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How technology is shaping the future of onboarding

May 11, 2017
Borderless Leadership

First impressions are always crucial, and that remains true for a new employee and his workplace.

As a new employee gets adjusted to his role within a company, a period which HR professionals call the onboarding process, he will form his initial impressions of whether he is working for a good organization or not. If his initial impressions are bad, he will likely leave. Even if he does not, the time spent acclimatizing to the ways things are done will make him less productive for weeks if not months.

But despite the importance of making a good impression, a significant percentage of companies have no onboarding program at all, and those onboarding programs which exist often consist of little more than a binder filled with outdated information. The result is that 33 percent of new hires start looking for a new job within six months, costing the company money and time.

There is a better way. Technology can make the onboarding process easier and more effective, giving new workers easy to understand information. Companies are already using technology and data to change the ways which they hire candidates. They should continue to use those things with new employees to create happy, loyal, and productive workers.

Death to Paperwork

Employee onboarding is not just about becoming familiar with the way things are done. At the start of practically any job, new employees have to sit down and fill out a thousand forms on things such as tax information, personal information, and emergency contacts.

This is incredibly archaic, especially as there are numerous programs out there which offer paperless forms that can be filled out on a worker’s own time. Workbright is just one such software which sends out emails to new employees and sends them to a dashboard filled with the necessary forms. Employees can thus fill out these forms at home instead of wasting time in the office. And by going paperless, the forms are more secure compared to paper forms which can be lost easily.

Improving Socialization

The legal forms may be the part of onboarding which a company cares the most about, but employees want to will jump into their new role and meet their comrades. Many want to make friends with coworkers but are too nervous to go up and strike a conversation with an older worker.

With social media and technology, new workers can learn what the veterans look like and something about their personalities before physically meeting them. Companies should send a welcome e-mail and a short video where the veterans introduce themselves and make a new worker feel like he belongs. By letting the new employee consult a video or social media feed which he can access freely, that worker can more quickly associate names with faces instead of going through that awkward “I’m sorry, I forgot your name” conversation we have all experienced.

In addition to the employees, onboarding technology can also inform new workers about the company, what its current position is, and ongoing news. The goal of all this should be to make the workers really feel like they are a part of the company and team, and that means knowing and trusting the people around them.

Faster Training

The new employee has filled out the necessary forms and has become familiar with the people in the office and the company. But he is here to do a job, which entails learning precisely what his duties are and what skills he may have to learn.

Companies should look to constantly train and develop all of their employees to keep them refreshed on the proper way to do things, and this especially applies to new ones. I do believe that in-person training, particularly a mentorship program, is generally the best form of training especially as it hopefully builds a bond between mentor and mentee. This has been used effectively by many law firms.

But digital training programs and videos have some major advantages. An employee who is uncertain about something can review them on his own time and learn at his own pace. Digital training programs can also keep track of everything an employee has learned compared to a mentor who might miss something obvious because it would never occur to him to teach that.

Catching Up

As noted earlier, it makes no sense how businesses are comfortable relying on technology and automated scripts to go over resumes and hire candidates, only to not use technology to get those candidates used to the workplace. Businesses do not even have to use the latest cutting-edge technology for this task. Going paperless, uploading videos online, and social media are some very basic but worthwhile ways to help new workers.

By streamlining the onboarding process and using technology, businesses can turn new workers into veteran, productive workers faster. Treat the workers like they are part of a team, and they will not turn and run away at the first opportunity.

By Chip Espinoza

Source: Training Zone

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