May 31, 2011

May 15th marked the 1-month anniversary for my friend Herb who was the focal point of my previous article regarding onboarding. Herb has settled into the role and he is starting to feel a little bit better about his decision than he did at first. However, the fact remains that he views his current role more of a stepping stone versus the career he initially imagined. How amazing is it that the little steps in the onboarding process can have such a profound effect on a new hire?

As I received feedback on the topic and read through various comments, I thought that surely there had to be a solution to the science of onboarding. Or, perhaps not so much a solution, but a tool to help solve the missteps of the process and have individuals be accountable for their part of the onboarding process. Another thought with regard to on/off-boarding was brought to my attention by my overstuffed wallet (not with money, mind you). As I dug through my wallet to lighten the load, I was surprised at what I found: not one but three security keys from previous places of employment. Two were from organizations where personal financial information was stored, including social security numbers, names, birthdates, bank account numbers, tax returns, etc. How come no one asked for these items back when I left? Is there anyone accountable for asset management in the onboarding/offboarding process?

Shortly after the article went live, I was introduced to a small technology firm called Dovetail Software, located in what is affectionately known as “Silicon Hills” or Austin, Texas. Dovetail Software is an independent technology firm that prides itself in building products that are easy to manage and upgrade while being flexible enough to handle virtually any HR workflow, no matter how custom. This was music to my ears, as corporate America has turned the onboarding process into a complex science. So I figured “what the heck?” and requested the introduction to Manager Kent Valentine.

After speaking at length with Kent, it was clear that this software could be a great tool in helping companies and organizations not only manage their onboarding process but to also promote ownership and responsibility for specific assignments and duties, and go a step further and ensure asset management.

While I am sure there are many tools out there that may be able to help, regardless of which one you may choose, an onboarding platform such as this will enable HR departments to maintain consistent service delivery, stay on top of HR issues, sustain case management through auditing & tracking, review analytics, and manage assets. These topics will continue to be important and scrutinized as CEOs are looking into the HR department more today than in the past.

Perhaps a tool like this would have made Herb’s current employer a bit more organized for his arrival on his first day. Perhaps a tool like this, if used correctly, would have had internal departments held accountable for first day needs such as IT, payroll, and security which in turn would have made Herb’s initial experience the positive welcoming he deserved.

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