A progressive web app supports the RWTH Aachen University Hospital in onboarding new employees

Over 100 new employees per month in the RWTH Aachen University Hospital. Progressive web app as a digital tool for onboarding new employees. Gamification approach in the app to get to know the new employer in a playful way. WordPress as a content management system for maintaining the content in the Progressive Web App.

The RWTH Aachen University Hospital is one of the largest employers in Aachen and is located in one of the largest hospital buildings in Europe. Over 8.500 employees in 36 institutes and 25 specialist clinics take care of the well-being of the patients here - and around 100 new employees are added every month in administration, medicine and nursing. In some months, for example when new trainees start in spring or autumn, this number is a lot higher.

New employees - no matter how experienced or qualified they are - must be trained via onboarding. Such an onboarding process has a major impact on the further development and productivity of new employees. It is decided whether new employees feel welcome, enjoy working and integrate well into the team. The time required for onboarding is very high, as many future employees are new to Aachen. The University Clinic RWTH Aachen operates a national recruiting, so that in addition to information about the new employer as part of the onboarding, content about the new home Aachen and about leisure activities are offered. To support onboarding, the RWTH Aachen University Hospital has so far relied on a printed pocket guide. When changes were made, however, a new print run often had to be implemented. Hence the idea of ​​implementing a digital solution to support onboarding.

giftGRÜN, the digital agency of GRÜN Software Group, has started an innovation project together with the university clinic to make it easier for new employees to get started. There were two important areas in this project: The Data protection for new employees and the Ease of use of the application.

Progressive Web App uses local storage of smartphones

As a solution giftGRÜN Progressive Web App (PWA) programmed. A progressive web app is an HTML5-based website that has numerous features that were previously reserved for native apps. A progressive web app can be easily and conveniently installed on both iOS and Android devices via the "Add-To-Homescreen". A so-called manifest file then generates the splash screen with icon known from apps on the smartphone.

An advantage of the PWA, which is particularly relevant for the solution for the RWTH Aachen University Hospital: the caching function of the so-called service workers means that content that has been accessed is also available offline. This feature is also reminiscent of native apps that do not require an internet connection. Progressive web apps consequently pursue an offline-first approach and use the local storage of smartphones. This ensures maximum data protection, as the data of all new employees at the RWTH Aachen University Hospital are only saved on their own smartphones.

Digital onboarding of new employees

If an applicant receives an acceptance from the Aachen University Clinic, they will receive a link via which the PWA can be saved and used locally on their own smartphone. No registration is required. The first time it is called up, for example, the date of the first working day can be entered. Each time the onboarding PWA is started, the PWA shows the new employee the number of days until the start in a countdown. "As a rule, 6-8 weeks pass between the acceptance and the start," says Dr. Mathias Brandstädter, press spokesman for the RWTH Aachen University Hospital. "During this time, the new employees have the opportunity to get to know their new employer."

Another highlight of the onboarding PWA at the RWTH Aachen University Hospital is the use of gamification elements that playfully encourage new employees to use. When starting the PWA, a progress bar is displayed, which of course is at 0 when started for the first time. By reading chapters within the PWA and solving associated multiple-choice questions, learning progress is increased and the progress bar grows. The learning progress is of course only saved on your own smartphone.

Even after the first day at work, the PWA is still of great benefit to the new employees. The onboarding tool provides important functions that are extremely important after the first day of work. “New employees have a very high need for information, especially at the beginning. With the PWA, you always have a phone book or a route plan with you digitally ”, Brandstädter mentions as a further benefit.

Content maintenance via WordPress

The contents of the PWA are easy and convenient to maintain for administrators at the RWTH Aachen University Hospital. The well-known content management system comes in the background WordPress used to add or change content. The digital agency giftGRÜN has created a PWA custom theme based on a layout provided by the RWTH Aachen University Hospital, which is based on the RWTH Aachen University Hospital's corporate design with high usability for the new employees. Thanks to the existing plugins, the PWA can be expanded as required. And here Brandstädter already has the first ideas, ranging from a car sharing agency to the sale of products to information from the “bulletin board”.


Employees at the University Hospital Aachen


new employees per month


Digital onboarding tool

"The Progressive Web App is the ideal tool for our digital onboarding tool. The programming effort for native iOS and Android apps would have been significantly higher. And every change would have had to be made in two systems. The PWA is the ideal compromise, both in terms of functionality for the user and for us in terms of maintenance via the WordPress backend. "

- Dr. Mathias Brandstädter, Press Spokesman / Head of Corporate Communication & Marketing, University Hospital RWTH Aachen (AöR)

Key facts

Progressive Web App

One app for all systems - progressive web apps use the local storage of smartphones.


The content of the Progressive Web App is created and edited using the WordPress content management system.

Privacy policy

The data protection of the new employees is guaranteed, as all PWA data is stored locally on your own smartphone.


The use of gamification elements playfully encourages new employees to use the onboarding PWA.

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