Trying to keep track of all the paperwork and HR tasks required for a new starter can be challenging - especially over a holiday period.
This is one of the reasons why the onboarding part of the recruitment cycle tends to slump during festivities as HR teams put their hiring processes on hold until the new year.
It’s a pragmatic solution to some of the admin problems that are caused by a traditional paper-based approach to employee onboarding.
Employee onboarding covers all of the HR processes required to convert successful job applicants into employees, including contracts, compliance policies and first-day preparations.
For more than a third (68 percent) of UK companies this is still being handled manually, using a combination of posted paperwork, emails, texts and phone calls.
Problems with manual onboarding
An inherent weakness with this approach is the difficulty it poses HR teams when trying to keep track of all the multiple documents and tasks that are required for a new starter.
This is particularly problematic when there’s any kind of disruption or delay during the onboarding phase of the hiring cycle - such as a two-week festive break.
The potential consequences of a failing onboarding setup were highlighted in a 2017 global survey, commissioned by webonboarding, involving more than 4,000 employees.
The research found that 39 percent of respondents had encountered onboarding problems with one of the most common complaints being a lack of first-day preparations. One respondent said:
“I turned up at a new job to find the person who hired me was away for a week and no one else knew what I was supposed to do. There was no desk ready, nothing.
“I was left standing in the middle of the office while they all just looked at me blankly.”
Another reported that:
“When I arrived, my assigned office was completely empty, with no furniture, computer or phone. They gave me a box of tissues on the first day and that was it.”
Risks of paperwork errors
Other common issues involved people receiving inadequate paperwork prior to starting with wrong names used, incorrect starting dates given and a general lack of clear information or guidance.
Paperwork errors and inefficiencies pose a particular compliance risk since the introduction of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation. Employers are required to ensure the accuracy of any employee data that’s collected or stored.
And it’s not just a festive break that can cause these kind of issues. It’s any form of disruption, delay or complication that occurs during the onboarding phase.
It’s to provide HR teams with more flexible and robust tools to handle the new hire process that increasing numbers of organisations are switching from manual to automated onboarding systems.
Advantages of automated approach
Webonboarding uses cloud-based management and real-time data to remove the need for any paper-based processes with processes automated and handled via an easy-to-use online portal.
Digital signing means that onboarding documents no longer need to be posted out, providing a much faster, safer and more efficient way to handle all of the paperwork.
The digital approach also allows HR to monitor each stage of the onboarding process and to track exactly which tasks have been completed, which jobs still need to be done and who needs to do them.
It’s a flexible and robust system that allows a HR team to easily handle a holiday break or any kind of complication or disruption that may occur during the onboarding phase.