6 Ways to Automate the Employee Onboarding Process

Dragos
Dragos
Founder, robot with feelings. From planet Aiur.

This article lists six effective strategies you can implement to automate employee onboarding and give employees a great first impression of your company.

📚 Table of contents

When it comes to your new hires, giving them a handshake and handing them some paperwork to sign on their first day is not good enough anymore.

If you want to set new recruits up for success from day one, you will have to provide them with a well-structured and organized onboarding experience that will make them an integral part of your workforce in no time.

Automation is one of the best tools at your disposal to make that happen. It will help you set up consistent and time-efficient employee training that will not only show new hires the ropes but also give them a great first impression of your company.

To help you get started with automating your onboarding process, here are a few strategies to keep in mind, as well as some handy software suggestions.

Create a Unified System for Managing Data

Even if you are not a large company that hires a lot, onboarding can be an overwhelming experience.

Keeping up with employee records, tasks, and schedules when they are not centralized and properly structured can be quite difficult.

It could be even harder to make the most of your new employees’ skills, experience, and education if information about their personal and previous work experience is scattered in different folders.

This is where a unified system for managing data can have a huge impact. It can streamline and accelerate your onboarding process by giving you a better overview of your team members’ skills, professional experiences, and personal preferences.

Even if you take great pride in the data management system you’ve put in place at your company, digital tools can help you boost the onboarding process by handling a lot of your workload through automation.

For example, HR software such as BambooHR offers a wide array of possibilities for creating a centralized employee database.

Source: BambooHR

It allows you to create a personalized workflow system for every new hire and collect all their key data in one place. From personal and payment information, through benefits and time off, to training and performance reviews, all your employee records are at your fingertips, ready for you to use at any time.

Another great advantage of having software like this is that it can handle a great deal of red tape for you.

Imagine the scenario: you have to update a piece of information in your new employee's personal file. As this data appears in different documents, you have to update it many times over.

All that could be immensely time-consuming and cause errors, in addition to having an adverse effect on the motivation of the employee in charge of such a repetitive task.

With digital tools, such tasks are automated. When you make a change in one file, it automatically updates all the other files that contain the mentioned data, making your workload much lighter.

However, data management software is not just about organizing and structuring. It can be a great tool to keep your employees engaged and let them know you’re following the great progress they’re making.

For instance, HR software kiwiHR showcases how you can easily schedule important dates, bank holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays.

Source: kiwiHR

Nothing shows new recruits that you are happy to have them on board better than congratulating them on finishing another step in a training process, so it is a good practice to schedule reminders as well.

Remember, data management software enables you to focus on people and processes, taking the workload of administrative tasks off your shoulders.

It is worth the effort to automate these tasks as much as possible, so you can entirely concentrate on training your new recruits and monitoring their progress.

Share Documents Automatically

The onboarding process is notoriously riddled with paperwork. Documents need to be signed and forms need to be filled, there’s no way around it. Luckily, automation can help here as well.

For starters, an automated system can handle a lot of the work you’re doing manually, allowing you to focus more on tracking progress and in-person training with the new employees.

Also, automation will enable your recruits to handle more important paperwork independently, allowing them to go over these documents at their own pace even before they start working.

When your new recruit accepts your job offer, with an automation platform in place, you can proceed with the following actions:

  • Send a welcome email with an explanation of company perks and benefits
  • Share some forms that need to be filled out
  • Send employee contracts and other documents and request signature
  • Arrange for a welcome package to be delivered to the new talent

To illustrate how this can be done automatically, let’s look at Kissflow, a software that enables you to share, sign and store sensitive documents and contracts in just a few clicks.

Source: kissflow

With software like this, you can easily create a document package that will automatically be shared with the new employees.

For example, you can send them contracts, employee handbooks, training materials, policies, and everything you think is necessary for your new hires to get acquainted with and sign them. With this kind of package in place, you never have to worry an important document will be overlooked or lost in the process.

Furthermore, you can use automation to give your new employees a special welcome.

For example, using automated web forms, you can collect data about the new hire’s clothing size for the hoodies and T-shirts, preferred snack options, business cards, office equipment, mobile phones, and so on.

That way, you can prepare everything for the welcome swag package that will make a lasting first impression when you hand it to them on their first day.

Source: Typelane

Imagine how excited your new employee will feel when they find their favorite granola bar, a T-shirt in their size and color, and some custom-made business cards in their welcome kit.

From everything that has been said, it is clear that automation is a win-win situation for both parties involved. It can turn even the more tedious tasks, such as filling out paperwork, into a satisfying and informative experience.

At the same time, it significantly reduces manual administrative workload, giving you more time to focus on helping your new hires during the onboarding.

Simplify Account Creation

Automation can do wonders in saving time and helping avoid errors in the process of creating an account for the new hire on the company’s digital tools, thus making the job a lot easier for the HR and IT departments.

Picture this: you welcome new talent on board. Instead of preparing everything for their first day, you have to do a lot of tedious administrative tasks to make it possible for them to use the company’s email, apps, and platforms. And you have to do it quickly because they need access as soon as possible to start their onboarding activities and training.

You can’t do it yourself, so you have to cooperate closely with your IT department, with many emails going back and forth. They have to manually configure access for every new employee in every tool they will use.

Finally, you have to forward your new recruit their usernames and passwords and answer questions about how to access the company’s systems.

Obviously, this way of doing things is hugely time-consuming and painfully repetitive, not to say anything of the errors that can happen along the way.

It’s for all of these reasons that many companies tend to automate the account creation process using software designed for exactly that purpose.

Source: AutomationEdge

With automation, every time you create an employee account in the HR software of your choice, it can generate new user credentials for other tools you want the new employee to use.

There is no longer any need for manual input or help from IT. As every step of the process is entirely automated, you have to put the information of your new team members once, and the software will automatically grant them access to the other apps and systems the company utilizes.

Here’s an example.

If there are a lot of new hires in your company, you can make your job a lot easier by using practical tools, such as Zavvy’s automation software.

Source: zavvy

This software enables you to easily integrate Slack and Microsoft Teams and create accounts in different apps in no time.

The whole process is automated with pinpoint accuracy—as soon as you list a new employee as hired, it will automatically grant them access to the email, Slack, or Teams and add them to the onboarding channels.

There are many kinds of automation software similar to Zavvy that offer even more integration possibilities. You can choose whichever best suits the needs of your business.

But one thing is for sure—if you automate routine tasks like account creation, you will make your onboarding process much easier and ensure that your company runs like a finely-tuned machine.

Automate Knowledge Acquisition

Now that you have set up the first three automation cornerstones of your employee onboarding, let’s see how you can further automate the training process.

When it comes to the knowledge that you need to share with your hires, there is a good chance that you already have some content in store, such as employee handbooks, presentations, spreadsheets, different types of documents, and even videos.

So, it would be a good practice to automate this part of the onboarding process, too, especially when statistics show that training people this way can significantly improve productivity and lower the churn rate.

Source: Archbee

That actually comes as no surprise. When you put your knowledge library in one central place and give new employees access to it, they can go through it at their own speed and according to their professional needs.

They don’t have to read everything at once, as they can skip what seems less important and get back to it later if needed.

With the awareness that they have access to resources they can consult any time they need information, they will be more relaxed and productive at work, knowing that the company knowledge library is always available.

Storing documents in one central location and automating onboarding is immensely beneficial for the HR department as well.

Individually walking every new recruit through systems and procedures and personally sending them every instructional manual is not only time-consuming but also ineffective and counterproductive.

So to speed up knowledge sharing and make the onboarding process more productive for everyone, it would be advisable to create the knowledge library and grant newbies access to it automatically.

The best way to do that is by using knowledge management tools such as our own software Archbee that enables you to create a knowledge library similar to Wikipedia, but for your company.

Source: Archbee

With Archbee, you can quickly share resources about company policy, code of conduct, benefits, check-in and out procedures, paid time off, health insurance, and other crucial work-related materials.

You can also enrich them with links, media, video and make it more interactive and easy to grasp, which is a preferable onboarding practice in today's technologically advanced world.

As it is published online, it allows new hires instant access to your knowledge base at any time and from any place.

And it frees up a lot of time for the HR department as well. With software like this, they are able to automate tasks they would normally have to do manually and for every new employee individually.

As you can see, by automating the knowledge-sharing procedures and resources, you can further streamline the onboarding process.

An easily accessible knowledge base makes it easier for employees to review materials at their own pace, and gives the HR department more time to handle other important aspects of their work.

Track Employee Onboarding Progress

If you want to level up your onboarding process further, make sure you track your employees’ progress regularly.

For instance, using a checklist that covers what newcomers have to go through can go a long way in ensuring that they onboard efficiently.

With an onboarding checklist, every newcomer gets their individual dashboard that represents their onboarding journey filled with assignments they need to complete.

These tasks can encompass various actionable items and go from basic to more complex topics.

For example, on their first day, you can ask them to secure the company laptop by changing the password and setting up the two-factor authentication, or meet their onboarding buddy.

Later on, they can move to the more advanced topics such as getting familiar with the company’s policies and culture, reading the employee handbook, or signing the necessary papers.

By completing each task and checking it as done, the new hires develop a sense of progress, and get a more engaging and satisfying onboarding experience.

They can also visualize what they have done so far and what steps still need to be accomplished on their onboarding adventure.

Source: Archbee

This employee onboarding automation may be even more beneficial to the HR team. It can serve as a visual cue of the employee’s progress and signal if their intervention and help are needed any time during the onboarding.

Furthermore, it allows the HR department to standardize and speed up the onboarding procedure and make sure every employee meets all the actionable items on the checklists.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t make changes to the checklist. You can mix and match the items on the list depending on the needs of the position or the particular department.

The following example from Asana clearly depicts how you can easily customize your onboarding checklist.

Source: Asana

Asana is a work management platform that can help you standardize, track and manage your onboarding process.

It allows you to create a new hire checklist with everything that needs to be prepared for their first days or weeks in the company.

As you can change the training, responsibilities, deadlines, and documentation, everything is highly customized and tailored to the requirements of every new employee.

You can even add tasks for every newcomer and use tags to indicate the priority and due dates for each task, to keep everyone aligned on the same timeline.

As you can see from this section, automation can be highly beneficial for tracking employee progress.

Implementing checklists makes the onboarding more standardized and structured, allowing you to identify setbacks and help new recruits with any concerns that they might have along the way.

Enable a Continuous Feedback Loop

In previous sections, we outlined the foundations of the onboarding automation that enable you to record, instruct and monitor your new hires easily.

Now we want to share with you how you can further enhance the productivity of the onboarding process by automating continuous feedback loops.

A feedback loop is an ongoing process where your new employees can share their recommendations and concerns regarding the onboarding program.

By giving you feedback, they provide you with valuable insights you can use to improve the onboarding process, boost employee satisfaction and decrease turnover.

The good news is that much of the feedback loop can be automated. Using your onboarding management platform, you can automate surveys and feedback sessions every time a new hire completes an important stage of the onboarding process.

You can, for instance, send feedback forms to them after the first day, as well as the 30th day, and the 90th day of onboarding.

Or, if you prefer, you can send shorter feedback polls every week. With automation, this whole process will be a breeze.

For instance, software company Donut provides an excellent example of how you can make the most of the automated feedback loop.

Source: Donut

There are many questions you can ask in the poll. You can, for example, ask your new recruits to rate their first week. But the automation doesn’t stop at questions—you can automate the answers too.

The software allows you to pre-program and customize smart responses that will be displayed to your new employees as soon as they rate their onboarding experience.

In other words, if the employee rates the first week as positive, with smart responses that you have created and customized in advance, you can share your excitement that they are satisfied with their onboarding so far.

You can continue to communicate by asking them to describe what they liked about their first week of onboarding that contributed to the positive experience. You can set reminders to prompt them to complete the poll, collect reports, and do other useful things.

As you can see from the example above, with an automated system, collecting feedback is no longer a load of paperwork but an easy and quick process where you don’t have to invest almost any effort.

Remember, the main goal of your onboarding process is to enable new recruits to excel in their roles.

The best way to do that is to ask them in a timely manner to rate their experience so you can see how the onboarding can be improved.

With automation, you will be able to manage that system seamlessly.

Conclusion

In this article, we’ve listed six effective strategies you can implement to automate your employee onboarding.

Each of them covers a specific area and gives you ideas on how you can optimize your onboarding process to boost your company performance and provide high-quality training to your new team members.

We also outlined the advantages of automation when it comes to saving time and boosting the productivity and morale of the new employees.

With automation in place, they can spend less time filing paperwork and devote their focus and concentration on their onboarding training.

We definitely advise you to automate your onboarding process as much as possible because the benefits will be immense for your business and employees alike.