How Machine Learning Is Changing Employee Onboarding

23rd September 2020

Each industry has its own hurdles when it comes to finding the right employees. In every company (big or small), HR departments are hard at work looking for new talent that would fit the culture and grow with the business.

However, the days when people would stay with one company until retirement are long gone. This means that both the HR department and top management and executives must find ways to retain new employees and earn their loyalty.

In short, the process doesn’t end with signing the contract. Businesses must also think about integrating the new employees into their culture, finding them the right spot and project, and checking with their happiness levels. This is what HR people call onboarding.

This process is crucial for organizations interested in maintaining and growing their workforce. Even more, since the workforce is being taken over by millennials, this step has become necessary (millennials have been dubbed the job-hopping generation). 

Still, the process is incredibly time-consuming and requires extra resources from departments such as HR or IT. That’s why companies seek the best strategies to optimize their processes by engaging their technical stuff into ML training to incorporate AI techniques in their everyday work.

How ML is Changing Onboarding

Onboarding is different for small and large companies. Small organizations have the luxury of paying close attention to every new talent they hire, but this aspect changes when you have new people coming in regularly.

As such, big companies had to find a different approach to help employees feel integrated and appreciated.

Businesses like The Results Companies organization, which is spread across several continents, use various AI and ML technologies to reduce the burden of onboarding. The company oversees over 22,000 employees, from different cultural backgrounds and it’s incredibly difficult to do proper onboarding (and offboarding) for each individual.

So, they have decided to implement AI-enabled robotic process automation (RPA) to reduce the time spent with each new employee. This resulted in better training, a lighter workload for the HR department, and better IT security.

Training using Machine Learning allows large companies to grant new employees access to information based on a wide range of variables. In addition, the delivery of said information can be performed based on their personality type and preferences (assessed by an intelligent system). Overall, using ML in training new employees, granting them access to information outside regular business hours, and from a remote location makes the entire process more intuitive and interactive.

In addition, onboarding (and offboarding) require a slew of tedious tasks that are usually performed by HR employees (although Smarp believes this is a misconception rather than a successful practice). Everything that happens before the hiring and in the first few months a new employee spends in the company requires documentation and time-consuming activities that can now be taken over by intelligent systems.

One solution is to automate the onboarding (and offboarding) system based on each department’s needs. As such, Machine Learning algorithms can be used to offer new employees access to email accounts, information, and other company resources they should know. But more importantly, other algorithms can be used to remove access for past employees (which is a huge security issue for most organizations worldwide).

Lastly, companies can use AI and ML to make sure their practices are in accordance with data privacy laws such as GDPR.

The Pros & Cons of Using Machine Learning

There is no doubt that AI and ML algorithms are useful in reducing time spent with routine tasks such as reviewing CVs or creating accounts for each employee based on accessibility options. This allows human operators to focus on other important aspects such as integrating new employees with the right team and following their progress in the company during their first 90 days. 

However, there is one downside we need to mention: until the dust settles, new employees will have less human contact with HR representatives or executives. They’ll be given the information and access to an intelligent system that can deliver some answers, but this also means less face-to-face time.

Of course, this can be turned into an advantage, especially with new hires who are not that comfortable asking questions from their first day. In addition, the entire onboarding system can be done through gamification including some gifts, which makes the process a lot more fun and interactive.

Wrap Up

At the end of the day, if we manage to strike a balance between new technologies and human interaction, AI and ML can be the answer to overworked HR representatives and security issues due to human error.