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Tactics for Effective Large-Scale Onboarding

Onboarding is the process of introducing a new employee to your organization and its mission. It’s one of the most important steps in the hiring process, as it helps new hires feel comfortable and understand what’s expected of them. If you do high-volume hiring, you may have to rely on mass onboarding. Here’s how you can make it work to your advantage.

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What is mass onboarding?

Mass onboarding, also known as high-volume onboarding, is when you bring on many new employees in a short amount of time. Here are a few examples of when high-volume onboarding makes sense:

  • You work for a retailer and must hire hundreds of cashiers, stocking associates and other seasonal employees before the holiday season begins.
  • Your company just launched a new business unit and needs to staff it with office employees.
  • You’re preparing for an initial public offering, audit or other major event.
  • Your company is opening a new retail location and needs extra employees to assemble shelves, stock products and ensure the point-of-sale system works correctly.

Whether you’re onboarding a single new hire or mass onboarding multiple new employees, consider using a new hire onboarding checklist to help keep track of the process.

Pros and cons of mass onboarding

Like other onboarding tactics, there are advantages and disadvantages to mass onboarding. Here is a quick overview of the main pros and cons of mass onboarding new hires.

Pros

  • Onboard multiple employees: Being able to onboard multiple individuals at once can help you get them ready faster at about the same pace, which can make it easier to meet your company’s needs. For example, if you want to launch a new product, mass onboarding makes it possible to hire product designers, quality assurance specialists and other critical staff members and get them ramped up at the same time.
  • Potentially reduced hiring costs: If you onboard each employee individually, it generally means that you have to set aside time for someone to greet them, walk them through the process and answer questions. This can take time away from HR staff to handle other critical responsibilities and increase costs. With mass onboarding, it’s possible to onboard dozens of people in a single session.
  • Create consistent experiences: Mass onboarding ensures that every new hire has a similar experience. If you onboard new hires one at a time, the process may vary based on the person conducting the onboarding.

Cons

  • Lack of personalization: Mass onboarding is a strategy used to get multiple new employees up to speed on your company’s goals and processes. Doing so requires an almost templated presentation that speaks to multiple new hires. Therefore, it may not have the same impact as individualized onboarding where you can tailor the meeting to a single person.
  • Increased planning requirements: It’s usually more challenging to plan and execute a mass onboarding event, as you must arrange for dozens or even hundreds of new hires to attend.

6 tips for high-volume onboarding

If mass onboarding is a good fit for your needs, there are a few ways to make it work to your advantage. Consider these tips to make your new onboarding process as successful as possible.

1. Streamline the communication process

When you’re onboarding dozens of new employees, effective communication is essential. To make things easier, pick a contact method and stick with it. Email is the easiest, as it allows you to share important information without having to call multiple people, leave messages and follow up later. Email also makes it easy to create a record of your contacts with each new hire.

2. Inform all departments about the upcoming onboarding event

Your HR team may be in charge of onboarding and implementing best practices, but you may not be able to onboard new employees without help from other departments. For example, if you’re hiring 100 new employees for a call center, they’ll all need network logins and access to your company’s customer relationship management software. In this case, you’d need to notify the IT department well in advance of the scheduled onboarding date.

3. Use onboarding software

Onboarding software makes it possible to create customized experiences for each employee, giving you the best of both worlds. You can speed up the onboarding process without making new hires sift through irrelevant information. That makes it much easier to engage new employees and to make sure they understand what to expect during their first few weeks on the job.

4. Try digital tools for some aspects of the onboarding process

Digital tools make it much easier to complete many steps of the onboarding process. For example, instead of using thousands of sheets of paper to print handbooks and forms, you can have new hires read a digital handbook and provide electronic signatures. Using these tools has several benefits:

  • You have a record of every action a new hire takes, which may make it easier to develop training plans.
  • You can import signed documents into your company’s HR information system, eliminating the need to scan hard copies.
  • It’s possible to create customized workflows for each role.

5. Automate as many onboarding activities as possible

Mass onboarding can take a long time if you do everything manually. Just imagine how long it would take to onboard a single person if you had to write a custom email every time you needed them to complete another task. Now multiply that by 50 or 100 new hires. As you can see, manual onboarding processes aren’t often efficient.

To increase onboarding efficiency, consider automating as many activities as you can. For example, you can use your HRIS to set up an email sequence for each role. Once you hire several people, you can send the first message in the sequence and schedule the rest for delivery. Instead of writing emails from scratch for every new hire, you can write one email sequence and use it over and over again.

6. Take a hybrid approach

Throughout the last few years, many companies have embraced remote onboarding instead of requiring new hires to attend in-person events. Remote onboarding has several advantages, such as reduced costs and lower risk of administrative errors.

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