It takes 45 days for a typical new employee to reach full productivity– costly for employers and demoralizing for employees.
In theory, a perfect onboarding process would make new employees familiar with the overall goals of a company and support them during their early projects and boost morale and ensure engagement. There has been a lot of buzz on the use of technology in onboarding, and it comes with own sets of myths. In this article, we explore four such key myths that surround onboarding processes:
Myth 1: A “blue-collar” workforce will not use online onboarding
According to Knowledge Infusion, only one in five adults do not regularly access the internet–and they tend to be over the age of 65 and without a high-school education–therefore not representative of the majority of most woo. Additionally, according to the same Knowledge Infusion findings, there are more computers in homes today than cable TV. All this points towards the availability of online onboarding systems as a medium to help streamline execution.
Myth 2: Online onboarding takes away the human touch
Most face-to-face orientations are spent being told the rules and policies, filling out forms, and being overwhelmed with benefits information. This leaves very little time to talk about the organization’s culture, or about the things that make working for its fun and exciting. This can be demoralizing and unmotivating–dampening the enthusiasm (or increasing the anxiety) of new employees.
In contrast, pre-boarding online, new hires arrive at orientation with forms already submitted, and policies read and acknowledged. If the onboarding solution has benefits-decision support, chances are they’ve already elected their benefits. And if there is an integrated knowledgebase– they’ve been able to answer their own questions about things like vacation and pay, which leaves the face-to-face time for the things that matter the most in getting your new hires up to speed and engaged. Online onboarding systems, hence, helps managers and HR professionals create better linkages between the new employee and the company.
Myth 3: Licensing onboarding software from your applicant tracking software (ATS) vendor is better than a best-of-breed vendor
While there is no “right” or “wrong” answer, in this case, the trend within industries has certainly pointed to this not being best practice. For many ATS vendors, although not for all, onboarding was an “after-thought,” and the applications tend to be more basic forms and task management. Additionally, many of these solutions are designed to integrate only with other applications from the particular ATS or talent management vendor–versus a best-of-breed onboarding solutions, or onboarding solutions that are part of HR service delivery suites–which more readily integrate with HR, payroll, benefits, ATS, performance management, document management, and other solutions in the typical mid-to-large enterprise which operate in a multi-platform environment. An exclusive onboarding solution gives employers a better option to influence employee experience over the initial few months of an employee’s life s cycle; a critical phase according to many studies. To find the answer for your organization, you might start with some questions:
Is it a higher priority for pre-boarding and onboarding to be at:
a) The end of the recruiting process, or
b) The beginning of an employee’s lifecycle with your organization?
Is it most important for your onboarding technology to:
a) Integrate with your ATS solution, or
b) Integrate with your entire HR service delivery platform (employee portal, benefits
administration system, HRIS, payroll system, ESS, MSS, ATS, etc.)?
Is your current onboarding practice (or planned onboarding initiative) to:
a) End formalized onboarding after the first day or week, or
b) Execute onboarding as a formalized process for 30 days, 60 days, or beyond?
If you answered “a” to two or more questions, an integrated ATS/onboarding solution might be the right choice for your organization. If you answered “b” to two or more questions, a best-of-breed onboarding solution, or one that is part of an integrated HR service delivery suite, may be the better choice
Myth 4: Onboarding solutions aren’t a priority in a down economy when there are fewer employees being hired
Although most employers may hire fewer employees in a down economy, they are still hiring. And onboarding new hires manually is expensive. It still takes people and time, but instances like a data-entry mistake or lack of compliance paperwork drive costs even higher. More importantly, the cost of turnover is even more expensive than the cost of onboarding. The opportunity cost of not investing in onboarding solutions is significantly high. Therefore, engaging new hires from the day they accept an offer can be even more critical when organizations can’t afford an avoidable turnover.
According to one estimate, there is an average of 14 software systems that are involved in the onboarding process, like applicant tracking systems, HR and payroll applications, benefits administration, document management and provisioning solutions, training and performance management applications, and sales incentive systems. Understanding and executing the correct contextual onboarding technology is necessary for embedding technology into the onboarding process to help create a streamlined process. Only by looking past such myths can employers truly reap the benefits of a seamless onboarding process and in return, have an engaged and productive workforce.