Paper Airplane

When a new hire joins your organization, there are always some concerns. Current employees wonder how the new hire is going to impact their work and team culture. Managers are concerned about how quickly the new hire can get up to full productivity. The talent acquisition team members want to ensure they made a good hire who will stay with the company long enough to make an impact.

But managers, HR pros, and fellow employees must also consider whether the company is making a good first impression on the new hire.

Traditional onboarding practices rarely leave a positive impression on new employees. No employee wants to sit alone in a room on their first day, filling out stacks of paperwork and left to their own devices when it comes time to find the lunch room (or the bathroom).

Fortunately, in today’s world, onboarding doesn’t have to be the boring, arduous process it once was. You can get your employee up to speed and contributing to your organization faster and more easily with paperless onboarding.

Here are four ways in which paperless onboarding can deliver value to your company and your new employees:

1. Retain More Employees

According to a SHRM/Globoforce survey, 46 percent of HR pros say retention is a top workforce management concern, yet many of these same professionals resist the switch to digital onboarding. They fear that a digital onboarding system will make the process too cold, robotic, or impersonal.

The opposite is actually true: Online onboarding makes the process much more personal. Because digital onboarding takes less time, the new hire can spend their first few days interacting with new teammates and integrating into the company culture. In these critical first days, managers and team members really get to know and care about a new hire. This translates to better retention: The stronger a new hire’s relationships are at work, the more likely they are to stick around.

2. Save Money

Every business cares about its bottom line — and by some estimates, turnover costs the US economy $11 billion a year.

A good portion of this money comes from traditional onboarding. Every time you onboard a new employee, it costs money. Managers and new employees spend time on the onboarding practice rather than on productive, revenue-generating work. The materials themselves cost money, too. Paper, staples, and pens don’t seem like much, but the costs can quickly build up over time.

In addition, the increased employee retention that results from the switch to onboarding software saves a massive amount of money. According to Lattice CEO Jack Altman, who is paraphrasing Deloitte’s Josh Bersin, “the cost of losing an employee can range from tens of thousands of dollars to 1.5–2.0 times the employee’s annual salary.” And that’s just one employee!

3. Improve Productivity

Which scenario would you prefer: Your new employee spends their first few days filling out paperwork and leafing through binders without really retaining anything, or your new employee spends a few hours completing paperwork and has the rest of the week to learn the ropes of their position and get to know their team?

The sooner your new hire gets down to doing actual work, the sooner they reach optimal productivity. By using an onboarding software, you can also impact the productivity of your training managers, your HR team, and the many employees who interact with the new hire during their first few weeks. Plus, locating the new hire paperwork you need is so much easier when it is all stored in a secure online portal instead of a file cabinet.

4. Help Employees Develop

The best way to nurture your new employees is to set attainable goals and conduct frequent reviews.

A perfect way to ensure new employees progress quickly to full productivity is to help them set goals that are SMART — specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Check in on your new hire’s progress with 30-, 60-, and 90-day reviews to help them stay on the path toward achieving their goals.

A version of this article originally appeared on the ClearCompany blog.

Sara Pollock is head of the marketing department at ClearCompany.

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