By , Cathy Reilly
Published June 17, 2016
Think of all the ways technology has changed how business is done. Instant communication is possible all the way around the world. Consumers can go through every step of the customer experience -- finding what they want, researching it, purchasing it, receiving customer service -- without ever leaving their house.
In the same way, computers and programs can sift through thousands of job seekers profiles to find the right one for the job. And then there’s poor onboarding, still stuck in the stone age of paper forms and printed employee handbooks.
The truth is that tech can also easily improve onboarding. The tools already exist to make everything run more smoothly. It’s just waiting for organizations to realize it and catch up with the times.
Here are four advances in technology that are improving the onboarding process for those who have embraced them:
For many companies, the only point of onboarding is to have new hires fill out HR forms. So they are locked away in a conference room with a stack of paperwork and a pen. But by using paperless forms that can be accessed via a mobile device, new hires can complete them anywhere, anytime and save time with autofill features.
However, a shockingly low percentage of organizations use paperless, mobile-friendly forms. A 2015 ADP survey of almost 1,500 employees and HR professionals found that fewer than 12 percent of new hires can access onboarding paperwork from their mobile device.
By embracing this onboarding tech, employees can get through all the boring forms more quickly and spend more time focusing on getting up to speed in their new position.
One of the most overwhelming parts of onboarding is getting to know all the new faces. It’s easy to forget names and which co-workers do what. Video introductions allow new employees to review who’s who without having to constantly ask “What’s your name again?”
Have employees who will be working closely with a new hire record short introductory videos, where they talk about who they are and their interests. Make those videos available to the new employee before their first day. That way, they can know a little bit about everyone. Then when they actually meet in person, they can begin to make a deeper connection with their co-workers.
Training platforms are more customizable than ever. They can be adapted for different positions and learning styles so that all of the information is more relevant and understandable. Yet most training is presented in a traditional classroom setting.
A 2015 Intercall survey of more than 200 full-time employees found that 76 percent of respondents had received in-person classroom-style training. Only 56 percent had participated in interactive online training.
While in-person onboarding training is better than none at all, it leaves many employees wanting more. For example, the Intercall survey also found that 47 percent of respondents wanted to be able to go through the material at their own pace. Thirty-nine percent wanted to be able to go back and review the content whenever they needed to.
Using more technology during onboarding gives new hires those benefits. They can move quickly through information they already have experience with -- such as using certain types of software -- and take more time with new information. They can also return to the training program for a refresher at any point in their employment.
Across industries, companies are using big data and analytics to make their operations more effective and efficient. Onboarding can also be improved by measuring and tracking the right metrics.
One way to do this is by having new hires provide formal feedback throughout the process. Compiling their responses over time will identify pain points for new employees. Onboarding can then be refined to make the experience better and more effective.
It’s also important to track how well new hires perform over the course of their employment. Seeing who continues to improve and who ends up not working out provides not only valuable information about onboarding, but also the recruiting and hiring process. The data will reveal trends that make it easier to make more informed decisions about who to hire and how to onboard.
Technological advances of all kinds make everyday life easier. But now it’s time for the onboarding process to catch up. By learning about and incorporating the tools that are out there, it becomes simpler to get every new hire set up for success quickly.