Many companies today are characterized by complicated document collection requirements and an intense employee onboarding process. But in businesses with a large number of employees and a high turnover rate, it’s essential to their business model to maintain a fast pace of remote recruitment and onboarding. Unfortunately, they often fail to do so due to prolonged processes involving email, printing, faxing, and phone calls. This hurts the onboarding rate, and damages the efficiency and efficacy of recruiting efforts.
But there’s a better way. Digital employee onboarding allows businesses to collect all forms and get them signed in a single packet. Employees get onboarded quickly, allowing businesses to save precious time and make the most of their human capital faster.
The Dangers of Prolonged Employee Onboarding
When businesses take too long to onboard new employees, it’s more than a mere annoyance for HR personnel and the employees: it can have serious business consequences. Here’s what can happen when physical paperwork and too many touchpoints prolong onboarding:
- Employees fail to onboard: Call centers and franchises face steep competition. The gig economy means that potential employees are easily distracted by new opportunities. All things being equal, the company that offers fast and convenient onboarding will win over the company that makes their life more complicated. Imagine an employee who only plans on staying at a job for a couple of months, and may be making around the minimum wage. What are the chances he will stick with the cumbersome and complicated onboarding process?
- Companies waste precious time and resources: Beginning an onboarding process with a potential employee who fails to onboard is a massive waste of time. All the money and effort that went into recruiting this person cannot be recouped. And even if the potential employee ultimately does onboard, the excess time and resources spent on getting him to the finish line is time and resources that fail to go to recruiting additional employees.
- Reputational damage: A messy onboarding process, particularly if it involves unclear directions and messy paperwork, can lead to reputational damage. Word can get around that the business is not employee-friendly, hampering recruitment efforts.
Digital Employee Onboarding: The Next Frontier
For companies that are (rightly) concerned about their lengthy onboarding processes, there is a better way: digital employee onboarding. The entire end-to-end onboarding process can be completed from a single digital channel, including filling out and uploading all the needed forms.
Employers typically need to gather W-4, I-9, employee information, contract, non-compete form, non-disclosure agreements, payroll, benefits, 90-day goal sheets and more.
By switching to digital, automated, and streamlined onboarding, businesses can collect these documents easily and overcome the issues described in the previous section. They can spend less time and effort chasing employees for forms, and move on to recruiting new employees.
Here are some of the most common use cases for digital employee onboarding:
1. I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification)
The I-9 form requires employees to vouch for their legal eligibility to work. Employees must also present documents and identity documents as proof of eligibility. A digital employee onboarding platform can really shine here.
Employees can complete, eSign, and submit their I-9 form electronically. They can then use the digital platform to upload supporting documents as needed and through their preferred channel, whether it’s the company’s online portal, email, or a mobile phone. The idea is that the company and/or the employee can choose a single digital channel that funnels all supporting documents to the right place.
2. Employee Background Check
Traditional methods of conducting an employee background check are cumbersome and time-consuming. Many employers go beyond verifying the potential employee’s social security number and require a litany of information including credit score, driving records, criminal records, property ownership, drug test results, and more. With a digital employee onboarding platform, employees can simply snap pictures of their documents, and instantly send them to the employer via text message or email.
3. ID Verification
Even if an employer forgoes the full background check, they will still want to verify that a potential employee is who they claim to be. That’s where digital ID verification comes in. There is no need for employers to scan physical ID cards or search databases. Potential employees simply snap a cellphone photo of their official ID, then take a selfie (optionally holding the ID card in it), and send the two photos to the employer. Using AI and machine learning, facial recognition technology can detect with nearly 100% accuracy whether there is a match.
4. Remote Employees
Some employees are completely remote. Whether they are working at a BPO or another type of organization, there may be no expectation for HR leaders to meet them face-to-face. This could be because of geographic limitations or simply the nature of the job. In this case, it’s critical that the onboarding process is straightforward and streamlined enough for employees to complete independently.
5. Employee Handbook
It’s common for workplaces to offer a physical employee handbook. But this isn’t necessarily ideal for remote, short-term workforces. Switching to a digital employee handbook offers many advantages. First, it can be sent out en mass and on the fly, and requires little to no planning. Second, it can be easily updated to reflect new rules and procedures. Finally, a digital employee handbook can optionally include an electronic signature line, allowing employees to acknowledge that they’ve read and understood the material.
6. Non-Discrimination/Anti-Harassment Procedure
Employees should be able to review and electronically sign any non-discrimination and anti-harassment procedures digitally. This is more convenient and efficient for both employees and employers. It’s also more compliant, as it’s easy to securely store digital documents for future reference.
7. Chat/Instant Messaging Policy
Some workplaces may have a written policy in place for usage of chat and instant messaging platforms. Employees should be able to read the digital policy and add their electronic signature in acknowledgment of the rules.
8. Timekeeping and Absentee Deduction
Once they’ve completed onboarding, full-fledged employees should be able to record their hours (clock in and clock out), request vacation/sick days, and view their balance on an online dashboard. This should be standard for all employees, whether remote or in-person. This ensures the continuity of a smooth digital employee experience.
9. Scheduled System Downtime
Sometimes, the IT department must make repairs or updates to internal systems. This can disrupt the activities of the employees who are working during that time. The scheduled system downtime policy can instantly and digitally notify employees, whether via email, text message, or agent console, of system downtime. This ensures everyone is on the same page and can make the needed preparations ahead of time.
Digital Employee Onboarding Maximizes ROI
A digital onboarding process allows companies to expedite procedures surrounding new employees — from the moment a CV is sent to ongoing HR tasks. By offering streamlined digital onboarding, companies can hire more efficiently, reduce leakage in the recruitment process, and get employees to training faster.
Lightico offers such a digital onboarding platform designed to fit the needs of today’s fast-hiring companies. Capabilities including eSignatures, ID verification, instant document collection, digital storage, and automated workflows come together into a single platform to expedite onboarding. Learn more at Lightico.com.