New research shines a light on ‘broken’ state of onboarding

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What are the practical everyday problems that are encountered when you bring new hires into an organisation?

This was the simple question that Webonboarding set out to answer with its latest major research study.

The ‘Welcome Aboard’ study involved surveying more than 2,000 UK based office workers, whose attitudes and experiences help to build up an overview of the current state of employee onboarding.

It reveals the sizable challenges that HR teams are facing as they struggle with outdated paper-based processes, inefficient administration and negative new starter experiences.

But the research also highlights the benefits that delivered to those organisations who get onboarding right - creating a more stable, committed and productive workforce.

You can find a full breakdown of the ‘Welcome Aboard’ research here.

Here’s a look at some of the main takeaways:

Administration ‘catch up’

An efficient onboarding approach should make best use of the time between a successful candidate being chosen and their first day on the job - using this period to complete contracts, offer letters and policy agreements.

One of the major findings revealed by the survey was how little this is actually happening. In fact, more than two-thirds of respondents said that onboarding documentation was not complete when they started their job. For more than a quarter (27 percent), it took up to a month and three months for one-in-ten (11 percent).

This is a particular concern because as UK employment law changes in 2020, removing the two-month period that employers currently have to provide new starters with written employment particulars.

Paper-based approach

The research showed that employee onboarding is one of the few remaining areas of business administration where paper-based approaches are still being used. It was found that two-thirds (66 percent) of all employment contracts are still paper documents that need to be mailed out to new starters.

Just five percent of respondents were able to benefit from a digital approach, allowing all onboarding documentation to be dealt with online. Webonboarding uses digital signatures to completely remove the need for paper-based processes or documentation to be mailed.

Frustrating starter experiences

Along with the process failures, the study also highlighted some of the frustrations experienced by new starters. With limited communications during onboarding, the time it takes for new employees to settle is lengthened.

For nearly a quarter of new starters (24 percent) this integration period was three to four weeks and 46 percent said they had a negative perception of onboarding. This can prove particularly costly as one-in-ten (11 percent) said a bad starter experience had resulted in them rejecting a role.

What makes for a positive experience?

The ‘Welcome Aboard’ research included questions on what new starters are looking for when they join an organisation. The main theme here was the need for better communications during the onboarding phase.

Two-thirds (66 percent) said clearer communications was the most important factor, 55 percent said they wanted to receive information earlier during the process and 49 percent that they wanted to be generally ‘kept in the loop’.

Getting it right can provide a significant boost to employee attitudes with 63 percent of respondents saying a positive onboarding experience helped them to feel committed to their new employer and job role.

Conclusion

The ‘Welcome Aboard’ research helps to identify exactly what makes employee onboarding such a difficult aspect of the recruitment cycle to get right. One of the fundamental problems is it’s hybrid status - existing in the gap between recruitment and HR systems and often forgotten.

Efficiently managing all of the documentation and admin tasks while also trying to ensure that new starters have a positive and engaging experience is tough - and particularly so when you’re trying to do this with outdated processes and tools.

It’s the reason that more HR departments and hiring teams are moving away from the traditional approach and towards cloud-based management solutions. Webonboarding revolutionises  the way new hires are handled, creating a streamlined, smooth and efficient process.

By removing so much of the administrative burden, it allows HR teams to start focusing on the quality of the experience. It’s an onboarding approach that future-proofs and organisation to handle all of the challenges posed by an increasingly competitive recruitment environment and tightening legislative requirements.

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