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The Ideal State for Great Employee Onboarding

April 6th, 2017 Comments off
ideal onboarding process

I don’t have an exact number, but I think I’ve probably onboarded close to 10,000 employees in my HR and talent acquisition career. Now, I didn’t always own the entire onboarding process but I played a role in all of those hires!

So, I like to think of myself as an onboarding expert. It’s a big responsibility, as onboarding is such a critical aspect of successful employee tenure. A horrible onboarding experience may drive new employees to look for another job by lunch time, but an awesome onboarding experience will make those same employees want to get out and recruit your next great hire!

It seems like most organizations are constantly tinkering with their onboarding processes, most likely because we feel like we can always make the orientation process for new hires better. I think for me there is never a “perfect” onboarding process, but I definitely think there is an ideal state for which you to strive to achieve in onboarding.

  1. Onboarding has to start before the first day of work. If your new employee shows up for their first day and no onboarding has taken place, you’ve failed that new employee.
  2. Administrative work for the new employee is absent on day one. That means you need to get all that administrative work out of the way before day one. There are a few ways to accomplish this but the best way is to utilize technology and have at least a portion of your onboarding completed online.
  3. Your new employees should know exactly what will be expected of them before they show up to work on day one, and hopefully much longer than that. When I went to work in HR at Applebee’s I was delivered a 90-day calendar completely filled in on what I would be working on and where I would be at each day. Of course, this is exceptional, but it’s not too much to ask that we deliver each new employee at least day one and probably week one.
  4. Give them a “wow” moment. A wow moment is not something that is the same for each employee, so this takes a bit of work. For one employee maybe it’s just taking them to lunch, for another maybe it’s sending flowers to their spouse and thanking them for allowing your team to “borrow” them each day. Maybe it’s decorating their office in their favorite team’s colors and banners. A wow moment on day one is really awesome!
  5. Onboarding can’t end after day one, or even week one. What’s the ideal length? I don’t know, that depends on your organization and the position someone was hired for. What I do know is that if you have a position with higher new hire turnover, you need to increase your onboarding time for those positions!

 

Onboarding is really hard to do well if you’re only using manual processes. Employee onboarding software allows you to do most of the administrative and scheduling of onboarding, which will then give you and your team the capacity to do all the extra things that make onboarding special for new employees.

Onboarding might be the most overlooked aspect of new hire turnover, and it’s something we in HR and talent acquisition completely control! By planning ahead, creating a good new hire experience and using technology to streamline processes, you can get closer to that ideal state of onboarding.

Find out more benefits of using technology in your onboarding process.

Tim Sackett, SPHR is the President of HRU Technical Resources a leading IT and Engineering Staffing firm headquartered in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of combined Executive HR and Talent Acquisition experience, working for Fortune 500 companies in healthcare, retail, dining and technology. Tim is a highly sought after national speaker on leadership, talent acquisition and HR execution. He also is a prolific writer in the HR and Talent space, writing for Fistful of Talent and his blog The Tim Sackett Project. Tim is married to a hall of fame wife. They have three sons and one dog. He is a lifelong workplace advocate for Diet Mt. Dew fountain machines and hugs.

How Onboarding Technology Impacts First Impressions

March 21st, 2017 Comments off
onboarding technology

We’ve heard it said many times—you only have one chance to make a first impression.

We typically think of first impressions in relation to people. But, first impressions of places and experiences can leave lasting impressions as well. You can probably still remember the impact of your first day at a new school. Or, maybe you remember the last time you walked into a restaurant and were treated rudely by the host. First impressions can be powerful, and they often set the tone for an experience, either positively or negatively.

This is true at work, too. If your goal is to create an engaging, positive work experience for your employees, it’s critical that it starts with a positive first impression.

An effective new hire onboarding process includes a lot of moving parts, including:

  • Welcoming and socialization
  • New hire forms
  • New hire orientation
  • Workstation and resources
  • Expectation setting

 

These tasks are too often accomplished in a haphazard fashion with some combination of boring presentations, stacks of paperwork and a dash of wishful thinking. This just isn’t cutting it. To make a positive first impression in today’s workplace, there’s one ingredient that has become vital: technology.

Even for smaller organizations, using onboarding software solutions to automate is critical. Here’s why:

  • New hires expect the experience to be automated. We shop, play and connect online. We’ve come to expect that everything that can be automated, should be. When it’s not, it creates a lesser experience. Consider how you would perceive a restaurant or retail store that does not accept credit cards as a form of payment. At the very least, the experience is less convenient. At worst, it makes you want to avoid that establishment. You can’t afford to have your new, excited employee feel this way about your onboarding experience.
  • Millennials demand technology. As of 2015, Millennials are the largest generation in our workforce—making up more than 35 percent of employees. They are also the future, so we have to design our experiences to satisfy their expectations – or face the consequences. According to a recent Forbes piece, “Millennials demand self-service, algorithmically, and crowdsourced customer service options.” They want the technology to enable and assist them as they work through the process on their own terms. The piece also noted that “Millennial customers expect your company’s technology to simply work—so you’d better make sure that it does.” Not only do they expect technology, but they expect advanced technology that works for them.
  • Consistency of experience is key. The process of finding a job has migrated almost entirely to technology. Job seekers experience an array of technology tools as they navigate their way to a new position. They experience company websites, social media pages, job boards, applicant tracking systems, assessments and forms to complete online. The experience, even at small organizations, is technology enabled from beginning to end. So, imagine how odd and disconcerting it would be to step into a non-technology enabled experience upon making the transition from “recruit” to “employee.” It would probably feel a bit like a bait and switch. Not a great first impression.
  • We don’t have the time. Our plates are already full, whether we work as managers or in HR (or both). Even when we recognize the importance of the onboarding experience, it’s easy to drop the ball on new hire onboarding simply due to competing priorities. This is too important not to use the available onboarding software solutions to ensure our new employees get started on the right foot. A bad first impression may dampen the excitement of the new hire or even send them running for the hills with buyer’s remorse. Technology is not only a more efficient way to approach onboarding, it’s also more reliable.

 

Creating a great onboarding first impression is about exceeding your new hire’s expectations. This requires that you create an experience with all of the necessary human touches built upon a solid foundation of technology tools and resources.

The days of paperwork and boring, new-hire presentations are gone. It’s time to catch up.

See a tool that can create an efficient and effective onboarding process.

The Benefits of Using Technology in Your Onboarding Process

March 15th, 2017 Comments off
onboarding process

One of the most common (yet avoidable) failure points in the HR lifecycle is in the onboarding of new hires (or sometimes, internal company transfers). When done well, employee onboarding is thoughtful and repeatable – all new hires have a similar process and current employees are well aware of the process. When onboarding is not done well, new hires report feeling adrift and unclear on their individual, team or company purpose, their workflow or their role definition.

Ideally, the onboarding process happens over a series of weeks or months, not hours or days, allowing for numerous touch points and the opportunity to both unearth and answer urgent questions. A structured program over time also improves the likelihood new hires learn and appreciate the company goals, values, norms and processes – as well as what they’ll need to be successful in their role.

All too often, companies spend time, energy and money to build an “ideal” onboarding process, complete with checklists and company swag, yet those perfectly laid plans aren’t implemented, or the momentum is stalled when there’s a change in the champion of the onboarding process. In the end, new hires often don’t gain the required clarity, because new onboarding stewards may be more keenly interested in certain elements over others. This leads to the dilution of planned onboarding efforts.

How Onboarding Software Can Help

Many companies are leveraging technology solutions to ensure that all key actions are defined, assigned and completed for each new hire – providing clarity and consistency across the organization. These technology solutions elegantly interface with applicant tracking systems and other HRIS software, requiring minimal data entry. What’s more, HR maintains a clear line of sight into the proper onboarding of the company’s new recruits. Many solutions also offer ways to capture new hires’ first impressions, allowing early intervention if warranted.

The advantages to leveraging onboarding technologies include:

  • Improved clarity about the organization.
  • Accelerated networking and social interaction across the organization.
  • Instant tracking status and insight into required follow up.
  • Strengthened efficacy of onboarding initiatives.
  • An increase in new hire employee engagement and the likelihood new hires will thrive in the organization.

 

Finding the Right Onboarding Software

When it comes to finding the right technology solutions for your employee onboarding, you should consider the following:

  • Clarity on the problem you’re looking to solve. Is it improving onboarding? Having a centralized place to know what’s being done and by whom? A reporting mechanism?
  • Elements of your onboarding strategy. Is it straightforward or matrixed? How many people will need access to understand current status?
  • The “owner” of onboarding. Is it the new manager or is it centralized in HR?
  • Hiring projections. How many people will be going through the process?
  • Your need for qualitative vs. quantitative data.
  • Integration requirements with other HRIS software.

 

Investments to improve a simplified technology solution to track and manage onboarding for new hires can go a long way toward improving their employee experience and deepening their commitment to your organization.

Learn how technology can drive employee engagement.

Catherine Malloy Cummings is a breakthrough human resources strategist known for her ability to transform HR teams into champions of revenue and agents of business growth. When she’s not consulting, you’ll find her speaking and writing on aligning the HR function to your corporate performance and profitability.