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.

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.

Turnover High? Go Paperless With Your HR.

You know all that paperwork you have your new hires fill out? You know all those forms you have to keep updated and accessible in a shared drive or file somewhere? You know all that communication you have to do with managers when forms change, are added or deleted? Yeah..all that stuff. Not only is it a pain in the butt (especially if you’re in a high turnover industry), but most of it is not needed.  Want to go paperless with your HR–read on.

HR departments are notorious for collecting oodles of information that they don’t need and will never use. They sit in personnel files as documentation in the event of an audit. Managers rarely reference them and HR puts all the information into some sort of database anyways.

Simplify your life, the life of your HR department and the lives of your employees. If you are in a high turnover industry, you especially need to streamline this process. High turnover industries typically see turnover in the first two weeks to 90 days. Just think of all that paperwork you have to manage for someone that may only stick around for a few weeks–and if you’re lucky a few months.

Today’s typical hiring and employee onboarding processes can be challenging for employers. New hires and HR professionals often spend valuable hours completing forms and various tasks. These hours come with a dollar figure. On top of that figure is the expense of paper and ink, which for just a single new hire is staggering.

Luckily there are some steps you can take to reduce the HR workload and paperwork requirements. Warning…the information below should not be taken as legal advice. HR managers should always check with legal counsel before making any substantial changes to policies and practices. Employers with government contracts should take extra precautions to ensure they are compliant with their obligations.

Where to Start

Cut back to just the basics.  For most employers there are only three forms that you actually need filled out. A federal W4 form (and the corresponding state form) for tax purposes, the I-9 form for work authorization, and the voluntary EEO information (assuming you employ 100 or more employees). Really all three of these forms will have all the information you need to pay, contact and authorize the employee to work.  If you’re not sure what this is, the form is pretty self-explanatory and you can check it out for yourself. You can populate whatever database you have with the information on these forms. However, this still includes filling out forms and collecting them.

For a small investment you can collect and manage this information and more electronically. When considering a year’s worth of new hires, many businesses are hemorrhaging money through the inefficient use of materials and time. Until recently, this has been the cost of doing business. But today’s paperless HR solutions offer better alternatives. Luckily ATS software, employee onboarding software and HRIS systems are readily available for all budgets and sizes.  Cost can typically be justified by eliminating a clerical HR position since you won’t have to take information from one source and input it into another.

There are some considerations you want to make in selecting a paperless HR solution. Since your goal is to eliminate transactional duties, you’ll want to select a system that will actually do this. ExactHire’s paperless onboarding system does exactly this.

Consider Integrated Solutions

When evaluating integrated HR software solutions you want to make sure they will actually reduce your transactional tasks. A solution that allows information to flow from an applicant tracking system, to an electronic onboarding process, and possibly even to an HRIS may be the best fit for some organizations. Some systems will even feed information electronically to benefits providers and state agencies further reducing transactional duties. Consider whether your organization will have other integration needs, as well, such as e-Verify during the onboarding process.

When you’re hiring lots of employees in a high turnover environment, you need the ability to onboard them fast and collect the information you need. You also need a compliant solution to offboard them quickly and effectively.

Look for Employee Self-Service Features

A strong self-service function within an HRIS will allow employees to make changes to information such as contact information, payroll information, benefits elections for qualifying events and other administrative functions. All these transactions will be queued for an HR associate to verify before processing.  Don’t confuse this with paperwork! You still want a trained eye to audit for errors and compliance. You never want employees to directly change information in systems without someone else taking a look at it.

The user experience or interface should be intuitive, easy and effective. These are administrative tasks employees don’t want to bother with either so the better the interface the better the results will be. Allow them to access their information electronically and print if needed. Eliminate the burden of requests for pay stubs, benefits summaries and other common documents that employees typically request and need access to right away.  If you can find a solution with a mobile interface, even better.

Documentation and Reporting

You won’t be eliminating paperwork if you have to print everything and file it. Select an employee onboarding solution that allows for electronically signed documents, storage of those documents and easy recovery of those documents–you’ll want to be able to print them in the event of litigation or a regulatory audit.  Most integrated systems will allow you to generate correctly formatted reports for things such as EEO-1 reports and other regulatory requirements. Be sure to select a system workflow that will meet your common and ad-hoc reporting needs.

Benefits of Paperless HR in High Turnover Situations

In high turnover industries an employee may actually quit before you are able to process all the paperwork. With a paperless process you can carry information from workflow stage to workflow stage. By the time the employee starts you will have most of the information you need to pay them, file taxes, report them to your state as a new employee and get them a W-2 at the end of the year. This is information you don’t want to be tracking down or chasing on forms once an employee has left the company.


Want to go paperless? Contact ExactHire to learn how our paperless HR solutions can help.


Photo Credit:  cocoparisienne

Why Uptime Is Important

Uptime is a term used to describe how long a system remains functional and accessible. Uptime is enjoyable–you get what you expect when you want it. Downtime is the opposite–you don’t get what you expect when you want it.

In the first days of PokemonGo, many users were aghast to find their new pastime–at once hip and nerdy–was inaccessible due to its mass popularity. The servers couldn’t handle the traffic. And so for four hours PokemonGo hipnerds suffered through downtime.

Now this is excusable for a new release that encounters unexpected popularity. In fact, the downtime probably helped PokemonGo…

Brah 1: “Brah, PokemonGo is sooo populah that it broke the servers, brah.”
Brah 2: “Whahh, brah? What’s PokemahGah? I’m gahna download it, brah.”
Brah 1: “Dooo it, brah!”

That’s all fine and good for an app meant to distract and entertain the masses, but you and your HR brahs don’t want downtime when working with hiring software. You want your software to meet your expectations when you need it. Downtime is not acceptable.

Uptime For HR Software

HR Software vendors aren’t dealing with millions of round-the-clock users obsessed with the fun and competition of hiring talent. Recruiters don’t have to “catch ‘em all”, they just need to catch the right ones for the right positions. So maintaining uptime for users shouldn’t be such a huge challenge. But curiously enough, for some, it is.

When HR professionals contact ExactHire about our applicant tracking system or employee onboarding software, they ask a lot of questions. And right they should, as an informed buyer more often than not results in a happy customer. However, one question that is rarely asked is something like, “So what can I expect in terms of this solution’s uptime and downtime?”

You see, even a buyer who asks all the right feature and benefit related questions–and gets all the right answers–will find herself beyond disappointed if that well-vetted solution is constantly crashing or inaccessible. Frequent downtime means HR cannot access information on applicants, cannot communicate, and is essentially dead in the water. This is the risk of going with HR technology that looks pretty and works well, but frequently fails to work at all.

This is not to say that a solution should not have any downtime. In fact, it’s often necessary to schedule downtime in order to perform system maintenance and updates–that’s the beauty of SaaS solutions, you are constantly receiving the best that the vendor can offer in features and functionality. The problem, however, is that many vendors do not always schedule their downtime.

The HR Software Vendor’s Role

Unscheduled downtime is likely the result of one or two things:

  • A lazy/careless/ungrateful vendor
  • Inadequacies in vendor hardware or software

Oh, and maybe an earthquake or another Act of God, but that’s understandable. God has his own rules.

It’s probably safe to say that most organizations don’t want to do business with a lazy/careless/ungrateful vendor. And they certainly don’t want to invest in inadequate software that runs on questionable hardware. So why do HR professionals fail to ask about uptime and downtime when it comes to making a buying decision?

I think it goes back to expectation. We expect that 100% uptime is a given. Even though we all have gone through the annoyance (rage?) of losing a cell phone signal or dropping the stream from the season finale of Game of Thrones right when Cersei Lannister is prepared to exact her revenge on the High Sparrow and the House of Tyrell!

Ah the rage! And yet, we still expect 100% uptime.

100% HR Software Uptime

Fortunately, striving for 100% uptime is not a fool’s errand. By employing competent software developers and using stable hardware, vendors can go a long way toward ensuring 100% uptime. And when maintenance or updates are required, a proactive support team that notifies users of upcoming downtime is a must. Lastly, when those competent software developers are also committed to user satisfaction, updates and maintenance can often be planned for weekends or evenings in order to avoid downtime that negatively impacts users.

At ExactHire, our goal is to continually fulfill the expectations of our clients. Maximizing the uptime of our solutions is vital to this. In addition to our professional, committed staff in software development and client support, we utilize multiple servers and real-time data replication to provide system redundancy, limiting downtime. And when downtime is required, we’ll schedule it and you’ll know about it–but you probably won’t notice it.

So if you are currently researching HR solutions, check us out. And as you look at other vendors ask them about uptime and look for signs that backup their claims. You’ll be a better informed buyer and, ultimately, a happier customer.

Now excuse me. I’ve got some Pokemon to catch.

Feature Image Credit: pokemon-go-crash-189560 by Nintendo (contact)

Payroll Service Bureaus – Are Clients a Flight Risk? [Infographic]

Payroll service outsourcing is nothing new regardless of whether you look at large employers, or organizations that fall within the small- to medium-sized business (SMB) space. However, advances in other human resources-related technologies in recent years have, for the first time, enabled increasing numbers of smaller businesses to automate administrative tasks related to recruiting, employee onboarding, the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), background checking and reference checking. And, to do so for a reasonable price.

This presents a challenge to independent payroll providers because larger, national payroll organizations are packaging these additional HR services into a single solution and luring existing clients and prospects away from regionally-focused, independent payroll service bureaus. Want to identify the warning signs that suggest your clients may seek payroll services elsewhere? Check out the infographic below and learn how to spot the red flags that your customers may be a flight risk.

(Click here to enlarge)


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HR Software Provider Partnership Guide

How Can Payroll Service Providers Protect Market Share?

If you’re a small- or mid-sized payroll service bureau, then you are under siege. It’s not a surprise assault, but rather a slow, stealthy adversary that creeps into your market, much like an ominous freighter on the sea’s horizon. You can see it coming, but have no control over its course and the subsequent impact on your own existence. In fact, your only hope is to proactively launch a counter attack and build up your own clients’ and prospects’ resistance to the wares it is peddling.

So who is your antagonist in this nefarious, naval metaphor?  If you don’t already know, then you will soon, as it’s inevitable that the larger national payroll providers (e.g. ADP, Paychex, Ceridian, Paycom and Paylocity) will begin to make waves in your pond. But they aren’t your only potential foe, as recent newbie market disruptors such as Zenefits, Namely and Gusto (formerly ZenPayroll) carry a new kind of threat as well.

In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at how your competition is leveraging its strengths to recede your market share. Then, later on in this blog series we’ll examine your opportunities for positioning your business as an attractive alternative to the creeping payroll software providers.

National Payroll Provider Creeper AlertBeware of the Creepers

Of course your competitors aren’t as dangerous as the “creepers” in the video game of Minecraft; however, you don’t want to launch an offensive while unarmed, lest they explode any hopes you have of saving and then gaining new clients. Here’s how you start to sense their presence…perhaps you are a well-respected, service-oriented regional provider that makes sure its customers are more than just one number among many. In fact, your payroll software solution is quite robust and can outperform the payroll functionality of your publicly-traded competitors. Everything is working out well in your market until you start to get creeper-inspired emails like the one below.

Hi Toby,
I hope this message finds you well! I wanted to let you know that in the next month or so, our organization will begin transitioning to a new payroll software platform. Your firm has served us very well to date, but as we look ahead with more aggressive HR department goals, we’re looking for ways to optimize our internal resources, including implementing a system that is designed to bring additional features outside of basic payroll services.

If you are interested in learning more about the specifics of our decision to transition to a new system, I am happy to share more. Again, it’s been a pleasure working with your team over the last few years and we wish you all continued success.

Thanks for your help.

That’s what the email actually said, but perhaps all you glean in your moment of frustration is something like this.

Hi Toby,
Your services aren’t keeping up with the “holistic HR” times, so we need to move to a modern solution that will. You’re great to work with, but not so great that we’ll skip out on the chance to run our HR department more efficiently. Sorry ‘bout ya!

President of the Creeper Fan Club

If you’re still not convinced that your customers are susceptible to the subtle onslaught of new opportunities presented by enterprise-level platforms, then consider the comments noted in the transcripts for Q2 2016 earning calls for both ADP and Paychex.

“In the second quarter, we continued to see very strong demand for our solutions, which is evidenced by our new business bookings growth of 15%. Sales of additional human capital management modules that assist with the Affordable Care Act or ACA compliance continue to contribute meaningfully to this performance, which has exceeded our expectations on a year-to-date basis. As a result, we are now forecasting new business bookings growth of at least 12% for FY16.” Carlos Rodriguez, President and CEO of ADP

“We made good progress across all major product lines during the second quarter. Compared to second quarter of last year, payroll revenue advanced 4% as a result of growth in client base and revenue per check. HRS revenue grew at double-digit rates in the second quarter once again led by our success in selling HR outsourcing solutions to our clients, and total service revenue grew 7%.” Martin Mucci, President and CEO of Paychex

While the above comments encapsulate just one recent quarter’s performance, at a minimum they should spike your adrenaline a bit if it isn’t already pumping. If the major payroll players are seeing notable success in endeavors outside of their original core payroll services, then it’s a certainty that they will continue to pursue them aggressively.

The Lure of Having Features Beyond Plain Ol’ Payroll Software

The economies of scale available to large national software providers have given them the ability to expand their offerings into other verticals complementary to payroll. And while you don’t care if they sell their top of the line platform to Fortune 1000 companies, you do need to be aware of how small business-focused sales teams are luring your local clients away. Here are two tactics involved.

Insurance, PEO and ASO Services

Think about the huge customer lists of the “big boy” providers, coupled with the vast internal resources available. They can train and certify employees to offer additional services, as well as to develop add-on HR systems that complement their payroll application. With staff available to offer insurance benefits and a built-in warm lead flow of clients, it’s no surprise that companies like ADP and Paychex are succeeding in up-selling insurance to existing clients to then fund their efforts to convert new customers by poaching from your pool.

They take it a step further to make a ripple in the small- and medium-sized business (SMB) space, as well, by offering PEO (Professional Employer Organization) and ASO (Administrative Services Organization) services to alleviate the stress felt by companies that are strapped when it comes to internal HR resources. In fact, ADP’s PEO business, ADP TotalSource, is the largest PEO in the United States according to its Q2 2016 earnings call transcript.

You may not want to go near the PEO business with a ten-foot pole; however, you do want to keep your SMB clients from switching their payroll business to a large competitor. However, if that competitor makes the rest of your client’s HR duties easy and all you are bringing to the table is payroll, then you are fighting an uphill battle. Your competitors have the money and resources to make their entire HR services platform top of mind for your clients.

Free HR Software

If I told your clients that I had human resources management software that they could have for free, what would they say? Some might be reluctant because there’s no such thing as a free lunch. However in the case of how Zenefits and Gusto are disrupting the insurance and benefits space, the client would learn that these organizations get paid by becoming the broker of record when they sell insurance to the client. The commission on these transactions more than makes up for the cost associated with giving their clients “lite” HR software for free. It’s no surprise they’ve captured a lion’s share of new customers in the few years since their entrance.

And while Zenefits, in particular, has been momentarily tarnished by the major compliance faux pas of eluding some states’ regulatory requirements for insurance sales, it will likely bounce back as it continues to be supported by major VC money and a new CEO. Plus, rival Gusto has gallivanted into the market without skipping a beat on a similar go-to-market model.

Go With Your Flow, Don’t Fight Against the Tide

It’s not very productive to battle the current that is bringing major competitors into your space, as you can’t control their approach. However, you do have options for bringing additional HR efficiency to your clients and their organizations.

Stay tuned for more details on those opportunities in the next blog in this series. Or, if you can’t wait, contact ExactHire to learn how your payroll service provider organization can partner with us to bring enhanced hiring and onboarding software functionality to your customer base.

HR Software Provider Partnership Guide

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North Shore Trip – August 2015 – MV American Integrity at Sunrise by pmarkham (contact)

Tiny Creeper Statue by post-apocalyptic research institute (contact)


Back-To-School Lessons For Software Implementation

Here in Central Indiana it finally feels like summer has started– it is hot and humid. But for many, summer is quickly coming to an end. School starts next week, and there is plenty to do in preparation.

This year, I thought about how gearing up for the school year is similar to HR software implementation in a business environment. They can both be overwhelming and stressful, but with a good plan of attack they don’t have to be that way.

Back-To-School – A Self-Guided Exercise

The sheer amount of “Back-to-School” things that need to be addressed can seem endless. I organize all the to-do’s myself and take it one step at a time for each child and their respective school. A typical “Back-to-School” list would look something like this:

  • Make sure the enrollment forms are all in.
  • Include those vaccination records from the doctors
  • Submit the 23 versions of Emergency Contact forms.
  • Buy school supplies–those on the long list and little extras like locker mirrors.
  • Purchase new school clothes–why can’t they all have uniforms?
  • Plan after-school care and busing schedules.
  • Calendar parent-teacher nights and PTO meetings.

And that is just a short list! As you can imagine, preparing for a new school year is mostly a self-guided exercise. Yes, you are given all the resources to succeed, but it is up to you to plan, organize, implement.

Luckily, with software, there are guides to support your company on its path to successful implementation.

ExactHire HR Software Implementation – Guided Practice

An HR software implementation guide, or plan, allows for you to focus on setup and implementation tasks as they become necessary. This ensures that your implementation is as efficient as possible. However, many times, organizations’ attempts at implementation are bogged down when various co-workers take vacations or address other important projects and deadlines. Does this mean that implementation must be put on hold ?

I can’t speak for all the HR Software companies out there, but here at ExactHire we know you have a lot going on at work. And we work with you to provide a schedule that is manageable and flexible. We want to ensure that you only bite off as much as you can chew–and no more.

Orientation and Guidance

While most organizations are excited to quickly get moving on new software platforms, there is a lot of setup work to do. We guide you in with “kid-gloves”. Our proven system allows you to focus on tasks that require your immediate attention, while giving you time to get acquainted with the new platform. This is all done in a way that allows you to fully process the information and make corrections to your system before going live.

Of course, some might not want new software in their life, and we get that perspective too. Are they scared of change? Maybe. Think about the first day of high school…I bet that feels rather similar to adopting new software. They might wonder what will happen in a new environment.

“Will I like it? Will it be easy? Will I have help?”

With ExactHire the answer is ‘yes’ to all of those concerns. We are the “Freshman Orientation” for HR software implementation and the “Guidance Center” for ongoing support. Our team will guide you through the various items needed to setup your system, and we are here to answer your questions and concerns as they arise in a timely and friendly manner.

So enjoy the last days of your summer break, and rest easy knowing that a change in seasons (or software) will be better than you can imagine if you have a good plan of attack.

ExactHire provides Human Resource technology to help HR professionals recruit, hire, and retain top talent for their organizations. To learn how your organization can create efficiencies with our solutions, contact us today!

Feature Image Credit: 244.365 – September 1, 2010 by Thor(contact)

How to Make a Business Case for Onboarding Process Improvement

You know it’s time to do something better with your employee onboarding process. Your HR-intuition is on full alert after spotting the tell tale signs: high employee turnover; low workforce morale; lagging time to productivity statistics; and perhaps even lengthening time to fill trends for open positions.

But is your boss convinced that the new hire onboarding pain is palpable enough yet? As a person charged with human resources activities within your organization, it is your job to convince upper management that they need to care about this process and take action. To do so, you must make a business case for onboarding process improvement…and it starts with a discussion on how change can make the company more profitable.

Focus on KPIs that impact business outcomes

Key performance indicators for any organization are always tied to people. So, to help connect the dots between profitability and your plans for employee onboarding nirvana, you’ll need to identify and track the onboarding-related metrics that will most impact business outcomes. This means moving from a conversation that was once focused only on efficiencies gained or staff time saved…to one that illuminates the direct impact those efficiencies can have on your organization’s revenue growth and profitability.

In addition to your trusty turnover and time to productivity metrics, introduce ratios such as revenue per employee and profit per employee to the discussion with senior management. The latter metrics are more easily tracked and benchmarked, and more clearly affect the bottom line…a factor that will cause ownership to take notice when a process improvement effort can move that needle.

Next, paint the picture on how those business outcomes can be positively changed as the result of onboarding process re-engineering:

  • Automating the management of onboarding process tasks using employee onboarding software makes it easier for new employees and onboarding process stakeholders to address administrative items quickly and correctly
  • Allowing employees and managers to electronically sign and approve completed forms (vs. paper statutory forms and organizational documents) from any web-based device requires fewer HR business partners to be involved in document review in the instance of an organization with multiple branches/offices.
  • Leveraging automatic email notifications for onboarding process task reminders allows the human resources team to focus on the more strategic process elements such as culture assimilation, training excellence, fostering a sound mentoring program, and continuous analysis of new hire feedback…even with a potentially greater number of new employees and/or stakeholders involved in the process
  • Focusing more effort and enabling all stakeholders to spend more time with new employees leads to retaining teammates…teammates who are excited to be a part of the organization as a result of the attention, assistance and expectations offered in a revamped onboarding process
  • Engaged employees are likely to become productive more quickly, stay with your company longer and be better performers
  • This domino effect improves your customer satisfaction statistics, reduces operating costs, improves business output, and drives more revenue per employee in part due to the use of technology to automate the more tactical aspects of the process

Record benchmarks for current levels

During the process of identifying which quantitative KPIs are critical to your company’s success, be sure and note their current levels so that benchmarks may be established and compared against future metrics. Only by doing this will you be able to realize the extent to which your ongoing onboarding process improvements have an impact on business outcomes.

Meet with other process stakeholders to determine, in advance, where KPIs will be collected and reported; as well as, who is responsible for monitoring them, and how often.

To increase awareness of your re-engineering efforts, and to illustrate the importance of this endeavor with the rest of your organization, consider making highly visible dashboards available…either via a web-based portal/Intranet and/or in frequently-trafficked areas of your office(s). The added benefit of this approach is that it further commits all stakeholders to staying accountable to the goal for onboarding improvement. There’s no hiding from the onboarding scoreboard!

Organize your findings

Set yourself up for success when making your request for support and resources to senior management. By now you will have identified which KPIs will resonate with ownership, but also remember that your best approach is to come to management with a solution…not just a problem that needs fixing because a bunch of numbers are looking scary.

Think about the types of activities that will result in positive outcome change for your business. A helpful exercise is to organize potential items in a SWOT (Strengths – Weaknesses – Opportunities – Threats) four-square grid. This format helps to flesh out which items are the most critical objectives…as upon completing the grid, items that are truly top priorities are often redundantly referenced across more than one of the four squares. Additionally, a SWOT can help demonstrate that you are thinking outside the change’s impact on your department, and more broadly at an organizational level.

Grab your bullhorn and spread the word

In addition to presenting the raw numbers and proposed action steps to company ownership, it’s important to garner support from peers within the organization, as well. While you will need the head honchos to wave the green flag, it’s vitally important to make your peers aware of the forthcoming change effort, as well. The more you can engage them to offer feedback on how the process might work more effectively, the better your chances of future business outcomes being positively impacted. After all, you will continue to rely on these stakeholders to buy-in to the change so they are willing to help you execute the plan moving forward.

Do focus groups and/or surveys with existing employees for insight on what works or doesn’t work with your current employee onboarding process. Solicit feedback (and also communicate future progress) via many different avenues:

  • internal company newsletter
  • email
  • social media (particularly if you wish to also include feedback from your vendors and/or customers)
  • word of mouth
  • periodic company and/or department meetings
  • company dashboards/intranet

Stay the course

Approval for significant onboarding process improvement may not happen overnight in your organization, but continuing to speak the language of senior management will at least keep the lines of communication open (while you continue to amass data that supports your cause) and improve your perceived value to the organization (icing on the cake).

ExactHire’s employee onboarding software makes the otherwise tedious administrative activities involved with hiring new employees paperless and painless. For more information about our software application, please visit our resources section, try our pricing estimator tool and/or contact us today.

Image credit: Photographers expand horizons in 2010 Army Digital Photography Contest 110311 by familymwr (contact)

Time-Saving Strategies for Employee Onboarding

“I need more hours in the day to get everything done,” is something I used to constantly think. For Human Resources professionals, this thought often comes to mind during the onboarding phase of a new hire. There is so much to do, and so little time to do it.

The only way to get more hours in a day is to shed current “time-consumer” activities or to sleep less–and let’s be clear, my sleep hours are protected like Fort Knox. That leaves shedding current time-consumers, and even that doesn’t seem like a logical solution because those things still need to get done. So what’s the solution?

You need to have a strategy for approaching your work and optimizing your time. My two favorite time-saving strategies are called “One Touch” and the “4 D’s”.

One Touch

The One Touch strategy is something that most frequently applies to paperwork. It’s a way to cut through clutter. When you encounter a piece of paper, your goal is to touch it once. I like to think about it like my mailbox: when I get an item, I either toss it into the trash before entering the house, put the mail in the “to be paid” tray, or take action on it immediately. Same thing can be said for the papers that land on my desk or in my inbox.


Most people consider “4D’s” and “One Touch” the same strategy, but whichever strategy works for you, and whatever you would like to call it is a-okay by me. Here are the 4D’s:

  1. Do it. These are typically important and urgent items with short-term deadlines. Take care of it and mark it DONE. Think of someone who brings you a completed I-9. That’s a “Do It” task.
  2. Dump it. These items are unnecessary clutter and unimportant. Think of sales fliers for items your company will not partake or purchase. Take that to the trash.
  3. Delegate it. If someone else possesses the skill set to handle an item, pass that item on. Think of an IT competency questionnaire that will result in the IT department training a new employee. Delegate the submission and scheduling of the IT training directly to the IT department.
  4. Defer it. This is an item that you need to do, no one else can do it, and the deadline is not soon. Make sure that by deferring an item, you do not become a bottleneck in the process. Think of a new hire that submits an apparel form, but you only order new hire apparel once a month. You defer this item until the regularly scheduled moment.

To help manage your employee onboarding process a bit better, implement one of the above strategies. Whichever strategy you choose will be better than none at all. For extra assistance in implementing these strategies, consider investing in technology as part of your total time-saving solution. Onboarding Software can help with workflow and reminders, and it will require fewer touches of virtual pieces of paper.


ExactHire works with small- and medium-sized organizations to help them leverage technology in hiring. For more information about our employee onboarding software, try our pricing estimator and/or schedule a live demo with us today.

Image credit: Clock on East Montague by North Charleston (contact)

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