Leadership & Productivity

How to make 2018 the best year yet for employee onboarding

6 min read

19 December 2017

As we approach the close of the year, it’s a great time to think about your plans for business development in the next one. Do you need more skills? Are you looking to bring in new people to help grow your business?

Turning new recruits into efficient and effective employees is a challenge for any business, so let’s look at how you can make 2018 the best year yet for employee onboarding.

What is employee onboarding?

Onboarding is the process of helping new employees integrate into your business. It starts the moment a job offer is made and is vital in transforming new starters into engaged and productive members of your team.

No one wants to go through the process of interviewing and assessing hundreds of candidates only to have the perfect new employee change their mind before they start work in your organisation. Yet this is the situation that many businesses can find themselves in.

According to a recent survey by webonboarding, over a fifth of UK employees (22 per cent) said that they accepted a job but changed their mind before they started due to problems during the onboarding process.

This is not just an issue for the UK, but for businesses worldwide. In the global survey, which asked 4,000 office workers from the UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand about their onboarding experiences, 15 per cent of the office workers polled said that they have turned down a job offer due to issues that they faced during the onboarding process.

This was closely followed by:
• 10 per cent left the job after only a few days
• 9 per cent left the job within months of starting

With rising recruitment costs and the increasing challenge of attracting top quality talent, this is exactly the kind of situation your business will want to avoid. So, the first step in onboarding success is to make sure your business completes recruitment of its successful hires.

Why does employee onboarding go wrong?

Employee onboarding is a critical period for businesses to engage with a new starter, and for both sides to exchange important information. Yet, as many businesses rely on manual processes to send out contracts, offer letter and other employment documents, this can become a bottleneck that slows down the process.

In an experiment with a typical manual onboarding process, webonboarding found that it took 19 working days (not counting weekends and Bank Holidays) from sending to receiving signed documents.

Go digital to beat the manual slow down

Issuing and exchanging paper-based documentation is a resource hungry exercise, with 69% of HR professionals saying that they spend time chasing candidates for details and signatures.

Switching to a digital process can help speed up onboarding. Issuing documents electronically and enabling digital signatures makes it easier for both businesses and candidates to send and receive relevant information.

It also cuts out potential delays caused by disruption in the postal system such as missed collections, lack of weekend and Bank Holiday deliveries, incorrect postage or mis-labelled addresses.

Making use of digital technology as part of your employee onboarding process can significantly cut delays in getting new employees into your business.

How poor onboarding affects employee performance

Onboarding is a critical period for businesses to engage with a new starter. It’s a time when employees are forming their first impressions of what it’s like to work for your company.

Across the world, office workers agreed that they would have settled into their new role much more quickly had there been fewer problems during onboarding. UK workers reported on average taking a month longer to settle into their roles.

Engaging and nurturing a new employee is essential to help them settle in within the first few weeks and become well integrated into your business.

This can have a long-term effect on their engagement and commitment to your business.

Summary

Businesses that manage onboarding effectively can speed up the process of getting new talent into the company. Introducing digital technology can help streamline the process and minimise efficiencies. Creating a positive, professional impression from the moment an offer is made helps encourage employees to work hard for your company.

As your business looks to the new year, a review and focus on employee onboarding could ensure that you succeed in transforming great quality candidates into effective and engaged employees who can help build on your business success. Make it your New Year’s resolution to succeed with employee onboarding and provide the best possible experience in 2018.

Webonboarding is a cloud-based solution that helps businesses manage the manual employee onboarding process. Find out more here.

This article is part of a wider campaign called the Scale-up Hub, a section of Real Business that provides essential advice and inspiration on taking your business to the next level. It’s produced in association with webexpenses and webonboarding, a fast-growing global organisation that provides cloud-based software services that automate expenses management and streamline the employee onboarding process.