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The best practices for onboarding employees in 2023

December 13th, 2022 | 3 min. read

By Kacie Salsbury

You’ve advertised your job opening. You’ve been bombarded with responses. You’ve interviewed a number of candidates. And you’ve – finally! – come to the point where it’s time to begin onboarding your new employee! But wait. Is that an ‘O’ in their email address, or a zero? And have they already filled out their W4? If so, where did it go? Did they pick up a Benefits Packet so they can be prepared to make their elections in the next 30 days? Shouldn’t there be a simpler way to get all these things accomplished? Thankfully, there is! Let’s talk about electronic onboarding. 

Onboarding in the tech age 

Technology’s explosive growth over the past decade has completely transformed the landscape of everyday life. Besides the fact that nearly 97% of Americans own a cell phone, we find ourselves surrounded by technology everywhere – at the grocery store, the doctor’s office, the restaurant, the carwash... With the plethora of devices we have become accustomed to, there really is no longer a demographic that doesn’t readily utilize technology daily. Emily Vogels from the Pew Research Center states in her September 2019 article, “Millennials have often led older Americans in their adoption and use of technology…But there has been significant growth in tech adoption since 2012 among older generations – particularly Gen Xers and Baby Boomers.”  

So, what does this mean for onboarding at your company? If your new employee is met with a stack of endless papers to fill out on his or her first day on the job, you may have put an early stain on their overall satisfaction, especially among millennials.

What if, instead, the first impression your company made to your incoming talent was simple, mobile, and completely digital? What if they were immediately presented with establishing their own personal portal to their payroll information, complete with the ability to upload their own profile picture? What if they were welcomed by a message that set the stage for your company’s culture? And best of all, what if they were able to dive straight into learning the activities and responsibilities of their new job on Day 1 because all of the “pesky” onboarding paperwork was already completed?  Through electronic onboarding, your company is able to demonstrate that you are part of the current culture of technology that has become the norm.  

How to personalize electronic onboarding 

Electronic onboarding not only delivers an impressive first impression to your new employees, but because it is highly customizable, it’s a great way to introduce them to your company’s culture as well. It's also smart to personalize your electronic onboarding process so that it doesn't just feel one-size-fits-all. Instead, your new hire will feel like they're a valued member of the time, right from the start. Here are just a few ideas on how to effectively welcome a new hire through an updated electronic onboarding process: 

  • Open your onboarding process with a welcome message that highlights company values and the work environment they have joined, whether highly professional or relaxed and casual.  
  • Attach a copy of your employee handbook to familiarize them with company policies from the start.  
  • Include brochures or links to the benefit options you offer.  
  • Make their first day special with a personalized gift by requesting things like their favorite treat, lunch spot, or T-shirt size.  
  • Want to go above and beyond? You can design unique onboarding experiences (“templates”) based on the position the employee has been hired onto so you can make sure you are requesting needed certifications or presenting specific Consent forms specific to them.   

Electronic onboarding means no more tracking down paperwork

Each of these personalized options is a huge advantage of electronic onboarding. But let’s be honest – the most rewarding benefit of utilizing electronic onboarding is the peace of mind that comes from not having to worry about lost, missing, late, or illegible paperwork anymore! No more need to decipher 3’s from 8’s, or t’s from f’s. Easily meet the “three-days-following-hire-date” requirement for i-9 completion. Never have a W4 submitted with only a name and address listed. Ensure that all necessary state tax withholding forms are included without knowing the employee’s address ahead of time. And best of all, no more chasing them down for that “one last” form that always seems to be forgotten. All essential new hire information is managed conveniently in one spot, submitted together fully completed, and easily uploaded into your HCM software with a couple of simple clicks. 

Data security and electronic onboarding

Now, I’ll bet you have one nagging question remaining: What about data security? Because the employee can complete their new hire paperwork in the privacy of their own home, there’s no risk of having sensitive data openly displayed to passers-by. The same is true once the information has been submitted; all sensitive data is appropriately masked throughout the completion process. Additionally, you are in control of who within your company can have access to new employee information through customizable workflow processes. At Whirks, we use iSolved with our clients, a company that is dedicated to maintaining the highest standards of cyber security, regularly releasing Network Security Updates and Reviews. 

Make a better first impression

As you know, first impressions play an important role in the hiring process. While employees must “put their best foot forward,” they are expecting the same in return. The fast pace of today’s technology and its pervasive presence around us means doing things “the old-fashioned way” can cost you. With all the ease of relaying and receiving necessary information as you bring on new talent, electronic onboarding truly is the way that Whirks!  

Looking for more ways to get the best out of your technology? Administering PTO and time off policies are another area that we often see businesses lose time with. Check out our podcast episode on Youtube to learn about the best ways to automate your processes and save yourself the headache.