Employee Onboarding Automation: How to Create an Effective Process

Beginning a new job can be stressful for the new employee, and for the organization that is onboarding them. This stress has been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s very likely that if you’ve hired a new employee in the last year, you haven’t even met them in person, and they haven’t been able to step foot in the office.

Countless business operations have been affected by COVID-19, but it is more important than ever to focus on business continuity. This means helping your employees feel like it’s business as usual – especially for the new starters. Their opinion of you as an organization hinges on their onboarding experience, and could mean the difference between a loyal, productive employee, or someone who leaves before their probation period is up. So how do you impress your new employees?


Be proactive with your employee onboarding automation

To maximize success of onboarding a new employee, you should do everything you can to make it a satisfying and informative experience. SHRM recommends following the four Cs:

Compliance: Teaching employees basic legal and policy-related rules and regulations. 

Clarification: Ensuring that employees understand their new jobs and all related expectations.

Culture: Providing employees with a sense of organizational norms— both formal and informal.

Connection: Developing vital interpersonal relationships and information networks for new employees.

Satisfying these four Cs not only ensures employees can get to work and satisfy your business needs immediately, but also to help them feel comfortable and happy in their new role. SHRM lays out the three different ways organization approach onboarding:

Passive Onboarding: Almost all organizations naturally cover compliance as part of formal onboarding… [but] neither Culture nor Connection is addressed… If your firm is engaged in Passive Onboarding, also known as Level 1, you are likely to view onboarding as a checklist of unrelated tasks to be completed. Research shows that approximately 30% of organizations work at this level.

High Potential Onboarding: When compliance and clarification are well covered by a firm’s formal onboarding practices and some culture and connection mechanisms are in place, High Potential Onboarding (Level 2) has been reached. In these organizations, about 50% of all firms, the complete process has not yet been established in a systematic way across the organization.

Proactive Onboarding: All four Cs are formally addressed in Proactive Onboarding. If your firm is systematically organizing onboarding with a strategic human resource management approach, you are at Level 3. Only about 20% of organizations achieve this level.”

Achieving proactive onboarding will be challenging in today’s environment. Remote operations will likely achieve passive onboarding with no problem. But it will be hard to instill culture and develop connections if new starters are working from home and have not had a chance to meet and interact with colleagues face-to-face. Having strategic HR and onboarding processes in place can help you meet requirements, adhere to best practice and reap the benefits.


The benefits of getting employee onboarding right

“Research and conventional wisdom both suggest that employees get about 90 days to prove themselves in a new job. The faster new hires feel welcome and prepared for their jobs, the faster they will be able to successfully contribute to the firm’s mission,” says SHRM.

How you handle the onboarding will have an impact on productivity during the hiring period and beyond; it will shape your employee’s opinion of you. If they are happy, you will see dedication and efficiency. In fact, Forbes found that satisfied, happy employees are 20% more productive than unhappy employees. This happiness will stem from fostering meaningful relationships (Connection), understanding and delivering what is expected of them so they can be successful (Clarification) and feeling like part of the team (Culture).

It will also save money on recruitment. A quarter of new hires move on within a year, according to SHRM, so you need to instill positive feelings from the beginning. A great onboarding experience can improve employee retention by as much as 82%, according to Glassdoor. But a negative one results in new hires being twice as likely to look for other opportunities. And you don’t want that.

You can ensure that you don't miss out any important elements in the process by using our Onboarding Checklist:


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Automating the employee onboarding process

According to the Talent Board North American Candidate Experience Research report, when digital onboarding is used in the hiring stage, new employees are more productive within their first few weeks of work. This sets the stage for the rest of the employees’ tenure at the company and gives them a great head start.

But digitizing the experience is just the start. You need to automate processes if you want to guarantee a smooth onboarding experience. You can create a process flow in Bizagi Modeler to ensure that important services and assets are delivered in time for the employee’s start date. You can then automate triggers in the process so that once one task is complete, it prompts the next person in the chain to complete their responsibilities.

Key tasks within the process can also be automated, such as the distribution of forms and documents to be signed, and connecting with IT to ensure the new starter has access rights on the network – particularly important when working remotely. This way, you can rest reassured that your new starter will hit the ground running.

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Bizagi’s robust orchestration capabilities enable the automation of tactical onboarding. This includes IT account creation, hardware distribution, email set-up, and sponsor assignment, which can all be coordinated and completed efficiently. Bizagi also supports full-scale pro-active onboarding; native integration with Microsoft Sage enables AI analysis and recommendation for training and inculcation paths. Standard integration with the three leading RPA vendors also allows for document processing and industry-standard APIs that enable total processes workflow to include your payroll, accounting, training, and other HR systems.

Automation should be used so that the human factor can be focused on. Less time spent on paperwork means more culture, connection, and clarification. Most organizations only focus on onboarding for a week, but that’s hardly enough time to get someone fully settled. You should continually track an employee’s progress and review how they are getting on.

In this day and age, employees expect their onboarding experience to be proactive, and most importantly, demonstrative of the value the company places on them. Use the automation to free everyone of the tedious tasks and to move right towards the more important aspect: the employee themselves.


Employee onboarding automation in action

OCS Group, the world’s largest privately-owned facilities management services company automated its new starter process to reduce the time to create new employee IDs by 93%.

Given the nature of their industry with a high volume of short-term contracts for cleaning and security roles, high turnover is often a challenge. The organization has an average of 700 new starters and leavers per month in their UK business alone, due to the high volume of short-term contracts for cleaning and security roles. 

Their in-house Bizagi developer used Bizagi Automation Services to automate the employee onboarding process. This reduced the time it takes to create a new employee ID from an average of two weeks down to just 24 hours. Staff's pay is now automated, so they receive their wage immediately, which has made OCS more favorable to candidates over competitor groups. Automating the process has increased the accuracy of data entry and efficiency for staff. A multi-form process that used to take up to three days can now be completed in as little as five minutes with a single upload.


You can download a free process template for employee onboarding from the Bizagi Xchange. Simply search 'onboarding' on the Xchange page and get a simple workflow to ensure new employees have what they need from day one.