Traditional onboarding can be a bit depressing. Employees come in for their first day excited to make a difference and, in most cases, they sit in a windowless room signing form after form. Then, new hires are awkwardly introduced to the team, shown to their desk, and thrown in at the deep end — with the caveat that they’re free to ask questions about anything and everything.
This is the way it’s always been done. Why change what works, right?
One reason to shift from a one-day orientation-focused process to a longer, more involved onboarding process is that it’s more effective. November 2014 research by Aberdeen Group found that the shorter the onboarding process, the less likely an organization is to retain first year employees. In fact, companies with programs that last less than a month were nine percent less likely to retain their employees compared to those with programs that last a month or more.
The key is developing an onboarding program that engages employees, encourages them to seek out more information, and helps them develop the skills they’ll need to succeed. But how can organizations juggle this need for a more high-touch onboarding programs without making the employee feel disengaged and bored?
By taking onboarding digital.
Here are three ways digital onboarding can benefit your organization and get your new employees engaged from the time they receive their offer letter until they’ve reached 100 percent productivity:
- It’s less work.
Plain and simple, digital onboarding is less work. With the right platform, organizations can avoid the mountain of paperwork that kills a new employee’s spirit on their first day. Instead, those that go digital can distribute electronic forms that take less time and effort for both parties to prepare.
Even better, you can give new hires access to a “new hire portal” where documents can be filled out, electronically signed, and turned in before they ever step foot in the office. When put into practice, this process — called pre-boarding — makes organizations 1.6 times more likely to have a lower cost per hire, according to Aberdeen’s research.
Digital onboarding platforms allow organizations to save money on expensive paper HR packets and integrate with all of your organization’s HR platforms (payroll, HRIS, ERP, etc.) to make life easier for your team. More importantly, they make Day 1 easier — and more exciting — for your new hires.
- It’s more personal.
It’s rare that you see the phrases “go digital” and “it’s more personal” in the same sentence, but digital onboarding frees up more time in the process for the kind of face-to-face contact that helps new hires get up to speed faster.
On a new hire’s first day, digital onboarding helps reduce the time spent on paperwork, freeing up time for more personal discussions about company culture, workflow, work-related responsibilities, and team dynamics.
On the days to follow, digital onboarding allows both new hires and their managers to track training progress, develop productivity goals, communicate openly about expectations and, in doing so, reduces the all important time-to-productivity metric.
- It’s more engaging.
Would you rather sit and stare as your new organization’s HR pro goes through the company mission and values statements? Or would you rather watch an interactive, media-rich presentation that highlights that culture through examples, live video, and testimonials from the people you’ll be working with?
The first option sounds… typical. The latter is just one example of how companies can take advantage of today’s technology to create a more engaging digital onboarding strategy.
Onboarding can be fun and engaging while still being informative. By integrating things like video, interactive content maps, games, and a real-time task/goals list into your digital onboarding strategy, you can get new hires excited about developing their skills and making an impact at your organization.
The more you do to make your process more new hire-friendly and interactive, the more engaging it will become. And the more engaging your process is, the more likely you are to nurture employees who are highly satisfied, motivated, and committed to your organization.
Would you rather have a digital onboarding process as a new hire? What can organizations do to get new hires more engaged during onboarding?