Money & Business

Employee Onboarding Strategy: Why You Should Think Digitally

By / Feb 6, 2020 (Vaselena/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

By taking basic elements of training and onboarding completely online—and by replacing the pen and paper with a thought-out workflow—you can bring on new hires more easily and even prevent turnover.

Bringing a new staff member into the fold used to mean piles of paperwork and a high-touch process that often required a lot of communication across departments. Horror of horrors, you might have had to use a fax machine.

To put it another way, it’s the perfect problem to be solved with a more digital process. The concept of digital onboarding, which involves using technology to both recruit and bring a worker onboard, has gained attention in areas such as retail, where the approach can help save time and build a more efficient workflow.

“For example, if hiring managers can rapidly sign off on dozens of new hires with just a few clicks, your approval process instantly drops from several weeks to mere hours,” writes Craig Peasley, the director for marketing at Adobe Document Cloud, in an article for Digital Commerce 360.

Why It Matters

If you can get past the cumbersome nature of onboarding, it’s an ideal spot to make an early impression with your employees, who essentially get to see the belly of the beast as soon as they start. A 2017 Gallup survey [registration] on the state of the American workplace found that just 12 percent of employees felt strongly that their organization does a good job with new employees, and it can play a major factor in worker turnover, which can come with a lot of extra costs down the line.

According to the Gallup Blog, that means onboarding can be a great way to screw up the budding employer-employee relationship.

“From an employee perspective, onboarding involves a series of firsts: first day on the job, first time meeting a manager and coworkers, first work projects and tasks, and first opportunities to share their talents with the organization,” the research firm states.

Tools and Strategies

So taking a process like onboarding totally digital sounds like a great idea, but what does it entail?

Simply, it’s a mixture of disciplines and technology. If you need employees to sign forms, for example, perhaps those should be distributed in PDF form, with signing capabilities turned on. If the employees need initial training in different aspects of the company, perhaps having a process that’s digital, but easy to navigate, is the way to go.

In an article for HR Technologist, Kaumil Dalal and Eric Freshour of West Monroe Partners suggests treating the process as not something you go through once but a continuously changing process, one that accounts even for employees who have been there for years.

“Your training and new learnings never stop, whether you’re an entry-level employee or a member of the C-suite,” they write. “Because employee training can be expensive and time-consuming when you’re hiring employees in multiple locations, there is a need for an easy way to make training engaging, and resources and documents accessible to everyone.”

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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