5 common mistakes staffing agencies make in the onboarding process

Don't wait until the employee is on-site/logged in to begin onboarding

5 common mistakes staffing agencies make in the onboarding process

This article was provided by Timerack.

The onboarding process can be a real “make it or break it” moment for employees. In fact, one in 10 employees state a poor onboarding experience as the reason for bailing on a company.

In the current employment, staffing agencies can’t afford to take the risk. Most industries are finding it difficult to keep employees in the current market: employee turnover rates are at an all-time high. And staffing agencies are having a particularly difficult time with employee retention due to the transient nature of the business.

Much of the onboarding process falls on the shoulders of HR staff, who are most likely the first faces that new hires see at the company. So, recruiters in particular have a lot of influence over the initial success of new hires. To help you start off on the right foot with new hires and help your staffing agency run more efficiently, let’s take a look at five mistakes to avoid making in your agency’s onboarding process.

Information overload

No matter how good your onboarding process is, starting at a new company is always overwhelming. Many companies try to squeeze all the necessary information into the first day or two of an employee starting. Cramming all of the information into a short period of time can make it difficult for new hires to process it all, which can set the employee up for failure.

Read more: Are you creating peak moments for your employees?

A great way to avoid that feeling of too-much-too-soon is to generate a “New Employee FAQ” section in your handbook or agency’s homepage. The FAQ resource should cover the basics of how the agency runs and commonly asked questions such as when payday is, how to apply for PTO, sick days, the work-from-home policy, dress code, and an org chart of the company.

Putting all this essential information in one accessible place will provide the employee with a valuable resource to reference back to. These topics are crucial to the employee’s job and nobody wants to ask a stupid question. Providing these answers in a clearly written format will prevent the employee from missing crucial information and prevent you from having to repeat the same information multiple times.

Unclear goals and duties

As obvious as it might sound, employees need clear direction on what the company does and what their specific role in the company is going to be. According to the Harvard Business Review, only 40% of employees across various organizations could articulate company goals. What’s more, far too many employees are unclear on what specific duties their jobs entail. How can your staffing agency be successful when your employees can’t even describe the company’s goals or what they’re supposed to be doing?

To prevent your employees from falling into that other 60%, clearly outline the goals of your company in the first few pages of onboarding materials and reference them multiple times during the onboarding process. Whether your agency’s goals are revenue growth, geographic expansion, or increased employee retention, clearly outlining those goals for your new hires will further the progress of reaching those goals.

You should also clearly outline the duties of the employee and connect those responsibilities with the agency’s goals. Most likely, a new hire will work with many different client companies during a run with your staffing agency, so duties and roles may often change. However, new hires are technically employees of the staffing agency, not the client companies, you need to be clear about what you expect from each employee regardless of what client company they’re working with. Some of these duties can include reporting on time to the role, filling out progress reports, and completing skill assessments.

Poor preparation

Frequently, employers don’t begin the onboarding process until the employee is on-site. These employers run the risk of appearing disorganized and unprepared. Temporary employees have too many options these days to take this kind of chance.

An easy way to avoid this mistake is by completing all administrative tasks before your employee’s first day, such as getting them set up on company platforms, registering them with benefits and payroll, and sending them any paperwork that needs to be completed before the employee arrives.

A recent survey found that 83% of the highest performing companies begin the onboarding process before the new hire’s first day, and that it contributed to the company’s overall success. Being proactive about your onboarding process can really give your staffing agency a step up on the competition.

Inefficient systems

Often, one of the first concerns new hires have when starting with a staffing agency is how to track hours when they’re working with client companies. Working for a staffing agency can quickly become complicated when it comes to tracking time and attendance on multiple assignments, with different client companies, and for multiple roles within the same assignment. Many companies hire staffing agencies specifically to offload the burdensome task of time and attendance tracking.

Luckily, there are plenty of time and attendance tracking systems on the market that can make your job as a human resources representative much easier. Many of these programs will even do the training for you. It’s as easy as having new hires download an app to their smartphones. If you already have a time and attendance tracking system in place, consider upgrading to one that is simpler and can be utilized anywhere for any job through a smartphone app.

Lack of interdepartmental responsibility

Though much of the onboarding process falls on human resources, new hires will ultimately spend most of their time interacting with hiring managers and client companies. There’s no reason for these entities to be excluded from the onboarding process and bringing them into the fold will provide a more cohesive and positive first impression to your new hires.

Carve out time in your onboarding process for new hires to meet face-to-face with their managers and perhaps even with big client companies, if there’s a likelihood that new hires will have extended relationships with these clients. Not only will this familiarize the employee with who they will be reporting to, it also provides an opportunity for everyone to effectively communicate their expectations. Setting up time for introductory meetings also gives new hires a break from having to take in massive amounts of information they need to digest.

A continuous process

Your onboarding process is essential to your employee’s success at your staffing agency and with client companies. It’s also essential to the success of your staffing agency. Taking steps to avoid common mistakes in your onboarding process shouldn’t be a one-and-done process. You should continuously revisit your onboarding process to match the trends of the job market.

Adam Day is president and CEO at Timerack, a time and attendance, payroll integration and HR software provider for the staffing industry.

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