This past year, COVID-19 forced colleges and universities to change the way they operate. Transitioning to a virtual model didn’t just impact students, however—it also impacted institutions’ hiring and onboarding processes as administrators grappled with a new reality.
These processes are vital to employee success: onboarding experiences can affect a new hire’s later performance and productivity. Research by GlassDoor shows that employers with strong onboarding processes can improve their new hire retention by 82%, and research by Harvard Business Review indicates that organizations with a standardized onboarding process see 62% more productivity in their new hires. With this much at stake, how can you ensure that your onboarding processes are successfully supporting and managing new hires in a virtual setting?
Develop a Seamless Virtual Onboarding Process
You already have an onboarding process that has worked for in-person onboarding, but recreating a paper-based or manual process for virtual use can be complicated. Even when your faculty and staff are back in the office, paper- and email-based systems are inefficient: employees often have to repeat data entry across systems and some steps are likely to slip through the cracks.
PeopleAdmin’s Employee Records system centralizes and automates paperwork and record-keeping, ensuring that each new employee receives and completes the necessary documents so you can maintain compliance. A seamless process also saves time for both the new hire and the HR office. When a new faculty member can quickly get through the necessary onboarding steps, like filling out their I-9 or signing an employee handbook, their time-to-contribution is reduced. Instead of being bogged down in paperwork, they’ll be diving into their new role.
Your onboarding system and processes are likely to be unfamiliar to your new employees, so user-friendly software that provides a seamless and consistent onboarding experience will help welcome new faculty and staff to your institution. With Employee Records, you can ensure that each new hire receives all crucial information about the system, their role, and your institution. The more they know, the easier it will be for them to acclimate to your processes and their new position.
Though a virtual process might not completely replicate physical engagements, a robust digital onboarding experience can provide an efficient environment welcoming new hires to an institution, offering a seamless process, and even incorporating your mission and culture.
Personalize Your Process
During a typical hiring season, you’re likely to be onboarding several new staff and/or faculty members at once. With the right virtual hiring and onboarding system, the process can not only be seamless, intuitive, and straightforward for new employees, but it can also be personalized to your institution and to each new hire’s specific role. For instance, new faculty might need to sign different forms than new administrators, while different colleges and departments might have unique handbooks for their incoming faculty members to sign.
With PeopleAdmin’s Employee Records, HR can skip the repetitive processes of assigning paperwork to each new hire and instead focus on designing communications and onboarding activities that support role-based learning and development.
The Employee Records checklist also ensures that no cross-departmental steps are missed: everything that needs to be done for a new hire is in one place. You won’t forget to email facilities about setting up a new workspace, or contact IT to make sure they have a computer ready to go. Managers also have access to an onboarding checklist, reducing the need for back-and-forth email check-ins between HR and other departments. These checklists go a long way towards keeping every member of the team informed and updated, and allow the HR team to monitor a new hire’s progress.
Incoming employees also need to become connected to the social fabric and culture of your institution, especially if they are joining virtually. Colleges and universities can weave their culture into Employee Records by adding personal touches like a welcome video from the Provost, a map of local restaurants, or a calendar of student events.
More than half of organizations surveyed by the Human Capital Institute focus their employee onboarding on paperwork. With PeopleAdmin, you can offer a personalized experience focused on your unique needs and on making a new hire part of your community. A higher-quality onboarding experience reflects your status as a world-class institution, increases retention, and bolsters your reputation, making you a more competitive employer.
Centralize Access to Crucial Documents
In our virtual and mobile world, necessary documentation needs to be accessible at any time: employees, whether new hires or longtime faculty and staff members, should have easy access to the documents they need to update their addresses or request leave, wherever they are. PeopleAdmin’s online portal allows this anywhere, anytime access, while still maintaining the security and oversight your HR and IT teams require. Easy access and flexibility will positively impact your new employees’ engagement and satisfaction with the onboarding process and long afterward.
Mentor New Hires
Mentoring has a measurably positive impact on interpersonal relations, career success, and performance. Assigning a mentor to each new employee also improves productivity and retention rates, according to research by the Human Capital Institute. These partnerships are particularly vital for remote employees — when they aren’t on campus with easy access to support systems, new faculty need someone who can guide them and answer their questions.
Mentored employees are five times more likely to progress in the workplace. When planning onboarding sessions, you can consider bringing in career, life, and peer mentors to guide the new hires. When pairing employees with mentors, consider different learning styles, teaching styles, personalities, locations, and the experience of mentors. Successful and effective mentoring heavily depends on how you pair mentees with mentors.
Schedule Regular Check-ins
Checking in with new hires is vital to understanding their experiences and challenges, as well as getting feedback on your virtual onboarding processes. Checking in with the right questions also demonstrates that the institution values their input and is invested in their career development as they dive into their new role.
You can schedule one-on-one video calls to interact with new hires and answer their questions for a more personalized experience. As the HR manager, you can also use this as an opportunity to become familiar with new employees, learn about their expectations, and build rapport. PeopleAdmin’s system removes the burden of paperwork and manual processes, freeing up your HR team to focus on these opportunities for mentorship and one-on-ones.
Make Your Virtual Onboarding Seamless!
Higher Education has been slower than other industries to adopt technology in their onboarding processes. Now that there is an urgent need for efficiency, agility, and scalability, technology is inevitable, and adopting the right system for onboarding will greatly impact your HR team and future hires. Competition for top candidates is high, and the right technology will help you out-hire your peers.
While every onboarding process is unique, what matters most is the employee’s experience. New hires need a seamless process as they join your institution and focus on making a contribution. With PeopleAdmin, you can leverage user-friendly technology for both remote and in-office workers. Our system allows you to provide new administrative staff and faculty members with a positive onboarding experience and frees HR teams to focus on more impactful, hands-on time with new hires, staff and faculty.
To learn how PeopleAdmin’s Employee Records can prepare your institution for successful remote onboarding, schedule a demo today.