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How onboarding tech sets new starters up for success

Katrina Strathearn
2019-08-01

An article from one of our partners, Roubler.

Automation is frequently seen as the answer to business efficiency. But can it really be applied to all aspects of onboarding new employees? Is it possible to influence an employee’s success using online onboarding tools?

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Consider what’s involved in onboarding for a minute. The manager will need to ensure all the relevant paperwork is completed, provide organisation-specific training, give them the work equipment they need, convey potentially complex pieces of information in a way that is both easy to digest and hard to forget, and literally orientate them around the building. That means introductions to colleagues, signposting facilities, and explaining how things work in practice (which may not be the same as how they work in principle). All the while putting the new starter at ease so they can hit the ground running!

Trying to get a computer, or any other automated system, to take all of these duties on would be tremendously difficult, not to mention require the services of advanced humanoid robots. But this doesn’t mean automation can’t lend a hand – for example by using intuitive employee onboarding software and e-learning platforms – to take the legwork out and free up time for those aspects of the process that require a human touch.

In the Human Capital Institute’s study of more than 400 organizations, two-thirds reported that onboarding practices aren’t used to their full potential. Only 40% said onboarding is effective at retaining new hires, in large part because the process has been focused on paperwork rather than people.

Furthermore, Gallup research found that employees are 3.4 times more likely to feel like their onboarding experience was a success if their manager took an active role in the process and are consequently more likely to stay in their role.

People are the key to giving new employees the best start. Technology should be focused on affording us more opportunities for the important things, better opportunities to connect. Those connections become bonds and in turn those bonds cement a stronger workplace culture. That culture, according to research by Gallup, is responsible for attracting the top 20% of candidates.

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It’s clear that less time on administration during onboarding and more time face to face with your manager isn’t just a good idea – it’s a critical success factor. So how can we use online tools to make this happen?

Let onboarding software take care of the paperwork

“At Roubler, we eliminate all of the paperwork and data entry associated with onboarding, such as filling out an employee profile, entering contact details, emergency contacts, medical information, tax and banking information and uploading qualifications and licenses,” explains Andrew Northcott, Managing Director of Roubler.

Customisable onboarding is increasingly being increasingly incorporated into all-in-one workforce management systems. Once a profile is created, data can be entered by the employee via the employee self-service system and flows straight into other tools such as rostering, time and attendance and payroll. Tax declaration and superannuation information can even be sent straight from the system to the tax office saving managers, HR and payroll hours out of their day.

The paperless onboarding process can be completed via a mobile app or a web portal and only takes a few minutes.

“The greatest advantage of this is that employees have all of these tasks completed prior to starting, so their first day can be spent getting to know their colleagues and settling in,” Northcott says.

Spending half a day filling out paperwork can be isolating for new employees, particularly if they are chomping at the bit to get into their exciting new role. When that’s taken care of before they start, the first day can be filled with cake-fuelled morning teas, getting a taste of their new role and spending time with the most important person in their working lives – their manager!

Make use of e-Learning platforms and pre-built courses

There are undoubtedly situations where training needs to be delivered face-to-face, however e-learning tools like quizzes, short courses and games are a great way to train new employees on a variety of topics and get them prepared for their new role.

There are a few ways you can do this:

  • Consider blending e-learning with face-to-face options to reinforce learning. This works particularly well for topics like customer service and company culture.
  • Think about delivery. For the best results, training needs to be memorable and enjoyable. Can you turn some of your paper-based manuals into quizzes or games? 
  • Compliance training on a variety of topics such as fire safety and manual handling can be completed quickly and easily online. They’ll appreciate getting this done before the real work starts.
  • Use e-learning platforms to deliver videos about the company culture and team – they can go a long way to helping employees engage with their new employer.
  • Short video tutorials on the software and processes that the employee will need to use are more engaging than manuals and can be referred to regularly.

Whether you’re a CEO or a retail sales assistant, starting a new job is nerve-wracking. Offering new employees the option to complete some online training prior to their first day can help them feel more prepared. They’ll also feel more comfortable when meeting and working with colleagues for the first time if they already have a degree of knowledge about the company and systems.

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The final word

Online onboarding tools can greatly enhance the process, speeding up administration tasks to allow more time for those essential face-to-face activities that make onboarding a real success.

But before you purchase any software, there are three important things you need to consider. 

  1. Think of onboarding as more than just filling out payroll information – it’s an entire process that inducts your employee into your company culture and their role. It should start the moment they are hired and continue until their probationary period is over.
  2. Look at what activities are taking up the most time – is it administration, data entry, compliance training or on-site induction? Then look at which of those could be automated without losing personal connection.
  3. Talk to employees who have recently started with you to find out what they feel could have been improved and get an idea of how much automation they feel would be of benefit before personal connection is lost.

By combining onboarding tools and face-to-face activities, and giving employees the chance to start the process before their first day, you’re not just building a successful, sustainable and consistent onboarding program, you’re nurturing employees who feel engaged and connected to your organisation from the moment they are hired.

About the author:

Katrina Strathearn is the Marketing Manager of Roubler Australia. Roubler’s all-in-one HR system automates employee onboarding, rostering, time and attendance, leave management and payroll with Go1's Online Learning Management System.

Go1 helps millions of people in thousands of organizations engage in learning that is relevant, effective and inspiring.
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