Paperless onboarding software is now pervasive across HR departments. But what features should you be asking for?
What I want to focus on here is something close to my heart – onboarding. I’ve had my own experiences with it and I’m ready to say that whatever software you choose to go with, you should be looking for the below 10 features as a minimum. All of these were come up with in conjunction with our R&D lab, and from hundreds of client meetings with HR and IT decision makers.
I’m the CEO & founder at MyRecruitment+ which offers recruiting and onboarding software with a free tier. That means I have a personal interest in this, but it also makes me a thought leader.
Here are the ten tips (in an infographic, then I go into more detail).
1. Automating the creation of the onboarding pack
The last thing you want is to have to copy and paste the candidate and position information into the contract, letter of offer, forms, and so on.
What you want (and should expect) is for all of this to be done in a few clicks. An entire onboarding pack including a letter of offer/contract, forms, induction videos – everything you need is compiled, personalised and ready to go.
On top of that, all the important information that has so far been collected during the requisition and recruitment process should get transferred into the onboarding pack, and find itself inserted in all the right places across those documents.
Of course there might be additional information that hasn’t been collected yet. In that case you want software that enables you to type it in using a simple user interface, one that puts the information where it needs to go. You shouldn’t have to scroll through a a crazy, 30-page contract.
An HR manager wasting precious time carefully going through a mountain of separate documents should be a thing of the past.
2. Digital signing
Digital signing is pivotal to an onboarding technology – please run away if the technology you’re thinking of buying still doesn’t have full digital signing implemented and embedded organically right throughout.
Signing a contract or letter of offer is the Achilles’ heels of an efficient, quick onboarding process. It’s the biggest bottleneck and the most likely point of dropoff!
Please remember, attaching the letter of offer as a PDF into an email is not digital onboarding… because the candidate still has to print it, sign it, scan it and send it back.
I remember in my past life, I was finishing up a contract at IBM, and so I’d verbally accepted another contract to work at some company in the Sydney CBD area. The recruitment consultant told me that my onboarding pack was on its way in the mail (snail mail that is!).
A week later, and I still hadn’t received the onboarding pack… in the meantime, another consultant came up to Chatswood, met with me over lunch, took me through the contract and within an hour I had my signature on it and the deal was sealed.
The speed of execution and the pleasant experience won in that case, and the first consultant lost approximately a 10K deal. That’s why you want digital signing – because when it comes to top candidates, every second counts.
3. Option for contract variation (cross-boarding)
The onboarding software you decide to go with should have an option for contract variations.
While it’s true that there is lots of overlap between onboarding and cross-boarding, we here at MyRecruitment+ spent days and days working on the subtle differences the two tasks require. It took us some time to get the software to a point where clients were satisfied and happy to start using it for cross-boarding purposes.
A small example: you don’t want the language in the communication messages (SMS, emails etc) or in the UX, to be saying the words “onboarding” or “new employment” etc. It may seem like a minor thing, but it matters to employees.
4. Auto-notify internal stakeholders like procurement, IT etc.
Various stakeholders in your organisation might want to be notified of the fact that a new person is starting and that they might need a workspace, computer, login details for networks, software systems, emails – and so on.
Some of these stakeholders want to know as much as they can ahead of time, while others are fine being notified towards the end of the hiring process. For this reason, the notification system has to be flexible so it can easily be customised to suit your environment and also adjust to the habits of your managers and executives.
5. Option for off-boarding
A lot like what I was talking about in the cross-boarding section, there is a lot of overlap between onboarding and off-boarding features.
But perhaps the main feature you want from an off-boarding perspective is a notification system that promptly lets the right people know the exit details and dates of a leaving employee so they can decommission certain things, terminate access to the correct programs, and return allocated assets such as laptops or phones.
6. Forms are 100% online
Make sure the technology you’re thinking of picking is a proper online platform that has all the standard forms, as well as your own custom forms online. This is as opposed to PDF attachments that candidates have to download, fill out and then upload.
I would be insulting your intelligence if I began to describe the advantages of the online forms vs. the PDF attachments more than I already have… but I just wanted to remind you and make sure it’s on the list.
7. Branded candidate portal
A branded and self-customisable candidate portal (or what we call the “candidate’s workbench”) is essential.
Up until the candidate has signed their contract and completed their pack, there is still a huge risk of drop-off. During this delicate pre-signing time your onboarding technology, your communication messages, and your personal support and communication skills are all under scrutiny for a candidate that is still wondering if they made the right decision.
That’s why you want an impressive modern platform that reflects your band. It’s a reassuring sign for a candidate that will make them feel as if they’re in safe hands – that your organisation knows exactly what it’s doing.
Combine that with your no doubt world-class communication skills, and you’ll find that the candidate will not waver during the sometimes unpleasant exercise of reading legal contracts, filling out forms and watching induction and fire exit strategy videos.
8. Integration: ATO, Payroll, HRMS, HRIS
You should no longer need to send the paper-based tax declaration form in snail mail to the ATO. A modern onboarding platform should allow you to submit this form electronically and with a few clicks only, straight to the ATO – and get a quick confirmation too.
And, much like the creation of the onboarding back for the new employee, your onboarding technology should allow HR/Payroll to transfer all the already entered details from all stages of onboarding to your HRMS, HRIS or Payroll system in a few clicks. Please make sure that this option is available as it can save tons of time and error-prone data entry.
9. Allow video content to cater for induction materials
The onboarding platform should allow for video content, and be able to track the candidate’s footprint and record what the candidate has and hasn’t watched.
10. Countdown timer to urge candidates and reduce drop-offs
This is a small feature but it’s very effective.
It should work just like ticket-purchasing websites like airline tickets and others – the countdown creates an urgency in the psychology of the candidate so they will make time to complete the onboarding pack. It’s amazing how much more time people find when we’re kept to a deadline!