What HR teams should know about paperless onboarding

By / November 14, 2017 / , / 0 Comments

Creating an automated, personalised onboarding experience for new hires is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a necessity. And the reasons are compelling – with HR teams across Australia reducing their time to hire by an average of 54%.

How did these teams go from paper contracts and forms to an engaging digital experience?

Their first step in going paperless was understanding what’s involved in their company’s transactional onboarding. 

The essential onboarding ‘hygiene’ 

Transactional onboarding covers all the tasks that need to be completed so a new starter is ready for their first day. It’s sometimes referred to as the ‘hygiene’ of onboarding and includes all the nitty-gritty details:  

  • Contracts, information collection and offer acceptance
  • Approvals, notifications and workflow
  • Internal provisioning
  • Payroll and HR processing

We know that many teams are still struggling with automating the transactional elements and finding advice can be confusing. However, there are steps and best practices that you can implement to figure out the right practices to keep your ‘hygiene’ in check. 

Below you’ll find tips and key considerations to kick-start your paperless onboarding journey.

Let’s get started!

Know your digital disruption

Often many businesses processes develop organically and are not documented thoroughly. So it can be easy to underestimate the true impact of moving away from your manual practices.

It’s important to understand your current processes and then review how you’d like your onboarding to flow in the future. Engage payroll, IT and team leaders; it can reveal tonnes of useful insights and could enable you to decentralise onboarding in the future.

Reimagine the offer pack and workflow

Paperless onboarding disrupts your normal practices and enables you to try a new approach – you don’t want to simply take your manual processes and digitise them.

Take offer letters; in the digital offer acceptance, creating a traditional offer letter might not make a lot of sense. It’s purpose was to introduce the candidate to their offer, the company and their employment contract  – all redundant in a world of branded portals and email / sms notifications.

Start by asking yourself:   

  • Can we bring together multiple forms, policies or supportive information into one single pdf?
  • What data do you need to collect at different stages of onboarding?
  • How would the information be best consumed? Video, pdf, infographic, online form or checklist?
  • Do you have existing collateral or is there an opportunity to create fresh content?
  • Consider the order of offer acceptance – is it more important for the candidate to accept their offer and then complete the supportive information or the other way around? 

If you’re facing a war for talent, you might prefer the candidate to accept their offer before completing the supportive information (banking, tax, qualifications etc). However, if you’re in the health/medical industry, it’s critical for this supportive information to be checked before offer acceptance.

Create unique experiences your new hires will love 

By automating many of the hygiene parts of onboarding process, you’ll have time and resources to build engaging content to support the ‘must have’ contracts, policies and documents.

In a digital offer experience, you have an opportunity to start immersing your new hire into your brand’s promise before day one.

In the Retail Zoo’s case, they’ve built an onboarding experience that matches their corporate values.

“Our business is tech-savvy with Apps for each brand, and we wanted our new recruits to experience a better first impression of our brands like we offer to our customers. This means that excitement levels for the new hire don’t decrease and we can keep our excited newbie engaged!” – Retail Zoo.

Start by asking yourself:

  • What configurability do you need for your brand, locations, hiring practices and role types?
  • Do you have different hiring entities?
  • Does your onboarding content differ for your corporate team  vs your seasonal workforce?
  • Be aware of how your content could be consumed. For example, to share a welcome from the CEO,  a video is more engaging than a written message

One of the largest delays automating onboarding is the creation of consumable content that might not have existed in the old world of paper contracts. Spend some time brainstorming what content you need to create a great new hire experience and ask your brand or marketing team for help.

Collect the right data, at the right time (and only once!) 

There is a staggering amount of data collected during onboarding – an average process collects up to 160 unique pieces of data.

Worry less about how you collect this data, and think about the information you’re trying to collect. Think about where the data needs to go (payroll, IT, leaders), rather than the method or form that it comes in. 

Also consider implementing role based permissions – these types of controls can enable you to disrupt the traditional offer creation team. You could invite team leaders outside of HR to engage in the employee onboarding and offer creation experience.  An online system ensures that compliance and process is followed, even if someone is remotely onboarding new hires.  

Finally, consider a platform that’s ISO27001 certified, the international standard for information management systems.

The opportunity of moving to paperless onboarding is immense

Once you have all your onboarding requirements on paper, then you can start to seriously consider and compare solutions.

Transactional onboarding is the first step in creating a rewarding onboarding experience. Once you’ve taken the plunge and automated your repeatable processes, you’ll be free to build an engaging new hire journey beyond the paperwork.