How to Leverage Automation
to Optimize Employee Onboarding

Current State

One of the areas of the employee experience most ripe for improvement with automation is onboarding. Onboarding new employees suffers from a bit of an identity crisis because it is often ill-defined within the organization and many times multiple teams are responsible for different aspects of the process.

By strategically applying automation technologies, organizations can significantly enhance the onboarding experience, leading to better employee engagement, retention, customer satisfaction and business results.

Complications

Teams must partner with all aspects of HR and operations to ensure that newly hired teammates have a smooth transition and are set up to succeed as early as possible.

Companies need to align on common language and definitions for terms. Processes must be clearly documented and transparent to employees, candidates and managers alike. While automation adds efficiency, there is a risk to trusting the onboarding handoff solely to technology. Just as the front-end black hole of the recruiting process can eliminate highly skilled talent, an ineffective initial phase of onboarding can redirect a candidate’s attention to an offer from a competing organization.

Consequences

Organizations that have automated processes are likely to see an increase in engagement, retention, customer satisfaction, and retention. This is because they can improve more long-term goals by giving over time-consuming tasks to automation and focusing on the more strategic aspects of onboarding such as early coaching and mentoring, linking onboarding to learning and work success, and cultural assimilation.

Critical Questions

To optimize your employee onboarding experience, you need to determine what people and processes you have in place to help make use of the automation technology they are given.

Organizations should also ask themselves the following:

  • What data sources does your organization have access to in your current system and what data sources are you missing?
  • What aspects of your onboarding process would benefit most from automation?
  • How can we ensure that automation doesn’t overshadow the important human component of onboarding?

Brandon Hall GroupPOV

Automate Administrative Steps

Use AI/ML to automate routine onboarding paperwork, forms, data collection and filing. This streamlines the process for new hires while ensuring compliance. Intelligent document management is an area where automation can have a big impact.

Enable Continuous Onboarding

Set up automated check-ins, delivery of training/assignments, and assessments based on tenure milestones (30/60/90 days, 1 year, etc.). This provides a consistent cadence of engagement and development. Take new-hire pulse surveys to monitor sentiment.

Integrate Across Systems

Automate data flows between ATS, HRIS, LMS and other systems for a seamless experience. Proper integration is key for maximizing the value of automation and enabling robust analytics.

Preserve the Human Touch

Be intentional about which aspects to automate vs. handle personally. Automate repetitive tasks but have managers directly involved for important touch points like goal setting, check-ins and sensitive communications. Automation should enhance, not replace, human interaction.

Connect Onboarding to Talent Management

Use AI/ML to personalize onboarding based on role, skills and career path. Gather data to inform recruiting, L&D and succession planning. Integrating onboarding with broader talent processes multiplies the long-term value.

When thoughtfully implemented, AI/ML-driven automation can transform onboarding from a cumbersome administrative process to an engaging, personalized experience that accelerates new hire productivity and retention. The key is striking the right balance between efficiency and human touch, leveraging the strengths of both automation and personal involvement. With the right approach, automation empowers organizations to turn onboarding into a strategic differentiator.

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Matt Pittman

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Matt Pittman

Matt Pittman brings nearly 30 years of experience developing people and teams in a variety of settings and organizations. As an HR Practitioner, he has sat in nearly every seat including Learning and Leadership Development, Talent Management and Succession Planning, Talent Acquisition and as a Human Resources Business Partner. A significant part of those roles involved building out functions in organizations and driving large scale change efforts. As a Principal Analyst, Matt leverages this in-depth experience and expertise to provide clients and providers with breakthrough insights and ideas to drive their business forward.

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