Posts

How to Create Digital New Hire Forms

Human resources professionals can improve employee onboarding by creating a process to complete new hire paperwork that is easy to follow and manage. Web-based (or digital) new hire forms are a great way to achieve this. Now, you may have people in your organization that can facilitate a process like this by using Excel, Word, or Adobe PDFs. However, the security of personal information should be a very high priority, and those programs often fall short in that area.

OnboardCentric by ExactHire allows organizations to create digital new hire forms that eliminate any security concerns. Our employee onboarding software contains your company’s handbook, policies, Form I-9, W-4 Form, and other new employee paperwork. Here’s how it works:

Implementing Onboarding Software–What to Expect

The process of building a digital new hire form is much more seamless than one might think. First, ExactHire gathers and reviews all the standard forms that you would like to include. If we have any questions about those forms, we will discuss them with you. And we are happy to answer your questions, as well!

Typically, our questions are aimed at understanding who fills out which portions of various forms. We also need to know which form fields will be pre-filled before the employee looks at the form. From there, our team will take the PDF, Word, or Excel forms provided to us and build the questionnaire into the system.

We will assign you an employee-level login to test your newly created web-based new hire forms. As a result, you will receive an email with a username and password requesting that you complete the forms. Then, you will walk through the questionnaire to submit your answers.

After you’ve viewed and signed your forms as a new employee would, you can view your forms as an administrative-level user would, and complete that aspect of the approval process.

Choosing Onboarding Software–Why ExactHire?

Collecting, managing, and storing sensitive employee data is no small task. While there are many online form solutions on the market, few can meet the specific requirements of a Human Resources department.

Our employee onboarding software is designed by a team with professional HR experience and credentials. Beyond simple forms, our system facilitates internal task management and offers features such as integrated E-verify, and push-to-payroll.

Finally, when local or federal governments release new compliance requirements or updates to forms, our team likely knows about it first. We help you respond to changes quickly, and we are always available if you have questions or advice.

 

 

Schedule a Personalized Demo

Provide your new hires with a secure, digital method to easily complete employee onboarding paperwork. Sign up for a demo to learn how ExactHire can partner with your organization to modernize employee onboarding!

5 Pro Tips for Quickly Pivoting to a Virtual Employee Onboarding Process

The new normal of living amidst the COVID-19 global pandemic is causing many employers to adopt new business processes…and to adopt them quite quickly.

For those organizations who are fortunate enough to continue hiring new employees, one of those business processes is to learn how to correctly onboard remote employees in a distributed workforce.

A hastily created employee onboarding process will put new hires at risk of feeling disconnected from their work and organization. On the other hand, a productive virtual employee onboarding program will forge a connection between the new teammate and the organization; thereby, positively contributing to employee satisfaction and the goals of the organization despite the uncertainty and hardship attributable to our current coronavirus reality.

Are you ready to pivot to a distributed workforce? Whether virtual employee onboarding is a brand new practice at your company, or you’re just looking for ways to fine tune employee onboarding for distributed workforces, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, I’ll discuss five best practices for quickly pivoting to a virtual employee onboarding process.

1 – Create a “remote-first” pre-boarding experience

With so much uncertainty on everyone’s mind, your new hire’s interactions with your organization in the days leading up to his start date shouldn’t further increase his anxiety. Make a toolkit of digital assets to share with a new teammate to make sure he feels adequately prepared and informed on day one. Here are some ideas:

  • Provide an organizational chart listing all employee names, titles and the hierarchy of the management structure. If you are a part of a very large organization, then a chart of the new employee’s department and/or division may be sufficient.
  • Create a task list or training schedule for the new hire’s first few days on the job. Create this in a shared document (e.g. Google Docs) that can be edited on-the-fly to include additional tasks as time progresses, as well as hyperlinked resource documents. With this approach, the employee can follow links to conduct further research to acquaint himself with your company and its organizational knowledge as his schedule permits.
  • Task relevant co-workers with creating video welcome messages to be shared with the new employee in the days leading up to the first day. We use a variety of tools at ExactHire (ranging from completely free to very affordable) such as video capture on our smartphones, and video applications like Soapbox, Vidyard and Camtasia.
  • Share a short, hyperlinked list of your company’s social media profiles with the new hire, as well as expectations about whether he is likely to be bombarded by social media invitation requests in his first week (as this can be a common way for remote workers to connect with one another).
  • Make it clear what equipment will be provided by the company (and by what date), and/or whether the new hire is responsible for bringing any of his own devices to his remote workstation. Ensure that all devices are accompanied by robust instructions on how to use and/or setup appropriate security protocols for effective work within the organization.

2 – Leverage the unique onboarding resources now available to your organization

While social distancing has caused many of us to approach the work setting in dramatically different ways, it has also led to the installation of a handful of new laws and limited regulations meant to help the American working population and employers cope with this crisis. Aside from new laws such as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has also recently relaxed its normal requirements for Form I-9 compliance when hiring new employees. This change will help employees who have never hired remote workers to examine and temporarily approve employment eligibility documentation with confidence.

In particular, DHS has “[deferred] the physical presence requirements associated with Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) under Section 274A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Employers with employees taking physical proximity precautions due to COVID-19 will not be required to review the employee’s identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s physical presence.”

However, not all employers meet the criteria necessary for taking advantage of the option to initially virtually examine new hire documentation. In fact, only employers who have gone 100% remote for all employees may utilize this temporary flexibility in document examination. For more details on which organizations qualify and what documentation is necessary to participate, check out this recent Forbes article.

3 – Make a short list of near-term new hire expectations

To make this pivot toward remote onboarding manageable and relatively fast, focus on only the absolutely critical expectations that you need all new hires to know right from the start. In doing so, make sure you communicate that the current situation necessitates focusing on the “must-knows” initially, but that icing-on-the-cake knowledge and nurturing will be sure to follow as things calm down a bit.

Your new hire will appreciate your candor, and be more likely to establish trust in the organization early because it is helping to flesh out priorities to ensure the new hire’s success.

Here are some examples of employee expectations that may resonate with your team. Be sure to educate your new hire about each of the items below that may be important for his work.

  • Training prerequisites that must be completed before certain aspects of a job can be endeavored (e.g. safety, password security protocol)
  • Preferred methods for co-workers to communicate with each other (e.g. email, phone, Slack, text, video conference, project management tool comments)
  • Mission-critical reports and metrics that must be updated…and with what frequency

Remember that while your ability to equip your new employee with these essential bits of information can shorten his learning curve and improve outcomes, don’t forget that our normal isn’t so normal right now. In fact, it reminds me of an unidentified quote that my co-worker shared on our Slack channel today…one that very appropriately describes the current plight for many of America’s remote workers:

“You’re not working from home; you are at your home during a crisis trying to work.”

There’s a place for grace right now.

4 – Communicate your culture

While company culture can be somewhat nebulous to describe to others, as it is often something experienced for one’s self in-person, there’s no doubt that remote cultures exist, too.

However, it may take longer to assimilate remote workers to cultural norms if you don’t take strides to help them take seed early. Here are some ways to make your virtual culture more quickly tangible:

  • Facilitate video introductions between a new hire and fellow department members and other key co-workers. Make sure all teammates take a turn to introduce themselves, explain their respective roles, and offer suggestions on how they interface with the new employee in his job.
  • Recognize that your organization likely has a multitude of multimedia approaches for communication in different situations. Create a “cheat sheet” of common scenarios to give your new employees a head start:
    • Protocol for out of office messages
    • Appropriate channels for different types of Slack posts
    • Frequency for co-worker video meet-ups and the purpose of each (e.g. is this a project-related call or a virtual happy hour?)
    • General guidelines on how quickly to respond to different inquiries and requests (make sure to allow for time zone differences between co-workers)
    • Location of a schedule of regular working hours for different employees
    • Protocol on whether to use one’s video camera on conference calls (is it preferred or required by various departments?)
    • Acceptable format for email signatures
    • Preferred software applications for different assignments (e.g. MS Word or Google Docs when both are available?)

5 – Implement employee onboarding software for remote hiring success

Depending on the industry in which you work, you likely use a set of software applications critical to the productivity of your business–it’s your tech stack. From CRMs to POS systems, and project management suites to ticketing portals, these varied forms of technology are essential to different industries because they leverage technology to automate and improve repetitive, and perhaps otherwise manual tasks for different employers.

While health clinics may not need POS systems, and safety equipment manufacturers aren’t desperate for software issue ticketing suites, I will advocate that all employers who are currently hiring should consider employee onboarding software.

Moreover, if you are hiring remote employees, onboarding software gives you a significant competitive advantage as you can improve the new hire user experience (aka first impression) as well as minimize documentation errors.

ExactHire’s OnboardCentric employee onboarding software can be implemented either as a stand-alone solution to meet your urgent onboarding needs; or, as a hiring component integrated with our ExactHire applicant tracking system.

As employers face constantly evolving news related to COVID-19, they are adjusting priorities and re-allocating resources on a daily basis. Our team understands the need for fluidity and responsiveness, and we’re equipped to get you up and running with onboarding software quickly.

To expedite implementation and improve your new hire experience despite the current pandemic, we recommend that you start by implementing required new hire forms (e.g. state tax forms, Form W-4, Form I-9, direct deposit, etc.) and allow us to train supervisors who need access right away.

Then, as demands on your schedule decline, our team is happy to work with you to include non-essential nice-to-have new hire forms, discuss onboarding process best practices and conduct more advanced user training with all of your hiring managers. Our responsive team is ready to work as your partner through this crisis.

Demo ExactHire Onboarding Software

Are you ready to improve your employee onboarding experience and respond to the rapidly changing hiring landscape with success? Schedule a demo of OnboardCentric today.

17 Details for Your New Hire’s First Day *Don’t Forget!

An employee’s first day of work usually includes a mix of emotions. And although an employer cannot possibly control those emotions, it can be prepared to warmly welcome new hires and eliminate unnecessary stress.  Often times it’s the small details that can make the biggest difference in the new hire experience. So here’s a list of seventeen details that you’ll want to remember in order to make your new hire’s first day perfect.


Map to ExactHire

1. Maps & Amelia Earhart

Everyone can get lost! Be kind and provide an address, accompanied by a map, to show new hires where to park and where to go when they first arrive.

 

2. Parking Permits

Does your office require a parking permit, or is there a waiting list to get into the parking garage? Your new hire will want to know.

 

3. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

We aren’t all lucky enough to work in cities with public transit, but if you do and your company has an incentive program, be sure to include those details.

 

4. Day One Schedule

It is great to have a schedule that provides accurate information. Notify everyone on the team of the new hire’s first day schedule to encourage them to be ready at designated times.

 

5. Jinx the cat uses the toilet

Please make sure one of the first things you do when a new person arrives to your office is show them where the toilet is. There is no need for peeing in the corner if you know where the toilet is.

 

6. No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service

Dress codes may be a bit more lax these days, but if there are lines you don’t want crossed, a Working Attire Policy and/or Hygiene Policy should be in place and provided as soon as possible.  Offer a time to discuss any policies to ensure the new hire understands the policies in place and enforced.

7. Hello, is it me you’re looking for?

Cell phones are basically attached to everyone nowadays – if you don’t want your staff playing Candy Crush at their  desk, make sure you let everyone know the rules.

8. Inspirational Cat Pictures

Sending personal emails, social media, and shopping online are great ways to waste time at work. Setting limitations and expectations for internet use at work is becoming more and more important, especially with the constant need for cybersecurity.

9. Bueller?!

Every employee needs to know about allocated sick days, PTO, and any repercussions for going to a parade after calling in sick.

10. Where do you want to eat?

Whether you have a cafeteria, common fridge, or vending machines – it is important that your new hire knows what’s what. At a bare minimum, provide some local lunch places or delivery menus for reference.

11. What makes your office special?

Do you have shared bikes or umbrellas available across your campus? Do you have a ticket concierge to help your employees get the hot tickets around town? Does your office have an annual retreat or summer company picnic? Remember to tell your employees about these things as soon as they come onboard.

12. Benefits

  • 401K – Does the company offer a match?
  • Roth IRA
  • 529 / Educational Savings Account
  • Pension
  • Medical
  • Dental
  • Health
  • Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Pet Insurance
  • Any other optional benefit offered.

13. Mo’ Money > Mo’ Problems

Provide the pay schedule, bonus structures, and commission rates to ensure there isn’t any confusion for the new hire. If you offer direct deposit or use pay cards, provide that information as well. There is nothing like getting your first paycheck late due to a clerical error to put a bad spin on your new job!

14. Drug & Alcohol Policy

Pre-employment drug testing, random testing, and consequences of being under the influence at work need to be identified and defined. Different industries will have different requirements here but in a world where your employee might go somewhere that recreational marijuana is legal, you can never be too safe in making sure that the rules are known up front.

15. Guns

You might be okay with your employees packing heat – maybe you aren’t – but either way, this is a hot topic that should be discussed with your employees on or before their first day at the office.

16. Inter-office Dating

Does your office host speed-dating once a quarter after work? Do you work in an environment where dating co-workers or customers is strictly prohibited? You’ll want to be certain your employees don’t have any questions about the office dating scene.

17. Childcare

Even if your office doesn’t have a childcare facility, you might want to provide resources for your employees that may have just moved to town. Don’t forget about your employees with fur-babies and include any policies on bringing children or pets to work.


Don’t Forget!

The seventeen details above are examples of some important things that often go unmentioned. Your organization may have others as well. To make sure that you are including the right details, you may want to audit your existing onboarding materials to review the level of detail that is included.

Knowing what the important details are is one thing, but remembering to communicate them in a timely manner is another. To make sure that you remember to communicate the details, you can utilize a number of free task management tools available online or you may wish to explore employee onboarding software, which will automate communications and provide a digital repository for reference materials.

Changes to HSA on the Way?

Over the past month, the main news coming out of Washington has been the process to nominate of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. In fact, it can seem that the nomination process has taken all of the Senate’s time and energy. However, Senators also have a number of House Bills to review, consider, and bring to the floor for a vote. Two bills, in particular, could significantly change how millions of Americans pay for healthcare.

The bills propose to change the structure of Health Savings Accounts (HSA) in regard to who can use one and how they can be used. To understand how these changes will impact individuals, it’s helpful to review the current rules for HSA eligibility, contributions, and withdrawals.

Current HSA Eligibility Restrictions

Health Savings Accounts were first made available to individuals and families beginning in 2004. Though the original idea was to make these accounts available to anyone, the final legislation restricted the establishment of an HSA as follows; account holders:

  • Cannot be enrolled in Medicare;
  • Cannot be claimed as a dependent in the tax year immediately preceding enrollment
  • Must carry an “HSA-qualified” health insurance plan–namely a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) with a minimum deductible set at $1,350 for individuals and $2,700 for families;
  • Could be disqualified from making contributions to an HSA if they or their spouse carried supplemental coverage, such as a Flexible Spending Account (FSA); Health Reimbursement Account (HRA), or a Direct Primary Care (DPC) service arrangement.

These restrictions remain today, however legislators have sought to change some of the above criteria with the recent passing of two bills:

  • Restoring Access to Medication and Modernizing Health Savings Accounts Act (H.R. 6199)
  • Increasing Access to Lower Premium Plans and Expanding Health Savings Accounts Act (H.R. 6311)

Proposed Changes to HSA Eligibility

Among the changes proposed to HSA accounts in H.R. 6199 and H.R 6311, the bills would expand HSA eligibility to individuals in cases where:

  • As a working senior, the account holder participates in Medicare Part A and is covered by a qualifying HDHP.
  • The account holder participates in a DPC service arrangement;
  • The account holder’s spouse carries supplemental coverage, such as an FSA or HRA;
  • The account holder’s employer provides supplemental health services through onsite or retail medical clinics.

The goal of these changes is to provide employers with more flexibility as it relates to building health benefits packages for employees. For employees, it means having greater access to healthcare benefits that fit their unique needs and situations.

While the expansion of HSA eligibility would likely increase the number of individuals who establish an HSA account, the two bills also propose to loosen restrictions on how HSA participants can contribute to HSA funds.

Current Restrictions on HSA Contributions

The amount that an individual can contribute to an HSA has always been capped for families and individuals on annual basis. Currently those contributions are as follows:

  • For individual plans, the cap is $3,450.
  • For family plans, the cap is $6,900.
  • Those 55 and older can contribute an additional $1,000 to the above limits.

The source of these contributions is limited to the individual or employer, and an HSA participant cannot contribute or “roll over” funds from an FSA or HRA to an HSA.

Proposed Changes to HSA Contributions

In H.R. 6311, the HSA contribution limits would be increased to match the current combined annual limit on out-of-pocket and deductible expenses for an HSA-qualified insurance plan.The proposed limits are as follows:

  • For individual plans, the cap would be $6,650.
  • For family plans, the cap would be $13,300.
  • Those 55 and older could continue to contribute an additional $1,000 to the above limits.

Additionally, the bill proposes to expand the sources for HSA contributions, and the following sources could be utilized to contribute to an HSA:

  • Spouses over the age of 55 could contribute $1,000 above an account holder’s plan limit, annually.
  • At an employer’s discretion, employees with FSA or HRA funds could transfer balances from those accounts to an HSA when the employee is enrolled in a qualifying HDHP. Transfers would be limited to $2,650 for individuals and $5,300 for families.

While H.R. 6311 mainly focuses on helping HSA participants to maximize their healthcare savings by raising contribution limits and expanding the ways in which to contribute, H.R. 6199 seeks to increase expand the definition of “qualified medical expenses.”

Current Restrictions on HSA Withdrawals

The use of HSA funds has always been restricted to “qualified medical expenses” as defined by the IRS (see: IRS Publication 502, “Medical and Dental Expenses”).  Since 2010, these qualified expenses have excluded a number of items and services which could very well be interrupted as a genuine medical expense. Rather than focus on the long list of covered expenses, it’s easier to look a the new expenses that would be allowed under the proposed legislation.

Proposed Changes to HSA Withdrawals

The following items would represent an expansion of “qualified medical expenses.”

  • First Dollar Coverage Flexibility for an HDHP would provide coverage for services before the deductible is met up to $250 a year for an individual and $500 a year for family coverage. This change will allow insurers to provide coverage for and incentivize the use of high-value services that can reduce health care costs more broadly, such as primary care visits and telehealth services.
  • Inclusion of Certain Over-The-Counter Medical Products as Qualified Medical Expenses removes the Affordable Care Act’s restriction on over-the-counter medicines for all tax-favored health accounts and adds “menstrual care products,” as a qualified medical expense for the purposes of these accounts.
  • Qualified sports and fitness expenses are treated as qualified medical expenses up to a limit of $500 a year for an individual and $1,000 a year for a joint return. This includes amounts paid for membership at a fitness facility, participation or instruction in a program of physical exercise or physical activity, or safety equipment for use in a program of physical exercise or physical activity.

HSA Changes Need Senate Approval

To become law, the house bills will need to be passed by the Senate. As mentioned, this will be a challenge considering the Senate’s current focus on the Supreme Court nomination and federal spending legislation. Furthermore, the upcoming midterm elections will likely delay and–depending on the outcomes–influence the future direction of the bills.


ExactHire provides employee onboarding software  that makes it easy to update employee data through digital forms and task management. Contact us today to learn more!

How to Not Screw Up Remote Employee Onboarding

Whether your team’s hiring its first remote employee or its 79th, don’t skimp on putting thoughtful intention behind your new hire onboarding program for remote workers.

Go ahead, pick out your worst fear about hiring remote workers below.

  • If I can’t see them, will they just do their laundry instead of work?
  • Our employees need to be “on” during our regular working hours, how can they if they’re roaming coffee houses around Europe with a 6-hour time difference?
  • Company culture and connectivity will suffer if we can’t play ping pong in person together, won’t it?

Did you have trouble picking just one? That’s okay, so did ExactHire when we started allowing employees to work remotely over seven years go. Our organization has come a long way since then, and–with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic–we have adopted the mentality of “remote first.” That is, truly distributing the workforce in such a way that remote work is the default setting–not just an option available to some. SaaS companies like StackOverflow and HelpScout are worth further investigation if you’re considering this cultural pivot for your employer

Remote first = distributing your workforce in such a way that remote work is the default mode.

Another relevant read is Remote: Office Not Required by Basecamp Co-Founders, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. This book details Basecamp’s evolution into a remote first organization, including both the pitfalls and unexpected wins along the way. There’s no shortage of inspiration on how to make remote working arrangements possible for your organization these days.

In this post, I’ll focus on how to not screw up employee onboarding once you’ve committed to hiring a new fully-remote employee. For someone who is brand new to your organization and away from the office from the start, consider these items for your onboarding checklist.

1 – Make expectations and goals crystal clear

In the absence of in-person onboarding activities, picking up on body language and being a bystander to water cooler talk is more challenging. Therefore, organizations should put themselves in the shoes of new hires and brainstorm the details that new employees won’t necessarily absorb on their own.

Being transparent about expected working hours (despite time zone of new hire), explaining how organizational culture manifests itself and sharing milestone targets about what job success looks like at three months, six months and beyond are just a few of many possible details.

For example, in Remote, the authors talk about how it’s important for Basecamp to give its new hires a heads up that they may be bombarded by social media follower requests when joining the organization. Because their company is remote first, it has become common for employees to connect with one another on social media in order to get to know each other more quickly in the absence of traditional face time in the office.

2 – Make over communication a way of life

Nothing can trip up a remote working arrangement more quickly than a shortage of sufficient communication. If your company wants to make remote work work, then you need to embrace many modes of communication (“different strokes for different folks”) and in particular, abundant written communication.

Particularly if your remote employees are spread across different time zones, a bigger portion of your company’s internal communication will be asynchronous–with employees reading email, chat messages and Slack updates anywhere from minutes to hours after they are originally sent.

To amplify the effectiveness of asynchronous communication, be clear about your needs and consider capturing screenshots and creating short videos to better explain tasks and challenges to co-workers when big time zone differences diminish the ability to connect in real time.

Consider your communication culture and whether it makes sense to go to the extent of asking people to update their status when away from Slack, instant messenger, etc. While ExactHire doesn’t quite go this far, we do have an internal document that lists general working hours for all employees since individual availability varies widely depending on the day of the week.

3 – Organization is everything

While we’ve already established that communication is critical, committing to written communication goes deeper than the one-off messages and company announcements that happen on a daily basis. In the same way that ExactHire maintains a support knowledge base full of training documents for our customers about our products, employers with remote workers have an even greater responsibility than traditional employers to document policies, project statuses and resources in an internal knowledge base.

And, it’s not just about basic documentation, but also the style or approach you take for documentation and communication. For example, at a previous employer I was quickly indoctrinated into the organizational norm of referring to all employees by just their initials in written communication, as well as the practice of hiding unwieldy URL addresses behind anchor text in interoffice emails. Mind you, this was a decade ago…before it was a tech-based cultural norm to go to such formatting lengths.

Internal consistency in communication supports effective organization.

Additionally, having easy-to-use tools to track items is essential. For example, in addition to Slack, ExactHire has leveraged platforms such as Google Docs, Trello, Basecamp and Jira for internal collaboration on a daily basis in recent years.

4 – Paperless employee onboarding

For both new hires and existing staff members, the employee onboarding process is full of opportunities to miss details. Take the pressure off of remembering which employees should be prompted to complete which new hire documents, tasks and forms by leveraging employee onboarding software.

An effective onboarding platform automatically presents the right paperwork, onboarding tasks and training prompts to different new hires based on factors such as their geographic location, FLSA status, security clearance and role type. Because additional to-do items are only presented to new hires and internal onboarding process stakeholders when certain basic prerequisites are already satisfied earlier in the process, the experience for the new hire is positive and stress for the staff member is minimal.

5 – Create inspiration with preparation

It’s stressful enough for a new hire on her first day at a new job in a traditional office. Now imagine how much more awkward a remote employee’s first day on the job can be if the employer is unprepared for her arrival.

Prepare new hires to hit the ground running quickly by sharing a super detailed onboarding plan and training schedule with them before their first day. Include links to your internal knowledge base and make resources for additional learning easy to find and searchable. This written documentation will easily fill the gaps between video conference calls and virtual job shadowing sessions with co-workers.

From a hardware standpoint, outfit new employees with the equipment they need to start work on day one. Your approach to this will vary depending on whether you ship a computer, phone, headset, etc. to your remote employees or have a policy in place that allows them to bring their own device (BYOD) to work. Regardless of your approach, make sure that all equipment and software access follows internal security protocols and that new hires are trained on how to handle secure data and what to do in the event of a breach.

Be sure to give new hires access to relevant communication groups, recurring calendar events and internal online resources in time for their first day–along with instructions or a description of each item’s objective. There’s no quicker way to alienate your remote employees than to forget to add them to your monthly all-hands meeting call, and then interrupt it fifteen minutes in to invite them to join last late.

6 – Tell your culture story

Fostering connectivity can be a struggle in a remote-driven workplace–especially in an organization that has transitioned from a traditional in-person office to a distributed workforce. While veteran employees instinctively understand the core values, mission and unwritten ways of doing things, newly hired remote employees won’t become a thread in the organizational tapestry without understanding its roots and also being prompted to share their own background.

Create a series of videos about key aspects of the company’s past that can be embedded into the onboarding process. Host a monthly company trivia session where employees log into Google Meet or Skype to answer questions and compete for swag.

Telling the organizational story to new hires is a best practice, but savvy employers will also build in the opportunity for its diverse new employees to make their own mark and share their own background. This might be accomplished with a virtual employee directory that features fun facts about new hires; or, occasional “lunch and learn” webinars that invite new employees to do a show and tell about their own city/country or hobbies and interests.

7 – Promote peer mentoring

Mentoring is not a new concept for employee onboarding; however, adopting it as a practice for a remote workforce is an emerging trend. From job shadows with veteran employees in a new hire’s first few days to monthly milestone check-ins with a designated “buddy,” virtual mentoring has a great deal of possibility for remote-friendly workplaces.

When creating a virtual mentoring program, account for factors that may influence likely success between mentor and mentee; such as, time zone difference, job role, interests and behavioral tendencies as evident from an employee assessment.

Take 1-on-1 mentoring a step further and invite mentors and mentees to quarterly tweet-ups or video conferences in which newer hires have a forum in which they can ask questions of mentors in real-time and within a group format. By listening to the questions and answers of peers, as well, new hires will likely shorten their own learning curve.

8 – Make time for face time

When done right, remote work allows employees to focus for longer periods of time without interruption. While distractions may occur in both the office and at home, there’s a distinct difference between immediately responding to someone knocking on your door versus waiting a few minutes to finish a task before responding to an email.

Utilize video conference platforms such as Zoom or GoToMeeting to allow all employees to synchronously connect whenever the need arises. Perhaps your cultural norm is even to ask employees to always use video chat rather than voice-only phone calls when connecting for a meeting. However, when planning such video calls, and to be considerate of potential time zone differences, be intentional with the time allotted to focus on social connectivity rather than just covering things that might be more efficiently discussed via email.

Even in modern, 100% remote first workplaces, there’s a place for in-person interaction. Many employers that have largely distributed workforces still make time at least once per year to gather in person for social connection–as an entire organization. And while this type of event can inflate the company travel line item significantly, that is the tradeoff between having the overhead attributable to a physical office location versus employing a remote first approach. If that approach would break your budget, then consider smaller meetups between departments instead.

9 – Feed off of feedback

Emojis were once reserved for text-happy teenagers lamenting their latest breakup; however, in recent years they’ve earned their place as a remote work mainstay because they help express tone and emotion in a situation that might otherwise omit context for one’s mood.

And while it might still be a stretch for some to include them in email messaging, they thrive in messaging platforms such as Slack. And, they’re particularly helpful in a remote workforce when employees may have never met in person and do not yet understand the nuances of their peers’ personalities. Emojis are one way of leveraging feedback on a micro level so that remote employees can gauge how they’re communicating or performing.

On a macro level, employers hiring remote employees must give and receive feedback early and often throughout the onboarding process.

  • Gather new hire input in the pre-boarding phase to make sure that incoming employees have a firm grasp of the resources available to them to get started.
  • Hold virtual town hall meetings for new hires three months into their employment tenure for ideas on how to improve remote employee onboarding.
  • Make sure that supervisors have a regular cadence of offering constructive feedback to direct reports throughout the first year of employment, especially.

Successful Remote Employee Onboarding

Make your objective to create experiences in which remote employees feel as assimilated and supported as traditional in-office employees. Remember that it will take some experimentation, careful hiring and an open mind. If you don’t get it exactly right the first time, gather feedback to make an adjustment and try, try again!

Download ExactHire's Employee Onboarding Checklist

How to Automate Workflow Within Employee Onboarding Software [VIDEO]

While web-based solutions that can automate new hire employment forms and documents do exist, very few solutions also empower employers to customize their onboarding software platform to automate all the new hire and existing employee tasks associated with a robust employee onboarding process. The ability to automate workflow is one of the core strengths of the OnboardCentric employee onboarding solution. Two features that are key factors in the ability to accommodate unique client workflows are FlexFields and Roles.

OnboardCentric FlexFields Roles Video

FlexFields at work

FlexFields, as the name implies, are flexible, multiple-choice data fields that store unique information about each employee within an organization. These fields are customized on a per client basis. Examples of different FlexFields might include individual employee attributes such as

  • division,
  • department,
  • exemption status or pay type, and
  • employee level.

The values selected for FlexFields on an employee record drive two primary outcomes within OnboardCentric:

  1. tasks assigned to the new hire, and
  2. follow up tasks assigned to an internal staff member.

New hire tasks

Let’s talk about new hire tasks. We’ll group them into two categories:

  1. tasks assigned to every new hire, and
  2. tasks assigned only to certain new hires.

Tasks assigned to every new hire tend to include the completion of required federal forms such as the I-9 and W4, state tax forms, and policies and procedures specific to a given organization. Please note that FlexFields do not impact those forms or documents assigned to all employees.

However, FlexFields are involved for tasks related to forms and documents that only a subset of employees are required to complete. In fact, the criteria that define this subset of employees are determined by the values of one or more FlexFields.

For example, if new hires in the Compliance Division should be assigned items that other new hires outside the Compliance Division should not be assigned, then “Division” would be setup as a FlexField. Likewise, if new hires at the Executive Level are assigned items that hires at other levels aren’t assigned, then “Employee Level” would be setup as a FlexField. To determine the FlexFields necessary for your business, create a list of all the attributes that differentiate one group’s employee onboarding tasks from another group’s tasks.

Once your FlexFields are created, they’ll be visible as drop-down boxes for each new employee you add to OnboardCentric.

Using the previous examples, there would be a FlexField for “Division” that might have values of “Compliance”, “Information Technology”, “Manufacturing”, and “Marketing.” If “Compliance” is selected, that new hire will be assigned extra tasks that new hires in the other divisions will not. Similarly, there would be a FlexField entitled “Employee Level” that might have values of “Associate”, “Executive”, “Manager”, and “Staff.” If “Executive” is selected, that new hire will have additional tasks that new hires with other values for that field will not.

Roles for existing employees

Next, let’s talk about how Roles work within OnboardCentric.

Think of Roles as the acting parts your existing staff members play in the onboarding process. You may have as few or as many Roles as necessary to handle any follow up actions that must be completed by your staff. These follow ups will always be triggered by a task completed by a new hire.

For instance, once a new hire completes his portion of the I-9 form, that will trigger a follow up for someone within your organization to verify/approve that I-9 form on behalf of the organization. Typically this Role is referred to as an “I-9 Approver.”

Other common examples of Roles include “Countersigner”, “Equipment Provisioner”, or “License Certifier.” In each of these examples, the Role name used may be anything that makes sense within your organization. Instead of “Equipment Provisioner,” you may choose to call that Role “Supply Orderer.” The key point to understand is that the Role refers only to what type of follow up actions you’ll want that person to perform within the OnboardCentric platform.

Accommodating people with similar tasks

The intersection of FlexFields and Roles occurs in situations where you have more than one staff member performing a given type of Role. For example, let’s assume that you have four different staff members who each have the Role of I-9 Approver.

In this scenario, the FlexField values you assign to a given new hire will then be used to determine which of the four I-9 Approvers will be assigned that follow up task once the new hire completes his portion of the I-9.

FlexFields and Roles allow OnboardCentric to accommodate almost any type of workflow necessary for the unique needs of your organization’s onboarding process. We encourage you to take advantage of these capabilities so that you may maximize your onboarding efficiency.

 

Get started on the path to better onboarding.

Contact ExactHire to learn more about OnboardCentric employee onboarding software.

 

18 Onboarding Ideas Especially Suited to Part-Time Employees

In this era of increasing instances of flexible work arrangements, many employers find that an increasingly larger percentage of their workforce is comprised of part-time employees, specifically. In fact, part-time might mean anything from a periodic five to ten hours per week up to thirty hours based on the feedback I receive from peers in HR who strive to compete for talent by offering work schedules that accommodate greater balance between work and personal life.

As we shift to putting a greater emphasis on better serving part-time teammates, don’t forget to account for how their needs may be slightly different than those of full-time employees during the employee onboarding process. In this blog, and with the help of some of my human resources friends, we’ll explore eighteen ideas for rolling out the onboarding red carpet for your newly-hired part-time employees. Some tips will present a solid plan of action for engaging “part-timers” specifically, while others are best practices for onboarding all types of employees.

1 – Avoid overwhelming part-time employees

Don’t make part-time new hires “drink from the firehose” during training by overwhelming them with too much material too early. Remember, they may be on the job only half the time you are (assuming you work full-time) and so will have half as much time to absorb new content.

2 – Be supportive of self-study

Build in blocks of self-study or skills practice time within the first few weeks of the new hire’s employment tenure. Have pre-determined study or hands-on projects ready for them to tackle during the training process.

3 – Take care with time sheets

Since your part-time employees are classified as non-exempt, clearly explain the process for submitting a time sheet and make sure they have reminders scheduled to turn them in promptly.

4 – Prepare with pre-boarding

According to Linda Dausend, Consultant and Account Lead for FlashPoint Leadership Consulting, the “pre-boarding” process is just as important as the onboarding process. Pre-boarding includes:

  • sending a new part-timer a welcome kit at home–perhaps include a flash drive with a welcome video;
  • having a coffee meeting prior to the start date;
  • setting up the new hire’s desk, computer, and ordering business cards;
  • notifying your team of existing employees and asking them to sign a welcome card; and,
  • scheduling a session to officially welcome the new part-time hire during a time frame that falls within his/her work hours.

5 – Set expectations for special events

If your organization occasionally schedules optional learning or social events during lunch or a part-time employee’s regular work hours, make sure to set expectations with that new hire about whether he should consider that event part of his work time. For example, at ExactHire we have a few part-time employees, and we encourage them to join us at events such as our annual lunch outings to the Indiana State Fair or the downtown Indy Strawberry Festival on the Circle.

6 – Make use of mentors

Bradley Galin, President and Principal Consultant for Allegro HR, advises employers to assign a mentor to newly hired employees so they have someone to ask those questions that they may not want to ask the supervisor. When possible, assign a mentor who is either doing the same job as the new hire or someone who has done the job previously.

Don’t discount the importance of pairing a part-time new hire with a mentor or guide to help him get going. This may be even more important for part-time hires relative to full-timers, since they likely need a longer period of time to get to know other team members. Having a mentor gives them a consistent point of contact while they’re getting familiar with everyone. William Dykstra, Regional Talent Acquisition Consultant III and Officer at a large banking institution, says that most of the departments for which he recruits have a peer mentor paired with a new hire for the first 90 days of employment.

7 – Proactive paperwork

Dykstra also indicates that it’s helpful for employers to have new hires complete traditional employment paperwork prior to the start date. That way they can focus on learning the job on the first day instead of doing tedious paperwork.

 

ExactHire’s OnboardCentric employee onboarding software makes the forms, documents and tasks associated with employee onboarding paperless.

ExactHire OnboardCentric Onboarding Software Video

8 – Be clear about benefits

Bradley Galin also suggests providing a benefits overview to new part-time hires that is customized to their position and full-time equivalency (FTE). After all, your organization may have folks receive different benefits depending on their exact FTE and bargaining unit…so avoid one-size-fits-all communication approaches.

9 – Create opportunities for interaction

If you have other staff members who work flexible shifts and/or work from home certain days of the week, consider varying a new part-time hire’s work schedule over the first week or two so that she has a chance to meet and interact with all members of her new team.

10 – Adjust recurring meeting invitations

Prior to a new PT employee’s start date, evaluate which traditionally all-company or all-department recurring meetings he should or should not attend based on his work hours. For those meetings that are feasible, make sure the new hire’s email address is added to any existing recurring calendar invitations.

11 – Standardize the swag

With experience being a part-time employee herself, Kye Hawkins, Management Consultant and Marketing Specialist for ADVISA, encourages employers to welcome new part-time hires to the team just as you would any full-time employee. Whatever your company does: a gift basket on the desk, company swag, a welcome lunch, etc. Being a part-time employee still means she is fully part of the team!

12 – Share work schedules

Hawkins also emphasizes that one of a new hire’s first orders of business should be having him update his calendar with the days and times he’ll be working. Then, share his schedule with the appropriate people at the company along with a message clarifying his work schedule. Part-time employees’ schedules are more likely to confuse those who work full-time, and keeping track of work days will help all involved.

13 – Don’t underestimate the power of perception

Remember that perception influences employee engagement. By making a new PT employee’s first day as special as a typical full-time hire’s experience, you’re showing that part-timer he is just as valued as full-time staff members.

14 – Help connect the dots

According to Catherine Schmidt, Consulting Manager at Purple Ink, LLC, employers should make sure their new part-time employees understand and connect with the value and meaning of their work by speaking to others in the company about how their positions impact the organization, clients, or the community. Having meaningful work is a large predictor for retaining an employee and in this low-unemployment job market, it’s important for companies to keep good employees regardless of whether they’re full or part-time.

15 – Plan for the potential future

Additionally, JoDee Curtis, the owner of Purple Ink, LLC, cautions organizations to note that even though these individuals work part-time, it doesn’t mean they only need to hear “part” of the orientation. It’s likely that most everything will pertain to them…and what doesn’t (e.g. certain benefits) might be good for them to learn in case they decide to go full-time within the organization down the road.

16 – Introduce employees in similar situations

Especially if you work for a larger employer, make a point to introduce new part-timers to others who may have a similar work schedule early in their employment.

17 – Paint the picture for existing employees, too

Discuss the do’s and don’t’s associated with being part-time, especially for individuals transitioning from full-time positions to part-time roles. It’s easy to place a lot of emphasis on hiring brand new part-time hires, but we can’t forget to address the dynamics associated with existing staff members who reduce hours to adapt to changing life circumstances.

18 – Show and tell

Plan sessions that allow new part-time hires a means to “reverse train” a few weeks into their employment tenure. This gives them the opportunity to share with the manager what they’ve learned and reinforce understanding.

With some thoughtful consideration of how you might incorporate some of the above tips, you’ll be on the right track to welcoming and retaining your part-time employees!

Download ExactHire's Employee Onboarding Checklist

How Cloud Computing Has Revolutionized the HR Industry

The cloud has had an incredible impact on business operations in today’s modern economic environment, and Millennials, who represent half of the working population and could represent three in every four workers by 2020, are at the forefront of the cloud computing revolution.

HR is one area of business that is seeing the need for change with a focus on integrating technology at its core. In fact, up until the end of October 2016, there were 350 investment deals worth just under $2 billion in HR technology companies according to CB Insights.

This highlights how investors see value in technology to help HR departments adjust to a new working environment and improve business operations.

So how has the cloud revolutionized the HR industry?

Access to Big Data

The biggest benefit to all businesses, whether big or small, is improved access to big data. The more data a company can access, the better it will be at predicting future trends and adapting to new situations.

With the cloud, not only does big data become more accessible, it can be delivered in real time, no matter how large the organization. This means that your business can be more responsive in crises and minimize damage caused by incidences.

For one example, big data can show when employees aren’t performing as expected. These employees can then be assigned more training. Big data can also identify poorly performing teams so business leaders can be informed and action taken to discover the barriers to success and then processes implemented to reform their performance.

Big data can also be used to help with the recruitment process. Most candidates will have similar traits that can be quantified, and using big data can help hiring managers and HR departments to identify key candidates with the potential to succeed within the organization.

Better Introductions to the Company

Research highlights that a candidate can take months to reach full productivity and be integrated into a corporate culture, and the later you start the process, the longer you have to wait. Michael Watkins, in an article on the Harvard Business Review website, discusses how research has shown that employees typically add value after six months in the job.

However, there are ways to shorten the employee onboarding process and this is where the cloud can support your efforts. As soon as a job offer has been made and accepted, an email invitation can be sent to the candidate’s personal address from an employee onboarding software platform. This email will invite the candidate to create a profile and provide information that will auto-populate to online forms and documents that may be signed and approved electronically, as well as tee up training materials and courses for the candidate to complete before starting.

Therefore, when new hires begin work in your organization, you have a chance to integrate them immediately into the team and get them started – no wasting time by having them complete and read information they could do at home.

More Streamlined Work Spaces

One of the major issues with HR departments has been their reliance on having to keep notes, paperwork, and copies of documents nearby. All those filing cabinets take up a lot of room, and HR workstations can get messy. Not only does it look unprofessional, it also poses a significant risk of data loss or theft as well as office inefficiencies.

The cloud has removed a lot of that hassle. With digital documents stored in the cloud, there is no need for filing cabinets. Work can be done on the computer with little need for the printing of documents. Work spaces remain clear, and this better organization can help create a positive mood within an office, increasing productivity, and improving the image of HR departments.

Also, human resources processes that used to take up a significant amount of time are reduced to mere moments. After all, bringing up the right document to work on through a cloud system using a search function is a lot quicker than an employee leaving her desk, going to a file cabinet (in a locked room), searching for the file (which may be missing) and then going back to her desk.

Mistakes can also be picked up and rectified a lot more quickly with cloud computing. When you had paperwork to check, it could take hours to find a mistake and correct it. With a cloud computer system, documents can be brought up and checked in seconds or mistakes avoided with the right custom hiring software installed.

HR Departments Can Contribute More

HR professionals in the United States are experiencing above average job satisfaction. While only 38% of US employees are very satisfied with their job, 45% of HR professionals are happy with their current job and organization.

One of the reasons for this is that they feel they can contribute more to the strategic business decisions and add value to the company. In fact, in the report by SHRM, the job satisfaction deal breaker for many HR professionals was knowing if they were adding value or not. When HR professionals are performing more administrative tasks, there is less satisfaction in their work.

The cloud can, therefore, help HR departments to do the same volume of administrative tasks in less time so they may shift their focus to help business leaders with their strategic goals for the organization. They can be part of the shaping of the future of the company and support its growth.

Conclusion

HR is often seen as a cost center for business, but it should be a department that adds true value to an organization. In the past, it was hampered by paperwork clogging up desks and administrative tasks that took hours to complete.

Now the cloud system is providing HR professionals with more time, enabling them to contribute more to the success of their organizations, and helping them to become part of the strategic drive to grow the company and attain corporate goals.

 

Move Onboarding to the Cloud!

Eliminate paper shuffling, promote accuracy and legibility and get time back in your day. Curious? Use our price calculator to see how affordable our onboarding software could be for your organization today.


Image credit: Clouds CC by 2.0 by Daniel Boyd (contact)

5 Ways a Cloud Based Solution Saves Time and Eliminates HR Paper Trail Nightmares

Anybody who has spent anytime filing and shuffling through paperwork knows the nightmare that it entails.  For human resources professionals, this nightmare is compounded by the requirements that employment compliance regulations place on maintaining personnel files and documenting activity and personnel actions.  This leads to extra labor, costs and time-consuming activities for human resources departments.

Today’s human resources functions are trying to break the mold of the traditional administrative arms that are squirreled away in the corners of headquarters buildings around every corporation.  True HR business partners need to be out front where people and managers are. They need to be visible. To truly be effective, today’s HR professionals need to focus on transformational activities and not transactional activities. This requires getting out of the nightmare of paperwork.

1 – Elimination of Filing Paperwork

The primary benefit of any cloud-based human resources technology is not having to print countless sheets of paper which then need to be filed meticulously.  Most HR departments have a very structured filing system comprised of personal information, performance records, benefits enrollments, payroll and tax information, and United States work authorization.  Additionally, some employers may have files for training records, education and other qualification information.  Printing and filing all these documents can be cumbersome.  

Employees spend precious time updating information and signing and completing documents.  A high quality employee onboarding cloud solution will allow you to store standard employment paperwork and forms as well as provide parsing ability for new hire information.  This means, the information entered into one initial form by new employees will auto-populate to various new hire forms and documents.  No more repetitive entering of addresses, phone numbers, birth dates, etc. on multiple forms.  

Paperwork completed via the cloud can also be electronically signed and confirmed as well.  This eliminates the need for faxing, scanning, emailing, mailing and/or requiring an employee to be physically present to turn in paperwork to the corporate office.  Most systems will safeguard and protect the privacy of the information as well–if not don’t partner with them!

2 – Easy Recall of Information

So once all that legacy information is put into a file, what do you do with it?  Some of this paperwork is for compliance and record keeping requirements.  However, employment documents having to do with performance, education, training and other similar information are useful.  Managers may want to reference, an employee may want to reference and HR will definitely want to reference them.

A standard cloud-based solution will allow you to quickly reference this information via a reporting interface or dashboard. You will also be able to report on it to identify trends and data points for the entire organization, an individual department or a group of employees.  If you relied on paper files for this task, you would have to manually go through personnel files, pull the required documents and manually aggregate the data.

What is the ultimate benefit?  The ultimate benefit is that this information will actually be used for what it is intended.  The danger of a paper filing system is that the information goes into files and then never gets referenced or used because it has to be requested, then analyzed, then provided–and probably dusted off in the process.  Cloud-based systems put this information right at the decision maker’s finger tips. 

3 – Bulk Transactions for New Employee Records

In many situations, human resources staff may find themselves needing to make multiple changes to multiple employee records at the same time.  A traditional paper filing system would require access to all files to manually make the changes for all employees, and then all the new paperwork would have to be refiled.  Think about the time involved with that tedious task!  Alternatively, if all employee files are cloud-based, the processor could make one change and have it apply to multiple employees at the same time.

Setting up your new employees in different divisions, groups, etc. within a cloud system will allow fast changes to the groups of new hires you choose.  The changes will be applied across all employees you’ve selected, and once processed, their records updated.  There will be no further need to print and file paperwork as it’s all stored in the cloud.

4 – Connectivity of Systems

Many of today’s HR cloud solutions are integrated or can be integrated.  This means different vendors of different software applications can pass data back and forth.  The advantage of this for HR professionals lies with the ability to push information from one system to another.  This greatly reduces duplicate entry into multiple systems.  Most vendors of HR software do not provide a solution for every HR need, so if they can talk to each other through the cloud it is much, much better. For example, our HireCentric applicant tracking system integrates with our employee onboarding software.

5 – Self-Service

The days of the form library outside the human resources wing are long gone.  Cloud services allow employees to update information from anywhere at anytime.  In many cases, even from their smart phones.  Likewise, HR representatives can review, approve and process these information updates with ease.  The connectivity of systems described above also lets this information reach multiple platforms and vendors with a single update from the employee and/or administrator.

The advantages a cloud based system can provide are limitless in how they can help reduce time, improve efficiency and reduce human resources labor costs.  As an added benefit, new employees are more satisfied with their onboarding experience as they don’t have to make a trip to the HR department during business hours to fill out forms just to submit their basic information.  When selecting a cloud based system, make sure it provides you the analytics and recall of information you need.  And, make sure it is user-friendly with a great user interface; otherwise, your employees won’t use it.

Ready to Make Your Onboarding Nightmares Go Away?

Automate and improve your new hire onboarding process. Contact ExactHire to schedule a live demo of our onboarding software solution today.

Portfolio Items