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8 steps to an automated employee onboarding system

March, 5 2020

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Martin Coles
Written By
Martin Coles

Recruiting awesome candidates is one thing. Turning them into awesome employees is another. Your company’s onboarding system is an integral tool when it comes to welcoming and preparing candidates for their new job. Not only does it need to impart the skills and procedures they’ll need to employ on a daily basis, it also needs to give them a grounding in your company culture and how they’ll be expected to contribute to it in their daily operations. Everything they need to hit the ground running.

But with HR departments (where not outsourced) growing increasingly overtaxed, many companies are choosing to use automated employee onboarding systems as an alternative to manual processes. With a combination of video and digital learning, an automated onboarding system can help new prospects get up to speed in their own time so that they are ready to go on day one. Let's look at some steps that will help you to automate your HR onboarding. 


1. Figure out what you want from your onboarding process

Automating your onboarding process gives you a great opportunity to review your process and its place in your overall HR processes. What does it need to accomplish to ensure a frictionless start for new employees? What do they need to know by the end of it? What skills do they need to have? What tasks and processes do they need to be familiar with before they sit at their desk for the first time?

A good first step is to make a wishlist of everything you want and expect from your onboarding process and how it can be accomplished by automated means. 


2. Review your processes — if you can’t automate, re-evaluate

Once you’ve mapped out your perfect onboarding process, it’s time to compare it to your existing pre-automated process. What lends itself well to automation? Is there anything in there that can’t be automated? If so, it may need to be re-evaluated. Can it be replaced by something else that’s automated or dropped altogether? 

Of course, there will be some things that can’t be automated which are still integral to the onboarding system like printing a badge or making a security swipe card. Still, ring-fencing these jobs and assigning them to key personnel can make for a more efficient and fluid relationship between automated and manual processes, allowing for a more time-efficient and satisfying onboarding.


3. Go mobile to break down barriers to contract exchange

Inevitably, when a new employee joins your team, there are contracts that need to be signed, forms to be filled in, ID documents that need to be checked and all the other formalities that come with bringing a new member to your team. However, many companies still require their employees-to-be to have access to a desktop computer in order to undergo this process. And this can be a pain point for many new employees. They may not be able to access the documents, fill in the necessary forms or submit the necessary ID through their mobile devices using your existing system when they don’t have access to a computer and can only access the internet via their phones. 

Make sure that your new automated system either uses mobile apps or responsive (mobile-optimized) websites to make it easy for new team members to manage contract exchanges through their smartphones or tablets. This eliminates potential barriers and allows employees to manage contract exchanges well in advance of their proposed start date. 


4. Leverage video to show them how it’s done

Why wait until new employees are on the premises to start their learning journey? Especially when they can get a headstart via their digital devices — through the magic of online video.

Here are some ways in which you can make video a part of your onboarding process.

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Video introductions

Even the most enthusiastic new team member might not feel inclined to read through a 2,000 word employee handbook that gives them the information on their new employer, their company culture and their new job. 

Video, however, is quick and easy to consume, easy to digest and easy to remember. As such, a video introduction might be much more effective in helping employees feel prepared and ready to start their new job with gusto.

Video training

A lot of employee training consists of verbal delivery of information (explaining) and showing employees how to carry out certain procedures (modelling). With the right digital video solutions, however, new employees won’t need to wait until their first day to see how key operations and procedures are done. 

Video modelling and the use of interactive videos can give employees a firm grounding in your procedures before they try the real thing.

Of course, you’ll need a to produce a lot of video content to make this work, and create an ever-expanding library of video assets. A Video Asset Management (VAM) platform can help you to keep up with this, improve your video production workflows and make it quicker and easier to create new content when new positions arise.


5. Gamify digital training

In the age of virtual and augmented reality, more and more companies are choosing to gamify their digital training. And in an era where your new employees are at least likely to own a smartphone, why wait to get the ball rolling.

Digital video can come to your rescue here too, showing them procedures and guiding them through processes to give them an understanding of how things are done, and either using quizzes or AR games to test their knowledge. Interactive video and gamified digital training make for an exciting, novel and satisfying learning experience which is likely to be retained when new employees get to their desks.

If employees excel in this digital training they may win tokens or points which they can use to claim rewards when they start. A great way to offset those first-day jitters with a little excitement.


6. Use check-ins to help new employees track their journeys

The employee journey begins before they even arrive on the premises, and an automated onboarding procedure allows new team members to track their journey with you throughout this crucial stage. Having a system of check ins allows them to keep track of their progress and give them the peace of mind that comes with being ready and prepared for their new job. 

Video can be leveraged here, too, explaining these milestones and how they will make the employee’s life easier when they cross the finish line and begin their new jobs. Thus, they won’t feel like they’re jumping through arbitrary hoops, but as though they’re preparing themselves for a successful and stress-free start.


7. Create new user accounts

While new employees get to grips with the processes that will make up their new jobs, their employers will need to create new user accounts for the software platforms that they will be using. 

Gone are the days when IT departments needed to go through the tedious process of creating new user accounts for the software that they’ll need manually. With the right workflow automation software, companies can automate the creation of new user accounts for a frictionless start.


8. Collect data to track goals and milestones

Finally, an automated onboarding process allows for opportunities to collect data that can be used for goal setting and milestone tracking. Let’s say, for instance, that automated employee training uses a quiz to test their knowledge. If they get 80% and the pass threshold is 70% then they’re off to a great start. Still, there’s always room for improvement. The data collected on the questions they got wrong can highlight areas for development which can be targeted for goal setting as the employee journey continues. 

An automated employee onboarding system reduces friction for both employee and employer and, when properly implemented, can help new team members get off to a flying start.

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