, and what date they need to do it by. 

10. You can return to this workflow at any time, to see whether your new teammate has been granted access to the tools they need to do their job. If they haven’t, you will see which teammate you need to get in touch with to ensure this happens ASAP! 

Which HR tools are compatible with Cledara? 

Cledara is compatible with most major HR platforms, including: BambooHR, CharlieHR, Hibob, Personio, AlexisHR, Altera Payroll, Breathe, Ceridian, Dayforce, ChartHop, ClayHR, Freshteam, Gusto, HR Cloud, HR Partner, Humaans, IntelliHR, JumpCloud, Justworks, Kallidus, Lano, Lucca, Namely, Nmbrs, Officient, Paychex, Paylocity, PeopleHR, Proliant, Sage HR, Sesame, Square Payroll, TriNet, UKG Pro, ADP Workforce Now, Workday and Zenefits.

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SaaS onboarding, on autopilot 

Bad onboarding experiences get a lot of hate, and rightly so. The cliché is that some tech startups advertise for “rockstar ninja employees”, but don’t invest the time or logistical effort to show them how to succeed at the role—and this includes making new hires flight for access to the tools they need.

Your company only gets one chance at a first impression
, and unfortunately most of the things that make a good onboarding experience can’t be automated: it’s about the shout out at the company all-hands, the warm greetings, the manager that makes time to go through your concerns. 

However, the SaaS side of onboarding can be automatedand will be much smoother for it. A software management tool like Cledara can ensure that when that new hire joins, any logins they need are ready and waiting, without fuss. 



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Miranda Gabbott

Miranda is a writer and content marketer with over five years’ experience writing about software, predominantly for SaaS companies such as Hotjar, Typeform and Preply. She’s interested in ethical and cultural considerations around new technologies and is currently studying for an MA in Design for Responsible AI.

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