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Ahoy Onboard !

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By Manoj Chugh- ICT Expert

I began my New Year Article by talking about the importance of bringing quality jobs to India. An equally challenging task is to recruit, onboard, retain, train and motivate employees so that they deliver high value outcomes, through their professional journey.

Providing a seamless onboarding experience is an important first step. It can help send the right message on the value an organization places on it’s people. Unfortunately many businesses still rely extensively on complex manual processes, which are error-prone, require a massive army of administrative teams and are inefficient. Onboarding is a frustrating experience for both the new-hires and the recruitment team. A potential good start begins on a sour note. Employee Experience suffers a big casualty. I have witnessed senior level new hires, twiddle their thumbs for weeks, because they have not got inducted properly or could not get their laptop. In many situations, the credentials have not been updated, preventing them from accessing key systems which are critical to their ability to deliver.

An employee’s journey typically begins with the issuance of an “Offer Letter.” Then begins the process of traditional onboarding. A back-and-forth communication with the onboarding team ensues.  Various documents pertaining to identity, educational certifications, bank details, long term retirement plans, medical insurances amongst many others have to be submitted. The communication is carried out over multiple channels including e-mail, WhatsApp and calls. Filling up long tedious forms can be a tortuous process.  Inaccuracies and errors are common- place. If the numbers of new recruits is limited, manual methods may still serve some purpose. As the volumes increase manifold, it becomes an unmanageable mess.  Important documents get buried in chat history.

Untangling the threads of hundreds of candidates becomes an impossible task. Keeping a track of those that are less responsive, answering queries, managing every person’s progress and updating their files, adds to the pressure.  Some recruiters are adept at spreadsheets, but every document still needs to be manually checked. Every form that is filled and every piece of information that is collated needs to be validated and verified for accuracy.  One cannot assume that the inputs shared by candidates is accurate.  Forms are often full of errors and inconsistencies. Document images are blurry and there are many typos. Confusing and erroneous inputs are commonplace. The recruiter might be over-worked and may skip a field in a form or may not have the time to cross-check. The grunt work involved is exhausting and easy to mess up. The errors could prove to be very expensive. A badly filled ESIC form could be the difference between a person being able to afford medical care for their elderly parents versus depriving them of a benefit they rightfully deserve.

The business case for rapid automation is compelling! As I looked around for potential solutions, Iona struck me as a very user friendly and wholesome platform that eases the task immensely.

Amit Srivastava, the Founder and his team, have built an integrated platform which at it’s core consists of a robust Document Processing Engine which automatically extracts and validates the required fields, supported by a best in class “form filling interface” that auto-completes across multiple forms, thereby eliminating errors and a smart algorithm which prompts unresponsive candidates. A dashboard is also included, to help recruiters manage candidates and monitor their progress. Integration is enabled with a firm’s existing HRMS-Human Resource Management System. To enhance candidate engagement, a chatbot enabled by AI answers queries, thereby easing the load on the HR Department.

As HR experts will tell us, the hiring process includes many cognitive activities. The recruiter and hiring manager, both, apply problem solving techniques. A lot of attention has to be paid to detail and judgement has to be applied. Key steps in Cognitive Task Analysis include mapping of the recruitment tasks, identifying decision points, clustering, linking and prioritisation. In addition to automation that improves productivity and efficiency, the platform can identify bottlenecks and uncover key insights into offer-letter rejection rates and interview absences.

Compliance requirements are becoming more stringent. A Platform goes a long way in easing the pain.

Several Industries will find such a platform to be a big boon. This includes Insurance firms, BPOs’, Staffing Firms, Pharma Companies amongst others. The cost of onboarding will come down dramatically. Digital records at every step of the process are available online. Selected candidates that eventually do not join can be tracked and can be invited to consider other job roles as they open up, based on their qualifications, thereby reducing the cost of hiring.

India needs to create many jobs as we build out our infrastructure and provide services to our population. Our ability to Onboard candidates efficiently will go a long way in ensuring that the first step in their journey is a joyful one and this in turns motivates them to service their stakeholders in a superior manner.  More power to Platforms like Iona!

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