Employee onboarding best practice hints and tips

This week we held a webinar on the theme of employee onboarding best practice. Melanie Guy, HR manager for webexpenses offered the benefit of her expertise and answered some of your questions.

Onboarding starts before the first day

While many businesses show off pictures of desks full of branded items and expensive technology ready for new starters, Melanie says that focusing on day one can be too late:
“Engagement with the business needs to happen immediately. Not later down the line when it’s harder to gain positive engagement.”

According to recent research carried out by webonboarding, 69% of HR professionals said that delays in issuing offers and contracts had caused them problems. And almost half (47%) said they had lost their preferred candidate due to delays.

Engage early

Melanie recommends starting to embed employee engagement from the moment the offer is made, to avoid potential dropouts.

She says that by keeping two-way communication open, HR teams can address any objections or concerns that their potential employee may have and get them back on track.

How manual processes slow you down

The discussion then moved on to how manual processes affect the efficiency and accuracy of employee onboarding. Even basic tasks like getting onboardee’s to sign and return paper forms can slow things down.

With more than two-thirds of HR professionals saying they end up chasing candidates for information by phone and email, that’s time that could be better spent adding value to the HR function.

The cost of errors

Melanie spoke about seeing a business asking for advice on LinkedIn after the incorrect salary had been quoted in a contract and not spotted until much later. When webonboarding asked businesses about contracts and offer details, almost half (45%) said that inaccuracies have created future issues for their organisation. Those can be costly mistakes to rectify.

Manual processes can continue to cause problems when onboardee data is entered into HR and payroll systems. A simple mistake such as keying in bank details incorrectly can cause financial distress for a new employee, not to mention giving a bad impression of the hiring company. Yet 58% of businesses manually transfer personal data.

Room for improvement

From webonboarding’s research we know that HR decision makers spend 24% of their time on the onboarding process. So there’s clearly room for improvement, to make onboarding more efficient and cost effective for businesses.

Businesses surveyed reported that it cost them on average £195 per hire to issue contracts on top of recruitment expenses. That can quickly mount up to significant costs for large scale recruiters.

Given the number of HR and recruitment systems available, it’s perhaps surprising that the onboarding process continues to be manually driven in most businesses. Melanie says: “Onboarding is something that’s often overlooked from a technical and human point of view. And there’s definitely scope for these two areas to go hand in hand to enhance the experience for both the onboardee and the hiring organisation.”

In the final part of the webinar, Melanie answered some of your questions:

Q: Where does onboarding sit, with HR or recruitment?
A: Onboarding does start from the moment a job is offered. From being a candidate to becoming an employee should be a seamless process, so onboarding is part of both recruitment and HR. It should definitely be joined up.

Q: Do you have any suggestions for creating an induction plan?
A: Induction plans should have a good mixture of learning and doing. No one wants to talked at constantly when they start a new job. If it’s possible let onboardees drive part of their induction themselves e.g booking meetings with colleagues, or registering for training courses. That will help them start to feel more engaged.

Q: How long should induction last?
A: Depending on the complexity of the role, I would expect an induction to last for about four weeks. Start with orientation, then move onto systems and processes they need to do their role. Allow time to build on that knowledge and use the skills they’ve learned and then move onto setting objectives for the next few months.

Q: Did your research tell you why so many people leave during their induction period?
A: Our research didn’t answer that question specifically, but things I think contribute towards this are ill-planned inductions, lack of clarity about the job, poor interaction and time with colleagues or a line manager, not enough work to do. The key is to get feedback after the induction so that you can improve the experience next time.

If you missed the webinar you can re-watch it here

Prepared for webonboarding by Michelle Nicol, http://word-struck.com/ 

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