Engage new hires: Apple onboarding for small- and medium-sized businesses

Studies show that a smooth onboarding process helps with employee retention, satisfaction and productivity. But in an increasingly hybrid work world, this can be a challenge.

Learn how small-to-medium-sized businesses can gain an edge with a streamlined and customized onboarding process for new hires.

May 18 2022 by

Haddayr Copley-Woods

Small business cafe owner creates a custom onboarding process for new hires with an iPad and Jamf.

The employer-employee relationship has changed

“Workers view the employer-employee relationship through a different lens than they once did,” authors of Gallup's State of the American Workplace study argue. “Employees are less inclined to stay with a job simply because it provides them with a paycheck.... Employees are consumers of the workplace. They are drawn to brands they can connect with. And they stick with — even advocate for — brands that honor their promises.”

And, according to the study, employees begin forming opinions about the organization from day one. In fact, those who feel their onboarding experience was less than optimal feel and show less engagement with their employers.

This is why it’s vital for small- and medium-sized businesses to consider the employee experience from day one.

Retain and engage employees with intuitive onboarding

According to the same study, only 12% of employees strongly agree their organization does a great job of onboarding new employees. Considering that multiple studies have shown that a smooth and effective onboarding process can increase goodwill, retention and productivity, this is an area where small- and medium-sized businesses have the opportunity to really outshine the competition.

Paying close attention to and customizing the onboarding experience can give your organization a competitive edge.

According to Glassdoor, organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. Companies that struggle with onboarding can lose the confidence of their candidates and are more likely to lose these individuals in the first year.

Many small- and medium-sized businesses are embracing a hybrid model

According to the Pew Research Center, fully 76% of remote workers who also have a workplace available to them say a major reason why they are currently teleworking all or most of the time is that they prefer working from home. This has changed from 2020 when 60% of them cited preference over other considerations, such as exposure to the coronavirus.

Offering remote work as an option is an excellent way for small-to-medium-sized companies to compete for employees while saving money on facilities costs.

For those small and medium-sized businesses that offer remote-capable jobs, 57% of surveyed small business owners believe that remote work options are here to stay.

However, many jobs are not possible to perform completely from home, and some workers prefer to come into the office at least a few days a week. Gallup’s recent poll on the future of hybrid work tells employers that “we're not returning to the same workplace we left. And employees with the ability to work remotely are largely anticipating a hybrid office environment going forward.”

That’s why, according to getapp.com, despite the inherent challenges, many small businesses are embracing a hybrid model.

Onboarding has become increasingly complex

With a mixture of on-site and remote workers at any given point, small- and medium-sized businesses have increased their software capabilities with communication apps like Slack or Zoom to connect all employees — no matter where they are working.

More apps and more workflows mean more onboarding preparation work to create an experience that truly impresses and retains workers.

Fortunately, successful onboarding in a complex small-business environment is possible. In fact, with the right tools, small businesses can make complex onboarding feel easy.

First, onboard with Apple

Increasingly, employees given the choice prefer Apple. They cite ease of use, reliability and increased productivity.

And more and more, hybrid models of work are making small business owners consider Apple, both due to the lower overall cost of owning Apple devices and the relative stability and security of the platform — wherever their employees work.

Offer remote, zero-touch onboarding with Apple Business Manager

Now that most onboarding at many companies will include remote options, instituting a zero-touch deployment strategy makes the most sense. Employees on-site can have an identical onboarding experience.

Make sure that your onboarding pre-load includes training, communication information and access to company resources.

Apple Business Manager — a free service from Apple — can help you to create a company-wide zero-touch device deployment strategy, which is the first step toward a smooth onboarding process. When a new hire powers on for the first time, regardless of the employee's location, Apple Business Manager tells the Apple device to automatically enroll into the organization’s mobile device management (MDM) solution.

Partner with a strong Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution

Apple Business Manager, when paired with a management plan like the Jamf Business plan or Jamf Fundamentals plan, allows organizations to be fully in charge of the setup and management of an employee's Apple ID.

Before the employee even walks in the door or sits down in their home office, your organization can configure settings and enrollment customization through their MDM provider. Ensure that you don’t miss anything for this important first impression. With the right configuration of custom profiles and app packages, use your MDM solution for an individualized new employee experience.

Remember to include HR in these settings! While employees always need access to productivity tools, an introduction video, tutorials, or access to other resources is always helpful.

Ensure a secure connection and solid device protection

From day one, ensure that your new employee has a secure and trouble-free way to access everything they need to do their new job — and nothing they don’t. Consider a zero-trust encrypted connection that avoids complex VPN settings (and multiple passwords) and that just works. Your MDM provider might be able to supply you with this service or partner with an IdP to ensure single sign-on and password sync with identity-based access with common vendors such as Okta or Azure. Along with strong malware protection and other security protections, you’ll set up a new hire safely and securely while offering a simple and easy-to-use user experience.


Send shrink-wrapped Apple devices directly to employees, whether in the office or working remotely. If you’ve set up the experience well, the device will enroll your new hire into management automatically. Based on configurations you control, the employee will go through a guided experience that not only gets them up to speed on HR details, accessing benefits, and training documentation but also gives them all the productivity apps they need to dive into their new jobs right away.

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