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Tracking the employee onboarding process and why it’s important

Published May 24, 2022

More than 90% of Fortune 500 companies already have an applicant tracking system in place, to help them track job postings and manage people through the application process. However, not all of these systems provide the depth and quality of information required especially when it comes to the onboarding process. While many businesses stop tracking once an applicant has been hired, the onboarding process can often make the difference in how happy an applicant is in the role, how well they perform and, crucially, how long they stay.

The employee retention crisis

This is more important now than ever, as companies are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit and hold onto the right type of people. A recent survey from Principal Financial Group showed that small business owners report a 20% uptick in turnover since the pandemic. The latest latest CEO survey from Marcum LLP and Hofstra University’s Frank G Zarb School of businesses suggests 86% of CEOs say they are struggling with employee retention. For 43% of them, employee retention has become a major concern.

They are right to be worried. Replacing employees is a time consuming and expensive process. It can disrupt business operations and continuity with new people spending time getting up to speed. Reducing turnover rates, therefore, will have a direct and substantial impact on bottom line performance.

Employee turnover can be caused by a number of factors including the hours worked, pay and benefits. Ultimately, one of the primary factors will be how happy and comfortable employees are in their jobs. Those who feel happy, valued and supported will be much more likely to stick around than those who are not. Much of that gets decided in the onboarding process.

The benefits of tracking applicants through onboarding

The purpose of employee onboarding will be to help new recruits become settled and comfortable within a company and give them all the tools they need to become valuable and productive employees as soon as possible. It will include things such as signing contracts, filling in certain forms and reading any training manuals.

It covers a host of processes which are not managed within the HR department. For example, employees will need the IT department to set up their computers and any relevant accounts. They may need a tutorial on how internal IT systems work, and to go through policies such as cyber security and account access protocols.

They may also have access requirements such as creating new passwords for key accounts, entry passes and even parking validation.

In an era of remote work, this process becomes slightly more complicated as more employees are likely to be working from home for at least part of the time. Remote employees will need all access codes and, in some cases, secure company-issued computers or other devices. 

Some of these steps will be required for compliance purposes, others will help them understand the company, the service it offers and their role. Getting people through this is about ticking all compliance boxes, but also making sure they feel welcomed and supported. Get it right and they will be more engaged with the company and feel more confident about their ability to perform their role. Get it wrong and they can stay isolated, excluded and disengaged from your company and its wider strategic goals.

The problem is that businesses can often lose track of where in the process their new recruits are. Keeping track of all this information can be difficult. To do so, you’ll need an applicant tracking system which continues through the onboarding process. This will bring all the information about each applicant together into one location giving managers complete visibility about where each person is in the system.

Related: Should your business outsource HR?

Tracking performance

With just a few clicks, managers can view reports about all recent employees, see where they are in the onboarding process and any notes which have been made about their performance or their job satisfaction levels.

Managers can also maintain a space within the system where their senior team can collaborate amongst themselves about who will pick up what part of the onboarding process, to ensure nothing gets left out or overlooked.

To get the most value out of a system, you need something which provides a complete overview of the process – not one which cuts out at the hiring stage. Invest in a platform which provides all the important quantitative and qualitative information at your fingertips – not just details about which forms they have filled in. You need a system which maintains a flow of communication between the new employee and the company. This will provide managers with a clear understanding of how new employees are settling in and help them provide the support they need to become as successful as possible.

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