If there’s one process that newly-born startups tend to overlook, it’s onboarding. But when things start to move and you get a regular stream of new people joining the company — that’s when you need to have more than just a rough, manual onboarding process in place.
Onboarding is how you set up new starters for long-term success at your company.
It begins well before the new hire’s first day, and it only ends when they’ve become an integral part of the team, fulfilling all aspects of their role. All in all, onboarding is not easy — it can become a full-time job, especially if you’re your own ‘HR team’.
That’s why many small businesses today choose to automate their employee onboarding process or at least some of its most repetitive and time-consuming aspects.
Let’s have a look at why you should consider doing that too and, most importantly, how to make it a success.
The problems with manual employee onboarding
If we had to score HR processes in terms of how complex and time-consuming they are, onboarding would be right at the top. That’s why managing onboarding manually comes with a lot of downsides:
1 - Managing all the people involved can turn into a nightmare
Many different people are involved in the onboarding process: there’s you (the HR department); there’s the new starter but also their manager and the team they’re joining. Everybody needs to have their input, but you are ultimately the one responsible for making it a success.
Managing all these interactions comes with a lot of complexity, especially when you are onboarding more than one person at a time:
- How do you make sure everybody does their part?
- How do you keep track of progress against everybody’s onboarding goals?
Spreadsheets are an option (but they are a lot of work by themselves).
2 - Consistency is hard to achieve
It’s difficult to maintain the same standards for every new team member if you’re managing their onboarding manually. Things easily fall through the cracks and inevitably different people will have different onboarding experiences.
3 - Manual processes can be seen as unprofessional
With many progressive businesses now adopting automated employee onboarding, your clumsy manual processes will turn up some noses — and that’s the last thing you want with new starters.
4 - The time you waste on repetitive tasks is not worth it
Think of all the data-collection side of onboarding, all the emails back and forth. Those are must-have steps but they’re not what new starters ultimately care about. By doing those tasks manually you don’t have any time left to ensure people feel welcome and ready to kick off their careers at your company.
5 - Human error is around the corner
Manual processes are prone to mistakes by nature. Sum all of the challenges we’ve just listed, and it’s inevitable that someone will make a mistake sooner or later – for example, it could be giving new hires access to confidential information, putting the company in legal trouble. That would be a catastrophe for your business.
With HR automation, there is no reason why companies should take all these risks as it’s now so widely accessible.
What is onboarding automation?
Technology today enables HR teams to automate a lot of HR processes that once had to be carried out manually — and onboarding is one of them.
HR software removes the need for manual onboarding processes by:
- Collecting new starter details for you…
- … and storing them in a safe place where it’s easy to find them
- Letting new employees complete their own onboarding admin
- Allowing you to create checklists and delegate tasks to colleagues, all via the platform
The benefits of automating your onboarding process
By switching to an automated onboarding process you’ll make your HR more efficient, professional and welcoming for your new starters — ultimately streamlining your operations reducing your costs and keeping your employees for longer.
Let’s see how the drawbacks of manual onboarding can be overcome with HR automation:
How to automate your onboarding process in 4 steps
Let’s have a look at 4 ways you can improve your HR process using an HR automation platform like CharlieHR.
1. Automated checklists to prepare for the new hire’s first day
Some of the most repetitive onboarding tasks happen before the new starter’s start date.
It’s the simple but essential steps like getting a new laptop in time, ensuring all the necessary software is installed and set up a new email account.
With checklists, you remember everything. You can also delegate and pull other people in to complete their tasks (without having to chase them by email).
You can assign a full checklist or individual items of a checklist to a team member, and if you set a due date, the system will automatically send them a notification a few days before the deadline.
The Checklist functionality lives in your HR platform, where it can be accessed by everyone involved in the onboarding process, whether they’re office-based or working remotely.
“Charlie makes for a great onboarding experience: I don't need to worry about forgetting anything and new hires get a warm, efficient and consistent welcome to our company every time." Harriot Pleydell-Bouverie, Mallow & Marsh
2. A self-service platform where new starters complete their own admin
One important item on your onboarding checklist is about collecting your new hire’s personal data and right-to-work documentation.
The best way to automate employee data collection is to have your new starter use some form of employee self-service. Using HR software like CharlieHR, they can upload their data on the platform themselves, where it will be stored securely on their profile.
This process saves HR teams from having to collect and upload employee information manually, which not only is time consuming but also very prone to mistakes.
Self-service HR software also makes it much easier to comply with the law, ensuring all the legally required information is collected promptly and stored securely.
3.Onboarding slides: a good first impression that turns into a long-lasting one
At Charlie, we wish to make the onboarding process as fun and engaging as possible. We believe it’s important to get people excited about their new role and how they’ll contribute to the company’s mission.
HR software can help you give new team members a great first impression of your company by providing the right information at the right time, in a format that keeps them engaged throughout the onboarding journey.
One way to do that is through personalised onboarding slides that will make new hires feel part of the team even before their first day.
4.Company handbook and people directory — to help new starters hit the ground running
HR software can play an important role in helping new team members get familiar with the way they work.
Instead of having to bounce between HR and their manager to get the information they need, with HR software like Charlie, new hires can get full access to your company handbook within the platform.
This means they’ll be able to browse all of your HR policies, find answers to their questions and get a great introduction to your culture and what it means to work at your company.
Always on the platform, they’ll be able to put names to faces by checking out the People Directory. This section includes all of your company’s employees with their team, location (if you have more than one) and information about who their line manager is. An Org Chart is also available.
This will be a very handy tool in their first few weeks, as new hires try to get their head around all the different people in the team and their roles.
Want to take CharlieHR for a spin?
If you’re interested in seeing what onboarding automation looks like in Charlie, you can take a free 14-day trial now:
You can also check out what other HR automation trends you should look at in this guide written by our HR expert Hannah Wenman.