Want to get — and keep — that great hire? Think technology first

You interview, you vet, you hire — it’s the typical HR loop surrounding new employees and one you’ve likely mastered. But more and more, organizations are revisiting the specific on-boarding process as well, and with good cause.

Engaging and integrating a team member doesn’t start with the interview and end with the offer. Instead, today’s on-boarding is a comprehensive and wide-reaching experience that can be an early predictor of satisfaction and success on both sides. Leverage technology, self-service, and personalized experiences to create a seamless, high-value journey, and your chances of long-term engagement increases. In Work In Progress, a recent study by Adobe, we found that in the U.S., those who said their company’s technology is “ahead of the curve” love their work about twice as much and feel about twice as creative, motivated and valued compared to those at “behind the times” companies. Moreover, 85% of U.S. office workers believe technology makes them more productive.

Miss the mark and the cycle starts all over again — half of all senior-level outside hires are out within 18 months of starting a new position. Half of all hourly workers leave within the first 120 days. And the financial impact tied to this level of turnover is staggering: according to Harvard Business Review,“The organization costs of employee turnover are estimated to range between 100 percent and 300 percent of the replaced employee’s salary.”

Getting the offer outand back inwhen minutes matter

Integrating effective HR technology in the on-boarding process starts from the minute an offer is extended. With top candidates often juggling multiple opportunities, there’s an added pressure to confirm new hires fast — ideally within the first 24 hours. Top candidates will most likely receive multiple offers, so it becomes even more important to provide candidates with an excellent first impression throughout the recruiting process and get an offer in their hands as quickly as possible.

Solutions like Adobe Sign have helped boost this specific area, enabling partners to get their offers in front of prime candidates even faster — in other words, ahead of the competition. And once those offers hit a candidate’s inbox, acceptance times decrease — nearly three and five Sign forms are returned within 24 hours, locking in tens of thousands of top-tier candidates and experts.

Being intuitive, attentive, and promoting self-sufficiency

Once an offer is confirmed, the integrated on-boarding experience should continue through those vital first days — even throughout the first year. While it would be easy to take the human interaction out of the equation — massive online handbooks, interactive compliance training, recorded check-ins — it’s essential to strike the right balance between human engagement, intuitive digital on-boarding tools and a focus on delivering self-service through every step of the process.

So what does this all look like? Think interactive and user-friendly training and on-boarding experiences that support and enhance the new hire journey, for example — quick, hands-on online tutorials, let’s say, that cover some of the basic, “how do I…?” moments that could keep a recent employee from getting to full productivity. These quick hits of information can make employees feel more effective and more engaged, since they’re able to troubleshoot independently and, as a result, lend more value from early on.

Self-sufficiency is also vital to the on-boarding experience. Whereas self-service has almost always been a part of the on-boarding process — filling out form after form on your own, pouring through online compliance information, scouring intranet sites for a specific info sheet — self-sufficiency, really, hasn’t. The difference? Self-service means getting it done — the staffer is finding her own benefits form, scanning and emailing her insurance information or printing her own employee handbook versus walking through it with a living, breathing person. Self-sufficiency is self-service, but with real, meaningful and clear-cut value to the new hire. Yes, she’s tackling some of the ins and outs of on-boarding herself, but she’s got incredibly intuitive digital tools paired with strong support and a motivating factor or two that makes this piece of the puzzle feel less chore and more benefit-rich. Maybe it saves her time. Maybe she can tackle some of it before she starts. Maybe it means checking some things off of her to-do list without waiting for a call or email response. Or maybe it gets her into the mix even faster and more effectively — and isn’t that any HR leader’s goal, too?

Understanding your employees

But that’s not the end of on-boarding. While the first few hours, days, and weeks are important, the initial year a new employee is in your service is essential to their long-term success — and yours. Integrating technology with an emphasis on self-sufficiency helps your department best engage staffers now and down the road. By layering in information and capturing key data points, companies can better serve the needs of their newest hires, leveraging known information and touch points to optimize decision-making and personalize experiences, especially in the first 12 months. What’s more, HR teams can conduct more effective check-ins and early assessments that are targeted to a new hire’s own needs, wants and key considerations, not only increasing the value of these engagements but making employees feel heard and prioritized, a winning combination from an affinity perspective.

Technology has become an increasingly vital piece in the on-boarding process — and, likewise, on-boarding has become an increasingly vital piece in an employee’s success. By integrating intuitive, effective, and self-sufficient systems that put the new hire and his/her unique experiences front-and-center, organizations can streamline the most essential pieces of this complex puzzle. The end result? More positive, productive, and high-value employees from day one, whose early interactions with your company and your department pave the way for years or even decades of incredible work together.

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