Don’t Just Automate Onboarding, Improve The Process

We talk to customers every day who are looking to automate their new employee onboarding.  They’re usually well educated in the aspects of onboarding–both transactional and acculturation–and they certainly have an idea of what they want to automate, most often those daily tasks that consume much of the talent acquisition department’s time and causes the most headaches.  We recently wrote a briefing (on which I based a series of blogs) on best practices in automated onboarding, i.e. the tasks that might be automated, (you can request the article by clicking here). 

But as a consultant on human capital management I advise my clients to not only automate the onboarding process, but also improve the process.  This would seem to be obvious, and it is true that automating a process typically does improve the process.  The point of my recommendation is to consider, in addition to the elimination of tasks and time consumed on onboarding employees in the back office, the improvement of the process from the new employee’s perspective.  There are two reasons for this.

The first is that you’ll get new employees effective more rapidly.  If you can improve the new hire paperwork process, you should be able to bring what is sometimes a day-long process down to an hour or even less.  This is in addition to the elimination of errors and omissions and the instantaneous flow of data around the globe and into your HRMS systems.  If your talent acquisition team is even a dozen or so people, and you can eliminate 50% of their work, this is admirable, but if you hire 2,000 employees a year and you can eliminate up to 6 hours of work for each of those new hires, you’ve saved 12,000 more hours, the same as 6 FTEs.

The other benefit is that the new employee’s experience is so much more positive when they have an engaging automated process as opposed to a mountain of paperwork.  On their first day (or prior) they’re excited about their new employer, and they’re ready to get to work.  Nobody enjoys hours of paperwork, and it’s a terrible task to assign to a brand new employee.  We’ve actually heard customer stories of new employees who walked out rather than complete a mountain of paperwork.

How do I recommend improving the onboarding process?  Hmm, that sounds like a series of blogs.  Let me make a note…

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