Successful Onboarding: A Balanced Fusion of Tech and Human Touch
By Elmen Lamprecht, Talent Acquisition and Sourcing Manager at Engen
The first 90 days is arguably the most important ‘Moment that Matters’ for any employee. The experience in that 90 days often determines employee’s long-term opinion of their employer. A comprehensive onboarding process helps new hires feel welcome, engaged, and connected to the organisation. It equips new employees with the necessary knowledge and skills, enabling them to become productive more quickly. Well-prepared and onboarded employees are even more capable of providing excellent service to customers.
An inspirational onboarding experience has impact on several business measures:
- Increased Employee Retention: Effective onboarding programs can lead to 50% higher retention rates for new employees (SHRM).
- Improved Time-to-Productivity: Companies with a formal onboarding program achieve an average of 60% year-on-year improvement in revenue per full-time employee (Aberdeen Group).
- Increased Employee Engagement: A well-structured onboarding process can increase employee engagement by up to 82% (Glassdoor).
- Boosted Customer Satisfaction: Effective onboarding programs lead to higher customer satisfaction scores (Harvard Business Review).
- Reduced Costs and Turnover: High-quality onboarding can reduce employee turnover by 50% (Wynhurst Group).
THE FOUR ELEMENTS OF SUCCESSFUL ONBOARDING
Employee onboarding is a crucial process for any organisation, as it sets the tone for a new employee's journey within the company. To achieve this, successful onboarding incorporates four key elements: Inspiration, Education, Orientation, and Administration.
Let's delve into each of these elements to understand their significance and how they contribute to an effective onboarding experience.
BIGGEST CHALLENGES: BUSINESS SILOES AND GEOGRAPHICAL SPREAD
Even the most well-intentioned companies face operational obstacles when endeavouring to provide a superior onboarding experience. These challenges become particularly formidable as the scale of the organisation expands.
Among these challenges, few are as intricate as inherent business siloes and the geographical spread of the organisation. In large corporations that operate within isolated divisions or span vast geographic territories, several challenges often impede the onboarding experience:
- Communication Hurdles: Disconnected departments or widely dispersed operations frequently struggle to communicate seamlessly. The lack of information sharing can result in misunderstandings, duplicated efforts, and an absence of synergy across the organisation, leading to inefficiencies.
- Diminished Collaboration: The independence of different segments of the organisation hampers the pooling of collective expertise and resources, potentially undermining cross-functional initiatives like onboarding and creating inconsistent employee experiences.
- Duplication and Neglect: Insulated departments may inadvertently duplicate tasks or neglect important steps within the onboarding process due to their limited awareness of each other's activities.
- Employee Experience Frictions: Large corporations are expected to provide a seamless employee experience, yet silos and dispersion can lead to disjointed interactions, breeding frustration and discontent.
SYNERGISING TECHNOLOGY AND HUMAN TOUCH
It is essential to acknowledge that while technology can significantly enhance various aspects of onboarding, it can never wholly replace the value of human interaction. The lessons learned during the COVID-19 lockdowns underscored the intrinsic human need for connection. To surmount the challenges of onboarding, a symbiotic relationship between technology and the human touch is indispensable.
Recognising the areas where technology excels over human efforts (e.g., administrative tasks), where it falls short (e.g., fostering connection and welcome), and where the two can coalesce (e.g., training and orientation) lays the groundwork for a harmonious integration. By pinpointing the specific junctures where technology can either supplant or enrich direct human involvement, organisations can strategically collaborate with onboarding tech providers to achieve targeted outcomes.
ADVANTAGES OF USING TECH IN ONBOARDING
The integration of technology into employee onboarding yields a slew of advantages that optimise and amplify the process:
- Enhanced Efficiency: Automation facilitated by technology expedites administrative tasks, training, and paperwork, accelerating the integration of new employees.
- Consistency: Optimal technology utilisation fosters a uniform onboarding experience for all new hires.
- Accessibility and Flexibility: Online onboarding platforms empower employees to access materials and resources from any location, at any time, accommodating remote or dispersed teams.
- Paperwork Reduction: Technology enables paperless onboarding, reducing errors, expediting processes, and contributing to sustainability.
- Augmented Engagement: Interactive multimedia elements facilitated by technology enhance engagement and retention of critical information.
- Data Analytics: Technology facilitates data collection, allowing HR departments to identify bottlenecks, gauge engagement, measure educational and orientation effectiveness, and make data-driven enhancements.
- Positive Employee Experience: A streamlined and efficient onboarding process positively influences the employer brand, fostering inspiration.
- Cost Savings: Although there might be initial investment, technology-driven onboarding ultimately reduces manual administration, improves orientation, and leads to cost savings.
ACHIEVING YOUR ONBOARDING MISSION
Effective onboarding hinges upon a balanced fusion of technology and human interaction that encompasses the four fundamental elements: Inspiration, Education, Orientation, and Administration. Harnessing technology empowers business units, led by Line Managers, to offer high-quality onboarding experiences across varied functions and geographic locales. By leveraging technology's capacity to augment the human touch, organisations can achieve a plethora of business outcomes that bolster customer satisfaction and the bottom line.