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If you listen to the news or are active on social media, you’ve almost certainly heard some onboarding and offboarding horror stories.
From new hires blindly shuffling through document stacks on their first day to vengeful former employees compromising company data, there’s no shortage of disasters that can ensue from poor onboarding and offboarding practices.
Although “people work” can be messy and the remote/hybrid workplace has made it even messier, there are tactics to make it easier.
If you’re looking to make your onboarding and offboarding processes more secure, seamless, and enjoyable, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we talk through four tips and tricks to help HR professionals and company leadership improve these processes.
One of the biggest mistakes company HR departments make is failing to collaborate with IT when onboarding and offboarding employees. Your IT department knows the ins and outs of secure technology practices and should play a huge part in both processes.
Aside from providing employees with the hardware, software, and setup assistance they need to get up and running, IT should play an active role in training new hires in best security practices during onboarding.
Consider scheduling a first-day security training session where all new hires receive detailed instructions on password security and company data management among other essential topics related to security.
The IT department should also play an internal role in the offboarding process. Departing employees can pose a liability to your organisation if they aren’t properly deprovisioned. With the help of your IT team, be sure to:
Your incoming and departing employees’ input is valuable. After all, they are experiencing your organisation’s processes firsthand and forming very valid opinions about them.
Try not to steamroll ahead without taking their feedback into consideration — your employees (and your future self) will thank you.
If possible, designate a manager or a member of the HR department to conduct daily check-ins with your new hire as they’re onboarding. If you don’t have the capacity for this level of attention, send them checkpoint surveys asking how the process is going and requesting their feedback.
This feedback can be used to improve the onboarding process for future employees.
Feedback collection is equally important during offboarding. Exit interviews are a great way to learn what you could have done better for the departing employee. This, in turn, informs how you can do better for your workforce at large.
Exit interviews will also help to gauge how volatile a departing employee is — you’ll want to pay attention to any feelings of resentment that they may hold toward management or the company. You know what they say: sticks and stones may break my bones, but a disgruntled employee’s tweet lasts forever 😜
Automation is great — it cuts down the time and money needed to complete a process, nipping inefficiency in the bud. That said, you should be choosy about what you automate. Over-automating can take the human touch out of certain processes, making your organisation feel cold and uninviting. It also creates room for error when used poorly (e.g. Hi NAME, instead of Hi Gary,)
When onboarding, the document signing process is a great example of an area that should be automated. There’s no reason to still be giving new hires physical paperwork and having an employee manually record it.
However, you should avoid automating the entire training process. While some lessons can be made more efficient through automation (e.g. an online course with pre-recorded videos), if you automate everything you run the risk of disengaging new hires and making it less likely that they’ll retain important information.
Likewise, during offboarding it’s not a bad idea to automate the process of erasing company data from the departing employee’s devices. Manually deleting all files could be tedious when done by hand.
The exit interview, however, should probably be conducted by the employee’s superior. This allows for pointed, personalised questions to be asked rather than generic ones.
As excited as you may be to get your new employee up and running (or your former employee replaced), onboarding and offboarding should never be rushed.
These processes are the first and last experiences your employees have at your organisation, and they play a huge role in employee perception. If a new hire doesn’t feel equipped to succeed, your likelihood for turnover skyrockets.
Likewise, if your deprovisioning process is sloppy at best, your organisation will likely be left vulnerable to data breaches among other reputational and financial threats.
If a new employee takes a little longer than expected to operate at full speed, or perhaps a departing employee requires more time and attention to be deprovisioned, don’t panic. Take your time, as the extra hours that go into these processes will ultimately improve your employee’s lifetime value at your company.
If you extracted something helpful from the above tips and are looking for more resources to enhance your onboarding and offboarding processes, download the checklists below, courtesy of Secureframe.
Luke Strauss is a content creator at Siege Media. His passion for digital marketing and creative writing has led him to cover topics within a variety of industries, from business and cybersecurity to lifestyle. When he’s not writing he enjoys making music, traveling, and spending time with his friends and family.
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