What are the employee onboarding best practices, from a technology perspective?

The employee onboarding process is no longer used just for administrative issues. It’s true that advanced software and automated technologies eliminate duplicate entries and streamline employee onboarding, but that’s just the beginning of the array of business and employee benefits that onboarding technology can deliver for your business or HR department.

Benefits Of An Organised Employee Onboarding Process

Research shows that new hires are more likely to leave companies within the first 18 months of their employment. The costs of finding, attracting, hiring, onboarding and training new employees can prove prohibitive, so it makes sound financial sense to develop an employee onboarding process that makes the best possible impression on new hires. A smooth procedure provides the following business benefits:

- Increases employee retention
- Heightens employee engagement
- Enables a self-service onboarding process
- Fosters brand advocacy among current and former employees
- Accelerates administrative processing
- Identifies new hires for training, promotion and other actions
- Improves employee efficiency
- Shorts the learning curve
- Promotes inter-office communication
- Attracts top talent from word-of-mouth promotions and referrals
- Builds trust and strengthens alignment with company goals

The Importance Of Employee Onboarding

A smooth and organised onboarding process (and offboarding process) can prevent bad hires, make favourable impressions on new hires and expose people early to the company’s culture. The costs of bad hires are truly shocking – a Career Builder survey found that two-thirds of employers experienced problems due to bad hires. Out of 2,700 employers, 41 percent reported that each bad hire cost an average of $25,000. 25 percent of respondents reported average costs of bad hires to be $50,000 or more. Employee onboarding presents some technological challenges, but overcoming these issues can ensure a smooth and effective onboarding process.

First Impressions Drive The Employee Experience

A new employee checklist reassures new hires by identifying critical employee issues. Astute employees can quickly spot whether anything is missing or seems inappropriate for their positions. Strong employee self-service programs help to retain top talent by making a favourable first impression and engaging new hires immediately in the company’s culture. In fact, statistics show that employee onboarding programs can increase retention rates by as much as 25 percent while improving productivity by 11 percent. The onboarding process doesn’t just enter a new employee in the system; it introduces new hires to the technology tools that the company uses, familiarises people with office practices, facilitates preparation before the start of work and acquaints new hires with managers, team members and the company’s core culture.

Using Preboarding Time To Best Advantage

There are many ways that software technology can deliver HR and business benefits while making the most out of the time between preboarding processes and the actual starting dates of new hires. Lawyers from multiple jurisdictions suggest that clearly identified paperwork for new hires – as conditions of employment – don’t require employee payment, so companies should make the most of the preboarding process. Designing a new employee checklist not only streamlines employee onboarding but also reassures new hires in multiple ways. Your new employee checklist might include the following items:

- Welcoming and orientation materials
- Instructions for obtaining an employee security pass
- Automated processes for entering ALL payroll information and completing any applicable employment eligibility - verification processes
- TFN declaration
- Authorizing criminal background or financial checks
- Information about the company’s culture, Conflicts of Interest Policies, outside employment regulations, acceptable extracurricular activities and noncompeting agreements
- Information on Insurance coverage, benefits packages, salary, etc.
- Any compliance training requirements
- Cross-training and advancement policies

The Power Of Rules Driven Workflow

Rules driven workflows ensure that the onboarding process follows a predefined sequence of events for approvals, notifications, escalations, reminders and exports . You can ensure that your process fulfils the needs of your organisation with custom-designed workflows. You can automate many tasks through self-service processes and assign someone from HR to monitor each new hire and shepherd him or her through the onboarding process.

Eliminate Unnecessary Paperwork and Processes

Automation can eliminate the need to re-enter critical information. If your employee onboarding software is fully integrated, each action automatically updates to the next step. Everyone who needs to sign off on the approval receives an alert. When all processes have been approved, a new hire candidate automatically transitions to ‘employed’ status.

Non-negotiable Processes

The onboarding process can consist of non-negotiable and optional processes. These apply to both employers and employees, and organisations that only focus on their own demands will encounter difficulties in trying to engage, retain and nurture talent. Your company’s culture is non-negotiable, but it might be amenable to evolutionary changes over time. Employees might be required to work a minimum number of hours each week, but when and how they work could be flexible. It’s important to determine what exactly is non-negotiable and what is more flexible.

Say Hello To New Employees

It’s important to take some time just to say ‘hello’ to new hires before they get processed into the treadmill of daily work activities. Many organisations concentrate on the essential administrative tasks without making new hires feel appreciated and welcomed. Best practices for greeting new employees during employee onboarding include:

- Enlisting as many staff members as possible to meet and greet new hires
- Implementing a mentoring, coaching or buddy program to facilitate orientation
- Expressing holistic interest in each employee as a person
- Explaining company culture and enlisting new hires in community projects, team competitions and social activities
- Providing an employee onboarding agenda
- Making new hires feel comfortable in their environment
- Walking people through critical ‘dos and don’ts’
- Inviting new staff to lunch

The Video CEO

CEOs can greet new hires with strong messages of support. The CEO can establish the company’s culture with a few key remarks while fostering a better sense of engagement in new hires.

Process By Exception

Modern workflow technology enables management by exception, which is a process of monitoring financial costs that relate to recruiting, hiring and onboarding. It’s only necessary to bring matters to management’s attention when costs exceed budgeted amounts by substantial margins. This technology – a direct benefit of onboarding automation – reduces the administrative burden on your HR staff and financial managers.

Smart Onboarding

Smart technology facilitates seamless integration with core company operations such as ERP and CRM software. You can monitor the entire onboarding process through custom alerts, dashboards and reports. Compliance issues can be fully integrated with the onboarding process so that compliance is automatic. Smart onboarding enhances the user experience and simplifies filling out forms, collaborating on projects, conducting background checks and managing document integration.

Alert Reminders

Switching from spreadsheets to integrated onboarding software offers many signature benefits that include setting up automatic alert reminders. These can alert new hires to essential onboarding processes that need completion, but they also prove invaluable for reminding staff members to approve different aspects of the employment process. You can also set reminders for self-service onboarding processes such as requesting time off, scheduling vacation time and reminding people about birthdays and other special milestones. You can tailor automated alerts for almost any purpose and not just onboarding tasks.

Compliance In The Workplace

Global business complicates all HR processes from hiring and onboarding employees to complying with local and industry regulations. Automated onboarding software and tools make it easier to manage employee benefits, comply with government regulations from multiple jurisdictions, manage time and attendance, view benefit plan options and review job candidates’ compliance profiles.

Contracts, Visa, Statutory Forms and Certifications

You need to ensure that each new hire’s profile complies with the latest applicable regulations. These compliance issues might involve equality and diversity, health and safety regulations, certifications, data protection, employment contacts and physical compliance to empower employees who have disabilities. The onboarding process might require providing accessibility assistance to disabled job candidates. Onboarding software can help your company stay compliant throughout the recruiting, hiring, onboarding and training processes.

Building Your Own Compliance Requirements

You can design and build your own compliance programs based on fiduciary responsibility, legal and regulatory requirements, reporting guidelines, Standard and Poor’s credit ratings and other company-specific compliance issues. The right Onboarding technology can monitor personnel intelligence from third-party resources and certifying authorities to deliver automated updates that impact compliance issues. Your compliance requirements might include fostering an ethical business culture, identifying and managing risks or integrating compliance standards into the company’s ERM framework.

Digital Training

You can increase employee engagement through onboarding programs for earning certifications, cross-training in new work skills and moving laterally and vertically throughout the organisation.

Employee Engagement

Self-service capabilities and clearer expectations foster greater employee engagement. The more engaged your employees are, the more likely they’ll stay. Your software can make it easier for employees to get answers to questions, and ask for time off and other considerations. Employees can also view the requirements for advancing in the company.

User Experience

The user experience no longer applies just to your company’s customers; competitive recruiting and retention means that the employee experience is equally critical to business success and retaining top talent.

Gamify

Your employee onboarding strategy can take advantage of game theory to engage new hires. You can offer rewards, tokens, prizes and special considerations to engage employees in the onboarding process.

Socialise

Social activities can be posted and organised through employee self-service applications. These in-house and outside events can indoctrinate new hires immediately into the company’s culture and social activities.

Employee Onboarding Metrics

Advanced onboarding technology allows you to configure reports and third-party intelligence into manager consoles for greater visibility, more interactive formats and customised summaries.

Measure

You can measure your onboarding costs, engagement rates, training costs, succession management successes and other business benchmarks that relate to recruiting and employee retention.

Manage

Managing your onboarding program is an ongoing process that depends on monitoring and adjusting your techniques. Checklists can help you stay more organised, but it’s just not possible to let new hires know everything about the company in just a few days or weeks. Metrics can help you determine the optimal times for broaching new subjects or offering customised employee development programs.

Return on Investment

Calculating return on investment, or ROI, is one of the major benefits of onboarding technology. You can cross-relate performance, development costs, attrition rates, retention rates and talent management to determine more precise costs related to hiring and development than were ever possible to calculate before advanced technology.

Optimise Employee Onboarding

The right technology allows you to monitor each employee’s progress at 30, 60 and 90 days and beyond. You can generate custom reports, compare individual and team performances, assess manager success rates and estimate new hires times to employee proficiency.

Onboarding Outgrows Simple Orientation

Your company’s onboarding strategy depends heavily on technology. If you implement the right software tools, self-service processes and educational programs, your new hires get the critical information they need immediately to become productive and satisfied employees. About 59 percent of employers anticipate major challenges in attracting and retaining top talent over the next decade. Your employee onboarding program – with the right technology partner – can make the difference between a confusing orientation and an engaged user experience. You can build a strong foundation before employees start work to develop a thriving company culture and an engaged workforce.

Ari Kopoulos is the CEO at EmployeeConnect HRMS. This article was posted on Employeeconnect.com.

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