While many aspects of strategic planning have been put on hold in 2020, we still need to be attracting, recruiting, and retaining key talent. With a disrupted workplace, how do we ensure we’re still giving new employees the best possible onboarding experience? 

First, it’s important to remember why these onboarding processes are so vital for employee retention and engagement. In every aspect of our daily lives first impressions count — and our early experiences of a new job are no different. 

It’s within the first few hours that our anxieties can be eased by warm introductions, or our worst fears are realised if we immediately feel neglected. When these first impressions don’t meet our expectations, even subconsciously, it is only human nature to begin feeling disengaged. 

Building the brand 

Many organisations go to great lengths to talk about their ‘employer brand’, but these brands aren’t just what they say they are on the corporate website. Like consumer brands, employer brands exist in the minds of your employees, and these brands are created by experiences, not by websites or job advertisements. 

Nothing is more damaging to either a consumer or employee brand than the gap between expectations and reality. We often see organisations going to great lengths to paint themselves as ‘innovative’ or ‘inclusive’ in their recruitment material, but they fail to be either on the first day. 

All of us can remember at least one terrible onboarding experience in our career. The endless amounts of paperwork and manuals to read. The lack of a desk, or a chair, or a computer. The complete indifference shown by a manager or HR team.  

While these experiences may seem inconsequential at the time, without an excellent onboarding experience we are taking our new talent for granted when we aren’t trying to impress them on the first day. And this will end up costing your business significantly over time. 

The average cost of recruitment for one new employee is anywhere from $4,000 to $20,000 in some scenarios. Over time, these recruitment costs can add up significantly when we’re letting new employees slip through the cracks because of avoidable onboarding mistakes. 

Make no mistake, whether they say it out loud or not, your new employees are always evaluating their decision to stay or leave. According to one study, more than 80 per cent of new hires decide whether to stay with an organisation within the first six months, regardless of when they eventually leave. 

Redesigning the first day 

Thankfully, we can avoid many of the pitfalls of poor onboarding experiences when we bring in some basic design principles. This is particularly important if we need to onboard a new employee remotely. 

There are a host of digital tools and processes that can be designed around the needs of our employees on day one. As a basic rule, the best processes will be those that remove manual work for both the employee and the manager and enable the employee to be at maximum productivity as soon as possible. 

Remove complexity 

The onboarding process may have been developed over many years with several HR managers each adding their own unique take on requirements. It’s important to check the importance of each piece of paperwork to determine if it’s still essential. The result should be a handful of seamless and intuitive digital forms for the employee to complete.  

Personalise and customise  

If you don’t want your employees to feel like just a number, then it’s important to spot opportunities for personalising the onboarding process. What information, such as their role and manager, can be included in the process so that it feels unique to their needs? Asking them to read documents that don’t relate to their role is a fast way to create disconnection. 

Leverage automation 

Where onboarding experiences can go off the rails is an over-reliance on managers or HR teams to complete each step manually. Managers should be provided with digital checklists and automated notifications as the employee moves through the onboarding process. The onboarding process shouldn’t be stalled because a manager has lost track between steps. 

Matching your employees to the right tools on day one 

Very few roles in today’s world don’t rely on technology in one form or another. Unfortunately, our technology environment is rarely configured to ensure new employees have access to all the devices, tools, and software they need to be at maximum productivity on day one. 

2019 survey found that 38 per cent of IT professionals report it takes between two and four days to get a new employee everything they need to do their job, while 27 per cent say accomplishing this goal can take more than a week. The same study found that 92 per cent of respondents see a clear correlation between onboarding experiences and their overall company satisfaction. 

So, how can technology leaders work with HR teams and hiring managers to ensure each new team member has the right devices and applications to hit the ground running? As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail, so many of the technology allocation tasks should be completed ahead of time in the following steps: 

Profile the employee 

This involves understanding their unique role in terms of where they’ll be working, the tasks being completed on a regular basis, and their needs for travel-ready mobile devices or performance-contingent devices. 

Find the right devices and applications 

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to device procurement, which is why it’s essential to understand your new employee’s needs ahead of time. You can then begin preparing devices with patches and applications before their arrival. 

Ship and test the device


Regardless of the employee’s location, with enough notice, you should be able to deliver a patched and tested device to their location before their first day of work. 


By working with an experienced device procurement partner, many of these tasks can be outsourced, freeing your IT team from a great deal of manual work and ensuring the onboarding process runs smoothly. In many scenarios, organisations realise new value and lower their risks of poor experiences by engaging their technology partner in a managed service for new device procurement and set-up. 

Datacom has been helping organisations throughout New Zealand to adapt to  the new needs of a hybrid workforce. Through our partnership with HP, we offer purpose-built devices that allow your newest team members to be engaged and productive from day one. 

Combining the right devices with Datacom’s range of flexible cloud solutions and managed IT services is the ideal way to create the agility you need to support a hybrid workforce. Get in touch with us today to discuss the solutions your organisation needs for powering a hybrid workforce into the future. 

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