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Digital onboarding: pros and cons

With the advent of digital technology, more and more companies are opting to digitalise HR departements, including the recruitment and onboarding of new employees. With this in mind, we invite you to take a look at the digitisation of the onboarding process, and find out about the advantages and disadvantages, as well as the limitations, of using digital technology in your company’s HR functions.

digital onboarding pros and cons

What is digital onboarding?

Onboarding is the process of integrating new employees in a company or organisation. It consists of a series of key steps (presentation of the company and its culture, meeting the members of the team, tour of the premises, installation at the workstation, etc.) enabling new employees to adapt and familiarise more easily with their new working environment.

However, since the global health crisis of COVID-19, most companies have had to reorganise their HR departments, moving from traditional onboarding to virtual onboarding, with a view to minimising recruitment and integration functions.

The emergence of digital technology has made the transition all the easier by providing the tools needed to ensure that the onboarding process runs smoothly for new recruits. From video-conferencing software to task-tracking solutions and electronic signature tools, the onboarding process is constantly evolving.

Digitalising onboarding: what are the pros and cons?

Digitising the onboarding process for a new recruit offers the company a number of benefits:

Saving time and reducing costs

A digital induction process for new employees saves precious time.

The rise of digital technologies offers recruiters the opportunity to automate certain tasks in the induction process to make the work of the HR team easier: presenting the organisation, sending administrative documents, collecting personal information using a form, online training, etc.

As well as saving a considerable amount of time, having a digital onboarding process also enables companies to make significant financial savings, which can then be reinvested in other areas essential to the smooth running of the business (ADS advertising, content creation, etc.).

A reduction in administrative errors

By implementing digital HR procedures, you can reduce the number of administrative errors that can occur by using a fully automated system (data management platform, electronic forms, etc.). This eliminates the need for repetitive, redundant, and time-consuming manual tasks, which are often the cause of errors.

What’s more, the use of digital tools in the process of integrating candidates means that exchanges and the collection and transmission of information are much more fluid. In the event of unforeseen circumstances, HR managers have more room for maneuver to intervene and find a solution tailored to the problem.

Finally, digital onboarding solutions enable information to be centralised in a single place, making it easily accessible to all those involved in the company (employees, manager, HR managers, etc.).

Better monitoring of the induction process for new employees

LMS (Learning Management System) solutions are particularly effective tools to monitor quickly and easily the progress of a new recruit’s induction. Thanks to these tools, managers can have real-time access to the tasks assigned to the new employee, the current training schedule and feedback from supervisors.

Moreover, employers will be able to assess the performance of new recruits effectively and objectively. In the event of any difficulties or shortcomings, they will be able to readjust their strategy by putting in place concrete actions to help the applicant progress and thus enable the company to achieve its objectives with peace of mind.

However, while there are many advantages to a digital onboarding process for new employees, there are also some disadvantages to consider, including:

The lack of human interaction and the risk of dehumanisation

Digital technology is a formidable ally, enabling employers to save time and money, as well as offering innovative, fun and immersive induction programmes using artificial intelligence and virtual or augmented reality.

However, certain employee profiles can feel isolated or excluded if the company’s communication strategy is not up to scratch. So it’s particularly important to strike the right balance between digitalization and human interaction, so that new recruits don’t get the impression that the company is looking primarily for profitability rather than well-being.

To do this, you can opt for a hybrid approach to induction, to offer a more complete and balanced experience. Some stages of the process could, for example, be carried out remotely (interview, administrative formalities, theoretical training, etc.), while others could be organised face-to-face (visit to the premises, team-building activities, business lunch, practical training, etc.).

Hacking or technical failure of the computer system

The main danger of going all digital lies in the risk of a major technical failure in the IT system (breakdown, software crash, etc.), which could slow down the integration process for the new recruit.

In the digital age, computer hacking is commonplace. In the event of malicious acts, your employees’ sensitive and confidential information, such as their national insurance number, bank details, postal address or medical data, can be compromised, leading to their demise.

Companies need to be aware of the potential risks and be vigilant in implementing strict security measures, as well as regularly backing up their databases to minimise the risk of disruption to the IT system.

Significant human and material investment

Implementing a digital onboarding process requires varying degrees of human and material investment. To begin with, the company needs to invest in high-quality hardware, plus the appropriate software, tools and licences.

In addition, if you do not have the knowledge or skills required to install, set up or configure the IT system, you may need to call in a third party, which may involve additional financial costs.

Secondly, training the team in the new recruitment and integration procedures can be tedious. In fact, despite the development of digital technology, not all profiles feel comfortable using IT tools. According to a study by Infopro Digital Études, 38% of companies believe that a lack of resources and skills is a barrier to the digitalisation of HR processes.

That’s why it’s important for companies to plan training sessions for their teams to explain the usefulness, operation and challenges of using digital tools.

The limits of using digital technology in the induction process for new employees

The world is changing at breakneck speed, fuelled by the emergence of new digital technologies that are forcing companies to constantly readjust their strategy in order to remain competitive and effective.

Nevertheless, although the use of digital technology can be beneficial in the process of recruiting and integrating new employees into the company, it is essential to realise that technology remains first and foremost an assistance tool, and that it should in no way replace the human touch. The overall aim is to simplify the entire HR procedure, to save time and improve efficiency, and at the same time to offer the new recruit a dynamic and positive induction experience.

In addition, the use of digital technology must be delimited within a well-defined framework in order to combat over-digitalisation, which can have harmful effects on the company (lack of communication, dependence on technology, loss of creativity or thinking skills, reduced ability to solve problems, etc.) as well as altering the corporate culture.

Employers therefore need to strike the right balance between digital technology and human interaction. By adopting this type of approach, companies can not only benefit from the advantages offered by these tools, but also strengthen their employer brand in the eyes of their employees. These days, candidates are more receptive to investing in a company where well-being takes precedence over profitability.