One of the most common (yet avoidable) failure points in the HR lifecycle is in the onboarding of new hires (or sometimes, internal company transfers). When done well, employee onboarding is thoughtful and repeatable – all new hires have a similar process and current employees are well aware of the process. When onboarding is not done well, new hires report feeling adrift and unclear on their individual, team or company purpose, their workflow or their role definition.
Ideally, the onboarding process happens over a series of weeks or months, not hours or days, allowing for numerous touch points and the opportunity to both unearth and answer urgent questions. A structured program over time also improves the likelihood new hires learn and appreciate the company goals, values, norms and processes – as well as what they’ll need to be successful in their role.
All too often, companies spend time, energy and money to build an “ideal” onboarding process, complete with checklists and company swag, yet those perfectly laid plans aren’t implemented, or the momentum is stalled when there’s a change in the champion of the onboarding process. In the end, new hires often don’t gain the required clarity, because new onboarding stewards may be more keenly interested in certain elements over others. This leads to the dilution of planned onboarding efforts.
How Onboarding Software Can Help
Many companies are leveraging technology solutions to ensure that all key actions are defined, assigned and completed for each new hire – providing clarity and consistency across the organization. These technology solutions elegantly interface with applicant tracking systems and other HRIS software, requiring minimal data entry. What’s more, HR maintains a clear line of sight into the proper onboarding of the company’s new recruits. Many solutions also offer ways to capture new hires’ first impressions, allowing early intervention if warranted.
The advantages to leveraging onboarding technologies include:
- Improved clarity about the organization.
- Accelerated networking and social interaction across the organization.
- Instant tracking status and insight into required follow up.
- Strengthened efficacy of onboarding initiatives.
- An increase in new hire employee engagement and the likelihood new hires will thrive in the organization.
Finding the Right Onboarding Software
When it comes to finding the right technology solutions for your employee onboarding, you should consider the following:
- Clarity on the problem you’re looking to solve. Is it improving onboarding? Having a centralized place to know what’s being done and by whom? A reporting mechanism?
- Elements of your onboarding strategy. Is it straightforward or matrixed? How many people will need access to understand current status?
- The “owner” of onboarding. Is it the new manager or is it centralized in HR?
- Hiring projections. How many people will be going through the process?
- Your need for qualitative vs. quantitative data.
- Integration requirements with other HRIS software.
Investments to improve a simplified technology solution to track and manage onboarding for new hires can go a long way toward improving their employee experience and deepening their commitment to your organization.
Catherine Malloy Cummings is a breakthrough human resources strategist known for her ability to transform HR teams into champions of revenue and agents of business growth. When she’s not consulting, you’ll find her speaking and writing on aligning the HR function to your corporate performance and profitability.