The State of Employee Onboarding & Engagement in the New Digital Age

The State of Employee Onboarding & Engagement in the New Digital Age

As we’ve navigated the pandemic for over a year, we’ve learned a vast amount as HR professionals and as humans. Along with the knowledge gained, we’ve made a few mistakes along the way. But how do you react to an event that affects everyone, yet you’ve never experienced before? You make mistakes, learn from them and strategically move ahead. We anticipate we will learn a great deal more before the end of 2021!

Defining the digital experience

As unsettling as last year started out – the likes of which we haven’t experienced since the 1918 flu pandemic – we’ve taken the mistakes and lessons we’ve learned and acclimated to the best of our abilities. Yet we’re still vetting the definition of “new” onboarding. For example, how do we create engaging, memorable experiences that employees deserve?

The reality is employees are working under new circumstances and protocols because of COVID, doing their best. But being on video calls all day without the luxury of in-person interactions is taking its toll. Employers have provided the devices, connectivity, and services employees need to complete their work but not the employee experience they need to thrive.

The sudden transformation resulting from COVID-19 is straining operations and IT like never before. In fact, our own clients have told us stories of how they’re scrambling but still missing the mark. There’s an imperative need for a digital playbook to help employers understand how to execute onboarding and ongoing experiences, post-pandemic. Furthermore, organizations need to align the necessary tech stack to scale.

Today’s reality is a digital employee experience

Once upon a time, workers had a physical environment. We had technology that accumulated over the years, with a cultural environment supported by our physical environment. At the time, it was an efficient operating model.

When the pandemic hit in early 2020, that standard operating model was completely turned on its ear, and we were unprepared. Consequently, the cultural component is now struggling because the technology can’t accommodate the lack of the physical environment.

Echoed in our #BORNdigital webinar, industry thought leader Dion Hinchcliffe reinforced the technological strain the pandemic created around the globe and how we’re turning things around with a more digital approach. Hinchcliffe maintains “…technology is a force multiplier. It creates value and accelerates things. We’ve got to figure out how to better situate technology in the workplace.” He contends it will allow companies to create a seamless employee experience that supportively navigates workers through their employee journeys.

Click Boarding holds a parallel stance because we know the potential is tangible. There are adequate tools, processes, and performance metrics to capitalize on the digital age. But we must develop a plan strategically tied to the outcome of the business and determine how to connect the tools and processes in support of the people, filling the gap more cohesively.

In retrospect, digitizing the onboarding process is something HR evangelist Jess Von Bank says we should have done long ago. “Onboarding is one of those talent processes, to be honest, that we should have been doing better and differently all along. Now, this whole year – given the pandemic – we’ve been forced to shift. We’ve had to redesign the process out of necessity but should have always been doing digital onboarding.”

New changes, new challenges

Because the pandemic forced many to function in a more digital capacity, we’ve adopted a remote approach to onboarding. But how do you support the onboarding of both in-office and remote employees? The answer must include the distinctive remote needs across departments and functions. It’s why a digital, automated employee onboarding platform must be configurable to an organization’s unique requirements.

If your company is migrating to a digital onboarding platform, Click’s employee journey experts recommend these four core requirements:

1. Cloud-based – Remote onboarding platforms are cloud-based, secure, and centrally managed. 

2. Customizable, engaging & informative – An effective platform must support change, like the rapid changes during the pandemic. 

3. Mobile-first – New and existing employees are hungry for news and updates. With a mobile-first onboarding platform, connect instantly with employees on their phones.

4. Compliant – An automated onboarding platform must be compliant with state, local, federal, GDPR, and SOC 2 Type 2 regulations with an extensive form library and customization capabilities.

How is Click Boarding different from other onboarding solutions?
Onboarding isn’t a commodity or transaction. It’s a business process with tangible revenue impact that:

  • Shortens the ramp to productivity
  • Drives employee engagement
  • Spurs employee advocacy and loyalty 
  • Improves retention

But onboarding is only the beginning! The cumulative impact of the pandemic created a new age of digital transformation in a single year. It’s both profoundly extraordinary and uncommonly confounding. It’s why getting new hires up to speed efficiently and cost-effectively – and ensuring their productive longevity – is the critical driver for the growth and success of your company, now more than ever. 

Onboarding in 2021 and beyond now demands engaging, cohesive experiences throughout the entire employee journey; employees won’t settle for anything less than seamless and simplicity. No one has time to use 10 different tools! That’s why HR’s tech stack must be entirely integrated and automated with tools and resources to do it all: employee engagement, cadenced assessments, recognition, analytics - everything.

Who delivers all of this? And more?

Click Boarding does preboard, onboarding, HR and compliance activities, internal mobility through the company, offboarding, and alumni. We integrate seamlessly with applicant tracking systems, screening, HRIS, payroll, and learning management systems (LMS). Early and continual engagement with your new hires ultimately leads to faster productivity, higher performance, and improved retention. It all begins with onboarding well before the employee’s first day.  

Our best-of-breed solution improves onboarding in its broadest sense, activating the full potential and power of talent for your business. We answer the call to engage talent wholly and efficiently as they come into your organization, bridging the gap between onboarding and ongoing employee engagement opportunities. Because in today’s environment, you need a seamless, mobile-first solution that delivers an experience your employees deserve and one they have now come to expect.