Onboarding: Turn a Source of Pain into an Opportunity for Gains

Onboarding. You might shudder at the word. It’s historically a laborious, complex and monotonous process — with serious consequences for errors and oversights.

According to Glassdoor, the average US employer spends $4000 and 24 days to hire a new worker. If you deliver a negative onboarding experience, candidates will drop out of the process, further increasing these already high numbers. If you’re quick to lose employees, you’ll also face the cost of vacancy, the loss in productivity, and the impact on morale. It’s a greater drain on your company than it might initially seem.

Meanwhile, companies with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82%, and productivity by more than 70%. And such strong processes are made possible by technology. Covid-19 helped accelerate the use of technology in the onboarding process. And while the world is opening back up, your processes don’t have to go back to paper to meet your organization’s needs and maintain compliance.

Risk of Noncompliance

The consequences of non-compliance are serious. And with the depth, breadth and complexity of employment legislation, trying to do the right thing is not enough, and can actually get you in trouble.

For example, in 2017, Panda Express was fined $400,000 for non-compliance. Their crime: asking employees who were permanent residents to renew their I-9 forms, while not requiring the same from employees who were US citizens. This was deemed a discriminatory hiring practice.

On top of keeping abreast of rules and regulations, onboarding compliance is built on a foundation of auditing. This should be done weekly for the likes of I-9s, E-Verify, tax forms, and payment instructions, while deeper audits should be conducted quarterly or annually on things like process and strategy.

This is where the value of technology in onboarding becomes apparent.

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The Role of Technology in Ensuring Compliance

“Software is your friend in avoiding non-compliance,” says Dustin Brewer, VP of product at Able. “You want to prevent errors from occurring, because small mistakes at the beginning can grow into huge problems further downstream.”

You can avoid such mistakes by designing an onboarding process that makes things as clear and as simple as possible. Instead of giving a candidate papers to complete, you can instead offer a mobile-optimized form that understands what each piece of information should look like, and doesn’t let them move forward until they type an appropriate answer in. This would address a large portion of drop-off and compliance issues overnight.

Integration and automation can also greatly decrease error rates. Modern, integrated solutions can reduce or even remove the need for manual data entry, minimizing the opportunity for human error (while also making things far more efficient.) For example, with integrated onboarding into your ATS, information only needs to be completed one time — with checks and balances in place on the back end to ensure that candidate-entered data is correct (such as social security numbers, phone numbers and emails).

Recruiter — and Candidate — Buy-in

Without buy-in from your recruiters, your onboarding and compliance improvements will be dead in the water. But if they understand the “why” behind compliance, they will be more motivated to do it and do it right, and be able to better explain the importance to the candidate.

Investing in coaching your recruiters on compliance will deliver handsome returns, says Claire Gibree, HR manager at The Davis Cos.. Recruiters will also be more open to technology once they recognize that bots can take care of compliance for them.

Adapt and Adopt

While the pace of technological innovation is constantly accelerating, Covid put it into overdrive. Where compliance was once an exclusively in-person affair, firms found solutions that enabled a candidate to complete their compliance responsibilities on their smartphone, and it just so happened that the process was many times quicker and more convenient.

With so much room for improvement within the compliance and onboarding space, you can’t afford to wait until the next global pandemic to act. Now that we know how technology might enhance compliance and onboarding, it’s time to get a sense of where the improvements might lie for your firm.

My next post will discuss the onboarding key performance indicators that every staffing form should be tracking.

Stormie Haller

Stormie Haller
Stormie Haller is director of marketing at Able, an onboarding automation company focusing on candidate and recruiter experience in the staffing industry. You can reach her at stormie (at) ableteams (dot) com.

Stormie Haller

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