Revolutionizing onboarding, with or without new technologies

As you may have noticed, the onboarding process is The HR project on everyone’s lips. Often underestimated in the business world, it plays a crucial role in talent development and retention. It’s the bridge between recruitment and sustainable employee productivity. According to our HR mini-diagnostic conducted between June and August 2023, 50% of companies considered continuous improvement of this process to be a top priority. It can be implemented as part of a long-term HR interim contract or as part of a structuring mandate.

In this article, which follows on from my summary of the Grand Rendez-Vous RH Manufacturier, we’ll explore the latest trends in onboarding and integration, with or without the integration of new technologies, and see how Iceberg Management’s expertise can help you realize your ambitions.

A reminder of the basics: what is a onboarding process?

The onboarding process is much more than just a formality. It’s a series of strategic steps designed to familiarize new employees with the company, its culture, values and expectations. After the important staffing process, it’s the first step towards building a positive employee experience and a sense of belonging. In addition to our HR mini-diagnostic results, the recurrence of this theme at recent business conferences shows that companies are currently focusing on updating this important process.

The benefits of integrating new technologies

The integration of new technologies is revolutionizing the employee onboarding process, offering innovative solutions to enhance efficiency, personalization and the overall experience. Here’s how new technologies can be leveraged to optimize this costly but crucial process:

1.             Digitizing the employee handbook:

Instead of traditional PDF employee manuals, digitization allows you to create dynamic, always up-to-date manuals. An external consultant can propose integrated solutions that link these manuals to interactive tables of contents, providing new employees with a living, easily accessible resource.

2.             Using chatbots for live questions:

A smart addition to the interactive employee handbook is the integration of a chatbot. These virtual assistants can answer new employees’ questions in real time. They offer instant assistance and respite to often busy managers and HR advisors. Are you already using a chatbot to conduct the first interview?

3.             Real-time skills inventory:

Platforms such as 365 Talents© provide a real-time inventory of the skills available within the company. This technology facilitates talent management and work organization, enabling managers to quickly understand available resources and align them with business needs.

4.             Automated e-mail templates:

Using Genially© to create automated e-mail templates would transform communication with new employees. Whether it’s to send welcome emails or specific instructions to be followed, this technological solution ensures constant communication, improving the employee experience from the moment they arrive.

5.             Training videos using avatars:

Using artificial intelligence to create training videos offers considerable advantages. Once the content is simply scripted, production costs are significantly lower than with traditional studio production. What’s more, the use of avatars makes it possible to quickly update often evolving content. Tools such as Synthesia© can be used to create these engaging and informative training capsules.

In short, integrating new technologies into the onboarding process offers considerable efficiency benefits for both employees and internal managers. Of course, it is not uncommon for projects to cost more than estimated, or for the benefits to be delayed. The right choice of supplier, good project management and upstream process review, using lean management methods, can avoid exorbitant non-quality costs. Iceberg Management positions itself as a strategic partner to facilitate this technological transition by aligning its solutions with the specific needs of each company. The Iceberg Management team itself has digitized its onboarding process, adding Recruit and People modules to its Zoho One information system. In other words, we’ve got the user experience, and we’ve lived it in the field!

Improvements that do NOT require the integration of new technologies

Are you too chilled by a previous inconclusive technology integration experience? Let’s let that sink in. Because while the integration of new technologies offers innovative solutions, significant improvements can also be achieved without the use of these advanced tools. These approaches to improvement still focus on simplification, customization and the quest for operational efficiency.

1.             Reducing unnecessary steps :

Onboarding processes are often cluttered with superfluous steps or duplication of informative activities. By identifying and eliminating these unnecessary steps, companies can significantly accelerate the new employee experience. A lean process ensures fluidity, avoiding the information overload that can hinder learners’ rapid assimilation.

2.             Calculating the turnover rate of new employees :

Isolating the turnover rate of employees with less than a year’s experience provides specific and valuable information. This allows us to measure the effectiveness of the integration process by evaluating the retention of new employees. This data can guide the necessary adjustments that will serve to strengthen the retention of new talent.

3.             Creating dedicated cohorts:

The idea of grouping new starters into dedicated cohorts offers several advantages. It facilitates the creation of a supportive environment, where new employees can share experiences and help each other. This is often as simple as delaying the start date by a week or two and inviting all new recruits to attend. Some companies dedicate one day a month to welcoming new employees. By measuring the conversion rates of probationers into permanent employees, the company can assess the effectiveness of its induction process.

4.             Matching HR advisors with managers:

Close collaboration between HR professionals and managers is essential. By orchestrating a rotation of roles for a short period of time, HR advisors and managers gain a much deeper understanding of each other’s role. It’s a formative experience, allowing HR professionals to grasp operational challenges in the field, and enabling managers to better understand the imperatives of the HR function.

5.             Training managers in best practices:

When was the last time you trained on this topic? Probably “too long ago”. Indeed, companies often opt for training on what’s new, rather than refresher courses on seemingly well-mastered subjects. Beware of biodegradable skills! To optimize the onboarding process, it is imperative to train managers in best practices. This training should focus in particular on understanding the expectations of new employees, managing diverse teams and creating an inclusive and motivating environment.

6.             Measuring employee experience through diversity:

Diversity in recruitment is crucial. It is all the more important to measure the experience of employees from minority groups, compared with the experience of new employees from the majority group. This can be done through surveys, group discussions and astonishment reports, helping to ensure fair and inclusive integration.

7.             Focus groups, surveys and surprise reports:

Creating forums where managers and new employees can share their challenges and successes fosters open communication. These focus groups provide a platform for continuous improvement by identifying opportunities for adjustment and celebrating successful practices. The voice of employees is a crucial indicator of the effectiveness of the integration process. Implementing surveys, surprise reports or other feedback tools gives employees the opportunity to express their perspectives, contributing to the ongoing optimization of the process.

8. Partnerships with specialized firms: Establishing partnerships with external experts, such as firms specializing in expatriate relocation, or certifying training organizations providing recognition of experiential learning to obtain recognized diplomas, fully enriches the integration process. These partners bring strong added value and enhance the employer brand, clearly distinguishing the company from its competitors.

As you can see, not all of these proposed improvements require investment in advanced technologies or a digital shift. However, a simple reading of these options will reveal their effectiveness in retaining and improving the performance of new talent.

Working with Iceberg Management?

Working with external consultants like the Iceberg Management team offers a myriad of advantages. Indeed, project management expertise, data collection, clear deployment of new tools and training of managers on best practices are all aspects covered by our services. The benefits even extend to change management, knowledge of the latest market trends, and pilot projects prior to company-wide roll-out. In short, onboarding is one of the pillars of a company’s success. Whether you opt to integrate new technologies or not, we can be your ideal partner to support you in this transformation towards excellence. Let’s not forget that the employee experience, organizational culture and sense of belonging are the foundations of a successful business. Investing in an exceptional on boarding process, with or without the implementation of new technologies, is the key to staying competitive in today’s ever-changing business world.


Julie Tardif

Sales Director, Co-founder & Partner

Approved speaker and trainer

Human resources consultant

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