Digital Onboarding: Unlock Company Performance

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The employee onboarding process is a critical component to the success or failure of a new hire.

This makes it necessary to ensure the onboarding process is set up to help new employees flourish. Digital onboarding can not only help your business train valuable talent but it can also help increase your organization’s productivity.

Here’s how.

Traditional Onboarding: A Quick Background

Before you can fully embrace digital onboarding, it’s important to understand the differences between it and traditional onboarding.

With traditional, or on-site onboarding, new employees are often relegated to a back room or out-of-the-way cubicle for orientation and spend the majority of their first days watching training videos and signing forms.

Unfortunately, this does little to give employees a foundation for success and often leaves them frustrated with lots of questions that no one seems to be around to answer. Although traditional onboarding has been the standard for many years, data obtained by human resource professionals supports the initiative to optimize and digitize onboarding. Despite this, several companies may still be reluctant to change.

The Society for Human Resource Management reports that almost 70% of employees who have a great onboarding experience stay with a company for at least three years. Since investing in new hires is costly, a high turnover rate can result in a negative impact on your company’s productivity — and your overall bottom line.

The importance of good onboarding has never been clearer, leaving companies paying attention to look for more successful ways to orient new hires. Digital onboarding has quickly taken the spotlight, particularly recently after rapid global economic changes forced businesses to go remote.

Digital Onboarding 101

Digital onboarding is simply the process of taking the concepts of bringing on a new hire and providing initial training online with the goal of making onboarding as efficient, successful, and cost-effective as possible.

With digital onboarding, employees can complete training and orientation materials at their own pace at home or on the go by accessing onboarding materials stored on a cloud server from their chosen device, such as a computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. For companies who outsource their staff or who are transitioning to remote work, a quality digital orientation program is a must-have.

How Digital Onboarding Increases Company Productivity

There are numerous key benefits of digital onboarding for companies in almost every industry. One major advantage of online onboarding is how it helps streamline and boost productivity in both physical and remote workplaces. Good productivity is crucial to protecting your bottom line and should be a top priority for your business, no matter what niche you’re in.

Digital applications improve onboarding productivity by providing:

Remote Access

Being able to access onboarding programs quickly and easily is essential for new hires. Digital onboarding allows users to log into training applications from anywhere on any device, making it simple for them to complete tasks at their own pace. A remote approach can help new employees absorb information in more effective ways and prevent them from becoming overwhelmed with having to take in too much information all at once. This improves productivity by keeping onboarding straightforward and functional.

Less Paperwork

Paperwork is a silent killer of the new employee’s first-day excitement and does a poor job of preparing an employee for the work ahead. It’s tedious, time-consuming, and shortens the time that an employee has available to complete tasks.

Digital onboarding eliminates the stacks of unnecessary paperwork that slows down company productivity. Instead, employees complete important forms online, using an electronic signature on virtual forms that are stored in the cloud for easy access. If you prefer, you can direct employees to a portal where new hire forms can be digitally signed prior to their first day, a process called preboarding.

Consistent, On-Brand Training

One of the biggest problems faced by businesses today is inconsistent training. Some companies may not have a formal onboarding process at all, or they may have missing components. This leads to new hires each being trained differently, potentially learning incorrect information about your brand, policies, products, and/or services.

A digital onboarding solution can help you put training in one place and ensure that you’re offering new hires comprehensive and robust support while they gain their footing within your company. This investment in consistent training pays off when your talent becomes cohesive and works together to accomplish a unified goal.

Compliance Support

If you work in an industry where compliance with certain guidelines or regulations is necessary, such as the financial or healthcare sectors, providing your employees with dedicated compliance training is critical. How you onboard and train employees can mean the difference between successfully maintaining compliance within your organization or being issued a citation and a fine. Violations can be difficult to recover from and are better prevented than handled.

Digital onboarding solutions offer new employees compliance materials specific to the needs of your business. You can be confident that your staff is well prepared to maintain compliance when completing tasks and you won’t have to halt company productivity to deal with a violation citation.

Proactive and Ongoing Learning

Digital onboarding is part of the overarching culture of continuous learning. In fact, onboarding doesn’t really have to end at all. Ideally, your company is providing both new and established employees with ongoing learning opportunities. This helps keep your team focused on company objectives, develops new expertise, and helps reshape and refine learned skills.

Employee Engagement

Engaged employees are effective employees. The opposite is also true; unengaged employees are almost guaranteed to be ineffective and unproductive. Traditional onboarding, which usually consists of hours-long monotonous training, allows the mind to wander. Employees get bored and start thinking about anything other than the information being presented to them, making the onboarding session largely futile.

Digital onboarding, on the other hand, is engaging and easy to use. It can also be gamified to give your team an even more interactive and immersive training experience. Ensuring that your employees are engaged with onboarding, in turn, ensures that they’re absorbing the critical information you’re presenting about your business operations.

Common Questions With Digital Onboarding

Here are some answers to employers’ and employees’ most frequently asked questions about digital onboarding solutions:

Is digital onboarding just one application?

No. Digital onboarding is a concept that can use one or more applications to complete the onboarding and employee training process.

Do I have to be tech-savvy to utilize digital onboarding?

Somewhat. You don’t need to know how to code, but you do need to know how to operate a computer or smart device. Most remote onboarding applications are extremely user-friendly and many contain easy-to-understand walkthroughs on how to use the software.

How long does onboarding last?

The form-filling part of onboarding or preboarding is shortlived, but the training part of onboarding can — and arguably should — be ongoing. Think of onboarding and continual training as part of your company culture instead of something to be checked off a new hire list.

Is online onboarding secure?

Digital onboarding applications are safe to use and provide robust security features to protect the sensitive information of both your company and your employees. Onboarding software designed for businesses that require more security, such as finance and healthcare organizations, may boast additional security to meet compliance requirements.

Do I need a new hire checklist?

New hire checklists are great to have. Many remote onboarding programs offer template checklists that can be tailored to your organization’s unique needs.

Tips to Ensure Successful Digital Onboarding

Make sure your employees are set up for success with these tips:

  • Prepare a warm greeting for your new hires. Whether you set up a prerecorded video or meet with your new employees via conference call, make sure to give your new team members a warm, personalized welcome.
  • Set attainable goals. New employees are eager to impress during the orientation and onboarding process but may become frustrated if the goals they’re meant to attain are too challenging. Keep productivity high by ensuring that the goals you set for new employees during onboarding are reachable.
  • Check in with new hires often. Digital onboarding is usually completed independently, which can sometimes have the effect of making an employee feel a little isolated or lost. Give new hires an orientation plan that outlines the onboarding process and be sure to check in with them frequently on a personal level to see how they’re doing.
  • Be open to feedback. If you’re just starting to implement digital onboarding, be open to feedback and constructive criticism from employees going through the program. Make changes as needed to suit the needs of your employees and facilitate their learning.