The employee onboarding process is a critical step in talent management. It can positively or negatively affect the turnover rates of your workforce and the employer brand you own. There are many day-to-day factors that can support or erode the brand of your business. With that said, employee onboarding is an essential time for you to show new hires why you’re a great place to work. If you do not have a strategic onboarding process established, your new employee churn rate will surge and your business will stagnate.

According to a study done by CDSM, “Companies lose 25 percent of all new employees within 12 months.”

It’s quite expensive and time-consuming to replace an employee. You lose their skill and knowledge set, and you must advertise and find new talent to train and replace them. If the newly hired person leaves within a year of being hired, then you will have to go through the same long, expensive processes to replace them. It becomes an endless cycle that can be entirely avoidable. To make a great first impression that makes new hires what to stay on, you need to combine the right elements of strategy and technology in employee onboarding while getting every stakeholder in your organization to buy-in.

A well-thought-out talent management strategy combined with automated HR solutions can help support your efforts in strengthening your employer brand. With a greater reputation established, obtaining and retaining talent becomes so much easier.

Let’s learn more about what HR software is and how it can enhance your onboarding process.

Enhance your onboarding process with efficient HR software

To help support a greater onboarding initiative for your company, you should be combining your strategy with technology. HR software with dedicated onboarding tools will free you from the most tedious manual processes, while cutting down on the use of paper. You can create new efficiencies, enhance transparency and attain and retain top talent more effectively with this type of technology.

According to a study by HCI, “58 percent of organizations say their onboarding program is focused on processes and paperwork”. For these companies, that’s what their onboarding process consists of: Fill out paperwork, some minor training here and there, then right into the fray, sink or swim.

What these companies don’t realize is that onboarding is more than just paperwork and other administrative duties. The entire process is supposed to be longer than just a couple of days or weeks. It’s actually an ongoing process that takes anywhere from six months to a year.

The onboarding process is supposed to make the new employee feel supported and comfortable in their new role. The program should consist of job and development training, processes that need to be learned, an introduction to the company culture and its people, and more.

What is HR or HCM software?

HR or HCM software is a suite of applications or modules that are used to manage and maintain your workforce through streamlined operations in HR management, talent management and payroll processing. Typically, these tools can be integrated with partnering technologies including ERP systems, payroll providers, insurance carriers, business intelligence tools and others.

Companies purchase the software to automate various HR processes including:
● Recruiting
● Onboarding
● Performance Management
● Learning Management
● Succession Planning
● Core HR
● Benefits Management
● ACA Compliance
● Time and Attendance
● Payroll Processing

Not all HR software providers offer these tools in their systems, but these are some of the more common tools you’ll see when shopping around. Also, some providers will allow you to pick and choose which modules you need, instead of requiring you to purchase the entire platform.

For example, if you only have the time and resources to improve your onboarding process, some vendors will allow you to purchase a single onboarding software module to integrate within your business. The upside of this is that you get exactly what you need and can use right now—and if their technology improves your onboarding process, you can reach out to them for help automating other processes that need fixing.

What workflows within the employee onboarding process should be automated?

With a dedicated onboarding module, you will be able to hand off your administrative and manual responsibilities to an automated tool, built to streamline those efforts for you. It transforms the entire process for both HR administrators and managers in charge of it, as well as for the new hire journeying through it.

HR software, with a dedicated onboarding module, can streamline the following workflows with automated efficiencies built in:
● Send communications to new hires with helpful information including logins, schedules, training and more
● Send state and federal forms, employee handbook sign-off and any digital signage to new hires before they start their first day
● Create a self-service hub for your new hire to access with all helpful information easily accessible
● Integrate with any internal/external technology including other HR automated solutions, payroll, ERP systems and more to share data instantly
● HR administrators are alerted of new employee actions, allowing them to approve and move the person forward in the process
● Set up ongoing training and development for the new employee throughout the year to become more accustomed to their role more quickly

With HR software, you can secure, manage and transfer high-compliance data, break down barriers, increase transparency and make your business worth working for. According to SHRM, an effective onboarding program can help you retain 69 percent of employees for up to three years.

The benefits of using HR software to support the employee onboarding process

You will typically see these types of benefits after implementing an automated employee onboarding module:

Save time and resources

Automating the onboarding process eliminates the amount of time spent focusing on one manual process. For example, the Center for Effective Organizations found that HR professionals spend over 300 hours maintaining employee records. That’s roughly equivalent to 13.6 percent of their time spent per year on that task. With automated HCM software, data is entered once and then can be seamlessly transferred between systems with real-time integration.

Paper usage and storage, data protection and human error are the costliest results of employing manual workflows, or limited-use technology. Automated technology has no use for paper, it’s built for security and helps prevent human error. With this type of protection, your company will save thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars per year that could easily go to fixing any issues or paying any fines.

Navigate compliance easier

An employee onboarding module will help you stay compliant by storing all federal, state and local forms that new hires are required to fill out by law. The tool can automate the delivery of these forms and obtain employee digital signatures too. It can also take the input data and disperse it to the internal/external systems you’re integrated with.

If you were connected with a benefits management and payroll system as well, the data captured from the new hire during onboarding would automatically transfer to those systems in real time. For example, during the benefits selection phase of onboarding, after the employee completes their selections, that data will be shared between all systems. The selections will then be sent to the appropriate carriers for processing. Also, for each selection made, it will be automatically deducted from the employee’s payroll each pay period.

The tool also keeps employees, managers and HR administrators on task by sending out automated communications to ensure that each stakeholder stays informed of compliance-related deadlines.

Enhance the process with reporting

HR software tools typically feature reporting functionality to help you obtain insights into the processes you’re managing. With employee onboarding, you can gather and track the progress of your new hires as they go through your process.

Data gathered over time will allow you to make powerful decisions on the development of your program. With improvements to employee onboarding deployed, you will see your top talent stay longer, an improved company culture and an increase in production and sales.

Secure employee data

A newly hired employee must provide a lot of personal information to HR when they begin the onboarding process. For example, they’ll have to sign up for their 401k, apply for benefits and fill out W-4 and I-9 forms.

These documents usually require a mountain of personal information, which—if not secured—could be vulnerable to bad actors and cyber-crimes. The HR department holds social security numbers, benefits and HIPPA-related information, personal addresses and more.

With secure HCM software, you can ensure that the security, management and sharing of this high-compliance data is controlled by the right people. With that said, if security is important to you, then ensure that proper due diligence is performed on the provider you’re interested in integrating with. Focus on partners with high customer satisfaction rates and proven security practices.

Scale for the Future with HR Software

With an automated employee onboarding tool deployed, you can expect to see an uptick in employee confidence and happiness. Employers will see improved processes at lower costs and at a greater ROI. When you rely on a clear and well-developed onboarding process, your employer brand will only grow stronger.

As you observe the enhancement of your onboarding process, you will watch your overall cost and resource usage fall. The cost savings will let you address the other areas within your HR management, talent management and payroll operations that need to be improved with automated efficiencies employed.

For example, as you can see the improvements in your onboarding process, you may identify other areas within the talent management process that need automated efficiencies as well. Hypothetically, you could integrate your onboarding module with applicant tracking, performance management, learning management and succession planning tools to cover every phase of the employee timeline within your business.

Each module feeds data to the others, simplifying the flow of information in real time, while also supporting an enhanced reporting process. You will identify what’s working and where improvement is needed in your overall talent management process.

And that’s just integrating the onboarding process with the rest of talent management. Some providers also offer automated HR solutions in core HR, benefits management, time and attendance, payroll processing and more. When shopping around for quality providers, you should also consider their ability to connect to other technology including ERP Systems, insurance carriers, payroll providers and business intelligence tools for example.
There are limitless possibilities when improving your HR operations with HCM software.