This article outlines how the components of Microsoft 365 onboarding work together to provide a fully custom employee onboarding app.
A smooth employee onboarding process is a vital part of retaining talent and creating employee engagement. A poorly designed onboarding business process immediately puts your new employee in a bad spot.
Providing your new employee quick access to all of the resources they need sets them up for success. Many employees have at least one bad onboarding story. Often it involves sitting at their desk on the first day unable to start because IT hasn’t set up their account.
Today, employee handbooks and other vital onboarding materials are often digitized. New hires need to be able to find everything, work through their onboarding checklist and know who they can talk to if they have a problem.
Thankfully, there are now tools available to streamline and automate the onboarding process.
This is particularly important with younger employees who are used to immediate access, often from their phones. This makes an onboarding app particularly valuable. These apps can give people direct access to resources, allow them to send messages to key people, let them talk to IT in real-time, and make sure they remember all of their onboarding tasks.
Successful, formal onboarding increases the chance of a new hire staying around by 50%.
If you use Microsoft 365 then you have access to the wide variety of tools Microsoft offers to help you make employee onboarding effortless for both sides. Here are some of the tools you can use.
Microsoft SharePoint New Employee Onboarding Portal
Microsoft offers three Sharepoint Online templates to help you put together an onboarding portal that helps onboard new hires. They recommend three phases.
The first is pre-onboarding, which is shared as soon as the candidate accepts the offer. The second is a corporate-wide portal followed by a department-specific portal.
Pre-onboarding is designed to help them learn more about the company and get ready for their first day. For example, it might include the process for getting credentials, access to the building or a parking pass.
These mobile-friendly site templates do not provide a fully custom employee onboarding app. However, they can be put in place quickly and make for a great interim measure while developing your long-term onboarding strategy.
This allows you to get the standardized process in place right away. You can provide new employees with the information they need for the first 30, 60, and 90 days without having to manually carry out tasks for each new hire.
Microsoft Teams Employee Onboarding App
It’s important to get new employees on Teams right away. This becomes even more important if you are operating in a remote or hybrid environment.
Microsoft Teams contains numerous app templates. These can be used for many purposes, such as co-worker appreciation, emergency response or new employee onboarding. These templates provide a starting point to build your own Teams app that fulfills your specific onboarding needs.
There are other useful app templates you can consider. They include training material, remote support, HR support, etc. All of this can be integrated into the onboarding process. New employees learn what capabilities you use in your organization and how they can best leverage Teams to get up to speed quickly.
In a virtual environment, Teams is vital to ensure communication and connection. It can be particularly hard for new hires to feel welcomed if they are not going into an office and there isn’t a welcome party.
Microsoft Power Apps
The next step up is to build a Power App. Power Apps, part of the Microsoft Power Platform is a low-code environment designed to help you build and share professional-grade apps. For those who are not experienced in creating apps, they provide a variety of app templates. All Power Apps can run on mobile devices or in a web browser.
You can consider starting with a template for your employee onboarding app. For example, they already have an Office Template for onboarding tasks. You can tailor this app to your needs by using the admin screens to add tasks and resources and correct or edit your company information.
This app gives new employees quick access to resources and a to-do list to help them through the onboarding paperwork, such as reminding them to complete their W-4 and configure their direct deposit or set up cell phone forwarding from their desk phone.
Or you can create your own app that exactly suits your needs, and can also be customized to each position. For example, a field tech might have a different set of onboarding tasks from an office manager.
Power Apps is an incredibly useful and versatile tool, but you will likely need some help, especially to start with. Working with a PowerApps consulting services firm allows you to focus on your business.
Microsoft Power Automate
Onboarding can be a lot of work for HR, but it doesn’t have to be. Power Automate, also part of the Microsoft Power Platform, is designed to automate repetitive tasks.
You can use Power Automate, formerly known as Microsoft Flow, to handle routine tasks. For example, when the candidate signs the offer, you can use it to send out a customized email that includes, of course, the link to your onboarding portal.
When they turn in their W-4 and I-9, these can automatically be sent to the right people. The employee receives an acknowledgment and it ticked off of their to-do list in the onboarding app.
This means you don’t have to spend as much time chasing and reminding new hires to get their routine paperwork done.
Microsoft Power Automate also contains a variety of templates that can be used to set up your HR onboarding process.
For example, there are templates to start an approval process. When a response is submitted in a form or to welcome new team members and share their bio.
You can pick the ones you need and put them together in an onboarding process. It will require little input, although you should constantly seek feedback to improve the process.
To the new hire, none of this is even visible. They see a streamlined onboarding process. It welcomes them to the company and allows them to communicate with the people they need to.
How to Use These Tools to Make a Great Onboarding Experience
All of these tools are, of course, only as good as your use of them. Here are some things to think about to use them properly:
- Involve everyone. Talk to managers and supervisors and to employees who recently went through your existing onboarding process and are highly aware of any flaws it has. (Talking to these employees may also help overcome any issues from a substandard onboarding process). Onboarding should not be left entirely to HR.
- Understand that onboarding does not take only a few days. The onboarding process should last for weeks to months and include reminders and check-ins to make sure that the new employee is doing well and not overwhelmed. Typically, your full onboarding process should take about 90 days, but some experts recommend a full year. A great onboarding process for the first week with no follow-up makes employees feel let down and often causes them to quit.
- Understand the limitations of technology. There still has to be direct one-on-one communication, face-to-face or using video, to help new hires feel welcomed. Mentorship is a good way to help ensure that new hires feel connected, but many companies don’t have a mentorship program, even some larger ones.
- Make sure they know your definition of success. In fact, this should be clear before they sign the offer letter to help ensure that you are on the same page.
- Make sure that the resources include rules and regulations. Access to the employee handbook should be front and center and can be improved further by making it searchable.
Above all, your onboarding experience needs to tie into your company’s overall goals. Using apps and sites to automate the routine part of the onboarding process means you have more time and energy to devote to giving them a proper welcome.
Get Started With Microsoft 365 Onboarding
Microsoft’s tools can build out an onboarding app that meets the needs of all organizations. Because all their tools are mobile-friendly, they satisfy the needs of younger workers, remote workers, and people who are on the road all the time.
These tools are relatively easy to use, but many companies need help using them to their full potential and, importantly, ensuring that the apps that are designed fit their overall goals.
This is where a Microsoft consulting company comes in. If you are trying to streamline your onboarding process by using Microsoft 365 onboarding tools, or if you are interested in custom apps for any purpose, contact IncWorx Consulting today. Or check out our blog for more useful information and insights to help you get the most out of your Microsoft technologies.