How automation can support new employee onboarding

Every organization has to deal with it. An aspiring colleague has agreed to join your company and you can start preparing. Of course, you want to ensure that that first all-important impression remains positive when you join the company. A tool for this is the digital work environment. Wouldn’t it be great if you could use the digital work environment to guide the pre- and onboard process of employees?

In this article I will discuss how the digital work environment can support the pre- and onboarding of new employees. I discuss the steps involved and how you can automate them through the use of marketing automation. I then point out how we can be helped even more in the near future by the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI). Finally, I will explain why it is important not to focus on full automation.

What do we mean by automation of pre- and onboarding?

Imagine, the job interview has just been completed and has resulted in a new suitable colleague. This is the moment that the pre-boarding phase starts, the phase between signing the contract and the first working day.

At this point, many processes need to be initiated. Think of arranging e-mail accounts, ordering materials and informing colleagues. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could automate some of these processes? A great step that contributes to the digital transformation of organizations.

But you can also automate processes after the first working day (the onboarding phase) to guide the new employee in starting his or her working day. You can think of showing introductory videos or sending reminders for documents that must be submitted. Of course you also want to receive feedback and evaluate how the working day went.

In a nutshell, it would be ideal to centrally monitor the onboard status and identify corresponding actions i.e. flows turn of. This is where the digital work environment can offer a solution.

How can the digital work environment support onboarding?

A digital work environment or social intranet is an ideal place for employees to find information and connect with each other. You could say that it is the central place, a hub to the necessary information.

There are many software packages available that you can use as a digital work environment, giving organizations the tools to structure the gigantic amount of information available. A number of these types of software packages fall into the category Digital eXperience Platforms (DXP), such as Kentico Xperience, Optimizely of Sitecore. They offer a mix of functionalities for content management, analytics, personalization and marketing automation, among other things.

I myself have a lot of experience with the DXP Kentico Xperience. This DXP closely follows its users and can offer information at specific moments that contributes to pre- and onboarding. Think of marketing workflows in which the system sends an email to the new employee at fixed points in time, for example x days before the first working day, containing useful information in preparation for the first working day. But it can also show personalized information if the new employee logs into the digital work environment on the first working day. This can be a welcome message, but it can also contain an action such as going through an e-learning training.

An advantage of using such a DXP as an engine for the digital work environment is that standard modules are available that you can use to send automated e-mails. You can also easily show a form asking for specific information, for example to enrich the profile.

A powerful toolbox for HR professionals

Step into the feet of a marketer as an HR professional for a day. And think of the infinite possibilities that you get if you have a mature marketing platform within the digital work environment! With just a few clicks you can set up a complete onboarding flow and make the life of the new employees a lot more attractive. By offering evaluations at various times, you can continuously learn from the experiences and make improvements.

It also immediately becomes clear which onboarding step a (new) employee is in. This helps to identify problems early. This way you can be immediately informed if someone lingers too long in a certain step or if the evaluation shows that the score is unsatisfactory on a certain subject. Here too you can use the DXP for notification emails to HR.

Ready for the future?

An interesting trend that is increasingly recurring within DXPs is the use of artificial intelligence to automate things. Think of automatic tagging after uploading an image. Handy when an employee uploads his profile picture in which his age or gender is automatically determined.

Another interesting functionality in the field of AI is the automatic analysis of texts. Sentiment can be determined here, i.e. whether a text is positive or negative. You can use this, for example, to assess evaluations and link actions directly to them.

Don’t lose sight of the personal touch!

A DXP helps marketers get a 360-degree cross-section of the platform’s visitors. This mainly revolves around conversion to ultimately sell the product. With this tool, an HR professional can achieve the same thing, but the goal is different. It is advisable to continue to use the tool as a support, so that you no longer have to perform some actions manually. This reduces the chance that they will be forgotten.

For the new employee, personal contact is an important aspect that should not be at the expense of automation. Perhaps the new employee has opted for the personal approach and pleasant contact with the company. It is therefore recommended that the face-to-face moments, including introduction and introduction to the team, continue to take place. It is of course nice to have support from automation. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if colleagues and teams were automatically invited for a personal introduction when new employees start working?

Focus on smoothing out internal processes

Before you can start automating pre- and onboarding processes, it is recommended that the internal processes are in order. Ensure that the implementation of the onboarding program contributes enough to bind and support new employees, which leads to a lower turnover.

Digitization per se shouldn’t be the goal! Apply automation of processes where it is necessary and where it saves time for the HR professionals. Privacy also plays an important role in automation. Check whether the personal data may be used for automation. Obtain employee approval where necessary and then process it appropriately.

To work?

Hopefully, after reading this article, you have gained inspiration to get started with automating your pre- and onboarding processes. You may consider applying this automation within your digital work environment or have already successfully applied it several times. I would love to hear your experiences with automation of pre- and onboarding in the comments of this article. Feel free to contact me if you want to know more about this subject.


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