In a fast-paced work environment, onboarding new hires effectively can be a challenge. It’s worth the effort, however. Often an employee’s first month on the job can determine how long they stay with your company. It can also signal how well they’ll perform while they are part of your workforce. Bringing in new hires and expecting them to “wing it” tends to drag down the performance of the entire team. Additionally, a solid onboarding process reduces administrative work, confusion, and compliance problems down the road.
The Value of Onboarding
Successful onboarding programs aim to educate, engage, ensure compliance, and boost your business. New employee education helps set the expectation of their role within the organization. Plus, it covers some of the finer details around company policies and processes. Educating new employees will allow them to perform their job more effectively and confidently, while meeting the needs of your business.
Lack of employee engagement can be costly to your business through low productivity, absenteeism, and poor performance. According to The Business of Engagement, “Employees who are happy and feel in control are 57% more likely to be engaged and 53% more likely to be productive.”
Compliance is yet another key element to your onboarding initiative. The government has set forth specific guidelines and deadlines that you must abide by in order to remain in compliance. Yes, it may feel tedious, but it is necessary to avoid costly fines and audit nightmares.
Finally, a good onboarding experience can have a lasting, positive impact on your business. It will boost business growth, improve employee loyalty and retention, and increase your bottom line.
This all sounds great, right? So what about all the challenges? We have addressed — and solved — 7 of the most common challenges employers face during the onboarding process. Now, you can kiss these challenges goodbye.
#1 Overloading Information on Day 1
Everyone is nervous on their first day of work. And the reason for those nerves vary. It could be learning new processes (will the processes be easy or make me want to run for the hills?). It might be filling out the onboarding paperwork (did I bring the right documentation? How many forms are there?). Or it might be learning everyone’s names (who are you again?) and adjusting to all of the new personalities. It’s a lot to take in on day one.
Some of this you can’t avoid. But when it comes to the onboarding paperwork, there’s absolutely a solution. Choosing to automate your onboarding paperwork with an electronic solution frees up time for both you and your new employee. It also eases the pressure of completing the forms quickly and accurately on the first day. Your new employees can complete the paperwork anytime, anywhere, and from any device with a solution like Efficient Onboarding. Now, that’s convenient and stress-free.
An electronic solution eliminates the need for hard copy paperwork with questionable handwriting (is that an a or an o?). It stores all of the documents securely so nothing gets lost. Think of how many errors could be avoided by completing the paperwork electronically versus guessing what the employee intended to write? And with the documents stored in the cloud, you never have to worry about misplaced paperwork when you need it most.
Plus, with certain solutions (e.g., Efficient WOTC), you can screen for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) eligibility during the onboarding process. This could translate to a significant reduction in your tax bill. It’s definitely worth adding into your process, if it’s not there already.
#2 Assuming New Hire Education Will Stick & Your Employee Will Remain Engaged
You found a great candidate for your open position and they have accepted. Hooray! This must mean they are going to remember all of that great new hire education you prepared and stay for a long time, right? Wrong.
This isn’t to say that your new employee is destined to leave. But you do have a greater chance for turnover if you have a poor onboarding program. The trick is to get your new employee engaged not just on day 1, but continually throughout their work life with your company. How? On-demand, virtual training materials (e.g., video, interactive training, and testing) may help to ensure the information provided during onboarding and orientation is retained.
Plus, the longer the employee is in the job, the more informed they will be to ask more pointed questions, so reintroducing the information will prove beneficial. You may also set up regular touch-base meetings with your employees to address any questions or concerns, and encourage your team to stay motivated and connected with the company. If left alone, you risk disengagement and eventual departure from your organization.
#3 Not Making New Hire Onboarding a Priority
They say first impressions are lasting impressions, and that’s certainly true for new employee onboarding. Your onboarding experience sets the tone for your new employees with your company. What impression are you giving them? Are you rushing onboarding? Is your process disorganized? Do you present a stack of paperwork and then leave while they fill out paper form after paper form?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need not worry. You can easily turn things around and make a fabulous first impression.
The first step is to make onboarding a priority within your company. By demonstrating that you value your new employee and that you are making an effort to ensure a smooth onboarding experience, you set the bar for how they will be treated going forward. As mentioned before, the first day can be quite busy and intimidating. One step you can take is to implement an onboarding solution that allows new employees to complete their paperwork prior to their first day of work, or at the very least make the process quicker when they arrive on day 1.
Next, you can set up time with key employees to help orient your new employee to the culture, as well as the day-to-day processes and procedures. Including others in the process not only eases the burden off of you, but it also empowers your current employees and provides a new connection or buddy for new employees. A little planning goes a long way and will help reduce turnover in the long term.
#4 Not Tracking/Storing Key Information and Documents
One essential component of onboarding is the paperwork. With paperwork comes recordkeeping. It’s unavoidable — the government makes sure of that!
From I-9 to W-4 to WOTC, notice and policy acknowledgements, and benefits forms, the stack of paperwork can be quite high. Ensuring you have the appropriate information, documentation, and signatures is critical. That’s how you demonstrate compliance and handle any disputes in the future.
On the one hand, if you have an auditor knock at your door and ask for specific documents, you should have them easily accessible and, of course, accurate. On the other hand, if an employee is not abiding by company policies, you will be in a much better spot to handle the situation if you have documented proof that they acknowledged the policies in the first place. No signature? It could be argued that they were unaware. Don’t put yourself or your employee in an awkward situation. Keep your documentation organized, signed, and stored securely.
This is another situation in which a digital solution could help. With a solution like Efficient Onboarding, for example, you can manage all of the needed forms and policy acknowledgments in one, simple platform. Efficient Onboarding allows employees to complete their paperwork anytime, anywhere, and from any device.
Wth a guided, interactive Q&A, they can easily fill out the necessary information and rely on the system to populate the forms appropriately. This eliminates redundant forms, making the process truly efficient. And, with a quick e-signature, they’re done and you have everything you need complete, signed, and stored. It makes life so much easier for both you and your new employees.
#5 Talking but Not Listening
There’s a lot of information you would like to share with your new employees, as you should. But don’t make the mistake of only talking at your new employees and not opening up the conversation for their questions and feedback. People want to feel heard at every step of their working relationship with you, so start the relationship on the right foot.
Ask your new employee(s) about any concerns they have, what they would like to learn to grow their career, what motivates them, and how they receive feedback the best. This conversation will tell you a lot about your new employee.
Also, don’t forget to ask your new employees about their experience during the onboarding process. Dig a little deeper to find out if there is anything they would suggest to help you improve the experience in the future. Onboarding is an evolutionary process. You must continue to evolve and improve by listening to the feedback of those who are going through it first-hand.
#6 Failing to Pay Attention to the Details
An employee’s first day is going to be much more stressful if things haven’t been set up in advance. Their uniform, ID badge or access device, network access, payroll pin, workstation materials, and all the other tools they will need to start work should be in place and ready for use on day one.
Set up a first-day checklist for each position on your team. The checklist will allow you to identify all items needed for each position. There will be overlap in items, of course, so you may choose to set up your checklist in two parts. The first section could include “standard” items, and the second section could highlight position-specific items. Share the checklist(s) with the appropriate leaders on your team to elicit help in setting everything up. Also, ask your team to provide feedback on the checklist to ensure they address everything appropriately.
#7 Using Manual, Paper Processes Versus Automated Onboarding
Manual processes in business are tedious in virtually any situation. When it comes to onboarding, a manual process means a significant time commitment for the employer to gather the appropriate documents and the new employee to complete the documents by hand. Handwriting is unique and there are so many different variations — some much easier to read than others. Let’s face it, government documents are not known for being the easiest to understand or follow.
Then you have to create a system for storing the paper documents to ensure compliance with regulations and be ready to handle disputes should they arise. Where is that going to be? A filing cabinet? The risk for document errors or missing paperwork becomes higher when you rely on a manual system to get the job done.
We are quickly becoming a society of streamlines processes and automation that allows us to do more, faster, and better than before. So why shouldn’t we apply that same thought process to onboarding? With Efficient Onboarding, you can move your onboarding from manual and frustrating to online and streamlined. This solution makes the gathering and completion of documents so much easier and reduces redundant forms by automatically filling out forms with the appropriate information. Efficient Onboarding is 100% cloud-based, so storage and retrieval of documents, when needed, becomes a breeze.
It’s Time to Make a Shift
It’s time to make a shift and alleviate many challenges with one solution. Efficient Onboarding can help and it won’t break the bank while doing it. You have to see it to believe it.
Request a demo of Efficient Onboarding — you won’t regret it.