Onboarding Software: Square Pegs & Round Holes

Kelly Services LogoFirst and foremost, I’d like to welcome aboard our newest raving fan customer, Kelly Services.  Kelly is a global workforce solutions leader with a broad industry offering, from accounting to education, from engineering to IT.  Kelly is a true industry leader, the recipient of numerous awards.  Learn more about Kelly here.

There is no shortage of commentary that I could make regarding this outstanding client and what we’ve done for them — such as completely replacing their former employee onboarding system with just 2 weeks’ notice — but the first thing that comes to mind is simply a matter of “fit”, i.e. buying the right software for the job.

We’ve been writing and blogging for a couple of years now that there are 2 fundamental approaches to onboarding: transactional onboarding and acculturation onboarding.  Each approach has its application in any workforce, and neither approach is mutually exclusive of the other.  In other words, employers should implement the right combination of both transactional onboarding and acculturation onboarding automation to fit their business needs.

Transactional onboarding focuses on the legal conversion of a candidate into an employee.  This includes the collection of data, the creation of accurate and complete forms, and the automated handling of that data into HR and payroll systems.  As the legal relationship between the employer and employee is defined in these data and forms, transactional onboarding is a critical business function, one that ALL employers must pay attention to.

Acculturation onboarding focuses on making new employees effective in their role, ensuring that they understand their role and are enabled to do their jobs properly.  Acculturation onboarding automation typically includes a rich portal for delivering training and orientation content to new employees at the right time.  Because certain jobs don’t require much in the way of training and content (indeed, entire industries might not require much training or orientation be delivered to new employees), not all companies have an interest in acculturation onboarding automation.

For more on transactional onboarding vs. acculturation onboarding, read the article Jay and I originally wrote way back in 2009 (it’s an oldie, but a goodie): http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2618443/employee_onboarding.html?cat=55

It’s all about applying the right tool for the job: square pegs need square holes, and round pegs need round holes.  The product Kelly had previously purchased is rich in acculturation onboarding functionality, sometimes also called “socialization”, and when Kelly acquired it, the automation of employee onboarding was still a relatively new discipline.  But Kelly, being a staffing company (the 3rd largest in the world), has the primary mission of delivering contingent workers to their clients, and doing it as efficiently and effectively as possible, all while maintaining 100% compliance at all levels.  What Kelly needed was a first-rate transactional onboarding system, but what they had was an acculturation onboarding system with almost no transactional onboarding capabilities.  Which is why Kelly switched to our Universal Onboarding system, the best-of-breed transactional onboarding system.

Unlike some of the other onboarding software vendors, we recognize that each company is unique and has a different combination of needs.  This is why we offer a suite of integrated onboarding tools, not a single monolithic onboarding tool that is intended to be everything to all employers.  Our Universal Onboarding product is a best-of-breed transactional onboarding system.  Our New Employee Acculturation Portal is a highly-flexible, roles-based and process-driven content delivery portal for new employees.  And our Staff Service Request system is an employee materials requisitioning system that makes sure employees have what they need to do their jobs not only on day one, but on each and every day they work, even 30 years after they’ve onboarded.

Welcome aboard, Kelly Services.  I’m glad we could provide you with the right tool for the job.

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