Onboarding during lockdown

Onboarding during lockdown

How technology can reduce staff induction time, maximise efficiencies and speed up ROI while working remotely.

In the run up to Christmas, traditionally the busiest period of the year for the retail and manufacturing sectors, businesses groan under the stress of modern consumerism and the expectation that goods and services are infinite and always instantly available at the swipe of a screen or click of a button. Behind the scenes, the battle to ensure the journey from production, through transportation, storage and delivery is seamless is the catalyst for a human resource struggle that stimulates an seasonal surge in both permanent and temporary staff employment.

As the UK experiences a second lockdown, on-line retailers, e-comm businesses, logistics carriers and delivery partners in particular are all preparing for a second surge in demand that may eclipse the levels seen earlier this year. Starting with Black Friday and the anticipated purchasing volumes through the festive season, human resource requirements will sky rocket.
But, with increased restrictions on face to face meetings, hiring managers at some of the world’s largest – and smallest – brands will struggle to meet this unprecedented demand as their current paper-based recruitment systems are too slow to onboard and induct the levels of staff required.

To speed up this process, many have turned to new automated processes in a bid to improve the hiring experience and provide operational efficiencies in the back office. Technology eliminates the need for manual data entry and centralises and automates all of the steps in the onboarding process. It enables businesses hiring full time employees and temporary workers to deliver the professional and efficient experience needed to support their Christmas bulge.

On average, it takes four and a half weeks before a new staff member becomes an effective self-sufficient part of the team and using traditional paper-based systems can draw this out to almost three months during busy times. But, a desire to utilise the newly created human capacity can also impact the thoroughness with which new starters are inducted as well as the consistency of the onboarding experience as a whole.

On average, a business of 250 employees recruiting XXX % of new staff annually, could save up to 52,000-human resource hours a year, worth an estimated £776,000, just by implementing more cost-effective automation and modern workplace processes. These metrics alone provide a compelling argument to evolve and adapt an often error prone paper-based system into a self-servicing, data rich, Human Resource hub. Furthermore, with modern automation applications readily available within Microsoft 365 and the Power Platform, any business can begin to adopt more efficient methods of Human Resource Management almost immediately.

While the primary objective of a business is fulfilling orders, efficiencies in this process will contribute to the bottom line, but when customer experience ultimately has such a large impact on the profit margins of any organisation, there should be more focus on ensuring the people in these key, customer facing roles are properly inducted and trained.

This first interaction between new staff and a company’s processes, including its culture and its adoption of modern technologies, will have a direct impact on how they perceive and engage with it over the longer term. It may further impact how your clients interact with and view your business as a poorly trained employee can create problems in delivery and damage a brand’s reputation due to their lack of experience and knowledge.

Of course, with high staff turnovers costing employers even more money, using technology as a way of engaging and ultimately retaining staff can also be a great cost saver. Workspace technology is well positioned to facilitate effective onboarding and provide the foundation for a warm digital ‘welcome’, whilst developing a positive corporate culture throughout the new hire’s digital experience. Used well, technology can demonstrate how a brand values its workers and its customers and can showcase a culture that is about empowerment and fostering success. This approach also makes it possible to better engage employees by delivering the apps, permissions, information and details about corporate benefits from hour 1. In this way, effective on-boarding and induction makes new employees feel comfortable, happens far more quickly and can be done very well remotely.
Retail is just one industry under pressure to ensure it has sufficient human resource, with the right skills in the right roles to deal with the challenges they will face this Christmas. Many brands find themselves in an uncomfortable position as margins are squeezed between weakening demand and rising costs. Accelerating onboarding and induction reduces human costs and improves productivity, with technology the key catalyst for this change. Inadequate technology however can be a barrier improving your onboarding processes.

With many templates and pre-loaded app designs for asset management, induction process and training matrices, already available within the Microsoft 365 suite, business can effectively begin their journey to automating internal policies and procedures immediately, and reduce the time it takes for new staff to become effective members of the team.

–To learn more about the ways First Digital can help you deliver a profitable and efficient onboarding process, speak to one our experts today.

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