Tackling the onboarding problem of delayed start dates

How long does it take your organisation to issue a successful job applicant with a starting date?

Typically, job offers will include an agreed start date but this isn’t always the case, particularly with small-to-medium size companies.

It’s common for candidates to be informed of their success via a call or email before formal paperwork is posted. For employers, this creates a risky phase of the hiring process as candidates enter an employment ‘limbo’.

Start dates can also become a bargaining chip used during contract negotiations, extending further the time it takes to complete onboarding. And the longer this takes, the higher the chances become of candidates dropping out.

What is onboarding?

This is what makes onboarding such a crucial part of the hiring cycle to get right. Employee onboarding covers all of the HR tasks required to turn a successful job applicant into a productive new hire.

The priority during onboarding is to get contracts signed but it also includes everything from reference checks and compliance policies to welcome packs and first-day admin preparations.

Large organisations will typically have a well-honed HR process to handle this onboarding period but for small-to-medium sized organisations, this is usually handled with a less structured approach.

A recent survey by Webonboarding found that more than two-thirds (68 percent) of UK businesses currently manage onboarding using traditional communication methods – posted documentation, calls and emails.

Costs of ineffeciency

It’s an approach that can take weeks before a successful applicant receives confirmation of when they start. When documents are having to be posted, any kind of negotiation will extend the duration, as revised paperwork is sent out.

This slow and inefficient way of handling onboarding can prove costly in terms of time, resources and productivity. Record levels of employment in the UK means that candidates will often have more than one job offer.

So the longer onboarding takes, the higher dropout rates become. Despite making a verbal commitment, candidates will readily accept alternative offers or simply lose confidence in the employer and look elsewhere.

But while onboarding used to be something that only large companies had the HR tools and resources to handle effectively, it’s now something technology is making accessible to all types of hiring organisations.

Benefits of a paperless approach

Webonboarding is a cloud-based solution which removes the need for any physical documentation with everything managed via an online portal. Digital signing means that contracts can be dealt with virtually with hiring teams able to track and monitor every stage of the onboarding process.

Removing paper-based admin tasks significantly speeds up the process – allowing onboarding times to be cut from weeks to days, minimising the stress and uncertainty that’s faced by new hires.

Improved communications help HR teams to improve the onboarding ‘journey’ – the experience as a new hire enters the organisation. Instead of being left in the dark, they are kept fully informed throughout the process.

Improving the experience

By creating an engaging onboarding experience and shortening the time it takes to complete, it helps to minimise frustrations, uncertainties and the chances of them opting out of the process.

A recent study by the London Business School looked at the impact of a more ‘engaging’ onboarding process on dropout rates. The outcome was a 33 percent increase in staff retention when the onboarding experience was improved.

Reducing dropouts delivers major savings in terms of HR time and resources, as well as minimising the productivity hit caused by roles being left unfilled for long periods of time.

If your organisation is looking to improve the way it handles new hires, you can find out more about the Webonboarding solution here.

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