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Employee onboarding has rarely been a smooth process in many firms. Unified communications should be an ideal toolset to help, but not without the right practices in place

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For many organizations, the issue of onboarding new talent can be seen as a necessary evil in helping ensure their respective success as productive staff and team members. It’s a process the average business aims to make as painless as possible.

For IT managers and technology decision makers, leveraging unified communications (UC) tools — including web or videoconferencing, presence and voice — can greatly aid the user provisioning and onboarding process in ensure new staff are as productive as possible.  A recent UCstrategies.com piece noted, however, that the promise of UC as a Service (UCaaS) has been hampered by the often “difficult, time-consuming and expensive” onboarding process involved, particularly once you factor in all the  “legacy handsets, mobile devices, and regulatory requirements” involved.  The research firm recommended that UCaaS vendors should look to “make some dramatic investments in their products and in their channel” in order to ease this process.

It was a July 2013 HC Mag piece that estimated that that 50 per cent of all senior outside hires fail within 18 months on the job.  A 2012 Teksystems survey revealed that a stunning 62 per cent of IT leaders reported the while onboarding programs were “extremely important” to the new hire and retention process, a mere 18 per cent noted that there was a suitable training process or program currently in place.

In a Portland State University whitepaper titled “Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success,” developing a successful onboarding plan involves both technology and process: aligning stakeholder expectations of new talent, explaining how the new employee will meet the needs of the business, and understanding how onboarding can take the organization to the next level.  According to a recent ITworld.com article, the onboarding best practice checklist also includes ensuring all forms and documents are available on the new talent’s first day, educating new hires on the company culture, assigning a mentor or buddy, and setting clear expectations and goals. This involves tailoring the process to the individual and leveraging technology to streamline the process.

And on the UCaaS and networking side of things, it’s about ensuring robust wireless LAN performance, managing the increase in connected devices, and adopting a workable, flexible BYOD policy across the organization. In particular, organization should look to leverage the UCaaS platform to ensure an integrated user experience (via web modules/portals or videoconferencing).  It’s about optimizing the network — boosting uptime, accounting for updated device endpoints — to help improve business agility and to ensure new (and current) staff can succeed.

Indeed, according to Madeline Laurano, Human Capital Management Research Director of Talent Acquisition Solutions for research firm Aberdeen, technology has become a mission-critical component of a successful onboarding strategy.

Today’s organizations are “always talking about it” but are still a bit hazy regarding what constitutes a strong and successful onboarding best practice — even when considering that onboarding has a direct impact on revenue, says Laurano said in a 2011 talent management webinar. Organizations have by and large shifted beyond the one or two day training for new hires towards a more a strategic and ongoing approach. The biggest challenge, Laurano notes, is around building that ROI case and measuring the overall process.

“There is still so much confusion about onboarding and about what the best practices are,” says Laurano. “We all know we need to do a good job — that first impressions count — but really what are the best practices that go along with that. And (also) what are the tools and technologies that you can use to help improve the process.”

Learn more about unified communications by watching the on-demand Webinar, Introducing Allstream Hosted Collaboration Solution

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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