By Jeff Ryan, Managing Director for AWCape, a Platinum Sage Business Partner
Have you ever heard of someone or a colleague who left their new job within the first two months of joining? If the onboarding process is executed effectively and comprehensively, instances like these can be significantly minimized.
Onboarding new joiners is a complex process that involves multiple teams and stakeholders, including HR, IT, the new hire’s direct manager, and more. The list of tasks involved in onboarding can seem endless: piles of forms, assigning PCs and provisioning logins, providing welcome packs and or just introducing new joiners to their teams. It’s no wonder that things occasionally fall through the cracks.
To help mitigate these challenges, businesses can consider automating their onboarding process.
Best-of-breed solutions are available that can integrate with payroll and HR platforms to streamline onboarding, bringing business siloes together to deliver a more seamless experience to new joiners.
One study found that it costs employers 33% of an employee’s annual salary to hire a replacement if that worker leaves.
And, numerous studies have shown that the risk of employee turnover is highest early on in an employee’s tenure and sometimes occurs within a person’s first 45 days on the job.
By automating the onboarding process, businesses can standardise their approach, gain better visibility into the workflow, and reduce the chances of something going wrong. This, in turn, can help to drive better employee satisfaction and retention.
How to ensure a successful onboarding process
The key components of onboarding can vary depending on the company’s size, industry, and culture. However, some common elements are often included in onboarding programmes:
- Orientation: This involves introducing new employees to the company’s mission, vision, values, and culture. It can also involve providing an overview of the company’s history, products, and services.
- Training: This involves providing new employees with the knowledge and skills they need to perform their job responsibilities. This can include job-specific training as well as training on policies, procedures, and tools.
- Introduction to key team members and managers: This involves introducing new employees to their colleagues, team members, and managers. This can help them build relationships and understand their role within the organization.
- Performance feedback: This involves providing new employees with feedback on their performance and progress. This can help them identify areas where they need to improve and set goals for their development.
- Mentoring: This involves pairing new employees with a mentor who can provide guidance and support as they navigate their new role and the company’s culture.
A report from CareerBuilder found that two in five HR managers who don’t capture onboarding information electronically spend three hours or more onboarding each new employee. This time is spent manually collecting and processing onboarding information that could be automated.
Get onboarding right
To ensure a successful onboarding process, businesses should follow these best practices:
- Start early: Onboarding should begin before the employee’s start date. This can involve sending a welcome message, providing pre-orientation materials, or assigning a pre-work task.
- Make it personal: Onboarding should be tailored to the employee’s needs and preferences. This can involve asking the employee about their learning style, communication preferences, and career goals.
- Provide support: Onboarding can be overwhelming for new employees, so it’s important to provide support and resources to help them navigate the process. This can include providing a checklist, assigning a buddy or mentor, or providing access to an FAQ or knowledge base.
- Measure success: It’s important to track the success of the onboarding program and make adjustments as needed. This can involve collecting feedback from new employees, tracking their progress and performance, and monitoring retention rates.
Are you using tech to your advantage?
Technology can be a useful tool for onboarding, particularly in remote or hybrid work environments. This can include using video conferencing for virtual orientations or using a learning management system for online training. By moving from a manual process to a digital onboarding solution, businesses can offer remote and hybrid workers a consistent experience from any location, at any time.
One of the key benefits of using technology in onboarding is that it can streamline the process, making it more efficient for both the employer and the employee. By automating certain tasks, such as paperwork and training modules, employers can save time and reduce the risk of errors. In addition, removing the need for duplicate capture of applicant details makes the onboarding process less onerous for new joiners, creating a good first impression.
Moreover, technology can also help to create a more engaging and interactive onboarding experience. For example, companies can use gamification techniques to make training modules more interesting and fun for new hires. This can help to increase retention and ensure that new hires are better prepared to start their new job.
A study by Sapling HR found that the average new hire is expected to complete 54 activities during their onboarding process! So much of an old-fashioned onboarding process can feel unwelcoming for a new recruit, from awkwardly waiting for their business ID to filling out their banking details for the payroll system.
Another advantage of using technology in onboarding is that it can help to build a sense of community among new hires. For remote or hybrid workers, it can be challenging to feel connected to their new team and company culture.
By using collaboration tools and social media, employers can create opportunities for new hires to connect with their peers and get to know their colleagues. This can help to foster a sense of belonging and reduce feelings of isolation.
Administrative tasks related to hiring a new employee can be extensive, requiring the completion of various forms, data capture, and authorisations. However, the HR team doesn’t need to spend their valuable time on these mundane activities, such as chasing signatures and gathering personal information. In addition, new hires can become overwhelmed with orientation sessions and paperwork.
To address these issues, employee self-service (ESS) and automation can be implemented to streamline the process and move it from paper to digital platforms.
As a result, HR directors and team managers can shift their focus to more important tasks, instead of being bogged down by administrative duties. Furthermore, new employees can benefit from the flexibility of signing forms digitally and providing personal data at their convenience, which can save them time and provide a better onboarding experience.
Effective onboarding is critical to the success of any organisation. By providing new hires with the information and support they need to be successful in their role, companies can reduce turnover and improve productivity. While onboarding can be a challenging process, particularly in remote or hybrid work environments, there are many strategies and technologies that employers and HR managers can use to make it more effective.
Whether it’s through creating a clear onboarding process, using technology to streamline the process, or providing ongoing support and feedback, there are many ways that companies can improve their onboarding process.
By prioritising onboarding and investing in the success of new hires, companies can build a strong and talented workforce that can help drive their success in the long term.