Onboarding is a crucial step in employee recruitment. That’s when recruits form their first impressions of the organization they’re joining. It’s when they obtain the necessary skills and knowledge as well as get familiar with the company culture.
Long-term employee retention starts here, so it’s vital that the new hires feel comfortable and go through the right onboarding processes in order to feel confident in their work later.
Thankfully, the progress of artificial intelligence (AI) technology can make the whole process better and smoother. Here’s how AI can help with employee onboarding.
HR’s Little Helpers — Smart Bots
Artificial intelligence in the form of smart chatbots can be the HR department’s best friend. It can take a lot of repetitive tasks off their shoulders and allow them to focus on the more human element of onboarding.
These onboarding AI-powered chatbots can provide a smooth experience for new employees because they will feel as if they’re chatting with a real person. They have the ability to engage in natural conversation because they work on the principles of Natural Language Processing (NLP). NLP allows them to understand and process the human language with a great deal of success.
These AI-based bots can perform a range of functions, which can cover the whole onboarding process. That includes collecting data, providing information, setting up employee accounts, etc. With human error eliminated, these bots are unlikely to make a mistake in the process. What’s more, they can pull any file, form, or information from the system instantaneously, so they’re much faster than humans.
Here’s how you can create a much better and more efficient employee onboarding process with the help of AI-powered chatbots.
Collecting Documents and Signatures
One of the areas that chatbots shine in is collecting information. Instead of printing and potentially sending out dozens of forms, AI can do it in a much leaner style.
Chatbots will welcome the new hire and present them with all the forms they need to complete in a matter of seconds. They can also collect electronic signatures, so the new employee can even sign a contract this way.
AI can generate these documents and forms from templates, but they also can be more personalized. You can create a more complex system that can pull information from emails or IM (instant messaging) apps that the company uses. However, this latter option is not without risks as the language in these apps can be structured differently and is easier to misinterpret by the system.
AI bots also can request any standard documents from employees, such as diplomas, IDs, certificates, permits, etc. They can even extract information from images thanks to the feature known as optical character recognition (OCR). So, for example, if an employee provides a picture of their ID card, the bot can read it.
Providing Answers About the Basic Processes
AI transforms onboarding into something of a self-service process when it comes to getting to know the company culture, job, policies, etc. Of course, you should provide newcomers with packets containing all the necessary info, but they also can perform a quick check by asking a bot.
This feature can be extremely helpful to new employees who may be shy about asking some questions or may feel like they should know the answer. New hires also can use the bot to ask all the questions that everyone is interested in first, but they might not feel comfortable asking. These could include inquiries about leave policies, vacation, remote work, pay raises, etc.
This idea is not only convenient for new employees, but it’s also great for HR as it will save them a lot of time.
Flexibility in Terms of Time and Location
Another great advantage of using AI bots in the onboarding process is that they allow for incredible flexibility in terms of time and space. So instead of exchanging endless emails and scheduling multiple meetings, you can give the new recruits the opportunity to integrate into your organization at their own pace.
This flexibility is great since it allows employees to take as much or as little time as they need and not worry about whether they will catch all the relevant info. You can set a deadline for completing all the forms and going through all the relevant procedures, and let them decide when and where they will do it.
This option is especially useful for companies with remote workers who have always struggled to onboard their hires through various channels, such as video conferencing tools.
Setting IT Items
Your smart bots can even help integrate your employees into the company’s IT systems without having to wait for the IT person to do it. For example, AI could autogenerate new accounts and profiles on various platforms and networks based on the input provided by the employee. This will save everyone a lot of time and allow the employee to start working sooner.
The new hires also could get acquainted with company technology with the assistance of chatbots. For example, they could ask how to use the printer or what the Wi-Fi password is, and get answers immediately.
In a way, your recruits could practically go through the whole training by themselves with the help of AI.
Of course, one of the most important parts of the onboarding process is getting feedback from the employees. As there are constant changes in HR trends, a lot of focus is increasingly put on diversity & inclusion, satisfaction, and employee mental health. So HR is more than willing to listen to what the employees have to say, and AI can help gather and analyze this feedback more efficiently.
Again, smart bots could ask new hires to provide their first impressions, anonymously if need be. They can be asked about their opinions, what they would change, what they wish was different, etc.
AI could then analyze this vast amount of input, and with the help of NLP, extract major insights, the most mentioned problems and themes, and even the general sentiment. This feature could encourage employees to speak freely while saving the HR department even more time and energy.
Michael has been working in marketing for almost a decade and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made him knowledgeable on many different subjects. He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing and hopes to make it a daily habit. You can read more of Michael’s work at Qeedle.