Onboarding, whether it’s for employees, students, vendors, or clients, serves as a fundamental process for organisations. Onboarding is often your customer’s first impression of the operational side of your organisation.
While each type of onboarding may emphasise on different aspects, there exists a shared essence at its core. This essence revolves around integrating newcomers into an existing framework, providing them with the necessary resources, and ensuring a smooth transition. Although themes may vary, the universal objectives include reducing friction, speeding up the process, and improving consistency.
Employee Onboarding: A Common Starting Point
Employee onboarding, a foundational process in any organisation may involve the following steps:
- Data Collection: Gather necessary information and documentation from new hires.
- Stakeholder Notification: Notify relevant departments of the new employee’s arrival for coordinated welcoming.
- System Updates: Update internal systems with the employee’s data and access permissions.
- Document Verification: Ensure all required documents and compliance forms are complete.
- Paperwork and Culture: Complete paperwork and introduce new hires to company culture, policies, and values.
- Resource Access: Provide access to tools and training materials.
- Orientation: Conduct orientation sessions to explain the organisation’s structure and objectives.
- Team Introductions: Facilitate introductions to colleagues and key stakeholders.
- Training: Offer relevant training opportunities.
Different Types of Onboarding, Similar Goals
While employee onboarding is the standard, it’s essential to recognise that other categories of onboarding exist, each with its own unique challenges. These include:
Student Onboarding: Onboarding is a universal challenge for all educational institutions. A successful student onboarding process benefits the school by setting students up for academic success and enhancing overall satisfaction. This process involves registering students, providing them with course materials, introducing them to campus facilities, and ensuring they have access to academic resources.
Vendor Onboarding: Businesses frequently onboard vendors and suppliers to establish productive partnerships. Vendor onboarding essentially involves establishing an efficient process that fosters a robust buyer-vendor relationship, ultimately resulting in enhanced business outcomes for both your company and the vendor. It encompasses tasks like setting up contracts, verifying compliance with legal and ethical standards, and integrating vendors into the procurement process.
Client Onboarding: Client onboarding is the pivotal initial phase that can define the longevity of a relationship. An effortlessly executed onboarding process lays the foundation for success, showcasing your company’s dedication to surpassing client expectations. This process involves understanding client needs, defining project scopes, and ensuring seamless communication channels between the client and the service provider.
Despite these different contexts, all forms of onboarding share common objectives: improving time to value, reducing friction, enhancing understanding, and accelerating the transition of new individuals or entities into the existing framework of the organisation.
Challenges in Onboarding
Regardless of the type of onboarding, several common challenges can hinder the process:
Data Silos: Numerous organisations grapple with data scattered across disparate systems, creating hurdles in accessing and sharing crucial information during onboarding. This can result in inefficiencies, delays, and errors.
Cross-Departmental Collaboration: Onboarding often necessitates cooperation among various departments, each with its unique responsibilities and workflows. Managing these collaborative efforts can be time-intensive and susceptible to miscommunication.
Inconsistencies: Manual onboarding processes are susceptible to irregularities, as they hinge on human intervention, which can vary from one instance to another. This lack of uniformity may give rise to compliance issues and suboptimal experiences for newcomers.
Time to value: In sales they say, time kills deals. The chances of you losing the newbie to your competition increases by the day.
Automation and RPA: A Solution for Onboarding Challenges
To address these challenges, organisations are increasingly turning to automation and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in their onboarding processes. Here’s how these technologies can make a difference:
Quicker Onboarding: Automation can streamline workflows by reducing manual data entry and approval processes. This leads to faster onboarding, ensuring that employees, students, vendors, or clients can become productive more rapidly.
Reduced Human Error: Automation minimises the risk of errors caused by manual data input. This is especially crucial when dealing with sensitive information or compliance-related tasks.
Adapts to Existing Methods: Automation and RPA can be integrated into existing systems and processes, minimising disruptions. This ensures that organisations can benefit from automation without undergoing a complete overhaul of their onboarding procedures.
Greater Consistency: Automation enforces standardisation, ensuring that every onboarding instance adheres to predefined rules and regulations. This consistency enhances compliance and provides a consistent experience for all parties involved.
Below is an example of a new client onboarding automation for an accounting firm: