Instead of an alphabetic writing system, the Incan Empire used a series of knotted and colored strings called quipu.
Quipu are still used in South America today, primarily by herders recording livestock numbers, but experts still only have theories about how the actual Incans used their quipu way back. Some believe quipu were simple memory aids, while others point to purely numerical record-keeping. The latest trend is the theory that quipu were on their way to becoming viable alternatives to written language.
Looking at that image, I know what you’re thinking: How could a series of knots ever represent a narrative about anything?
To be fair, though, the ancient world had a lot of weird record-keeping methods. You’ve probably encountered the Celts’ Ogham alphabet, Viking runes, and the Egyptians’ hieroglyphs – because scholars have been able to figure out what those symbols mean – but there are still many – like the quipu – we don’t quite understand.
For the most part (we think), these cultures followed a predominantly oral tradition, which is why we don’t have any documents explaining their languages. Even the Romans – who loved to write things down – left us a language (Latin) we don’t actually know how to pronounce. All because no one thought about documenting their systems in a universally understandable way that would stand the test of time.
Now, hopefully, your internal onboarding processes aren’t at risk due to your CEO’s sibling overthrowing their rule or violent colonization by an invading force, but if your organization’s employee onboarding isn’t a documented process anyone could use, it’s about as useful to your company as an Incan quipu is to a 21st-century New Yorker.
HR has gone through so many changes in the past few years that it’s not even called HR anymore. The same old systems that have worked just fine up to now just aren’t going to cut it anymore. People managers need dynamic, interactive processes that are flexible enough to meet the ever-changing needs of both their future new hires and their current workforce.
In this Process Street post, I’m going to show you how to easily level up your employee onboarding so it doesn’t become yet another antiquated system no one remembers how to use.
- Old-school employee onboarding mistakes
- Welcome to the
HRPeople Management revolution
- Next-generation employee onboarding automation
Old-school employee onboarding mistakes
88% of employees say that their organization sucks at onboarding. One-third of that 88% points to inconsistent processes as the number one downfall. Some companies are so bad at onboarding that 20% of their new hires wouldn’t recommend their company as an employer just because of their onboarding experience.
You don’t want to be one of those, do you?
I get where you’re coming from, though. You have a system set up that’s worked so far. You ended up here looking for some quick tips to get more organized, not upend the whole thing.
Maybe your company is scaling up and you’re looking at onboarding a few dozen employees all at once. Maybe you’ve inherited a legacy system and have no idea what logic it runs on. Maybe you’re desperately looking for an alternative to convince your boss that the current methods are just awful and irredeemable.
You have your reasons. But completely revolutionizing the way things are done? That sounds complicated, risky, and a little scary.
The truth is, it doesn’t have to be any of those things. Optimizing your employee onboarding process is an investment in the future: Your new hires’ experience will improve, your experience will improve, and your company will enjoy the benefits of a properly onboarded and thoroughly prepared workforce.
But my employee onboarding spreadsheets really do work!
Do they, really?
Think about it. What is it those spreadsheets actually do for you?
Now, I love a good spreadsheet as much as the next person, but even I have to face facts: Spreadsheets are static repositories of information that totally rely on the phalanges-power of a real, live human to stay up-to-date.
All your spreadsheets, documents, and emails:
- Are scattered all over different inboxes, computers, and (more and more often) completed asynchronously across different time zones and countries.
- And, as a result, very easy to lose track of. How many times have you had an email accidentally end up in spam?
- Don’t provide a clear chain of ownership over individual tasks – or even the onboarding process as a whole.
- Offer zero automation. How much time do you spend chasing up this form or that form? Don’t you deserve a little automation in your life?
Of course you do.
“Don’t work harder. Work smarter.” – Vinay Patankar, CEO Process Street
Well, what about using an HRM platform to manage employee onboarding?
HRM platforms are great… For HRM. And sure – they all have some sort of basic, plug and play onboarding function included.
You know the problem with that? It’s a basic, plug and play onboarding function and your new hires are anything but basic or plug and play.
Every company is unique, which means that every company’s onboarding process is unique. Not only that, but every department and team within your company is going to have different needs, processes, and requirements for their onboarding workflows.
Your average pre-packaged HRM platform can’t give you that. But you don’t have to be a full-stack engineer to create the solution your company needs.
Welcome to the
HR People Management revolution
Process management is ubiquitous. You do it all the time, probably without even thinking about it. That said, there is good process management and not-so-good process management.
Using an effective process management platform makes all the difference. Here at Process Street, we build our processes around workflows.
I’ll walk through a specific example in the next section, but the TL;DR of it all is that a workflow is a standardized process that any person in a role should be able to complete intuitively with little or no difficulty.
There’s an example I shamelessly thief from one of our designers: If you think of a car, there’s a pretty standard layout of where the steering wheel and so on will be. Different models will have extra, non-essential features in slightly different arrangements, but the basic principles of a car’s layout are universal. If you learned to drive on a Toyota, you can pretty much hop into a BMW and be on the road in a few minutes.
“Good design is obvious. Great design is invisible.” – Joe Sparano, Graphic designer
Your team’s processes need to be that universal, too. You want a methodology so standardized that both the newest person on your team and the most experienced can accurately perform every step of the process.
Not only is this important for your employee onboarding process, but every process an HR department or People Team uses has to have absolute accuracy. You know exactly how complicated even the tiniest typo in an employee’s paperwork can be.
A modern process management platform – like Process Street – eliminates that risk of human error through automation.
If we’re being honest with ourselves, we all know that machines are just better at some things than humans are. For one, machines don’t seem to get bored or distracted when completing the same task over and over and over again. In fact, doing the exact same thing in the exact same way is kind of what they’re famous for. So why not turn over those repetitious tasks to an expert in repetition?
Next-generation employee onboarding automation
As you can see in the video, Process Street handles your workflows, but through Slack, Zapier, and our own first-party integrations, you can create dynamic workflows that automate personalized messages, keep track of authorizations, and send reminders for follow-ups.
I’ll sound biased saying this, but as someone who completed their employee onboarding using Process Street workflows, I can assure you it was the most transparent, stress-free onboarding I’ve ever had. And like most Millennials, I’m in the double digits for onboarding experiences.
So, yes, documenting your workflow with Process Street will make your job easier, but it also makes your new hire’s job easier as well. They’ll be able to see exactly what’s expected of them every step of the way, with additional resources and media gathered in one central location.
What was once the most overwhelming part of starting at a new company can be turned into a seamless experience for everyone.
Onboarding automation in action
Every role within a company has little particularities that are unique to that position and that position alone. With your old-fashioned spreadsheet, you’d have to design completely separate documents for each individual role.
Not only is that impractical, but it’s a massive waste of time. Process Street’s conditional logic enables you to use the same onboarding workflow for every employee, no matter which role they’re filling.
Conditional logic creates branching pathways that can cover a variety of situations. Once the workflow is assigned to a specific department or job title, the relevant tasks will be triggered to appear as part of the workflow. Any task that isn’t needed, stays hidden.
One onboarding process. Every single employee. And all you have to do is run a link.
Don’t forget your employee handbook!
The onboarding process is only half of the equation. You also need a central hub that contains all the company policies and procedures that your new hires can access and view – whenever they need it.
Now, the traditional method is to have some huge binder stuck on a shelf somewhere with color-coded tabs and a list of appendices longer than your last meeting that definitely could’ve been an email. It’s bulky, difficult to update, and – no judgment – when was the last you even looked at it?
The Pages feature is your new free-for-everyone knowledge base that lives side-by-side with your interactive workflows. With both on one platform means there’s no need to keep process information in multiple locations, providing team-wide transparency into what processes exist.
Just check out this video to see how to get your employee handbook started on Process Street:
What’s the best onboarding experience you’ve had? Let us know in the comments!