Top 5 Mistakes You’re Making in Your Employee Onboarding Process

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]It should come as no surprise that the staffing industry suffers from a poor reputation. On average, candidates give staffing agencies a dismal NPS of 18, frequently citing a lack of communication and disregard for their experience. When they finally do get through the hiring process, they often find themselves in positions that aren’t truly good fits. This leads to both candidate — and client — dissatisfaction in the long run.

The reality is that many staffing professionals are too busy handling the transactional elements of the hiring process to truly pay attention to their candidates.

Many staffing pros are aware that they could be devoting more time to their candidates. Yet, they may not be aware of the hiccups in their process that lead to the delays, friction and inefficiencies that slow the process down and leave a sour taste in candidates’ mouths.

Let’s dive into some of the most common and impactful onboarding mistakes and what staffers can do to rectify them.

1. Not tracking your documents

It’s a small process mistake to make, but it can have cumulative effects that slow you down and disrupt the onboarding process — if you don’t have a method of tracking your documentation, there’s a good deal of efficiency you’re leaving on the table.

Each of your clients has individual documentation needs, and working through each form is already an unpleasant experience for your candidate. Rather than make assumptions or track down each individual document you need per client, per role and per candidate, it’s best to have a centralized, up-to-date and clear method of sourcing each of your client’s document packages.

Many staffing professionals also fail to track documents throughout the document lifecycle. In particular, it’s important to be aware of when documents are going to expire, when they need to be destroyed and when they need to be resubmitted or renewed. For any given candidate, this isn’t too hard to do. But spread over the sometimes hundreds of candidates you may have to manage, it becomes a significant challenge that requires a system.

Tracking document packages and the document lifecycle can be accomplished in a few different ways. Some staffing pros use their ATS, a purpose-built system, onboarding software or even a simple Excel spreadsheet — but it’s got to be done, and it’s got to be maintained.

2. Making assumptions about compliance

There isn’t much time in the day available to getting up to speed with the various federal, state and local regulations governing your clients’ and candidates’ compliance needs, but it’s well worth the effort.

The I-9 form receives the most attention when it comes to compliance. With regular ICE audits, staffing agencies work hard to ensure that their employees understand how to efficiently meet the requirements for I-9 compliance.

But too often, staffing professionals get by with just a cursory understanding of I-9 and other compliance requirements. As a result, they lack the necessary context it would take to improve the compliance process and meet requirements quickly and thoroughly. Without investigating the requirements themselves, they could easily misinterpret instructions or skip crucial steps simply because they weren’t made aware of them.

Though they’re less frequently the subject of audits, each state has their own small galaxy of compliance requirements as well. Without the threat of a likely audit, many staffing agencies focus less on training to meet these requirements. But if something goes wrong, being out of compliance puts your organization and your clients at risk of a lawsuit.

While understanding compliance requirements will benefit any staffing professional, having at least one member of your team dedicate time to learning about all applicable regulations and formalizing that in your onboarding process is a great way to minimize risk. The extra effort might seem troublesome, but failed audits, fines and lawsuits are far more troublesome.

3. Not having a process at all

It certainly seems unlikely that a staffing professional wouldn’t have an employee onboarding process, but many don’t. At least, not really.

It’s not enough to have a series of steps you go through to execute your onboarding process. Having a process means having those steps formalized in some way. This could take the form of a workflow document, a project management software, automated onboarding software — anything in which the individual actions, contingencies, requirements and next steps are laid out.

Beyond ensuring that your staffing professionals always know what the next steps are, there are two major benefits to a well-defined process:

1. A formalized process enables improvement over time

After onboarding, say, a quarter’s worth of candidates, you can look at the layout of your process and identify where the bottlenecks are, where communication breaks down, where opportunities for efficiency exist and more. In other words, defining a process enables you to analyze that process; without one, you have to resort to tedious guess-and-check if you want to improve.

2. A formalized process enables automation

Once your agency begins to see a certain volume of candidates come through its door, you may find it necessary to automate aspects of your process to handle the extra volume and speed onboarding.

But automation can’t occur without a process first. Defining that process and optimizing that process over time is foundational to automation. Optimization is particularly important; nobody wants to have a machine that automatically executes a mediocre onboarding.

4. Relying on point solutions

Even if you’re on top of your documentation, a master of compliance and constantly experimenting with your process, at some point you’re going to have grown too large to manage your clients and candidates without software support.

But since you’ll be growing over time, not all of your challenges will be apparent at once.

For example, your clients might be in an industry with stringent background checking requirements. So, you purchase a software tool to support your background checks. Over time, you build up a reputation for delivering candidates that quickly pass their background checks and begin to get more business. But now you’ve got so many candidates moving through your system that you need to upgrade your ATS to one with a better I-9 tracking system.

After years of this, you might end up with a half dozen different solutions that you need to switch between, manually copying information from one solution’s interface to another’s each time you onboard a new candidate. Not only does this complicate any automation efforts you might want to make, but it increases the odds of miskeying information and makes your onboarding process slower than it needs to be.

Ideally, if you’re going to use software to support your onboarding process, it’s a good idea to use software that supports the employee onboarding process from end to end. This makes it easier to automate, prevents the need to swivel-chair from interface to interface and facilitates integration with other systems you may use, now or in the future.

5. Not using your solutions to their fullest potential

It’s an all too common mistake in the staffing industry; your team procures an onboarding solution, only for it to be misused or underused. Most of the time, this isn’t the fault of an individual staffing professional. People want to make their onboarding process faster, more streamlined and better for the candidate — often they just haven’t been set up for success.

One major reason why your onboarding solution isn’t being used is because of poor process definition. If there’s a gap in your process, an automated onboarding software platform isn’t going to fill that gap in until the process is defined. As a result, staffing pros will be forced to perform whatever manual task they were doing before they had a software tool.

The other major factor that prevents staffing professionals from making the most of their tools is poor training. Ideally, your onboarding solution vendor will have a support team and a customer success team. A good support team can:

  • Provide initial training,
  • Assist with the implementation (which helps to identify and fill process gaps before they become a problem as well)
  • Help you make a plan for how you’ll be using the solution

Software solutions on their own are of limited value, especially when it comes to onboarding; assessing your vendor alongside their software is essential.

It all comes down to process

There’s a common thread connecting these common onboarding mistakes in the employee onboarding process: the lack of a well-defined process.

Regardless of whether you want to deliver more candidates, better-fit candidates, become audit-ready, automate onboarding or accomplish any other onboarding goal, your foundation has to be a well-defined and well-thought out onboarding process. To help staffing professionals evaluate the health of their onboarding process, we’ve developed a checklist we’re calling the “Deep Dive into the Onboarding Checklist.” Download a copy for free to see if your onboarding process is as efficient as it could be.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]