Like almost everything else since the pandemic began, onboarding is no longer what it used to be. But what is it now? And more importantly, how can CEO’s, HR Directors, and other hiring managers know what it should look like in this new world?
Why Did Onboarding Change?
To understand why your onboarding practices need to change, it’s helpful to first examine what prompted this. There are some obvious factors, such as Work From Home. And there are some less apparent but equally important driving forces, like the incredible number of companies that didn’t survive the pandemic and what that means for those that made it.
Work From Home:
Clearly, the shift towards hiring remote workers – especially the fact the entire process can happen without ever meeting a new hire face-to-face – is the largest driver of the need to change your onboarding. If you were using paper job applications or wet-signed background check waivers, you need to quickly pivot to paperless processes. Cloud-based programs can help, but it is critical to ensure that you are comfortable that you maintain the same level of access to these important HR documents that you are accustomed to having in your previous environment.
Going paperless is not an option anymore. If you haven’t done that yet, it’s the first thing you need to do. But it’s just the first step, and if you’re not careful, there are lots of things that can trip you up. The security of your HR information is naturally at the top of the list of concerns. But it’s not just about encryption and data isolation. It’s also vital to try and limit the number of software vendors you use to conduct the various stages of the onboarding process.
So many companies use five, seven, or even ten or more software applications to interact with applicants and bring new hires on board. Does this sound familiar to you? An application for posting a job, an app for reviewing resumes, an app for interviewing, an e-sign app for new hire offer letters, an app for background checks, an app for drug testing, payroll software….how many times do you re-enter each applicant’s name, DOB, address? And besides the extra work involved, it’s just clearly more error prone. There is more of a chance of a security breach, more of a chance of mis-typed email address, more of a chance of everything going wrong with each different platform you use.
The Dream of a Single Employee Record:
You might be reading this and saying, well yes, we use ten different applications for onboarding, but they are “integrated”. Well, great! But in my experience, all integrations are not created equal. A true, native integration should mean that there is a single employee record or, at a minimum, a defined “source of truth” for the employees core demographic data. When using multiple systems that are poorly integrated, you might find yourself having to deal with discrepancies between the platforms, and if it’s not addressed, you’ll get bogged down trying to figure out why things don’t “match up”.
The best onboarding systems – and the ones you need to start moving to in this new world – are the ones that utilize a single employee record and seamlessly integrates as many of the job application, recruiting, and hiring functions as possible. Why? Because if you are not doing that, then you are spending too much time and making too many mistakes, putting your company at risk.
The Applicant Experience
Sure, it’s easy to downplay the work that an applicant has to do in order to come work for your company. But let’s face it: if you present an applicant with a smooth, seamless experience, it makes a much better first impression than a disjointed one, or worse, an onboarding process that requires them to create several accounts and remember a series of passwords just to get started. You can put your best foot forward, eliminate friction for applicants, and show people that you care about them by improving the tech you use for onboarding, and we all know that those first impressions linger in the minds of new hires for a long, long time.
Although perhaps less obvious, your ability to provide secure, seamless, technologically savvy onboarding is a critical part of your competitiveness. Tens of thousands of businesses went by the wayside in the past year. The ones who survived tended towards the companies who most easily adapted to using technologies to replace formerly non-digital processes – especially those who had already taken some of those leaps before the pandemic hit. Bigger companies had already largely made those transitions; small and medium businesses can’t wait a moment longer to get serious about using the right HR technology if they want to stay relevant.
Ultimately, it comes down to simple math. If it costs you twice as much time and you make twice as many errors in your HR processes as do your competitors, it will quickly become a serious liability for your company. Fortunately, there are many great options out there to help you get started, and they can be accessed at reasonable prices. For us at StaffGlass, the power of integrated onboarding is our raison d’ etre.
Written by Jared Rosenthal.