The first few days at a new job should be exciting and scary, kind of like doing the tango. Instead, it's often spent learning the Human Resources shuffle, a dance involving your hands, lots of paperwork, and quick trots between administrative offices. Often, paperwork takes all day to complete. That's an automatic enthusiasm-dampener. It doesn't have to be this way. Here's what hiring managers can do to expedite this process, improve productivity, and, as a bonus, even increase employee retention: digital onboarding.

Digital onboarding replaces the traditional onboarding paperwork process with technology. Documents such as offer letters, I-9s, W-4s, and employee handbooks can be issued and electronically signed online.

After looking at thousands of new hires from Workpop's hiring platform, we learned that when companies utilize digital onboarding, over 65 percent of new hires electronically signed their new-hire documents within a day of receiving them, while 90 percent completed the process by the end of one week.

Here's why digital onboarding can be financially rewarding: the documents can be signed at the employee's leisure, even prior to the first day of employment, instead of having to spend all or part of the first shift doing it.

The fact is, if you're company isn't already using digital onboarding, you're losing money and wasting time. After all, digital onboarding is one of the top technology investments companies can make today.

Here's why it's important.

Close the deal

One of the major benefits of using digital onboarding is that it helps close the deal between candidates and the company faster. It keeps continual communication open during the transition and leads to a more positive candidate experience. Digital onboarding begins building employee engagement while still in the hiring process, which greatly improves the experience and perspective of employees.

Increase productivity

According to the 2016 Talent Board North American Candidate Experience Research report, when digital onboarding is used in the hiring stage, new employees are more productive within their first few weeks of work. This sets the stage for the rest of the employees' tenure at the company and gives them a great head start.

Improve employee retention

Employee retention is influenced by numerous things, and one of them is the onboarding experience. And since nearly one-fourth of new hires move on within a year, being able to retain employees is integral during the onboarding process. The more positive feelings employees have about their start at a company, the longer they're likely to stay with that company.

Impact your company's success

In the long run, replacing pen and paper with digital onboarding can have huge impacts on your business success. The more positive feelings employees have about the process, the happier those employees are going to be in their jobs and with the company. And happy employees are more productive, take less sick time, and generally more satisfied with their careers. This is a significant contributing factor to a company's success and reputation.

Implementation can make or break it

When you're ready to implement digital onboarding at your company, it's important to be strategic, not just about the paperwork but about the new hire onboarding process overall. Today's job candidates want responsiveness, not chaos, and how you introduce or present the onboarding process can make or break its success.

Ensure new hires have all the necessary forms for compliance and their particular job duties, so they can hit the ground running on day one. It's easy to do this with digital onboarding, since all the forms are stored in the onboarding platform, so you simply need to select the appropriate ones for that particular hire to receive. Onboarding should also include a level of socialization during the first week, helping new hires meet co-workers and become submersed in the workplace culture.

Have managers continually check in with employees to ensure these things are happening effectively throughout the first year. According to the 2016 Talent Board report, it takes up to eight months for a new hire to reach full potential and your company's onboarding process should last similarly as long.

As the hiring manager, it's also your job to ask for feedback. Talk to new hires to find out from these new employees what's working with your current onboarding process and what's not. Ask what could make it better. By knowing the company is taking new hires' opinions and experiences into account, it builds better relationships and makes employees feel like valued members of the team.

Published on: Mar 15, 2017