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
- 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)