Automated Employee Onboarding: Benefits & Best Practices

Steve Manjaly September 7, 2021

The employee onboarding process plays a crucial role in a company’s growth, whether it be a budding start-up or an established MNC. The onboarding process is the first time a new employee gets a feel for your organization, your brand, and your work culture. And their initial experience will dictate the future of the relation between the employee and the organization. An automated employee onboarding experience can ensure a consistently good experience for your new employees

The importance of Effective Employee Onboarding

What Should an Employee Come Away With After the First Day?

How to Plan an Employee's First Day

Best Practices for Automatic Employee Onboarding

The Role of the Service Desk in Automatic Employee Onboarding

The Importance of Continuous Feedback

Whether it be an app, or an organization, or a product you developed, the onboarding process is a crucial step that can make or break a person’s experience with it. With an automated onboarding process, you can fine-tune this experience to perfection and at the same time easy for your organization. It’s no surprise that organizations spend significant resources on onboarding clients, customers, users, and employees. 

While employee onboarding processes are still manual at least to a certain extent, automated customer or user onboarding is very common for B2C businesses and SaaS applications. With much of the work being online and remote and digital workplaces being on the rise, organizations and HR professionals are increasingly adopting fully automated onboarding systems for employees

The advanced employee onboarding tools available these days make it easier than ever to completely automate every step from the moment an employee is hired. 

The Importance of Effective Employee Onboarding

A casual look at the employee experience and retention statistics will reiterate the importance of effective employee onboarding in an organization.  

A great onboarding experience can improve employee retention rates by 82% and incentivize around 69% of employees to stay for at least 3 years. On the other hand, a negative experience increases the chance of employees looking for a new opportunity by 200%.  As you can see, the onboarding process plays a huge role in improving employee retention rates. 

automatic employee onboarding

The first few days at a new organization create a lasting impression in the mind of a new employee about the organization and their role there. And if it doesn’t fit their expectation, they’re likely to look for new opportunities despite adequate compensation. 

The onboarding process also plays a huge role in getting an employee to their peak productivity in the shortest time. Estimates suggest that this takes on an average of 8 months. The absence of an effective onboarding process can even result in employees who don’t know exactly what their role is, or how to do it effectively. For example, an employee who is not aware of the best tool for a job may try 2 or more tools they’re familiar with to get it done. 

A good onboarding process is also important for cultivating your organizational culture. Along with standard practices and routines, it will convey the organization’s tone to the new hires. It will give a good sense of how their work-life and environment will be in the organization, and what’s expected of them. 

The HR department can leverage an automated employee onboarding system to create an efficient onboarding process that improves employee retention and productivity in the organization, as well as nurture a great organizational culture. 

What Should an Employee Come Away With After the First Day? 

While experts recommend a year-long onboarding process, it usually goes anywhere from a single day to a couple of months. Either way, day one of an employee is an important step in the onboarding process. The new hire will understandably be a bit nervous as well as excited, and a great first day can go a long way in creating a lasting impression about the organization. 

Here’s a checklist for a new hire’s first day.

Finish the paperwork

Let’s face it, nobody likes sitting around signing paperwork all day long, but, it has to be done. Make use of automated employee onboarding solutions to make this digital and quick. 

Set up their hardware and workspace

Make sure their workstation and the devices they’ll need are all set up. In the case of remote workplaces, or BYOD cultures, you can use digital asset management solutions to remotely set up their systems, install their systems, and hand over the credentials securely. 

A tour of the office

Either someone from the HR department or from their new team could show them around the office. This will help them get used to their new work environment quickly and gives them a chance to mingle with other employees. 

Meet the team and their manager

Meeting the team for the first time may be a bit nerve-racking, so you can plan a couple of ice-breakers, to make sure the new employee feels welcome and gets along well with their team. 

Give them an overview of an average day of work

Inform the new hires about company policies, clock-in, clock-out, who to report to, dress code, and all the other nitty-gritty details. 

At the end of the day, ensure that the employee gets a good feeling about your company, their work environment and work culture, their team, and their manager. Make them feel welcome and comfortable and be open to their questions and doubts. 

How to Plan an Employee's First Day

While planning an employee’s first day, it is very important to ensure that you don’t overwhelm them. Even for industry veterans, a new company and an environment will create a lot of pressure. So don’t plan too many things for the first day and allocate enough time for everything. 

Ahead of their first day, let the new hires know what you’ve planned for them, and give a small brief about them to their team and colleagues. If you’re planning a buddy for their onboarding, prepare them for their duties. Make sure the necessary hardware, the IT credentials, and the workspace is set up before the first day. Set up the automated employee onboarding software to get the ball rolling when the new employee arrives. 

companies with great onboarding

Benefits of Automatic Employee Onboarding 

Automatic employee onboarding software brings huge benefits for the organization, and more organizations are starting to lean on them to streamline their onboarding programs. Here are a couple of ways in which an automatic onboarding system will help your organization. 

Reduce time on simple things

Think about your first day at your present job. How many hours did you spend signing documents, setting up your workspace, and other tasks which could have been completely automated? An automated onboarding system can make sure your new employee spends less time on simple things and more on meaningful activities. 

Cut costs 

Automated employee onboarding systems reduce the operational costs of an organization both directly and indirectly. 

An onboarding software will reduce the training time for new hires and get them to work in the shortest time period. Managers can invest their and the new employee’s time in activities that generate revenue for the company. The productivity lost simply due to the learning curve of an employee can cost from 1% to 2.5% of total business revenues.  By minimizing the loss of productivity, the automatic employee onboarding system directly cuts down operational costs. 

An automatic onboarding system will also improve retention rates and reduce the employee turnaround. Organizations spend anywhere from $3000 to $18000 to replace an average employee. Research suggests that employee retention is up by 50% in organizations with a standard onboarding process, and that employee retention can increase by up to 16% with an automatic onboarding system. 

As you can see, automatic employee onboarding systems can significantly reduce the operational costs of hiring and training employees. 

Automated onboarding will make sure the whole process is completed and on time

Onboarding processes are complicated, right from signing the documents to ensuring the new hire has everything to work at peak capacity. If you’re going the manual onboarding route, you’re likely to miss out on a couple of things. An automated onboarding system can reduce or eliminate human error in this process. 

An automated onboarding solution will ensure that every step in the process is carried out. It will ensure compliance with rules and regulations related to employment with extensive documentation. 

Manual onboarding can also miss out on passing the knowledge an employee may need to get their job done. An automated system will ensure that the new hires are armed with all the information and knowledge they need to fit perfectly into their new role. 

Improves productivity

An organization with a standard onboarding program sees on an average of 54% increased productivity among their new hires. Among the employees who hit their first performance goals, 77% went through a formal onboarding process. Research shows that automating the onboarding process increases the likelihood of employees hitting their first performance goal by 18%. 

automatic employee onboarding

Best Practices for Automatic Employee Onboarding

With the evolution of digital workplaces and the increased popularity of remote work, the nature of employee onboarding processes has changed drastically. The shift to automated onboarding has helped organizations cope with large-scale hiring processes and the changing workplace dynamics. Here are a couple of best practices to get the best out of your automated employee onboarding systems. 

Automate, but don’t forget the human touch

Workflow automation simplifies and streamlines the onboarding process but to get the best results, you cannot eliminate the human factor. This is particularly important in remote work situations. New hires will be hesitant to reach out or connect with their colleagues initially and may sometimes need a gentle nudge. At the end of the day, talk to them, and keep an open line of communication with them. The first few days are when an employee is most likely to leave the organization and it’s important to make them feel appreciated and valued.

Track the progress, and tailor the process 

Not every new hire has the same learning curve, and a one size fits all approach doesn’t always work. Keep track of the progress of the new hires using the onboarding software and give them the assistance they may need. Make sure they’re not facing any hurdles, and even more importantly, that they’re not facing too much pressure. 

Aside from the analysis during every onboarding process, measure the overall efficiency of your onboarding program. Maybe your new hires are finishing the onboarding process very well, but later struggle to hit their milestones. Or your organization may be facing low retention rates. The data will help you figure out the root cause and adjust your onboarding program accordingly. 

Integrate your automatic onboarding software with your existing systems

Make sure your automatic onboarding software is not separate from the rest of your tools. Integrating your onboarding software with other software that the organization use will help the new hire get started soon. For example, by integrating with your digital workplace solution, or collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams, your new hires will get a feel for how things are done in your organization. And they won’t have to keep jumping between multiple software in a day. 

You can also better leverage other tools like knowledge base and service desk by integrating them with your onboarding software. An integrated knowledge base and a self-service portal will help new hires to get the information they need. A service desk integration will help them make use of the services of the IT department to settle down quickly in the new environment. 

The Role of the Service Desk in Automatic Employee Onboarding 

A service desk will streamline all the IT queries the HR personnel or the new hires may have during the onboarding process. When a new employee is joining your organization, there’s a ton of tasks you have to take care of with the help of the IT department. You have to ensure they have the right hardware and software for their role, set up secure access to the digital workplace as well as to the organization, and keep a record of all of these activities. 

It gets more complicated when new hires are joining your organization every day. The tasks have to be repeated for every single employee, and a significant percentage of them will have their own IT queries. Calling up the IT department for every one of these will definitely overwhelm them and create a bottleneck for your onboarding process. Without a robust IT service desk, the automatic onboarding process may turn into a manual process. 

An IT service desk can simplify onboarding. It will ensure the smooth management of hardware and software assets required without a glitch. It can efficiently keep track of all the service requests, clear them up efficiently, and make sure the onboarding process goes without a glitch.

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The Importance of Continuous Feedback

Feedback doesn’t just involve what you’re getting directly from the new hires, but also from the data. As we discussed earlier, data can point out patterns and problems that may otherwise go unnoticed. Continuous feedback is important during an automated employee onboarding process for many reasons. 

The new hire will have a lot of questions and concerns during their initial days. And there’s a lot of room for miscommunication and misunderstanding during this period. Collecting continuous feedback and having their suggestions heard will make the new hires feel valued. 

A continuous feedback process will help you improve your onboarding process. You’ll be able to find out what’s missing, what’s going wrong, and what can be done better. 

An automated employee onboarding system will help you collect valuable feedback from the stakeholders, which in turn will help you refine your onboarding process to perfection. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How can you use automatic employee onboarding for remote work?

Automatic employee onboarding will do wonders for the HR department when the organization is working remotely. Unlike in-person onboarding, it won’t be practical to handhold the employee through each and every step of onboarding. For example, you cannot be there to help them set up their hardware or take them through the collaboration tools. You may have to conduct some face-to-face training through calls, but manually taking them through the entire process will be a waste of time and productivity. 

An automated employee onboarding tool will take care of this, make sure the employee is onboarded smoothly into the organization and the team. 

How do you make new employees feel welcome to your organization when using automatic employee onboarding systems?

An employee onboarding system will make sure everything is set up before a new hire’s first day. You can send over the documents they need to sign, verify their documents, and other details even before their first day, and set aside the first day to get them used to their new environment and team. Just being prepared for them and having everything good to go itself will make a new employee feel welcome. 

What are the steps in an automated onboarding process?

The automated employee onboarding system is an integral part of the entire onboarding process. 

The first step, once the employee accepts the offer, is preparing the organization for the new employee. This includes the proper documentation, informing, and preparing the relevant departments. It’s best to keep in touch with the employee even before the joining period, passing on information about the company, maybe even send over the company swag. On the first day, get the new hire settled in, introduce them to the team, and pass over the basic information. 

This is followed by the orientation and training period, during which the employee is trained to be an effective member of the organization. The onboarding process doesn’t end after the training period. As we discussed above, an employee can take up to 8 months to reach full productivity, and this entire time the onboarding process has to go on. 

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