Secrets to Successful Onboarding

MoneyFallingThe economy is humming, businesses are growing and the employment rate in the US is at an all time high which means agencies everywhere are looking for people

and competing against not only other agencies, but clients as well for any available talent. It also means that people are stretched thin, everyone is wearing multiple hats and nobody has the time to onboard new employees. It's a Catch 22. You desperately need more people, but when you hire them, they sit at an empty desk waiting for someone to bring them up to speed, which nobody has the time to do! 

time-money-goodIt takes the average new employee months to get comfortable with their new role, their new team, their new surroundings, and every minute they're not actively doing the work they were hired to do costs the agency money. According to MIT researchit takes 8 to 26 weeks for an employee to achieve full productivity, so anything you can do to reduce that amount of time represents significant savings for the agency.

How much are we talking about? The average company loses anywhere between 1% and 2.5% of their total revenue on the time it takes to bring a new hire up to speed. Ouch.

So what's the solution?

images-1The more a new employee can onboard themselves, the better off everyone is. For instance, if the company has its HR policies, IT policies, etc. documented, the employee can read through that information themselves and only engage the HR or IT team with questions, thereby saving literally hours of time. Getting that information documented is a major pain, but even if you have to outsource it to get it done, the ROI is almost immediate. Some agencies keep the information in binder form, some put it on an internal website and some even use an app (though it's not best practice to force someone to read dense material like that on a mobile screen...).

Another great tool is video-based training. Videos are particularly effective because it's often easier for someone to understand and remember information when it's presented using sight, sound and motion. The employees can go at their own pace and can watch segments or entire videos multiple times if necessary to understand the material. Many HRIS systems have video training for benefits overviews, sexual harassment training, discrimination training and the like. Larger agencies usually have video-based training on company policies, culture and even virtual tours of the agency. The success of video-based training has given rise to an entire industry focused on creating these videos, but today's technology enables any agency to make the videos themselves at low or no cost.

croppedAnother resource for training videos is (or should be) your agency 's management software. Best in class systems like Advantage's AQUA system offer comprehensive video-based training courses in their Education Library that enable new employees to quickly get up to speed on the system with little or no involvement from other team members. We're not just talking about high-level concepts either; most of the training courses are hands-on walk throughs of fairly complex processes that can be a challenge for any individual to train someone on. The ability for new employees to take as much time with these training videos as they need, and the ability for them to watch them wherever they do their best learning (which might not be in the office) is truly a valuable asset and should be a major factor in the agency's choice of any ERP or Agency Management System (or any other system used by employees for that matter).

kidAnd let's not forget self-directed research. Employees can get themselves up to speed on the clients they'll be working on by simply poring over the client's website, social media channels and folders on the agency server. That research is significantly easier if you have automated document management like what Advantage's AQUA system offers, but the point is that new employees are sitting on a treasure trove of onboarding information straightaway that enables them to educate themselves first and ask questions later.

First impressions are lasting impressions, and the first impression you make on a new employee should never be that nobody has time to get them up to speed. In today's market, many new employees are stepping into new jobs having chosen from multiple offers and questioning whether they made the right choice. The sooner you have them busy and focused on their new opportunity, the better. Self-directed onboarding will put them to work immediately and give you time to sort out who will be available to answer their questions and finish the process in the immediate future. But it's always easier to answer informed questions than start from zero.

With the significant costs associated with onboarding new employees, your agency management software should be doing its part to alleviate that burden in any way possible. Advantage's AQUA software can save you hundreds of hours per employee through video-based training, fully integrated data and a robust document management system. See for yourself how easy it can be to onboard new talent by scheduling a free online demo today.

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