Guide to Digital Onboarding for Human Resources

digital onboarding for human resources

Digital Onboarding: innovation in HR processes

Digital transformation has reshaped the world of small and large businesses starting with the Human Resource (HR) department, where Digital Onboarding has become a key step in remote HR management.

What is Digital Onboarding? In the business lexicon, it refers to the mechanism by which new employees acquire the knowledge, skills and behaviors necessary to become members of the organization.

In detail, the process of corporate Onboarding, also known as “organizational socialization,” is the last act of the recruiting or hiring phase, and involves those actions that facilitate the inclusion of a new resource within the team. The aim is to provide them with the information and tools that enable them to manage their tasks by themselves.

An effective and well-structured Digital Onboarding process takes a minimum of 3 to a maximum of 6 months. It is necessary to make new resources productive in the shortest possible time, and ensures a longer working partnership. Indeed, it counteracts the risk of employees leaving the job after only a few months after being hired.

In other words, improving the placement of new hires within the work team brings benefits in terms of profitability and Employee Retention (or HR Retention), i.e., an organization’s ability to retain its employees.

In fact, personnel turnover (flow of people in and out of a company) has a significant impact on the company. If not controlled through HR policies (which should focus on involvement, commitment and motivation) it can result in a flight of the most qualified professionals and thus a loss of human capital. This situation can be caused by communication problems with managers, poor relationship with colleagues, lack of recognition, excessive responsibility and lack of empathy towards the new employee’s needs.

Today, HR managers are aware that one of the biggest challenges in recruiting is retaining talent once they are onboarded. In this competition, Digital Onboarding plays a crucial role. Indeed, according to data from The True Cost of a Bad Hire, a research conducted by the U.S. company Glassdoor, organizations with a robust Onboarding process improve new-hire retention by 82% and productivity by more than 70%. In contrast, companies with weak Onboarding programs lose the trust of their candidates and are more likely to lose new hires in the first year.

However, the digitization of Onboarding processes does not only affect the HR and talent management sector, but it can be useful also in other areas, both in B2C (Business to Consumer) and B2B (Business to Business). More generally, in any field where an organization needs to integrate a person as an employee or customer.

What are the tools and benefits of Digital Onboarding?

Technology plays a key role in the HR recruitment process, improving both HR team’s work and the new hires’ Onboarding. In fact, digital tools can accelerate and automate the Onboarding process, allowing the new resource to access all the information they need from any device at any time.

Here are the main Digital Onboarding tools to focus on to retain top talent:

  • Video conferencing software, which allows you to manage individual and group interviews, organize meetings, plan virtual training and corporate webinars;
  • Business collaboration software, which allow employees to work remotely on the same project and organize the flow of data and information quickly and easily;
  • Digital Signature Software: the computerized equivalent of a handwritten signature promotes the dematerialization of business paperwork and allows the new resource to sign employment-related documents from a computer, tablet or smartphone.

Onboarding is a delicate procedure that requires good advance planning. You can take as a reference the so-called “Four Cs” outlined in the guide Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM):

  1. Compliance: the HR manager must provide the new team member with information about company policy and explain in detail the legal and organizational guidelines to enable the employee to adapt to internal dynamics;
  2. Clarification: the company must provide the newly hired employee with clear information regarding their duties so that they can understand what expectations they have to fulfill;
  3. Culture: this is a broad category that includes those internal norms that should be communicated to the new employee to help them understand the corporate culture. Corporate Culture should be a priority for the HR department since it encompasses corporate values, mission and vision;
  4. Connection: in order to achieve business success, it is necessary to create connections among employees, promote people-to-people relationships (e.g., assigning a mentor to the new hire to guide them through the learning journey and achieve professional and personal growth), and encourage communication between colleagues and managers.

The benefits of Digital Onboarding can be summarized in three main points:

  1. Better organization through the use of innovative tools that reduce errors, enable secure data storage, simplify access to information, and make workflows leaner and faster;
  2. A greater consistency in the integration of new employees into the company’s reality since each of the new hires is offered the same experience, which allows them to build a team that fully understands the company’s culture and values;
  3. A reduction in printing costs, typical of the traditional on-site Onboarding, and the opportunity to easily manage projects remotely.
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