Properly onboarding your organization’s employees — the progressive sequence of steps designed to get them comfortable and productive in their new role — has never been more important than it is right now. With record numbers of workers voluntarily leaving their jobs and labor shortages across industries, it’s critical to get this process right … the first time around.
When it comes to your new hires, speed to productivity is imperative for both you (ROI) and your new employee (satisfaction). The Great Resignation has made onboarding and it provisioning all the more integral as a "first impression" of your organization. Keep this reality in mind too: the experience you’re able to provide your new hires — will likely be shared on Glassdoor or related review sites.
The stark truth is that yesterday’s tools and processes simply don’t fit today’s hybrid or remote work environments with complex technologies and regulatory compliance frameworks. As a result, a new approach is required to integrate the myriad end points of an employer’s work environment reliably, consistently, and simply.
How does onboarding work today? Several common themes we’re hearing in our discussions with human resources (HR) leaders include the following:
- Most new employees are being onboarded remotely, adding to the existing challenges and complexity of integrating them into the organization.
- Technology stacks are becoming more complicated and sophisticated, with companies often having hundreds of apps and systems in use at any given time.
- IT onboarding and employee provisioning can be particularly challenging, given the additional hurdles created by the pandemic.
The Differences Between Onboarding and Provisioning
Done well, onboarding and provisioning will undoubtedly help new employees more quickly assimilate into your workplace and become productive, contributing members of the organization. It provides the time, training, and resources new hires need to successfully settle into their roles, clearly understand their objectives, and form relationships with co-workers. A solid onboarding process makes employees feel welcomed, engaged, and open to recommending your company to other job seekers.
On the other hand, a poorly managed and executed onboarding process reflects badly on your organization. New hires may regret their decision and consequently leave prematurely.
HR professionals are, by nature, busy people with a great deal of responsibility on their plates. Although onboarding is a key part of their job, it’s one they don’t want to have to do more frequently than necessary due to high employee turnover.
Furthermore, each time a business replaces a salaried professional, it can cost organizations an average of six to nine months’ of their salary. If you’re hiring 200 or more employees per year and 10% leave because of a bad onboarding experience or their expectations weren’t met, you’ll be faced with a potentially huge expense.
Top HR Concerns with the Onboarding and Provisioning Process
Over the past year, the Kinetic Data team has had extensive discussions with HR leaders at mid-sized and large enterprises across the country. Here are the top seven the most urgent (and daunting) concerns we’re hearing about the onboarding and provisioning process:
- Employee retention: HR leaders want to increase first-year retention and improve the new employee experience. They love seeing and hearing feedback like, “This company has its act together. The whole onboarding experience was so much different and better than at my last job.”
- Employee engagement: Helping new employees understand the company and their role, where they fit in, and feeling like a contributing member of the team are all important to support the goals of higher productivity and lower turnover.
- IT provisioning: HR leaders understand how fundamental it is for workplace technology to be set up properly for new hires, but unfortunately, HR doesn’t have direct control of IT provisioning. Too often, equipment isn't set up right. Passwords don't work. Network IDs aren't ready. As one senior HR leader told us, “It's not acceptable. But it's tolerated. It's just the way it is. It's out of my control.”
- Time to productivity: With so many enterprises running lean, there’s increased pressure to decrease onboarding time dramatically, from months to weeks. HR leaders tell us they’re struggling with how to simultaneously compress timeframes and “not screw up the IT pieces.”
- Compliance: This covers a range of onboarding tasks from drug tests and background checks, to assigning proper access levels to corporate systems and data, to communicating company policies and any compliance or regulatory impact that pertains to specific roles.
- Digital transformation: Before your new employee even starts the job, HR is saddled with “taking care of the paperwork.” This can entail a host of tasks when onboarding a new hire: payroll and tax forms, benefits selection, signing the employment agreement, etc. All too often, at least some of these tasks still involve actual paper…almost unbelievable but true. Digitizing these processes improves efficiency and accuracy as well as the experience for both the new employee and your HR department.
- Onboarding complexity: The onboarding process often involves too many touchpoints and manual tasks, with too little visibility into where things are at. Digitization can help, but the process is still too complex if everyone involved has to use multiple tools, applications, and portals to efficiently accomplish tasks.
What is Provisioning in Onboarding?
The terms “onboarding” and “provisioning” have oftentimes been confusing or even used interchangeably. But the reality is that they are quite different things.
Onboarding is an HR function. It begins before the new employee’s first day on the job and includes tasks like getting the offer letter signed and completing the W-4, drug tests, and payroll setup. The onboarding process continues through education about company policies, safety, and culture, and it progresses to focusing on the employee experience and following up with surveys and NPS measurements.
Employee provisioning, on the other hand, is about providing employees with all of the tools necessary to do their jobs, from a desk and chair (if they’re actually in the office) to a laptop and the proper level of access to all of the systems and apps they’ll be using. It involves:
- managing tasks within and across systems for access enablement
- ticket resolution
- the coordination of human tasks involved
It’s one component, albeit an incredibly essential component, within the overall onboarding process. As with onboarding, when provisioning is done well, everyone benefits: HR, IT, the hiring manager, and the employee. But the big problem is what HR leaders often refer to as “the elephant in the room” — everyone involved is responsible for certain tasks, but no one has the holistic responsibility of the entire employee provisioning process.
Who owns this entirely crucial cross-departmental collaboration? It’s often assigned to HR, but HR has no direct control of technology provisioning or even the necessary expertise for proper execution and management. IT owns provisioning yet is not privvy to all the requirements in terms of the correct apps and access levels for each and every role inside the organization. The hiring manager should have this information but unfortunately has no expertise in either HR tasks or the technical aspects of employee provisioning.
Everyone involved with the provisioning process is inhibited by the lack of a centralized location or dedicated employee portal where hiring managers can submit requests to IT and HR can integrate with back-end systems for fulfillment, with complete visibility into the status of every request and task. The bottom line? Onboarding and provisioning success are about a whole lot more than an awesome swag bag.
The HR Onboarding To-Do List
The internet is teeming with copious provisioning guides and checklists detailing the many tasks to be completed as part of the employee onboarding and provisioning process. From completing all new-hire forms (e.g., tax withholding, direct deposit, confidentiality agreement, emergency contacts, etc.) to arranging team building activities and one-on-one meetings with the employee, to providing the employee with their access badge and a new-hire welcome kit, it’s a mammoth, time-consuming job.
As one HR leader told us, their company has, “on average, 26 steps that HR goes through to get a new hire ready on Monday morning. This means that on Sunday night, that HR professional is stressed out and scrambling to complete a long list of tasks to get this new hire ready to rock and roll.”
And if we’re being completely honest, the HR world really doesn’t need anymore checklists.
What HR leaders do need right now is a straightforward, reliable way to provide new employees with the right equipment, the right access, and all of the right pieces required to make that employee active and productive on day one.
The Kinetic Platform Provisioning Solution
The Kinetic Platform can simplify and automate the required tasks to reliably enable workers to do their jobs. In addition, it provides key insights about the process to enable continuous improvement and accelerate new hire speed to productivity.
HR professionals don’t have the bandwidth to manage all the details of provisioning and the overall onboarding process. The Kinetic Platform is not a one-stop-shop for all things onboarding (there are HR software apps that do that).
Instead, what our provisioning platform does exceptionally well is engineer the provisioning of systems access and provide visibility into the status and progress of provisioning tasks. It may not help get all of the HR paperwork done, but it efficiently manages the actual nuts and bolts of the process to ensure your new employees are ready and fully equipped to work.
Our provisioning platform is a powerful orchestration engine that manages provisioning tasks to help make new employees productive more quickly. It accomplishes this by centralizing the needed inputs by hiring managers, coordinating tasks across departments, and providing visibility throughout the process.
The Kinetic Platform:
- Is system agnostic; it doesn’t replace the systems you already have installed, it greatly enhances their value.
- Provides timely onboarding process data to help identify and promptly deal with bottlenecks or obstacles.
- Closes gaps in the provisioning process.
- Routes tasks to the right place.
- Tracks who gets access to which system.
- Manages and reduces manual tasks.
- Solves the timing and sequencing issues of provisioning.
- Ensures people have the right tools when they need it to get the job done.
- Integrates flexibly to existing systems.
- Reduces the organizational chaos of employee provisioning.
One common “to do” item across checklists is to create and send a candidate experience survey within 30 days of the start date so you can measure program performance. It’s an industry best practice, and the Kinetic Platform can automate this.
The Value of Kinetic Data
One final thing a senior HR executive shared was that "there ought to be a machine that doesn't require the hiring manager to figure all of this out themselves. There will be human judgment required to make the solution viable. It's not tech only.”
To help optimize the value of the human judgment on your team while automating and accelerating manual tasks, the Kinetic Platform:
- Solves the “elephant in the room” problem by helping HR complete the new hire set up tasks to the satisfaction of the hiring manager.
- Orchestrates, coordinates, and consolidates provisioning activities.
- Delivers highly flexible workflow automation built for small teams, with the agility to solve complex, perplexing problems inside their organizations.
- Is cost-effective due to its no-name user license guarantee.
- Completely eliminates tedious HR paperwork.
- Creates visibility into the onboarding processes.
- Provides hiring managers, HR, and employees with a single, centralized portal for submitting and tracking the status of requests.
- Eliminates the need for multiple forms and interfaces by integrating across back-end systems.
- Increases new hire speed to productivity.
- Manages provisioning processes from request through fulfillment.
In this fast-moving digital transformation, HR leaders are carrying a terribly heavy load, especially in today’s employee-driven, hybrid work environment. Employee onboarding is a vital but exhausting process in which HR leaders too often have responsibility without control. Automating manual tasks and provisioning saves time and reduces frustration, while providing better outcomes for new employees.
Want to learn more? Find out how Kinetic Data gets new hires more productive and ready to rock and roll faster.