Delivering a Better Onboarding Experience with Workflow Automation

Delivering a Better Onboarding Experience with Workflow Automation

Steve Wilson

Economic news has been a mixed bag lately, but it’s encouraging to see so many companies hiring again. We’ve worked with a lot of organizations that are ramping back to their pre-pandemic capacity, but I’ve also talked with plenty of new small businesses that launched in the last year. One challenge all of them are having right now, though, is finding a way to streamline their onboarding process.

In the ongoing battle for talent attraction and retention, the quality of your onboarding experience can have a major impact on the success of new hires. A poor onboarding process not only makes it harder for them to get started, but it might even convince them that they made a mistake accepting the role in the first place. And we all know there is no such thing as employer loyalty if a new hire isn’t feeling the love.

The Biggest Onboarding Challenges

OnTask works with a lot of HR professionals who are looking to rethink the way they handle their onboarding process. Here are some of the biggest challenges we hear about from our prospects:

1. The Time Crunch

The typical onboarding process lasts between three to twelve months, but the period between an offer being extended and a new employee starting is really crucial. You need to gather and exchange a lot of information during this phase. There are background checks to run, tax documents to complete, policy guidelines to share, NDAs to sign, and so on. All that stuff is important, of course, but the faster you can get it out of the way, the faster you can get someone in the door and on the job. Handling this process with physical documents and email attachments slows everything down and forces people to waste valuable time tracking down paperwork and manually entering data into their HR systems.

2. Delivering the New Hybrid Experience

Throughout the pandemic, OnTask worked with a lot of customers who transitioned to a remote or hybrid workplace, which forced them to rethink their traditional onboarding practices that relied mainly on physical paperwork. Handing out forms to people in person and then emailing digital copies to anyone working remote ends up creating two very different onboarding experiences—neither of which are very enjoyable. As a lot of our clients discovered, it’s hard enough creating a consistent workplace culture without putting new hires through separate processes. It also puts a lot of pressure on HR teams to manage everything.

3. Potential for Confusion

One of the big problems with all this onboarding paperwork flying around is the potential for confusion. When people are submitting some forms by hand, sending copies via email, and completing others online, it can be hard to keep track of everything and see what still needs to be done. Sometimes things get lost or end up stuck in an inbox waiting for approval, which wastes time and leaves everyone feeling frustrated. If you need to get a new hire up and running quickly, you don’t want a clunky, inefficient onboarding process creating confusion along the way.

Automating the Onboarding Process Puts the Focus on People

In my experience at OnTask, automating onboarding procedures for HR departments transforms tedious manual tasks into smooth digital experiences. By integrating a workflow automation platform into your existing HR software, you can gather all the information you need from new hires with digital forms and then route it through each stage of the onboarding process for signatures and approval. And best of all, these curcial HR tasks can be completely remote to avoid doubling up on processes.

For example, we recently worked with a staffing company that needed to streamline its hiring and onboarding to help their clients find new talent quickly. By extending their existing platform with automation and digital forms, they eliminated longstanding bottlenecks such as background checks, which used to be initiated manually but are now initiated the instant a candidate submits the form. Transitioning to an automated onboarding process with OnTask helped them cut their onboarding timeframe down to a matter of hours and freed up HR professionals to focus on building a better experience for new hires.

Make Onboarding Your Competitive Advantage

In today’s tightening labor market, the ability to onboard quickly is becoming a competitive advantage that ensures you’ll be able to move decisively when you find the right person for the job. By streamlining your onboarding process with automation technology, you can quickly turn new employees into productive team members who enhance the capacity and capabilities of your organization.

You’ll also spend less time on tedious, error prone manual tasks long associated with onboarding. That means you can invest more time and energy into making your workplace one that retains more talent and attracts the right applicants when it’s time to expand. There’s no reason the old adage of “Work smarter, not harder” shouldn’t apply to your onboarding process!

About the Author

Steve Wilson has dedicated his time at OnTask, a division of Accusoft, to making workflow automation simple and accessible for HR professionals. As the head of product management at OnTask, Steve has worked to develop a simple, no-code automation tool that fits the needs of HR departments. His work on OnTask allows HR team members to automate employee health tracking, onboarding, PTO requests, and various other human capital-based processes.

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