With the increasing importance of employee experience, it's no secret that onboarding is a major paint point. According to Digitate, 1 in 5 new hires are unlikely to recommend a company due to their onboarding experience.
For employers looking to hire strong, loyal employees, onboarding success is a very important metric. As employees begin to value not just their daily work, but their workplace experiences as well, hiring managers should look to strengthen their onboarding systems.
Did you know that on average, there are 54 activities for the manual employee onboarding process?
That’s approximately 50 too many. This tedious, repetitive process that incorporates paperwork, desk setup and more is a hurdle and can severely impact first impressions.
One way to alleviate this is with the innovation of onboarding automation.
Although this is a relatively new process, it has been rapidly incorporated into major companies across various industries.
The Hurdles with Manual Onboarding
- Old-Fashioned & Outdated: Since the dawn of time, the onboarding process has been relatively unchanged. Of course, there were marginal improvements, but the idea of onboarding has stayed the same for far too long. This manual procedure disrupts workflows and uses too many resources. In the case of medium to large companies, this process also requires many resources, both financially and through labor. This is particularly true in the case of HR professionals who could be putting effort elsewhere to improve the workforce productivity.
- Lethargic: As earlier mentioned, it takes about 54 different activities for the employee onboarding process. This fatiguing process will sour the tastes of the company for the new employees and can even worsen employee retention. Make sure that the process is long enough for them to integrate well without overwhelming them from the get-go.
- Chaotic: The manual onboarding process requires time, effort, and coordination from numerous departments such as IT, HR, and Accounting. From the provisioning of different enterprise suites to equipment distribution, depending on different departments to provide for new employees can be daunting. There are possibilities that the employee doesn’t get the right tools, or worse, they don’t get anything at all and are left stranded, leaving them with a poor experience but also delaying any possible work they could’ve been doing.
Although there are arguments to be made with manual onboarding like the personalization factor, and the ability to showcase the company culture effectively, doing so with an automated system not only proves to the employees that the company cares, but also represents the company culture and atmosphere.
What is Onboarding Automation?
Essentially, onboarding automation is using technology to automate the onboarding process to streamline the entire process. This means an automation software, or suite of several software, will be used to deploy and execute a set of predetermined events for new hires.
This automation can tackle most if not all processes required in the traditional onboarding procedure. This can include:
- Candidate recruitment
- Hiring decisions
- Sending emails
- Paperwork, documentation, and other administrative duties
- Technology allocation
- Setting up predetermined introductory sessions
- Onboarding feedback (i.e., surveys)
- And much more
Overall, using an onboarding tool improves the hiring process and creates a seamless experience that will leave a lasting impression and can improve retention rates.
Key Benefits of Onboarding Automation
Apart from the reduced stress on various departments including IT and HR, onboarding automation can help with employee engagement, retention, increase efficiency and reduce errors.
Engagement & Retention
The traditional hiring process can be complex, confusing, and cluttered. This means employees usually have questions that are left unanswered. According to Digitate, 40% of new hires say getting a response from HR about their question takes too long. Thus, automating this process will alleviate some HR duties and let them help the new hires simplify the onboarding process.
Furthermore, when spending large amounts of money to acquire new talent, retention is vital to sustain growth. And with better onboarding experiences, employees are much more likely to remain committed with the company, on average 18 times more.
Efficiency & Reduced Costs
With automation, HR can reduce their time spent on insignificant tasks and work on what’s important. This means they can save time, work more effectively, and devote more energy for new hires, demonstrating a positive company culture and better employee experience. Also, a Glassdoor study showed that in the US, the average U.S employer spends nearly $4,000 and 3 weeks to hire a new employee. That means that if said new employee were to quit their job within a month of being hired, the cost would have at least doubled. With employee onboarding automation, you will drastically save on potential costs and labor.
Smaller Margin of Error
Job satisfaction can vary drastically depending on the interactions employees have with their co-workers. This can stem from the very first impression, or the onboarding stage. Whether that be talking with a certain HR manager, or a department leader, people treat other people differently. Although companies can enforce policies of equal treatment, it is virtually impossible to give everyone the same experience.
This can mean some employees receive support and are looked out for, and others not so much. With automated employee onboarding, it is guaranteed that everyone will get the same treatment. Moreover, reducing the amount of repetitive and redundant tasks will decrease the likelihood that someone will hastily try to finish it, resulting in errors.
As for competitive edge, a study done by The Human Capital Institute (HCI) also found that 58% of companies’ onboarding process focus on paperwork. If your onboarding process can speed up these tasks through automation, your organization will gain a competitive edge over the industry.
Effectively automating any onboarding process
As you begin to re-engineer your onboarding procedures, it is imperative that you don’t get overwhelmed with all the different possibilities and opportunities. That’s why, it’s important to map your current flow out and find the congested points and use automation to fix them first. To effectively map out the flow, you must take into account other departments' role in the onboarding process and see how their contact points interact with the overall process. Identify who is responsible and delegate the tasks accordingly. Once you’ve done that, you can use automation to help relieve the strain in those areas, and then gradually expand the role of automation.
Work with IT
As with anything technology related or any major organizational shifts, IT and HR must work collaboratively. As a hiring manager, you may want certain features that your IT department may not be able to deliver in time, thus managing expectations and working together will help clear up confusions.
5 ways to automate employee onboarding
1. Manage Data
Automating data by creating a secure internal system or leveraging external providers to reduce repetitive tasks like paperwork is an easy way to start automated onboarding. This could be gathering employee data, skills, education, etc.
2. Documentation and Signatures
With copious paperwork in hiring, particularly at scale, resources are often wasted, most importantly labor hours. With documentation and signature automation, you can blast emails with required company documentation such as company policies and NDAs.
3. Routing and Re-routing Tasks
This automation allows HR to delegate work to their respective parties, create approval workflows and more.
4. Streamline Workflows
As or even before an employee enters work, as soon as they are hired, you can automate your onboarding system to trigger various actions. This could be creating a profile, setting up an email account, sending a welcome message and finally to ensure transparency, a ticket can be created to notify IT of successful automation.
5. Provision Apps
Finally, as an employee, one of the hardest aspects of the job sometimes is being acclimated to the numerous different apps the organization is using. That’s why setting up automated app provisioning will allow your employees to begin working easily and without worry.
Employee onboarding automation doesn’t just help internally by improving HR workflows, but rather holistically. Through better employee experiences, smoother progress and even ultimately a better bottom line, onboarding automation is rapidly becoming a norm and to stay competitive, companies.