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Why Automated Employee Onboarding Is the Future of HR

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Why Automated Employee Onboarding Is the Future of HR

Manual onboarding processes increase costs and lower employee engagement. Automation helps by efficiently connecting with new hires and accelerating their transition into their new roles.

First impressions are everything. 

The onboarding process is your new hire’s introduction to your company’s practices and culture; you only get one chance to do it right. Fragmented onboarding strategies waste time when a new hire could contribute to core tasks and — ultimately — can contribute to your top talent losing confidence in the company.

Besides playing a major role in how new employees perceive your organization, poorly implemented onboarding methods can cause significant business bottlenecks for your staff, putting a substantial dent in morale and productivity. Simply put, when new hires struggle, everyone struggles, and that often includes your clients or customers too.

Recognizing just how crucial a smooth onboarding process is to their businesses' short- and long-term success, many forward-looking leaders are implementing automated onboarding systems. While a hands-on approach can be effective (and sometimes even necessary), many aspects of the onboarding process don’t require a human touch.

Let’s take an in-depth look at the problems with manual onboarding, the advantages associated with an automated onboarding process, and viable automation solutions that are currently available, including specific examples and ideas to get you started on the right path toward developing a comprehensive hiring, interviewing, and onboarding process.

Onboarding: Fast Facts

In order to understand the importance of consistently delivering a stellar onboarding experience, start by taking a look at the data. Here are some key onboarding statistics as of 2022, according to Zippia:

  • On average, it costs over $4,000 to hire a new employee and over $1,500 to onboard a new employee.
  • Only 12% of employees think their company does an excellent job onboarding new hires.
  • 58% of businesses rely on onboarding programs based on paperwork and processes.
  • On average, new employees are required to complete 41 administrative tasks.
  • 17% of new hires quit their positions between the first week and third month of employment, creating thousands of dollars of wasted labor.
  • New hires who participate in a structured onboarding process are 69% more likely to stay with the business for three years or more.
  • Companies with effective onboarding methods boost hire retention by 82% and productivity by 70%.
  • 23% of new hires who voluntarily quit within six months say they would have been more likely to stay if they had clear guidelines regarding their responsibilities, and 21% would have stayed if the company’s training methods were more effective.

The Problems With Manual Onboarding

As you can see, there’s often a significant disconnect among new employees, HR, and team leaders. And all too often, the only team members who recognize the problems are the new hires who may be hesitant to acknowledge their unnecessary obstacles.

After all, long-established procedures tend to remain in place until someone actively pushes for change, and it’s easy to assume that the challenges associated with problematic onboarding practices are simply unavoidable. This culture of stagnation can devastate organizations that fail to realize why they’re not keeping up with the competition.

Common Manual Onboarding Problems

1. Human Errors Are More Likely to Occur

Mistakes are bound to happen from time to time, but a lot of them are easily avoidable. In many onboarding scenarios, current employees are already struggling to fill the void left behind by the employee(s) who recently left the company, so adding a new hire to the equation can further lead to confusion and disorganization, which increases the chances of mistakes — during both usual workday processes and the onboarding process.

2. Stress Leads to Low Morale and Decreased Engagement

In addition to making your company more vulnerable to human blunders, juggling daily responsibilities while scrambling to help a new hire acclimate to the company can be overwhelming for everyone involved. This naturally reduces morale and engagement.

Maintaining a positive work environment is especially important these days, as stress in the workplace has reached an all-time high, with 44% of employees feeling stressed out at work, according to the Gallup State of the Global Workplace: 2022 Report.

3. You May Lose Out on Top Talent

There are many employee retention strategies to consider, but your onboarding process should be a top priority. After spending a substantial amount of time and money finding the perfect addition to your team, a frustrating onboarding process can negate those expenses in the blink of an eye. If you want to retain quality workers, you must get them started on a positive note from day one.

4. Good Employees End Up Delivering Bad Work

Even the most skilled prodigies can’t perform their best without the right structure and guidance. How you train your employees directly affects their output: garbage in, garbage out. Manual onboarding is inconsistent from person to person, so even if your approach worked well for one new hire, you may not achieve the same results with the next.

5. You’re Wasting Time

Streamlining the onboarding experience doesn’t mean diminishing its quality. Onboarding doesn’t need to be tedious to be effective. From manual data entry to constant requests for clarification from HR and other employees, many onboarding processes are entirely unnecessary and redundant and can (and should) be eliminated and replaced with modern alternatives.

Examples of Onboarding Automation

There are countless ways to automate the onboarding process and other daily processes. A software development firm can create custom software for your organization, so if you have a specific idea in mind, there’s a very strong chance they can bring your vision to life.

If you’re not sure where to begin, you may want to start with a development consultation that allows you to recognize existing bottlenecks and clarify and define your company’s unique goals and requirements.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Connect With New Hires Before Their First Day

You can use workflow automation software to keep your new hires informed about the upcoming first day on the job. This can include sending a pre-written email in advance that includes a welcome message, all necessary paperwork, and an overview of what the first day’s onboarding process will entail. This simple step allows your new hire to confidently enter the office, knowing what’s in store.

2. Inform Your Team Members About Their Roles

Similarly, you can use automation to keep your team apprised about any workday exchanges so they can plan accordingly. You can set up automated alerts that let HR know about any uncompleted tasks so they’re always in the loop in real-time.

3. Identify and Monitor Key Milestones

Automation doesn’t only apply to the first day. You can set your automation software to stay on top of your onboarding program, ensuring that essential milestones are completed on a designated short-term schedule and mid-to-long-term time frame.

4. Enable Cloud-Based Communication and Collaboration

There’s no need for your new hires to run over to your HR department every time they have a question. Cloud-native application architecture allows all team members with proper credentials to access the same platform. This keeps everyone on the same page and allows for communication and collaboration in real-time.

5. Create a Digital Checklist

Instead of micromanaging a new hire, you can give them a digital checklist with all required tasks and expectations clearly designated. In addition to to-do lists, you can include pertinent information that they can access as needed.

For example, when digital communication isn’t ideal or possible, you could include marked maps and employee profiles with their names and photos so your new hires know exactly where to go and who to talk to based on each task.  

6. Provide Digital Support

New hires are bound to have questions, but many answers don’t require a human at all. You can set up a chatbot with automated answers to common questions.

7. Identify Strengths and Weaknesses

Automated tests and monitoring programs can help you be a more effective leader by catering your approach to each employee’s individual strengths and weaknesses. For example, after 30 days, you could generate a report to determine how a new hire is performing compared to other new hires after the same amount of time has passed.

The Benefits of Automated Onboarding

Now that you’re familiar with some ways to incorporate automation into your onboarding program, you can probably already see the advantages. While each organization is unique, there are some universal benefits you can anticipate. Here are the big ones:

1. Establish Credibility With New Hires

A new employee’s early days with a company forms their opinions, and those opinions can be difficult to change. If their first day/week/month is chaotic, they may reconsider their decision to work for your organization.

Even if they do decide to stay despite challenges, they’re going to lack that sense of pride that makes for a top-tier team member. A solid onboarding experience shows them that your company goes above and beyond to provide an outstanding work environment. Besides improving your retention rates, that example of excellence will naturally shine through in how your employees perform and represent your organization.

2. Lighten the Load for Your Team

If your staff has a sense of dread when you mention a new hire, you’re doing something wrong. Automation ensures that your employees are able to approach their workday as usual. While there might be an occasional hiccup here and there, those minor inconveniences are manageable. Quality processes facilitate quality work.

3. Maximize Efficiency

Considering the big picture when considering the time lost due to inefficient onboarding processes is important. Sure, a few minutes of waiting around here and there may not seem like a big deal, but those minutes really add up. And it’s usually not just one single employee playing the waiting game. One minor problem often moves throughout the whole office, causing unnecessary delays that could have easily been avoided.

4. Bolster Company Security

Your new hires and current employees must know that their sensitive information is safe. It only takes one blunder for data to be compromised. Additionally, new hires may not feel comfortable providing paperwork that anyone with access to a file cabinet can view. Automated software can be equipped with security features that protect all sensitive information.

5. Boost Your Company’s Bottom Line

Long story short — automation can drastically reduce spending, save time, and increase overall productivity. You can use software development services to become a better leader, gain a more in-depth perspective, and improve how your organization is perceived by new and old employees alike. All of these factors combine to make a more efficient and profitable business.

Start With a Consultation

Yes, implementing new processes can be a daunting thought. However, in practice, it’s much easier than you may think. Many automation technologies can be integrated with your existing systems, upgrading them without drastically altering your usual workflows.

Automating your onboarding process is an excellent starting point because your usual daily workflows remain intact. Once your employees become accustomed to the changes in that program, you can start switching over to other automated processes over time.

If you rely on outdated onboarding methods, you owe it to yourself and your business to look into better options. In today’s ever-evolving business arena, embracing the latest and greatest technologies is the key to gaining an edge over the competition.

Even if you decide to stick with the status quo, you’ll know that you researched the available options. And, you’ll be aware of potential solutions if you run into problems down the line. The first step is simply being informed. From there, you can make an educated decision on whether or not automation is the right move.

Talk to an expert if you want to automate your onboarding process. This guide is a great starting point to understand what’s possible, but it’s essential to seek out highly relevant information for your business. Automation is the future. Are you keeping up?

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