(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is brought to you by our friends at SilkRoad, a leading global provider of cloud-based talent management solutions. SilkRoad recently launched an online resource center showcasing how Human Resource Management Systems can benefit your bottom line. You can check it out here. Enjoy the post!)
I must admit, I was a bit surprised by this conversation. At this year’s SilkRoad Connections conference, attendees were talking about new ways to use their onboarding solution for more than onboarding.
Let’s start at the beginning. We all know what onboarding is. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) defines it as “the process by which new hires get adjusted to the social and performance aspects of their jobs quickly and smoothly, and learn the attitudes, knowledge, skills, and behaviors required to function effectively within an organization.”
And we all know why onboarding is important. A recent Fast Company article stated that 31 percent of new employees quit a job within the first six months. Turnover is expensive so onboarding needs to be effective and efficient. So onboarding is critical for employee engagement and retention. Why does it need to do more?! Can’t it just be used for onboarding? And then I realized, I was thinking about onboarding like a unitasker.
If you’re not familiar with the term, unitaskers are items that can only do one thing. Mr. Bartender and I are fans of the show “Good Eats” and Alton Brown is famous for bashing unitaskers in the kitchen. An example would be a corn kernel remover. Unitaskers don’t offer versatility and therefore, don’t bring much value.
The message for HR is, onboarding is not and should not be considered a unitasker. During the conference, we talked about four key processes where onboarding can bring value.
Internships: Many companies are investing heavily in their internship programs. They know today’s intern could be tomorrow’s employee. Just because an intern is only going to be with the company for a short while doesn’t mean they don’t need badges, computer access and a basic amount of training (at minimum ethics, customer service, anti-harassment, etc.)
An onboarding solution can be configured to support the company’s internship program. Special messaging can be created for interns to welcome them, explain the program and share expectations.
Work events: These are employee transition events such as mergers, acquisitions, and promotions. It could include employee transfers (both within the same country as well as expatriate assignments). Work events can also involve leave of absences. Employee work events trigger the need for new name badges, business cards, enhanced perks and benefits. It might also prompt additional training such as supervisory skills or safety training for a new piece of equipment.
An onboarding solution allows the company to not miss the details. There’s nothing worse than the disappointment of getting a promotion and someone forgetting to order new business cards. Or the employee that transfers to a new department but their name badge still has the old department on it.
Contingent workforce: Organizations are relying upon freelancers, consultants, and contractors to get work assignments completed. To keep these contingent workers engaged, they need to feel that they are a part of the culture. That means giving them badges so they don’t have to sign in as a visitor all the time. Possibly even giving them computer system access.
Onboarding solutions can be used to monitor contingent worker relationships. Everything from forms (i.e., mutual nondisclosure agreements and W-9s) to ID, keys and equipment. The key to successful contingent workforce management is making those workers feel like part of the team.
Offboarding: Regardless of the circumstances, making sure exiting employees bring closure to their employment experience is important. Word-of-mouth and “word-of-mouse” travels too fast. Companies do not want former employees holding grudges. Creating a thorough and efficient offboarding process is a win-win for everyone.
Onboarding solutions can be used to collect employee items such as badges, keys and equipment. It can also be used to disable access to company networks. Exit interviews can be initiated from onboarding technology. As well as outplacement services.
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So, as you can see, onboarding technology offers more than a means to process new hires. It can help companies manage talent, keep track of the details when employees have special work events, and provide a method for smooth transition out of the organization.
If you want to learn more about using your onboarding system for offboarding, download SilkRoad’s whitepaper on “The Rhyme and Reason for Offboarding”. It contains everything you need to know when building an offboarding experience. You can also subscribe to the SilkRoad blog to learn more about using human resources technology to benefit the bottom line.0