In a rapidly growing company, two things are certain: employees will come and employees will go. 

As your team welcomes new talent and bids adieu to those who are moving on in their careers, onboarding and offboarding processes provide an employee with both the first taste of your company and culture as well as make a lasting impression on their final days in your organization. 

While the tasks associated with onboarding and offboarding may seem like a never-ending checklist centered around paperwork and compliance, research shows that a smooth onboarding process contributes to a variety of factors outside of just an employees ability to ramp up quickly. Studies by Glassdoor and Gallup found that while 88% of organizations don’t onboard well, a smooth onboarding process results in higher employee retention and productivity. 

What can you do to help foster higher employee engagement rates? Consider inserting automation into your processes. 

A revolving door of employees creates a huge amount of work for your HR team, and automation can help streamline the processes that take time and energy. Automation can increase your team’s efficiency, reduce errors by taking confusing processes out of human hands, and give employees a chance to forgo manual work for more fulfilling tasks. 

Here are 7 onboarding and offboarding automations for you to consider to enhance the employee experience and give your HR team some much-needed space to work on other value-driving projects. 

Onboarding automation to improve employee experience 

1. Get your new hire’s documents signed 

With printer sales on the decline, there’s a good chance your team has already transitioned from paper-and-ink contracts to using an online service to get important documents signed. 

While removing the hassle of physically printing documents will save your team a lot of time (and resources, like paper and pricy ink), take this a step further and automate the send of important employee documents like a direct deposit form, W-9, background check authorization, or NDA before the employee’s first day. 

2. Help IT manage provisioning more smoothly

Asana’s Anatomy of Work Index 2021 states that on average, people toggle between 10 apps 25 times per day to do their work. Whether your new hire needs access to 5 applications or 20, they will likely need access to several new apps. 

Adopting a user provisioning tool can make the provisioning process simpler and more secure for IT and help them get your hires access faster. 

Sagar Joshi, writer at peer-to-peer software review site G2, notes that automated account provisioning “streamline[s] user account creation and regulate[s] rights, making it easier for the IT administrator to manage their organization’s identity and access management program.”

This type of solution can not only help with onboarding new hires, but can also help IT manage the rest of the employee’s application rights throughout their time at the company. 

3. Make you new hire’s welcome special 

Onboarding can be hectic for your new employee: new environment, new tasks, new faces, new processes! 

Since the first couple of days are bound to be stressful, consider ways you can show your new hire that they are valued. 

From company-branded jackets to desk plants or baseball caps, giving your new hire a little something to show that you’re excited to have them on the team can go a long way during onboarding. Get creative! You could set up an automation that places an order for company swag on the new hire’s first day. My Recruitment Plus even highlights a story where when new hires finish their onboarding documents, the personalization process for a custom company mug automatically begins. 

4. Use API integration to reduce manual input 

If your HR team is uploading the same new hire information into several different systems, you may want to look to API integration. 

API integration allows applications to connect to one another via their APIs (application programming interface) and share data more seamlessly. If you wanted to host similar information in multiple applications, this is a good way to keep all of your systems in sync and also gives HR back the time they would need to spend manually updating information across platforms. 

To make your onboarding process smoother, it could be useful to set up an API integration between your payroll platform and HRIS. If you decide to go this route, be sure to keep data security top of mind. Secure API keys to protect your employees’ personal information, and to take this a step further, restrict the IP addresses that have access to the API key. 

Offboarding automation to create a memorable and secure farewell 

5. Remove access to their applications

Earlier we mentioned G2’s recommendation for using a user provisioning tool to get employees the accounts they need and control their access. 

You’re in luck: Those types of tools can also deprovision accounts.

Having a centralized tool and approach can help IT shut down access automatically. This can aid in the efforts to keep your organization secure and reduce IT’s time spent going through and removing app access one by one. It is important to keep security top of mind when developing employee offboarding processes, and this is a great way to prevent unauthorized data sharing or transfers. 

If you’re concerned about employees having admin access to applications that you’re not aware of, consider scheduling a form that goes to your departing employees a week or two before their last day to ask them what applications they use and have access to. If teams are using decentralized apps, this will ensure you have those on your radar as well. 

6. Automatically schedule an exit interview 

While you can’t automate every step of the offboarding process, consider making HR’s tasks easier by scheduling an automatic exit interview during the employee’s last week according to information in your HR system. That way HR doesn’t have to go through employee calendars and manually find time—something will automatically be on the books. 

7. Send them a goodbye gift or email 

Make your goodbye as good as your hello. You likely brought out the bells and whistles for your employees on the first day, so let them know how much you appreciated their work on the last.

Set up an automation that gathers goodbye notes via a form or even on an online card platform like Kudoboard from the departing employee’s close collaborators, and schedule the responses or virtual card to go out on the morning of their last day.

You can even automate sending a gift, like a baseball cap or something else they can keep, as a memento of their time at your company. 

A real-world approach 

If you’re still stuck on which onboarding and offboarding tasks to begin automating, take a quick look at what Simon Zelazo, Senior Director, Head of IT and Informatics at Selecta Biosciences, is focusing on: time wasted and reconciliation risk.

“We’ve focused on the automation of processes that are the most time consuming and have the most reconciliation risk. We have a lot of onboarding/offboarding processes where we are more interested in running an automated reconciliation instead of just a pure integration.” Zelazo explains.

The more platforms a company has that store employee information, the more opportunities exist for there to be discrepancies between systems. The manual task of checking for these inconsistencies is tedious and still introduces the opportunity for human error. 

Zelazo found a way to highlight errors between his HRIS and active directory using Workato:

“We have HR records in the HRIS that were somewhat disconnected from our Azure AD records. We built a simple reconciliation between the two systems, showing any variances between the two applications using Workato automation. The benefit here is complete visibility to any variances between the systems, as opposed to purely pushing changes from source to target. Most traditional integrations are a push or a pull—the reconciliation approach is far more robust and auditable.” 

Zelazo used automation to completely rethink this time-consuming process and to ensure that his systems all reflected the same, up-to-date information. “Many systems don’t have a perfect 1-to-1 relationship between records,” Zelazo explains. So the reconciliation approach gives his team “100% visibility into the records in Azure AD that are not ‘backed’ by the HRIS,” like email addresses associated with a shared mailbox or admin account. 

If you’re struggling to decide where to begin with automating your onboarding and offboarding processes, check in with your HR team to see which processes are the most tedious and the most risky. Chances are that’s a great place to start. 

Want to ask your fellow business technology peers about their onboarding and offboarding processes? Request to join the Business Systems Community.

Tayleur Hylton
About Tayleur Hylton

Tayleur is a budding technology enthusiast helping to grow the business systems community.