When a technological advancement is written about, it is either done with an intent to evoke fear or rake reverence. It is rare to come across a restrained account that underscores a historically proven impact. And this holds true in the context of the HR experience at the beginning of a new decade, to be impacted by technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), as well as the emergence of the tech-inspired, Gen Z workforce. The challenge however is that while it is natural to get muddled amidst the chaos that precedes change, there is also a need to want in on the latest trends. For the HR function however, it is key to start from the basics, and bring in hiring and onboarding into mainstream boardroom discussions.
Getting the basics right
The initial experiences of a prospective employee with your organisation can leave a lasting impression as you send vital cues that can influence their enthusiasm about joining or not joining your organisation –the wait time at your office, the number of forms filled, the number of occasions they were called back to complete various processes, and who they interacted with. And when the tech-informed, hypervisual, digital natives of the future, plagued with short attention spans are factored in, it does not take long to realise that hiring and onboarding is awaiting a marvellous makeover.
To add to the recruiters’ woes, the Conference Board’s 2016 survey of global CEOs identified that attracting crème-da-la-crème that comprises only about 5% of the global workforce, but delivers 95% of the results, will remain as the main challenge in the coming days. An increase in the number of insider frauds across industries further highlights what we already know – the current methods of hiring are inefficient, prone to errors, and will not get us very far in our efforts at building a safe workplace and a productive workforce. A comparison of the employee background verification and onboarding technologies at disposal, and their actual adoption in organisations- large or small reveals a deep chasm that is being deepened with fallacies such as :-
- Laborious and manual document collection and data gathering
- Poor archiving of data
- Redundant form filling
- One fit all verification procedures for employees at all levels
While lack of resources to manage the verification and onboarding function may be a deterrent for small organisations, large organisations suffer owing to extensive deadlines and the need to process large volumes of applications and data in a limited time frame.
HR Technology in 2020
There is a lot that data solutions, enabled by technologies like AI, ML, and deep search can do for hiring and onboarding functions with respect to technology adoption. End to end automation of verification and digital on boarding can ensure that all key actions are well-defined, assigned, and completed in time for each new hire – providing clarity and consistency across the organisation. The awareness about and access to specific platforms, powered by the latest technologies and leading databases is important to that end. For the tech-savvy, these platforms allow for easy sign up across the web and mobile.
The ability to create customised workflows can aid creation of customised packages. Workflow automation enables activity triggered tasks such as form filling, document submission, sending reminders to candidates, automatic check initiation for verification, and complete visibility over the audit trail of cases through a single dashboard, bringing disparate departments on the same page. Insights on attrition, employee behaviour, and lost talent can serve two ends - simplify and amplify the user experience and contribute to a marked performance efficiency of teams involved in hiring and onboarding processes.
These tech platforms also improve the quality of employees hired, and aid the creation of a safe work environment. Their ability to access leading databases allows employers to authenticate identity, education, past employment history, address, and a lot more in just a few clicks, significantly reducing the time taken to perform this activity. The time thus saved can be the difference that motivates a good candidate to pick you over a competitor with a long onboarding and verification cycle. Real-time identity verification and image matching benefit companies, especially those in the sharing economy or ones that systematically manage gig and part-time workers. The Denver body of the Boy Scouts of America, the largest scouting organisation in the USA, for employing huge numbers of seasonal workers switched to automated onboarding, eliminating the need for workers to be physically present to furnish paperwork. And as a result, they saved 48+ hours in admin efforts in comparison to a paper-driven, manual process that took weeks.
Going a step further
A digital onboarding process makes it easier to keep the hiring manager involved through timely notifications about the actions needed on their part. For the candidate, this creates a seamless pre boarding and on boarding experience wherein they feel connected from the start. Remember, how you hire and onboard can be the best endorsement to a candidate about your company. It is the best opportunity to indicate to them that you care about them, their time, and experience.
Additionally, a digital onboarding process is crucial for the standardisation of hiring processes. A uniform candidate experience is relevant for large organisations, or those eyeing the global markets. In today’s time, some of the most successful organisations are those that take data gathered from their digital onboarding processes to create individualised off boarding strategies focused around wooing back ex-employees and attracting the talent they lost to competitors.
According to the Aberdeen Group, 54% organisations with a formal onboarding process report more productive new hires, and 50% experience greater retention of new workers. These numbers are insightful for organisations sitting on the fence about adopting digital onboarding and making it a part of their hiring process in 2020.
As hiring and retention strategies for a new workforce are put together, it will be valuable to evaluate existing technologies for maximising the impact of HR. The Gen Z is expected to push employers to not just be tech oriented, but to imbibe a tech DNA, which makes it urgent to identify need gaps in hiring and onboarding processes at an organisational level and fill them with care. While a greater spin might take time and consistent effort, it might look overwhelming from where you stand right now, since each day spent contemplating is bound to put you behind the competition. The key is to get started!
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