We have all been a “new hire” at least once in our lives. If you think back to when you first started at a company, how would you describe that experience? The most basic form of onboarding is signing papers, having an orientation meeting, reading a new employee handbook, and then joining a team. In some companies, that is all it entails.
Over the past few years, statistics reveal that onboarding plays a crucial role in employee retention, turnover and performance. In fact:
- 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboarding. (source)
- New employees who go through a structured onboarding program are 58% more likely to be with the organization after three years. (source)
- 23% of new hires turnover before their first anniversary. (source)
- It typically takes eight months for a newly hired employee to reach full productivity. (source)
- Best-in-class companies are 35% more likely to begin onboarding processes before day one. (source)
- Only 37% of companies extend their onboarding programs beyond the first month. (source)
- Manager satisfaction increases by 20% when their employees have formal onboarding training. (source)
Unfortunately, onboarding is not that simple. And if it is, it is usually not that effective. Companies that treat it like that often lose employees or they lose productivity. In an effort to counter those effects some companies are turning to technology to help improve their onboarding process.
The use of technology can have a huge impact on both employers and new employees. It can create a more efficient onboarding process through automation and it can increase engagement and productivity in new employees.
On the employer side, technology helps by making forms and tasks more easily stored and accessed in electronic form. For employees, electronic learning platforms and social networks can help them familiarize themselves with the company culture faster, communicate with other employees more often, and learn from others faster.
The ways in which technology can improve the efficiency of the onboarding process can be very important for many businesses. There are multiple ways that technology maximizes employee onboarding.
HR managers can organize onboarding forms and contracts in an electronic system, making it easier and faster to send out and have documents signed.
When employees join various teams it is important to give them information that is relevant only to their job tasks, so that they don't feel overwhelmed and confused. Using electronic systems, HR staff can customize each orientation packet and all onboarding information for each individual employee.
As trends and company policies change it can be difficult to keep all forms up-to-date. With an electronic system, managers can update onboarding documents quickly and easily. Automatic email notifications for onboarding process task reminders can also free up HR managers, so that they can focus on the more strategic process elements such as culture assimilation, training excellence, or implementing a mentoring program.
When employees are able to perform the entire onboarding process digitally, it reduces the number of errors and the amount of lost time spent fixing mistakes. HR staff does not have to enter information from documents, as it is automatically entered into the database from the employee’s forms.
Technology can help a company figure out what is working and what is not. With continuous feedback about the onboarding process, companies can make almost immediate changes in order to help improve the employee experience.
While technology can improve the experience and efficiency of the onboarding process for leaders and HR staff, more importantly, it can improve the experience for new employees.
Overall, technology can help everyone stay connected. New employees are able to receive up-to-date information as leaders and managers update the system. They have the ability to communicate and get information from all employees, as a company social network makes communication easier.
Managers are able to track employee productivity and see where new employees are struggling. This proactive approach can help new staff gain needed skills and feel more connected to the company, cared about by managers, and secure in their jobs.
Some companies are creating onboarding apps that can be used on mobile devices. This makes the onboarding process available from anywhere, at any time. Offering employees the opportunity to complete the process outside of the office allows them a better work/life balance through greater flexibility.
Technology can be especially helpful for companies hiring freelancers and remote employees. They can use mobile and online platforms to communicate with employees, no matter where they are in the world. Employees can stay connected with other employees and feel a part of the team, even though they may never step foot in the company office. Virtual onboarding allows you to deliver the type of interactive virtual learning demanded by the Millennial workforce.
The use of technology is a great way to help new employee acclimate faster and for current employees to stay up-to-date on various onboarding procedures. Both elements lead to happier and more engaged employees.
Also read: Why Learning And Engagement Are Inseparable
Technology at work
For companies looking to maximize their onboarding process with technology, Fuse International lists a few ways they have found that it works best.
Make it fun – Create a fun name for the onboarding community that fits with the company brand.
Create contacts – Put experts in active roles in the onboarding community. New employees will know that their questions and concerns will be addressed by experts in the company.
Specify learning plans – Using an online learning platform, employees can create a learning plan that is specific to their role.
Start early – Online learning platforms and social networks allow new employees to learn about company culture and connect with coworkers before they complete the onboarding process or officially start the job.
Chunk information – When using learning systems, the information is chunked so that employees get just as much information as they need at a time. This helps employees retain information better and they will be less likely to feel overwhelmed by all the information.
Interact with video – At Fuse, they have employees make introduction videos that employees can watch in order to get to know coworkers. They also encourage new employees to make an introduction video. These videos are informal and fun ways for employees to express their personalities and get to know each other.
Analyze – Fuse recommends collecting data from digital onboarding tools so that managers can help new employees gain the skills they need to excel in their new roles. These early interventions can help productivity, retention, and engagement.
While implementing and mastering onboarding technology can seem like an impossible task, it can help leaders, managers, current employees, and future employees learn from each other, integrate faster, and improve productivity and engagement. Using technology can not only maximize onboarding but also help the business bottom line.