Technology based employee onboarding strategy
HR Workshop by Ari Kopoulos, EmployeeConnect
This article is first published in HR Leader Magazine – March Issue
How can we leverage technology to achieve a successful end-to-end onboarding strategy?
It’s your first day on the job and you’re greeted with your payroll number, a new laptop, smartphone, business cards, keys and password to the HRIS which, when you login, plays a welcome video from the CEO. Your profile might also be displayed on the staff bulletin board, so everyone knows you’re an ABBA tragic, your calendar might be full of meetings and a personal learning plan to enable you to get you up to speed with the organisation and your responsibilities. Are you impressed? You should be. You have just been successfully on-boarded.
There is no doubt that a technology-based onboarding strategy that integrates new employees with culture, policies and responsibilities, as well as automating the myriad documents and administrative detail, will yield a better employee experience. In fact, research shows that engaging your successful candidate with your brand early on ultimately leads to shorter time to productivity, better retention, and most importantly, engaged customers. This directly translates into a measurable increase in profitability and competitive advantage.
So what is involved? There are basically two parts of onboarding–transactional and cultural – and both involve workflow, automations, business rules and reminders processes related to moving the candidate into their new role.
The transactional aspect seeks to automate and perfect the processes that involve data transactions, which include the collection of biographical details, benefits forms, as well as employment policy acknowledgement forms. The data in these transactions usually extends beyond the HRIS system and integrates into payroll, online learning and active directory. These processes are defined through organisational policy, best practice and statutory and legislative compliance. Beyond streamlining and automating processes, the workflows have embedded business rules that define who, how and when these tasks need to be reviewed, approved and possibly reminded.
The cultural aspect is about ensuring the employee’s journey is a smooth and painless one. It ensures the employee organically understands their new role, their responsibilities and the organisation, and assists them in reaching productivity in a timely manner. This means access to the HR modules that push processes polices and information. These can include position details, team details, a personal learning plan, events, salary package modelling, social networking and satisfaction surveys and questionnaires that ensure they have read and understood all the policies and procedures.
In the real world, transactional and cultural onboarding are not mutually exclusive. Clearly, some organisations will benefit more from one approach than the other, while many will benefit from both approaches. Each aspect addresses the different requirements driven by your specific policies, goals and objectives. These benefits are usually strategically defined as cost reduction, increased productivity and compliance.
From a technology perspective, onboarding strategy is rarely a standalone investment. In fact, most workflow driven HR systems have processes that touch all the relevant HR modules in the name of onboarding. The better ones have a dedicated onboarding module. Having said that, a recruitment module is not necessarily an onboarding solution. Evaluate vendors by enquiring about their approach to onboarding. Their response will tell you a lot about what you can expect. Are they flexible and reactive? Do they have configurable forms and rules-driven workflows? Do they have user-defined questionnaires linked to policies and procedures? What about pushing reminders based on data status? How do they handle integration?
As with all technology initiatives, the right approach involves following basic project management principles. By identifying your objectives, prioritising your goals and evaluating the technology options, you will be well on your way to a successful onboarding strategy and making a big first impression.