The Future of Onboarding: Trends & Predictions for Electronic Onboarding

April 20, 2023

Businesses that simply establish a standardized onboarding process experience a 50% increase in productivity among new hires. These gains are even more significant when the process is streamlined and automated through electronic onboarding, which facilitates preboarding, improved internal communication, and a more seamless transition into Day 1 job responsibilities.

As employee onboarding continues to trend towards an electronic, automated, and technology-driven approach, businesses are adapting their HR practices and tools to ensure long-term employee retention and increased appeal to job candidates in the hiring market. 

In this article, we’ll explore how new trends in onboarding increasingly incorporate preboarding, AI-powered automation, machine learning, mobile optimization, as well as adaptations for remote workers and a greater emphasis on investing in long-term employee training and career development.

Remote Onboarding & Preboarding

Preboarding is already on the rise among businesses that aim to help their new hires feel welcomed, acclimated and informed well before their official Day 1 start. On a practical level, preboarding simplifies the distribution and completion of a host of HR forms, tasks, and trainings that can now be delivered digitally, monitored electronically, and completed by a new hire on a more convenient and incremental timeline. From reviewing the employee handbook to completing tax forms and early training modules, electronic preboarding makes the first stage of onboarding more organized and efficient for HR staff, managers, and new hires alike.

Similarly, as more organizations shift towards hiring fully remote employees (or redesignating existing personnel as remote or hybrid employees), completing the full onboarding process remotely represents a unique challenge. With hybrid or fully on-site employees, electronic preboarding is still extremely useful, but as Day 1 arrives, in-person and on-site onboarding factors into the equation. However, with fully remote employees, employers are compelled to use even more creative strategies to keep their new hires connected, engaged, and satisfied within the company culture.

More companies are using HR software, mobile apps, and support from qualified HR experts to implement new onboarding strategies that ensure productivity and employee retention among remote employees. Organizations are using all of the following approaches and more:

  • Increased 1-on-1 conversations between managers and remote employees
  • Development of more internal resources and means of internal communication: internal blogs for employees only, active discussion areas on Slack, and digital spaces where existing employees can answer questions for new hires or remote employees and encourage peer-to-peer learning
  • Scheduled virtual lunches and virtual water-cooler breaks
  • Company retreats (yearly or biannually) to create opportunities for remote employees to connect with each other, as well as on-site or hybrid employees.

We advise any organization with a growing labor force to use labor forecasting to try to accurately determine the number of remote workers they expect to hire or redesignate in each forthcoming quarter or year. This can not only help with staffing and scheduling, but also with developing a specific onboarding template for remote workers.

Our related article on electronic onboarding best practices and implementation tips can give you even more actionable recommendations to hone your preboarding and electronic onboarding practices, including for remote workers.

Employee Retention through Learning and Career Development

Just as onboarding processes are moving increasingly towards an electronic and automated approach, the overall onboarding timeline is also expanding. Although some companies still dedicate only a day or week to onboarding, many companies are now transitioning towards onboarding strategies that last anywhere from 90 days to a full calendar year. This is because more employers are discovering a direct correlation between time invested in a smooth onboarding process and overall employee retention.

One major reason for this shift is that, according to a Learning Report study by LinkedIn, 94% of employees are likely to stay with a company for a longer period if the company actively invests in their career development, education, and training. An onboarding process that extends to 90 days or more shows concrete evidence of managerial and company investment in the success of an employee, on a personal and professional level. That’s why even employers who currently utilize a 30-60-90-day plan to check in on employee productivity should begin the process by listening to any general or specific career goals the new hire hopes to achieve. This open dialogue regarding career development can help managers connect a new hire to career development, training, or educational resources within the company from day one, or even earlier.

When employees leave their employer within the first year of employment, it’s often due to an actual (or perceived) lack of career development opportunities. Again, when an employer can use the onboarding phase to help a new hire chart a career roadmap and facilitate access to training that moves them in their desired direction, the 3, 6, 9, or 12 months spent regularly checking in, asking questions, and providing support can mean the difference between an employee who resigns quickly (with the attached financial loss) and a high-performing employee who enjoys a long tenure with the business.

Apply Leading-Edge Technology and Strategy to Your Onboarding Process with Payday

It’s easy to recognize the downsides of a disorganized, manual or paper-based onboarding process. Even so, responsibly leveraging the software and tools available to begin electronic onboarding can feel overwhelming without professional support and guidance. Payday offers a comprehensive recruiting and onboarding solution that combines HR expertise and leading software to automate and optimize onboarding so you can focus on a new hire’s productivity and career development while cutting time spent on redundant tasks.

Contact us today to learn more about how our electronic onboarding solutions can help your organization stay ahead of emerging trends and create a more engaging employee experience.

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