Human Resources

Employee Onboarding Automation: The Complete Guide

Published on April 12, 2022 • Updated on June 7, 2022 • About 7 min. read

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If you’ve ever welcomed a promising new employee to your company only to have them resign unexpectedly early, then you’ll know how important it is to get things right during the process of onboarding.

20% of employee turnover occurs within the first 45 days of employment, according to a study by Talmundo. So automated employee onboarding is a huge win when it comes to keeping new hires engaged and making those first few weeks as efficient as possible.

Laure Saintpierre, Employee Experience Team Lead at Livestorm, has plenty of experience with automating onboarding workflows. With her expert advice, we’ve compiled a new employee onboarding guide to help you get started.

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How to Onboard Remote Employees
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How to Onboard Remote Employees

Read this handbook on remote employee onboarding to learn how to source, hire, and onboard remote employees.

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What is automated employee onboarding?

Automated employee onboarding is a method of engaging and training new staff members using digital tools to schedule key events in advance.

Onboarding automation reduces manual tasks, like sending a message or setting up an online meeting, which instead become triggered when the employee completes certain steps.

New Livestorm employees are automatically sent a welcome message after they sign their contract.

What are the benefits and challenges of onboarding automation?

If you’re not accustomed to automated onboarding workflows, you probably have some questions about how it works.

It’s true that there are some challenges to employee onboarding automation but there are lots of benefits too. And Laure’s tips will help you overcome the tricky parts.

Challenges of automated employee onboarding

  • Getting investment. Not only do you need time to set up your new onboarding system, but you need skills too. So be prepared to invest resources into training on new tools and getting your automations set up.
  • Standardizing everything. Before you can automate employee onboarding for your business, you need to standardize the core onboarding steps across departments. If you don’t, automating all those different onboarding processes will be more complicated than it’s worth.
  • Keeping it personal. New employees shouldn’t feel like scheduled emails have replaced real-time interactions with their team. But there are ways to automate employee onboarding without sacrificing human connection (more on this later).
  • Measuring success. If you don’t get much face-to-face contact with a new employee, it can be tricky to measure the success of the onboarding process. Most new hires don’t want to cause a fuss by complaining.

According to a study by Talmundo, 42% of employees don’t feel supported in their first week of work. That’s pretty inexcusable. At Livestorm, our Employee Experience team is focused on making sure our employees (we call them Stormies!) are looked after from the moment they sign a contract.

At Livestorm we automate the onboarding process because it allows us more time to focus on the human aspect,” says Laure. “Most people tell me that they felt like everyone they met was really nice and available. It’s about creating time for them to feel part of the company.”

Benefits of automated employee onboarding

  • Save time for your hiring team. It takes time to get set up, but the pay-off is long-term because automated employee onboarding steps mean you’ll spend less time on admin tasks.
  • Get streamlined. Digital tools that integrate with each other (like Zapier and Slack) will help you streamline processes across different systems, which means simple processes and less room for errors.
  • Focus on employee wellbeing. You’ll have more time to spare for face-to-face meetings to support new employees. And the employee onboarding experience will be less stressful for them and your hiring team, as each crucial step will happen automatically.
  • Avoid information overload. You can stagger your onboarding steps to deliver key information at the right time. Your employees will be grateful for the space to learn new people, processes, and systems without getting overwhelmed.
  • Showcase your company culture. Employee onboarding automation gives you a chance to demonstrate all the different tools and systems used by the business, showcasing your ability to adopt modern, efficient tools and workflows.
  • Increase engagement. Only 20% of the world’s employees feel engaged at work, according to Gallup. A seamless onboarding process will increase engagement straightway, as new hires will have more time to focus on getting familiar with their new role and company culture.
How to Onboard Remote Employees
How to onboard remote employees ebook cover
Ebook Ebooks

How to Onboard Remote Employees

Read this handbook on remote employee onboarding to learn how to source, hire, and onboard remote employees.

Read more

How to automate employee onboarding

Whether onboarding interns or remote employees, everyone gets the same great employee onboarding experience at Livestorm. We use Zapier to automate everything from pre-boarding to progress reviews.

Zapier isn’t specifically designed as automated onboarding software, but it’s super fast and efficient for automating all types of workflows. Every Zapier automation has a starting point ( a “trigger”) that launches the workflow. Each step connects different apps and services together (this is called a “Zap”).

Zapier integrates with commonly used apps to automate your workflows. Image source: https://www.bl.ink/blog/blink-zapier/

Below, you’ll see which tools the Livestorm team uses with Zapier to automate the employee onboarding process. You’ll also find tips from Laure on how to set up comprehensive onboarding automation, starting with pre-boarding.

Phase One: Pre-boarding

“Onboarding doesn’t start the day they join the company,” says Laure. “We start onboarding from the day they accept the offer until the day they feel completely comfortable in the role, which could be around one month later.

Pre-boarding is one of the most important steps in your HR onboarding automation. Here’s what to include:

  1. Send a questionnaire

Use questionnaires to capture important details for the employee contract (and a few fun details for introductions later!). Set up your Zapier workflow to automatically deliver the questionnaire to your new hire via Gmail the day they accept the job offer.

  1. Create contractual documents

At Livestorm, we use Juro to auto-fill key contractual documents with details like name, address, start date, and position. Juro documents can be signed electronically, so there’s no need to waste time or resources on printing hard copies.

  1. Send a welcome message

Once the contract is signed, this should trigger an automatic email to welcome your new employee, confirm their start date, and tell them when to expect further information. The welcome message should arrive no later than a week before their first day.

You’ll need

  • Zapier to set up your workflow automations
  • Gmail to deliver questionnaires and contractual documents to the new hire
  • Juro to write administrative documents and capture electronic signatures
An example of an automated pre-boarding workflow used at Livestorm.

Phase Two: Introductions

Phase two is all about breaking the ice for your new colleagues and establishing a human connection to make them feel supported. Here’s how onboarding process automation can help:

  1. Make a general announcement

On your new hire’s first day, your onboarding workflow should include a teamwide announcement on your preferred communication channel. At Livestorm, we ask new Stormies to share fun facts like their favorite food is and which Hogwarts house they belong to. This is how we introduce them to the company on Slack.

Livestorm introduces new employees with fun personal facts on Slack.
  1. Coordinate face-to-face meetings

In Laure’s experience, it’s best to book at least one face-to-face meeting during an employee’s first week. This is especially important for digital onboarding because remote employees won’t naturally meet new colleagues in person.

A video engagement platform like Livestorm can help you host 1:1 meetings remotely and send automatic meeting reminders.

You’ll need

  • Slack to communicate internally
  • Livestorm for meeting remotely via video call

Phase Three: Discovery

The first 2-4 weeks of any role should be dedicated to familiarizing your new employee with their core responsibilities as well as the tools and systems they’ll use. Here’s how to automate it:

  1. Introduce the mission

Introduce employees to their “mission” by setting up automated to-do lists on Asana. You can easily share to-do lists and automate time-consuming admin tasks on Asana to make sure employees know exactly what’s expected of them.

  1. Give the low-down

Schedule automated webinar training sessions and give employees access to relevant pre-recorded materials on-demand.

For example, if you offer product demos for new customers, why not record one using automatic recordings on a video conferencing platform like Livestorm? Add the link to a task on Asana to make sure it gets watched.

You’ll need:

  • Asana for shared to-do lists
  • Livestorm recordings for asynchronous training
Livestorm uses Asana to schedule tasks and share to-do lists. Image source: https://asana.com/product/automation

Phase Four: Review

48% of HR professionals believe onboarding should continue past the first month of employment, according to Talmundo. “In one month, you can get comfortable with around 80% of your mission,” Laure agrees. “After that, it’s good to go more in detail at review stages.”

Your new employee onboarding guide should include one or more review stages to take place after six to eight weeks. Include these steps:

  1. Get feedback

Laure meets every new Stormie for 30 minutes to understand if onboarding is going well, gauge their happiness, and see which onboarding steps can be improved. For example, after carrying out onboarding reviews, Livestorm recently implemented a buddy system to help employees feel more supported during their first weeks.

Pro tip: face-to-face meetings are important for employee wellbeing but Laure advises also scheduling an automatic follow-up message with an anonymous feedback survey to give employees a space to speak more honestly.

  1. Set goals

A review stage is a great place to check understanding and refocus your employee’s intentions. Ask them to complete a self-assessment and use their responses to generate a list of goals for the next quarter.

Pro tip: at Livestorm, we also use Notion to document notes, actions, and outcomes to chart everyone’s progress.

You’ll need:

  • Typeform questionnaire for gathering feedback
  • Notion to document everything

The verdict? Automate everything for the best employee onboarding experience

In all her experience at Livestorm, Laure’s number one tip for employee onboarding is: automate everything.

Automated employee onboarding will create slicker processes, reduce admin time, and improve employee wellbeing. Your whole team will be grateful for more streamlined to-do lists and automatic checkpoints to guide new employees through the onboarding (and offboarding) process.

That said, automated processes should never come at the cost of human connections. You should use your video conferencing platform to schedule regular face-to-face check-ins with new staff throughout their first six to eight weeks to help them feel supported and keep them engaged with their mission.

How to Onboard Remote Employees
How to onboard remote employees ebook cover
Ebook Ebooks

How to Onboard Remote Employees

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