How technology is changing the onboarding experience

by John Hilton24 Nov 2016
Technology has transformed the onboarding game – and it’s not before time. 

Indeed, legacy systems have been rigid, compliance focused and were developed primarily to automate the process and allow people to complete forms electronically, according to Riges Younan, Avature’s vice president – APAC. 

Moreover, organisations would often use multiple tools rather than a single platform. 

A single platform eliminates integration bottlenecks, and importantly, makes it easier for the HR professional to see the bigger picture and understand how everything they do works together. 

“Too many systems mean that there are too many things to learn and it’s very easy for critical information to be stored in silos, making it difficult to combine and follow the lifecycle of that data,” said Younan.

“These systems were developed for HR, not the candidate, because onboarding was seen as a core HR process rather than a strategic one.”

For instance, new hires would move from an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) to an onboarding system, most likely from a different vendor. 

These systems did not leverage social networks and were not optimised for a mobile experience via portals or mobile apps. This had a huge impact on the candidate experience as there was no consistency in how the new hire interacted with the organisation. 

“It all seemed very disjointed – not the best impression you want to make,” Younan said.

What’s the solution? 

The key is for HR to have full visibility. They should be able to manage, understand, track and focus on what’s important. They should be able to see what works, tweak processes, and share best practice among departments, which is imperative from a service delivery, stand point. 

They also need the flexibility to customise their processes, particularly for international organisations with multiple office locations. 

“There is no way you can onboard people the same way in every country or region in the world,” said Younan. 

“Just look at the onboarding period in the Australia compared to Germany. In Australia, you assume it lasts about three months, but in Germany it’s usually considered six months. Suddenly your engagement strategy has to change. But can it?”

The right platform puts HR in the driving seat for the entire journey; it allows them to service all areas of the business, while taking into consideration regional cultures, languages, regulatory needs etc. 

With the right platform and tools, an organisation can structure the onboarding process to enable all stakeholders – new hire, hiring manager, recruiter, buddy, HR professional – to engage and manage their part effectively in the process, without having to constantly remind themselves of what they need to do. 

For example: setting reminders for managers to write welcome emails, book time in their calendars for intro meetings, send invitations to lunch, give them a welcome gift. 

You can pre-populate a new hire’s calendar with training sessions or provide them with a training schedule that they can sign up for at convenient times. 

Also, it’s important to extend that beyond the initial first day or week, and pre-schedule feedback sessions. That way the hiring manager and employee know when they are coming up and can prepare.

“People are busy – so structure is important, and these small but high impact activities can make a great first impression, and help frame a positive mindset from the get go,” said Younan. 

Look at it this way: As an employer, you have one chance to make a good impression. However, it takes five times the effort to reverse a bad one. 

Only a positive onboarding experience can maintain the ‘happy-vibe’ and open up many new doors for sourcing future talent.

Related stories:

Don’t overlook orientation for internal hires

Is your company losing employees for ‘small subtleties’? 

The parallels of online dating and tech talent recruiting

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