When you’re welcoming newly hired talent, a good employee onboarding process can speak volumes about your company and culture.
It will be their first encounter with your organization and, therefore, it will be a strong motivator in their decision on whether to stay in your company or pursue a career elsewhere.
For any company that wants to enhance its onboarding experience, automation is a natural first step.
Automation can cut costs, reduce paperwork, accelerate onboarding, enhance productivity, and improve retention. The benefits of automation are genuinely endless.
That’s why in this article, we present you with seven very promising benefits of automation that will hopefully encourage you to implement it in your onboarding process.
Saves Company Resources
The days that managers invest in training a new employee, the hours HR spends on inputting employee data, all the work the IT department has to put in to set up equipment and grant access to the company systems… all these figures can add up and make onboarding a rather pricey practice.
Onboarding a new employee can cost your company around $4,000 and more than 24 days of training, which is no small expense.
And although employee onboarding is definitely worth the investment, you can avoid a lot of these costs if you use automation to deal with most of the operational and administrative tasks.
Automating the onboarding process can really be a huge cost-saver, as it limits the number of people involved in training the new team member.
As you can see below, the HR department and other stakeholders at the company need to get involved in a lot of administration and procedural tasks to help the employee get settled in.
However, when much of the administration is handled by software, these key people have more time to concentrate on other, more important tasks.
For example, managers can concentrate more on one-on-ones with the new employee. The HR department can provide more support and jump in with the resources your new employees need to start working independently.
As for the new employees, they can go through the materials provided by the onboarding software more quickly if they don’t have to wait for the other professionals to find time for their training.
Automated solutions empower them to learn faster and more efficiently, which means that they will be able to be productive and contribute to the team more quickly.
Companies might hesitate to invest in automation software, but as you can see from everything we mentioned so far, the return of investment in the form of saving money on personnel engagement can be quite substantial.
Speeds Up the Recruitment Process
Recruiting new talent is becoming very difficult in present times, owing to the fact that companies now operate in what is called a worker’s market.
In this situation, the potential employee must be supported throughout the recruitment process and shouldn’t be given many chances to change their mind about your job offer. Automation can help you with this, too.
Effective communication is often a challenge for companies. Potential employees often have many questions that HR contacts struggle to answer in a timely fashion.
In fact, 40% of new hires report that the response from HR takes too long.
And when candidates are left in the dark or feel they’re not getting any attention from their new employer, that’s when they’re at great risk to change their mind about the job you’re offering and go find a more responsive employer.
However, with onboarding solutions, such as automated emails and onboarding checklists, you can do a lot to put the new employees’ minds at ease and supply them with the answers to all their questions.
On the other hand, automation will significantly lighten your HR team’s administrative workload and leave them more time to stay in touch with new hires as they prepare to start their job.
Another great advantage of automation is that you don’t have to wait for the recruits to start working to entrust them with their first tasks.
Using onboarding software, you can prepare pre-boarding packages containing contracts, employment forms, your employee handbook, and everything else the new hire can get through without any outside help.
That way, you ensure they don’t waste time filling out paperwork and reading guides on their first day.
Furthermore, with so much to do, the employee will already feel like a part of the company, making it less likely they’ll change their mind about accepting the position.
In other words, automation will help you immensely to speed up and streamline employee onboarding.
Your new team members will feel more prepared and better informed about their new role from the start, and they won’t have a chance to change their minds about coming to work for you.
Reduces Time to Productivity
Getting your new employees to become effective and productive team members can take a lot of time and effort, not to mention resources.
The problem is that the onboarding process can be very disorganized and unsystematic.
Many businesses still don’t consider proper onboarding as something crucially important for their company.
Instead, they welcome the new employees by simply showing them their desks, introducing them to the coworkers, and handing them contracts to sign.
However, this can have huge consequences to their productivity–employees who don’t go through a standardized and well-structured onboarding can hardly be expected to start contributing very soon after they’re hired.
Even more, if new employees don’t get help while they’re still learning, they can quickly become disengaged and indifferent.
This is where onboarding automation can be of great help. It can streamline the onboarding process, improve learning and help employees hit the ground running as soon as possible.
It’s no wonder that employees who go through onboarding with automated elements start achieving their goals faster.
In a traditional approach to onboarding, employees often need to wait around for instructions and training from their superiors, who are often too busy with work to give them the attention they need.
But software and automated solutions are created to support new hires.
For example, many companies use quality documentation software, like Archbee, to keep all of their key documents, policies, procedures, and guides in one place—on a webpage that can be accessed at all times, from anywhere, and by every authorized employee.
Therefore, instead of explaining every work process and company policy face-to-face, supervisors can simply point new hires to the company knowledge base hosted in the documentation software.
As they will be granted access to software that has a company’s knowledge library in one easy-to-find place, they will be able to learn at their own pace and according to their training needs. And that will speed up the time they need to become productive.
Remember, automated onboarding solutions are always there for your new employees, even when you can’t be. That means they can learn and progress without any unnecessary halts to the process, reducing time to productivity.
Eliminates Redundant Tasks
Filling out paperwork may seem like a never-ending process.
On their first days in the company, new employees are handed a stack of different forms that they have to fill out. Each one requires the same data, such as name, date of birth, address, and social security number.
But there is a lot of other paperwork for your new employees to deal with. Contracts, confidentiality agreements, disclaimers, payrolls, paid time off, and benefits all require some sort of documentation that has to be reviewed, filled, and sometimes signed.
This amounts to a lot of red tape, on top of the other onboarding activities consists of.
This can be quite tedious and even frustrating for the new employee, and that’s not the way they should be feeling when starting an exciting new job.
Automation helps you eliminate such repetitive tasks through the use of software that will require that new employees fill out their data only once.
It will then auto-populate all the forms in different documents and across departments requiring the mentioned data, thus making the paperwork much easier for the new hire and HR.
Let’s see this in action on the example from Trello, the work management tool.
With digital tools like this, there is no longer a need to manually deal with hard copies and waste a lot of the workday on different paperwork. The system will do all of this for you in just a few clicks.
You have to enter the employee data once, and everything will be auto-populated in every employee board that has this information.
With Trello, everything is so systematically organized in one place that it not only reduces a great deal of red tape for you but it also improves employee management.
Plus, if you still handle your paperwork manually, every new update will be a time-consuming hassle, as you will have to check and correct each document by hand.
With automation in place, inputting and updating new employee information becomes easier than ever because software handles all of this automatically, ensuring everything stays up-to-date and current.
Minimizes Chances for Human Error
Truth be told, a lot can go wrong with your onboarding process. In the end, it is a sensitive and multi-faceted process managed by people. And people make mistakes.
As we already explained, there’s a lot of administration and data handling involved in employee onboarding. When these tasks are carried out manually, the chances of errors popping up can be substantial, and these errors can have far-reaching consequences.
For example, they can have a ripple effect on new employees’ churn rate, especially if the errors have been made in the payroll or benefits systems.
The worst part is, your employee records could be riddled with mistakes without you even knowing it until the damage is done. For example, did you know that almost every spreadsheet contains an error of some sort?
This is why it is a good idea to automate the onboarding process as much as you can. If you set the administrative tasks to be handled electronically, you can reduce the possibility of human error to a minimum because automation eliminates issues like typos or miscalculations.
In addition to that, with automation, your employees’ data doesn’t need to change so many hands, minimizing the chance of miscommunication.
Add to that the automatic updating capabilities we discussed in the previous section, and you’ve got yourself an onboarding process that’s almost fool-proof.
That’s exactly why companies opt for onboarding automation and solutions like Zavvy that handle a lot of data entry automatically, store every bit of information you’ll ever need about your employees safely, and allow HR reps, managers, and supervisors to access everything at a click of a button.
And if you accidentally make a data mistake, it is enough to correct it in one place, and the software will change all the other documents that contain that data. That means you won’t have to go into every document that contains the mistake and correct it manually.
To sum up, onboarding software drastically reduces the likelihood of human error in the onboarding process. And if errors do occur, correcting them becomes a matter of minutes, instead of hours.
Simplifies Employee Management
Even if you are proud of your employee management system, there is a big chance that you can streamline your onboarding process even more.
In other words, if you automate your onboarding, keeping employee records, scheduling, as well as tracking the employees’ progress with the appointed tasks will turn from an administrative nuisance into an easy, quick and effective process.
With digital tools, you can create a dashboard for every new hire, where you can:
- store and keep all of their key data
- set payment information and benefits enrollment
- define paid time off entitlements
- note your employees’ skills and expertise
- track your employees’ progress
In short, with a centralized and automated data repository, you can see how far your new hires have come, and determine if there is a need for further guidance or if they are performing so well that it would be advised to speed up their training.
To illustrate this even further, let us look at the example from BambooHR, the HR management software.
With this kind of centralized system for managing employees, you can connect employee data and collect them in one easy-to-find place.
As everything in such a system is customizable, you can incorporate all sorts of data necessary for your employee records. From CVs and information about their education, through payment and paid time off plans, to performance reviews—everything is there at the reach of the hand.
This can be highly beneficial for the employees too, as they can check their employee records anytime and ask HR questions in case of doubts or misunderstandings.
Also, where there is no automation in place, different departments keep their separate records and files.
And if there are information discrepancies between different departments, you have to investigate which data is correct and where adjustments are needed, draining your time and even creating grounds for interdepartmental conflict.
With an automated solution, all the departments have access to information that’s up-to-date and error-free.
As you can see, the automation of the employee management system has so many potential benefits that it can be a true game-changer for your employee management system.
Improves Employee Retention
Many companies today are facing challenges when it comes to keeping top talent.
And according to a survey conducted by Glassdoor, employee onboarding proved to be essential for retaining new hires in their first year.
In other words, if you conduct onboarding properly, you’ll create employees who achieve great things and want to stay at the company in the long run.
Conversely, when employees are onboarded poorly, they may come to feel they don’t have the necessary knowledge, support, and motivation to continue to work for you and can decide to continue their careers in a different company.
Since automation is a powerful tool that can help you improve so many aspects of your onboarding process, it follows that investing in onboarding automation should go a long way to help you improve your talented workers.
Some people criticize onboarding automation as something that removes the human touch from employee onboarding. As it basically leaves a great deal of workload to digital tools to handle, they presume that onboarding becomes a rather impersonal procedure.
But with automation, the onboarding will be everything but not impersonal. In fact, automation is, to a great extent, responsible for making the onboarding more personal.
If you leave most of your red tape to the digital tools, HR and managers will have more time to interact and collaborate with the new team members.
They can be available for their questions and concerns and are more likely to invest their time and effort in one-on-one conversations if they don’t have big piles of paperwork waiting for them on their desk.
If the people responsible for the onboarding can dedicate their time to train the employees and offer them ongoing support during the process, the new hires will feel more valued. At the same time, they will be able to acquire new knowledge and skills more quickly and efficiently.
Also, structured onboarding leaves a great first impression. The new hires will likely perceive you as more professional and be more eager to work for your company if it offers a systematized approach to the procedures.
All things considered, it’s clear that automation is a way to connect better with employees, provide them with a structured onboarding process, and help them on their way to greatness. And all of this results in retention numbers beyond your expectations.
As you can see from this article, onboarding automation can have huge benefits for your company and your new employees.
As it streamlines, accelerates, and modernizes the onboarding process, it provides an effective and supportive training experience for your new employees.
As a result, they will more likely be satisfied with their job and motivated to excel in their new role.
On the other hand, automation also facilitates the HR department’s work by taking most of the paperwork off their hands, allowing them to focus on more meaningful tasks and provide better support for the new hires.
Therefore, automation is a win-win situation for all parties involved, which is why it makes sense to implement it in your onboarding process.