Entry-level workers have always required a high-level of training and supervision, but many companies have been unable to successfully adapt these employees’ onboarding processes for a remote environment. For entry-level employees, communicating with managers and building camaraderie with their team have become more difficult.
With HR teams under more pressure than ever to retain talent, poor training and onboarding processes are limiting organizations’ ability to keep entry-level workers in the fold. But by incorporating intelligent AI solutions during onboarding, HR teams can streamline these processes and redefine how they train employees—helping workers go above and beyond what’s expected from an entry-level role.
Here’s where companies go wrong when onboarding entry-level employees
The way companies treat new employees during onboarding is a key indicator of whether they’ll stay long term. Organizations with a strong onboarding program improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%.
When onboarding in-person, entry-level employees are better equipped to pick up the nuances of their role, which include both work responsibilities and the unwritten rules of the office. Everything they need is right in front of them—and if it’s not, the person who can help is a short walk away. In a virtual setting, however, these employees can feel isolated and bogged down by logistics. Indeed, 58% of organizations say their onboarding program focuses on processes and paperwork.
So, does the answer lie in eliminating the entry-level position entirely? It’s a complicated question. But a better response may be to thoroughly evaluate your onboarding program. Following a self-audit, real-time AI coaching tools can help your HR teams reduce mundane tasks and free up entry-level employees to perform meaningful work more quickly.
How HR teams can redefine the entry-level worker
In the wake of the Great Resignation, businesses are searching for ways to stand out to potential hires. Many have resorted to offering signing bonuses and other perks—short-term solutions that aren’t enough to fix a much larger problem. For these employers, the next step should be promising job-seekers that they will feel supported from day one and have the tools to advance their careers. An investment in onboarding and training technology can make this promise possible.
Here are three ways technology enables HR to succeed at hiring and retaining entry-level workers:
Technology helps broaden the candidate pool. Some of the biggest barriers to recruiting entry-level talent are the job requirements themselves. For example, the requirement of previous work experience presents a serious conundrum to recent college grads—you need work experience to get work experience.
But with an adaptable training platform, recruiters and HR leaders can open up the hiring process. Candidates who have little industry experience but have proven themselves to be “quick learners” and “problem solvers” in other roles can be quickly upskilled and equipped to succeed in roles that previously required years of industry experience.
Additionally, the term “entry-level employee” can also apply to employees looking to make a career pivot. With almost a third of employees who lost their jobs during the pandemic looking to change industries, an adaptable training program enables your organization to reskill transitioning employees faster than your competitors.
Technology provides measurable and actionable insights. You can’t fully optimize your onboarding processes overnight. However, technology can help you determine areas where your program falls short of its potential. It can analyze employees’ onboarding experiences to deliver insights that help improve the program over time.
The right tech can also generate data-driven insights that help everyone do their jobs better. For example, let’s say a manager gives a new salesperson a script to follow on a call. Everything is going according to plan when the person they’re speaking to makes an unexpected objection, taking the conversation off-script. Using AI and machine learning, advanced platforms can serve up previously successful responses to the objection, allowing the new salesperson to successfully handle the pivot.
Technology creates more engaged new hires. The longer it takes new employees to accomplish meaningful work, the longer it will take them to feel engaged on the job. For instance, which meeting would our entry-level salesperson be more engaged in: a strategy meeting for a sales call or their third meeting about the company’s HR policies?
Streamlined onboarding can get entry-level employees working and engaged quickly. When employees have the ability to participate in meaningful work right out of the gate, they are more likely to remain with the organization over the long term.
The foundation for a new employee’s tenure is established in their first few months and failing to adapt the onboarding experience to a virtual setting can leave employees feeling left out.
But with the help of AI, HR teams can eliminate unnecessary processes and help entry-level employees feel better supported. Ultimately, a smoother transition empowers new employees to perform higher-level tasks and improves your organization’s ability to retain talent.
Greg Armor is an executive vice president at Gryphon.ai.