Employee onboarding for today’s digital world

Jamie Sharp

Writer & Blogger

Onboarding your new hires effectively is essential to ensure they become comfortable and productive in their new roles. In fact, research by Glassdoor found that companies with a strong onboarding process improve new employee retention by 82% and productivity by 70%.

An effective employee onboarding process welcomes new employees to the company, introduces them to your company culture, their new team and outlines the business goals of the company.

Digital employee onboarding allows you to leverage digital tools and technology to create a cost-effective and efficient onboarding experience for your employees.

You can create an employee onboarding checklist that is available 24/7 and provides central access to all the information necessary to provide a personalised onboarding experience and give assistance to help new employees understand company workflows.

Onboarding digitally can transform the process and create a more engaging digital employee experience. It’s been shown that 69% of workers are more likely to remain in the company that offered them a good onboarding process.

Is your onboarding process outdated, and why should you go digital?

Onboarding in many companies revolves around prioritising tasks like completing the necessary paperwork and setting up the IT for the new employee to start working.

Additionally, your new employee needs to get up to speed on many other aspects of their new role, including:

  • Names and roles of team members
  • Company policies
  • Company benefits information
  • Workflows and processes
  • Tech stack and work tools
  • Their specific role and responsibilities
  • Training

This bombardment of information can overload them in their first week, placing unnecessary demands on their ability to remember such a deluge of information.

Research has shown that a bad onboarding experience can lead to employees leaving more quickly than if their experience had been positive, which can be a terrible and avoidable waste of time, money and resources.

Based on onboarding statistics in the UK, employees don’t score high on the engagement scale. However, it is something that effective onboarding can solve to a certain extent. Compared to the UK, this score is 54% in France, 56% in Australia, and 60% in the US. For reference, only Singapore and Hong Kong saw lower engagement levels than the UK. Therefore, one in five workers in the UK will leave their current employer in the first two years.

Rather than leaving your new hires with little guidance or leaving them to their own devices, which can leave them feeling unsupported and unrecognised, it may be time to take a more engaging approach to onboarding.

A digital onboarding strategy can increase engagement, productivity and performance and improve training effectiveness. Additionally, digital onboarding is more cost-effective by reducing printing costs and removing the need to hire specific onboarding teams. Furthermore, data is kept more secure using GDPR-compliant software, and onboarding software allows 24/7 access.

Finally, measuring the program’s outcomes is vital to the whole process. However, 55% of companies lack the right tools to administer it. Other reasons for neglecting onboarding processes are managers’ lack of time (57%) or digital onboarding technologies (39%).

Benefits of digital onboarding

1. Efficiency

Digital onboarding allows the new recruit to work at their own pace and in their own time. There isn’t a need to overwhelm them with vast amounts of material in a short period of time because you must complete their onboarding over the course of a working day.

Digital onboarding can save time for your new employees’ manager as they aren’t sifting through reams of paperwork, and their new team member knows where to find the information they need without having to ask constant questions.

Finally, digital onboarding can start before your new employee arrives for their first day at work, saving time and resources in the process.

2. Accurate storage of onboarding information

Suppose the material you need to onboard each employee is stored digitally. In that case, it is easy to ensure its accuracy and relevance as you only have to refer to one master set.

Traditional onboarding allowed for each individual location to onboard slightly differently, and errors in the procedure can creep in over time. Additionally, digital onboarding negates the need to print off multiple copies of documents, handbooks and training materials as this information is available centrally for everyone and reduces an organisation’s environmental impact.

3. E-Signatures for new employees

Onboarding a new recruit involves countless checklists and confirmations that traditionally would have had to be manually completed. Digital onboarding software has this feature built-in allowing new staff to complete these remotely and sign them electronically.

Setting new hires up with an e-signature also means you don’t need to send out paper copies of documents that must be completed and returned; everything can be done remotely before they start.

4. Digital Employee Onboarding is cheaper

Every company constantly looks for less expensive ways of operating, whether resourcing materials or improving the efficiency of workflows.

As onboarding employees digitally requires less one-to-one training, your organisation’s staffing costs will be reduced.

Additionally, the money saved in printing costs and postage costs because all the documents and training material your employees need are available digitally can be substantial for a large organisation, and you will be reducing your environmental footprint.

Creating a digitally driven onboarding process

Below are five tips to help you create an effective and engaging digital onboarding process.

1. Preboarding

Preboarding is the activities involved before your new employee officially begins their first day with your company. These activities can include:

  • Setting up email accounts and login details for company software
  • Developing training modules required for all new hires
  • Announcing by email to the company a new hire is joining and what their role will be
  • Scheduling onboarding meetings and events with the necessary managers
  • Creating a welcome package with company and role-related information

2. Onboarding documents

Whenever a new employee joins your company, there will be lots of paperwork applicable, irrespective of whether your new hire is c-suite or a trainee. Here are a few examples that can be stored digitally for completion electronically.

  • Tax forms
  • Proof of right to work in your country
  • Employment offer letter
  • Employee contract
  • Manual of processes and procedures
  • Employee handbook
  • Organisational chart
  • Emergency contact forms

Having this stored digitally means you’re not dumping a massive amount of paperwork on your employee on day one. Instead, everything can be completed online as required.

3. Employee-specific goals and deliverables

For new employees, understanding what is required of them from day one is essential, so they remain engaged and motivated.

Creating a list of regular tasks, goals and stretch goals gives them the key performance indicators they need to gain an overview of their purpose within the organisation.

Providing SMART goals and a 30-60-90-day plan allows them to learn what is required over time and match their progression to your pre-defined plan.

You can digitally store their SMART goals and plan, so they have 24/7 access and use project management software like Trello to provide visualisations and transparency.

4. Automate onboarding tasks

Digital onboarding tools will let you save time and resources by automating many tasks associated with onboarding a new employee.

Setting this up to a one-time task that will let you automatically send offer letters, emails, and numerous other documents.

You can also set up rules regulating what a new employee can do and the order they must complete. For example, they must complete part one of the onboarding process before moving to part two.

5. Self-paced training

Digital employee onboarding eradicates the need for instructor-led training, such as seminars and workshops that need a physical space to be completed. Instead, digital onboarding technology allows new hires to access training materials 24/7 and complete them at their own pace, around their work schedule.

This self-paced approach will save money on trainers and increase new hires’ productivity by letting them learn ‘on the job’ rather than in a formal training session. Additionally, the self-paced approach allows the provision of individually targeted training if desired.

Digital Employee Onboarding is a way to increase employee engagement, reduce costs and boost efficiency. 

If you want us to assist with your recruitment or help to perfect your digital employee onboarding, call us on 01252 624 699 or email hello@esift.co.uk

Find out how our award-winning, on-demand recruitment solutions can reshape the way you meet your hiring needs.

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Farnborough, GU14 7NA
T: +44 (0) 1252 624 699

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