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How You Can Streamline the New Employee Onboarding Process

Human Resources

The process of onboarding new employees is an important part of bringing people onto the team. It’s a critical time to instill an in-depth understanding of your company’s history, culture, and mission, and how the employee can contribute to the greater success of the company. But many of the typical to-do items on an onboarding checklist – think new hire paperwork and reporting, as well as the review and acknowledgement of the employee handbook – can often be very time-consuming for both HR teams and new hires.

According to the recent Paychex Pulse of HR Survey, when it comes to employee onboarding tasks, 32 percent of HR leaders spend six to 14 hours a month on it, 29 percent spend 15 to 29 hours, and 12 percent spend 30 to 50 hours – all of this adding up to precious time that HR leaders could spend on more strategic work.

It makes sense for HR teams to find ways to streamline the new hire onboarding process. Consider some ways you can accomplish this.

Prepare in advance.

Much of the onboarding process can be done before Day 1. Take advantage of the fact that there’s often a gap between when an employee accepts an offer and when they start working. Consider sending company welcome materials and an onboarding schedule before an employee’s first day. It's also smart to have an employee's future manager or another senior company rep reach out to the new hire to welcome them to the team. When they get to the office on day one, they'll more likely be ready to get started.

When using automated onboarding software, employees can sign important new hire documents and review supplied resources before Day 1 as well. When they have time to complete onboarding tasks at a pace they prefer, employees can look forward to a productive first day where they can focus on beginning their job – not paperwork. Specifically, an online onboarding system offers new hires easy access to:

  • Review helpful information on what to expect the first day;
  • Watch welcome or training videos;
  • Fill out new-hire forms including the Form I-9, Form W-4, direct deposit authorization, and state withholding tax forms; and
  • Read and acknowledge the company handbook and policies.

HR teams can reap benefits from the use of an online system as well.

  • Cost savings by not having to print out all new hire documents (with expenses like paper, printers, ink cartridges) and store them (folders, file cabinets, etc.).
  • Improved backup due to employee files stored in the cloud, eliminating redundant backups and protecting against unforeseen disasters.
  • Time spent by employees completing documents can be tracked to assist in compliance with wage and hour obligations.
  • More efficient process transitioning new hires into the company's benefits programs.
  • Data can be automatically shared across various HR areas of responsibility (attendance, tracking of hours worked, payroll, etc.), which helps eliminate time-consuming manual data entry.


Use video to engage and train new hires.

Training new hires is another important part of the onboarding process. As mentioned above, training videos for new employees can be both an engaging and efficient way to communicate what a new hire can expect on the first day. Tutorial-style videos are another possibility, with useful information such as how to set up a 401(k) contribution or important phone numbers. Depending on the job, companies may also be able to create job-specific training videos for work required of new hires. This allows new hires to have information on-hand that they can refer to as often as needed.

Help employees hit the ground running on Day 1.

A new hire may be better equipped to get started if some of the introductory paperwork is immediately available. The same can be said of the tools and resources the employee needs such as a computer and telephone. Both HR teams and the new hire will likely appreciate not having to use the first day wasting time on administrative chores or hunting around for a spare laptop.

While you may feel burdened by the current ways your company onboards new employees, there are options available to help improve and expedite the process. By using employee onboarding software, companies can save time so new hires can get to work quickly and easily.

This website contains articles posted for informational and educational value. Paychex is not responsible for information contained within any of these materials. Any opinions expressed within materials are not necessarily the opinion of, or supported by, Paychex. The information in these materials should not be considered legal or accounting advice, and it should not substitute for legal, accounting, and other professional advice where the facts and circumstances warrant.
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