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Trends in HR and Payroll Technology: Social Onboarding

Part Four of the HR Tech trends series covers the topic of Social Onboarding and how it will become the norm.

OK so I waited until week 4 to say the C word (Coronavirus). This has presented employers with massive challenges, and for those organisations who are lucky enough to be recruiting right now there are more applications than ever for the roles available and the challenges of onboarding employees into the organisation, potentially remotely, are more present than ever.

What is onboarding?

Onboarding – or “Organisational Socialisation” is the process by which employees become accustomed to the behaviours, culture and social aspects of the team and organisation they will be joining.

More practically, onboarding allows organisations to:

  • Collect additional personal information, such as bank details, new starter declarations and emergency contacts
  • Give employees the ability to book their annual leave ahead of joining
  • Give employees insight into company policies and procedures and ask them for confirmation that they have read and understood the policy
  • Share organisation structures with the employee

The key aim of onboarding is that the employee has the knowledge, equipment, and access to relevant systems on their first day – and that they feel welcomed! This means ensuring they are productive and part of the team immediately. There are too many organisations where employees join and have no place to sit, no laptop on the first day or no mobile phone.

Social onboarding is akin to joining a social media network with their new company ahead of their first day, they may be interacting with other new joiners or with members of their new team. During this process the new hire may upload bio’s, pictures of themselves and details of their interests (at Phase 3 we ask for the persons favourite drink so we can make sure it is ready for their first day!).

The employee experience is critical in their first months at work – get it wrong and employees may already be on the lookout for their new company.
A great social onboarding portal will include:

  • Videos welcoming the new hire
  • The ability for the new hire to interact with org charts – seeing their team members, supervisors and peers
  • Information relating to the business plans/strategy
  • Access to policies and procedures to understand how the employee works

Taking Social Onboarding one step further…

With the current situation it is impossible for businesses who are operating remotely to onboard in person. Whilst remote working isn’t new (we’ve had remote workers at Phase 3 for years) we would often travel to meet up for a coffee and have our interviews in person, or in the very least invite the person to the office once in their first week to go through some of the practical ‘stuff’ and hand over equipment.

The challenges of Covid have forced us and many businesses to review our processes and it has been complex – from our tech supplier (computers/keyboards etc) and our mobile phone service provider refusing to dispatch items to an address other than the business registered address (the practical things) to the more social aspects of the process (not being able to take the whole company out for lunch to welcome the new starters) has been particularly complex.

Social onboarding portals help with this part of the recruitment process – through the portals the teams can get to know their new colleagues before they join, and the new team member starts to feel part of the company even before their first day.

Social onboarding is here to stay – now is the time to think about your technology and whether it meets your needs for Social onboarding.

This blog series is written by James Proctor, Director of Consulting & Services at Phase 3.

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