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Employee onboarding

A step-by-step guide to automating employee onboarding

Successful employee onboarding is an essential process for a company’s smooth functioning and remaining on the growth trajectory. If done right,  it directly impacts the productivity of the employees and the management, but more importantly, the HR department. That’s where employee onboarding automation comes in as a promising solution for efficiency. On any given day, HR managers face several challenges in their field, but none is more daunting than the recruitment and onboarding of an employee. 

A successful onboarding process is a key to nourishing and retaining a newly joined employee. Creating a more structured employee onboarding and implementing it using a defined process can drastically improve employee engagement, induce a sense of loyalty in new hires, and in turn, boost employee retention rate. But it’s easier said than done – especially when we’re mostly working in hybrid workspaces. 

While an automation solution might feel impersonal, automating employee onboarding can improve the entire employee journey. It can actually present more opportunities to customize and streamline the existing onboarding experience in a way that employees feel welcomed and better informed as they get up to speed in their new role without feeling overwhelmed in a new environment. 

In this blog, we’ll walk you through the entire process of automated employee onboarding process. 

What are the challenges of onboarding employees manually?

While HRs are constantly striving to succeed in their quest to find the ideal candidate despite a talent crunch, a larger challenge begins after finding the right person. As per the report ‘2022- State of Employee Onboarding in the US’, if the onboarding is not done properly, new employees are twice as likely to look for and switch to another company before even joining the organization.   

On average, a company spends approximately USD 4,000 on a new hire along with investing four workweeks in the process. However, if the employee quits before 30 days due to any reason, the cost for rehiring and onboarding will rise incrementally as the required process demands significant investments in financial and human resources.

As a result, an increasing number of organizations are now utilizing AI-powered software for employee onboarding automation. According to Glassdoor, companies with strong onboarding programs can help improve employee retention by 82 percent and increase productivity by up to 70 percent.  On the flip side, manual onboarding has a lot of challenges. Here are some of the significant difficulties that employees encounter during manual onboarding:

top three problems of manual onboarding

The employee onboarding often lacks the personal touch 

The first step towards making your employees productive is to ensure that they start interacting with their colleagues as soon as possible. But if your HR team performs every task manually, this often becomes a difficult task. They will hardly have time to introduce new hires to their colleagues, schedule one-on-one lunches, or organize offsite if they are occupied with paperwork. 

The employee experience is often unsatisfactory

As new recruits join the organization, they’ll need answers to a wide array of queries concerning their job responsibilities and company policies. Unless there’s an automated system to answer their queries, they will either invest too much time looking for answers or have them unanswered. Ultimately, it’ll lead to a fall in employee productivity as it would prevent them from performing critical business tasks.

Leaves the team prone to making significant mistakes 

Manually provisioning the access of the new employees to critical applications and facilities is both time-consuming and difficult to execute accurately. Often, these result in unnecessary delays, and even if they are completed in time, there’s a chance that it has not been done properly. 

In either case, the result can be disastrous. Onboarding automation can help perform all these tasks seamlessly as per the predefined guidelines, improving the overall productivity of the new recruits. 

How to automate employee onboarding?

The process of employee onboarding begins the minute you make an offer to a candidate to the time they start working at your organization. If you take into account the smallest of steps included in their journey to the first day and thereafter, there’s a lot to be done by HR to ensure they remain engaged positively. To smoothen this process, one of the best solutions is employee onboarding automation. In fact, it is the future of employee onboarding. Here’s how you can go about it:

The 11 essential steps towards employee onboarding automation

Identify and understand your organization’s needs 

Not every company follows the same onboarding process. Moreover, onboarding can also vary from role to role, which is why it’s important to understand what your onboarding process needs to entail. This could be the initial collection of documentation like identifying proofs, previous payslips, or introducing the new hire to the team members of the department they’d be joining. The goal of this step is to see what automation can simplify or fasten by removing the manual involvement of HR. 

Find an employee onboarding automation software

Once you have defined what your ideal onboarding process needs to look like and what can be automated, the next step is to find a comprehensive solution for automating employee onboarding. 

This is where you need to pay close attention to not just the pricing, but the feature set that the software has to offer. From the ability to customize and automate onboarding journeys to being able to set up FAQs and document management, a credible onboarding software is an all-in-one solution. 

The aim of this step is to find an employee onboarding software that takes care of at least 80% of your automation requirements. This will cut down the need for integrating different solutions into the process and having to move from one platform to another to collate data during an employee onboarding. 

If you’re looking for employee onboarding software, here’s a checklist of things you should be looking for. 

Start with automating the paperwork involved in hiring 

Following the recruitment, the next step is starting the employee onboarding process. On being selected for the job, the HR manager sends a welcome mail along with a few other essential documents like the offer letter and links to fill out digital onboarding forms, and policy documents.  

Paperwork is often overwhelming for new hires to manage alongside the other introductions being made. On the HR front, it gets tough to keep track of onboarding progress manually – especially if the organization is hiring at scale. Getting all the documentation out of the way often takes up more than a week.

You can automate this entire process of sending the offer letter, following up to get it signed, and then once signed, documenting it in the system with an employee onboarding software. This will make the process much more efficient and reduce the human error in logging data of new hires.

Keep the new hires engaged even before joining

Even after the employee has accepted the offer, it doesn’t guarantee that they’ll show up on the date of joining. They can be flooded with offers from other potential employers as well. So, during the waiting period, it’s beneficial to establish a good rapport with the new hire by showing them that they’re valued and keeping them engaged as well as excited about the new opportunity they have just bagged.  

It’s a good idea to also plan for the waiting period when you’re sketching the onboarding process since their joining date may still be away. This is when an AI-powered employee automation tool can come into play, even when the HR themselves get busy with further hiring. 

For instance, once an applicant has accepted the offer, using employee onboarding software, you can send out an automated welcome message. This can include details on what they can expect during the waiting period, or introduce them to the team they’d be joining with a quick video from them. You can even conduct automated employee surveys during this phase to understand the expectations of the new hire.

Automatically assign onboarding buddy 

For any new employee, it’s not easy to transition into new roles quickly. The transition process can get overwhelming for someone who is just getting used to adapting to new company culture. Having to manage introductions, understanding company policies and their new role can be stressful but having a buddy alongside can smoothen out the process for anyone. 

An onboarding buddy can assist the new hires in understanding the required necessities as soon as they join the organization. This is a person who essentially looks into introducing the new hire to different aspects of the job and getting them acquainted with their teammates. 

Such support can help the employee get rid of the jitters that one has during their first days.

Now with employee onboarding automation, HRs can assign an onboarding buddy to the new hire in a more data-driven way. For instance, based on the department they’d be joining or the role they will be working in, the employee onboarding software can assign someone who has previously been in the same role or understands the nuances of it owing to their experience in the organization.

Automate first-day planning

The first day of work entails introductions, signing up on company tools, setting up your inbox and so much more. The new hire may forget to take care of something that’s an essential part of their onboarding process while going through it all. 

To keep everything in order, automating the first-day checklist can help the new hire stay on track with what’s important to do and plan their day accordingly. This way HRs get to close out the post-joining formalities faster, and the new hire gets to move through the day without feeling like they missed out on anything! 

Create an early feedback loop in onboarding

Statistics reveal that 20 percent of new hires quit the company for greener pastures during the first 45 days in a role. This is why feedback regarding the employee satisfaction with the onboarding process and his new job will help in identifying any potential problems. 

This is where an employee onboarding software proves helpful. It can send out automated employee onboarding surveys to check the pulse of the new hire after the first week, first month, or first quarter. 

Moreover, the data that employee automation software brings to the forefront, can even highlight issue areas and predict flight risks. With such results on hand, the company can reduce the attrition rate in a systematic way. 

Therefore, automating a simple feedback loop early on helps the company keep a tab of how the onboarding is going and how the employee is interacting with their teammates or managers in a consistent manner. 

For instance, the new hire didn’t like talking to the manager much, this issue can get resolved with the manager scheduling a one-on-one meeting with the employee to understand them better during the early days to iron out any possible misunderstandings. 

Automate post-probation transitions

Usually, the first 3-6 months are probationary periods in most companies. Upon completing this period and receiving employment confirmation, the new hire needs to go through another set of paperwork. 

But when there are different people hired for different workstreams and are having varying joining dates, managing this can become extremely daunting. It gets tougher to even remember when their probation ends, let alone follow up with them for confirmation of roles. This can cause a lot of tension among the new hires who may face ambiguity regarding their position in the company. 

This is where onboarding automation comes into play again. You can send out automated messages to confirm job roles as well as start out the new documentation process simultaneously. 

Plan out training sessions

It is obvious for a new hire to be unaware of working with tools or software at the workplace. It can take time in learning or getting well versed with the process or tools, alongside the work that needs to be done. This is where you can automatically schedule timely training sessions.

For instance, when a new hire sets up their inbox, you can introduce them to a module or software your organization makes use of to keep messages streamlined. You can send out how-to videos or the documentation on the same.

Automate your FAQs 

The new hire has a lot to learn and consume. And this creates a situation where they are likely to miss out on something or would want to go back and refer to it. By automating the resolution of FAQs, every time a new hire has a question, they don’t have to depend on anyone else, rather can look up the answers themselves. 

By automating this in your onboarding process, you ensure faster resolution times and also improve the efficiency of your HR. While repetitive questions get answered by a virtual assistant, HR can focus on other initiatives that may require more of their involvement. 

Monitor the right metrics

A successful onboarding process is one that helps a new hire get started with a job early. But an effective process is one that also helps you make their journey more efficient, effective and create a lasting impact on them. Therefore, if you’re automating your onboarding process, monitoring its performance plays an equally important role to ensure that it’s working. This helps you identify loopholes early on and address them smartly with optimized processes.

An employee onboarding software offers in-depth insights on the performance of your onboarding. It helps you analyze how new hires progress through the journey you have set up and also learn from their experiences to be able to make them better in the coming period. An automated report on your employee onboarding process can help the HR as well as the managerial board plan out their resources in an effective manner.

Benefits of an automated employee onboarding process

The key benefits of onboarding automation are:

For the company:

  • Employee onboarding automation significantly reduces the redundancy that paperwork brings to the process. On average, a company needs to sign 15 to 20 documents for every new hire, leaving the HR team burdened with heaps of repetitive tasks. Automating this entire workflow will help save a lot of time and resources for the HR team.
  • Automating the entire task of onboarding facilitates the easy collection of data. The employees can upload their documents at their convenience, which you can store in a secured environment and integrate with the HR software.
  • You can successfully reduce the errors which otherwise happen during manual onboarding. Onboarding workflow automation integrates the precision of a machine into the process of onboarding new recruits. The set parameters to an automated process significantly reduce the chances of errors.
  • Employee onboarding is always a sensitive process as it involves collecting and storing sensitive employee data. AI-powered employee onboarding automation systems ensure that the data collected remains in a virtual database, confidential, and accessible to only authorized individuals.

For New Hires

  • A crucial aspect of employee onboarding is to provide them with the right information at the proper time. Automated HR platforms can successfully answer all their queries on schedule.
  • The traditional onboarding system often creates an imbalance, where some new recruits receive a great onboarding experience while others a hasty walkthrough. An onboarding software ensures that the process remains consistent for every new recruit joining the team.
  • The faster the onboarding process, the easier it is for the new recruits to start working. Automated onboarding workflow shortens the time for a person to transition from training to working on their first project.
  • Traditional onboarding is an extremely time-consuming process. With automation, the task of onboarding new recruits becomes stress-free. Both the employee and the HR team have their own time to complete the tasks related to onboarding through onboarding software.

Reinventing employee onboarding process through automation

Onboarding and recruiting are some of the many challenges that plague HR managers. After spending time and energy in securing the right candidate by the time the onboarding process begins, they are straight-up exhausted. A way to take some of their load off is by reducing dependency on the old ways of onboarding and opting for new effective methods like automating the process. Investing in an employee onboarding software can be a game-changing decision for automating the entire process. 

With HR workflow automation software, you can bid goodbye to the long onboarding checklist and put an end to the manual method of employee onboarding. Automation of the processes helps simplify the complexity and keeps everything transparent throughout the new employee’s journey. 

In times when efficiency is more important to an organization’s success, it’s important to equip the HR department with the right set of tools. And onboarding software is one of them. 

Ready to make your employee onboarding process more efficient? Take the first step with Leena AI.

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