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Looking to improve the new hire experience, Epic set a goal to make it as seamless and engaging as possible, striving to connect new hires while saving time by automating processes.

As most of their efforts concentrate on campus recruitment, many new employees are hired four to twelve months before starting. The challenge? Keeping them excited and engaged about their future career at Epic.

“The vast majority of the hires we have in a calendar year are entry-level and with that, we focus pretty heavily on campus recruitment efforts. So in the fall of the 2021 semester, we attended around 185 campus recruitment events. It’s a huge initiative for us.”

Jeff Sonntag
Recruiter and Recruiting Systems Administrator at Epic

About Epic

Founded in 1979 by a software developer, Epic Systems is a healthcare software company that has been continually innovating and breaking the mold for patient care worldwide over the past four decades. Their organization is still run by software developers, with a yearly growth of 15 to 20 percent in the past ten years.

Epic develops electronic medical record software, with 75 percent of the US population having a patient record in their software. Being a tech company with headquarters in Wisconsin, they constantly compete for talent with Silicon Valley companies and look for new ways to engage their latest hires.

The Epic Challenge

So, what was the turning point for Epic? Jeff Sonntag explained that a presentation from a New York Times bestselling author inspired their decision to overhaul onboarding.

Chip Heath explained in a talk on “The Power of Moments” that a new hire’s first day at work is a critical transition. Epic decided it was time to provide their new joiners with a personalized onboarding experience that would decrease stress levels during that period and turn it into an enriching first moment at their new job.

Several changes were required once we looked into their process. With many new hires signing their contracts months before their actual start date, it was critical for Epic to engage them throughout the entire pre-onboarding period. Their old ways weren’t working and they needed a fresh approach to effectively nurture those relationships and make the whole experience much friendlier and unforgettable.

“Given we’re hiring our staff so far before their start date, we do a lot to try and keep them engaged. And prior to implementing Avature, we were using a Facebook group to help promote networking with new staff. That created some challenges for us, both from a branding standpoint as well as moderation.”

Jeff Sonntag
Recruiter and Recruiting Systems Administrator at Epic

Epic was also facing outdated processes when it came to communication methods. They sent documents via snail mail and fielded many emails requesting information on everything from benefits to how the relocation process worked. These archaic processes resulted in a significant burden on their team.

At this point, Epic had already been working with Avature to improve their recruitment process, implementing Avature ATS and CRM with excellent results. It was a no-brainer to collaborate on their new onboarding experience.

“Basically, if there’s a new problem that we’re faced with, we first say “Can we put it in Avature?” And that’s sort of the first question that we always ask our team when we sit down to figure out and solve a new problem.”

Maria Szychlinski
Recruiter and Recruiting Systems Project Manager at Epic

An Epic Approach to New Hire Onboarding

Avature Onboard helped Epic tackle the challenge of engaging new hires and providing them with a unique candidate experience in several ways. By leveraging Avature workflows and scheduled actions, they can send automated newsletters full of inspiring content that give their new hires insights into life at Epic. It requires no real-time input from recruiters, who benefit from automation that cultivates relationships with new hires.

“So, we use Avature for everything. And we feel that the workflows are so powerful because it allows you to systemize something that maybe you were putting in a spreadsheet or had on an info path form.”

Maria Szychlinski
Recruiter and Recruiting Systems Project Manager at Epic

Another step they’ve taken to drive engagement is the implementation of Avature DNA. To create a professional networking space for new cohorts, the employee hub can be moderated without requiring maintenance. Groups are created for each new start class, with quick links embedded for resources within the organization and locally.

“We ended up implementing Avature’s DNA solution to allow our staff to have a centralized, professional networking tool available from Avature’s onboarding portal to start getting to know their future coworkers before meeting them in person.”

Jeff Sonntag
Recruiter and Recruiting Systems Administrator at Epic

In addition to DNA, Epic enhanced the experience for new cohorts by leveraging the Avature onboarding portal. They provide new employees with all the information they might need, such as the benefits they’ll be eligible for and their upcoming training program. It’s tailored to each new joiner, allowing them to complete a series of steps, including signing relocation agreements and confidentiality notices.

Their onboarding portal is continuously updated, partially based on the new hires’ feedback. They collect feedback on the onboarding process and portal to improve the experience; their goal is to achieve a process that accurately reflects their recruitment process and sets the bar just as high.

“One way that we work to stand out is through our recruitment process. Avature has helped us make it personalized, seamless and also fast.”

Jeff Sonntag
Recruiter and Recruiting Systems Administrator at Epic

With many future employees moving to Wisconsin to start at Epic, relocation is essential in the onboarding journey. As such, they’ve also built a relocation portal within their onboarding one, tailored to showcase a new hire’s relocation package. A process that used to involve endless emails is now centralized in one place, where joiners can find resources, FAQs, forms and more, saving the HR department over 100 hours a year.

Epic Results With Avature Onboard

Epic’s new approach to new hire onboarding helped them better engage with new hires and provide them with a meaningful experience. It also allowed their team to save:

  • Time as they no longer have to stuff envelopes and sort through the mail.
  • Over $50,000 in stamps alone by enabling new hires to sign documents electronically on their onboarding portal.
  • Over $30,000 in materials for employee handbooks.
  • Paper, as they no longer need to print documents, handbooks, or agreements.

“Overall, I would recommend that if you don’t know where to start with improving an onboarding experience for your new hires, get feedback from them. Consider surveys or focus groups as a starting point. Figure out what went well and what could be improved and use that to help you identify areas you could make improvements on, even small ones as they’re going to significantly add up over time.”

Jeff Sonntag
Recruiter and Recruiting Systems Administrator at Epic

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