The 5 Most Common Onboarding Mistakes for Frontline Workers

Demand for blue-collar workers is rising as companies scramble to hire ahead of the festive season in India. Reports reveal that 300,000 to 500,000 blue-collar workers will be hired in 2021, as companies get back to business, following strong vaccination rollouts, and lifting of the lockdown restrictions in many states. For the eCommerce industry, pandemic-era restrictions continue to fuel the demand for online orders.

The competition to attract and retain blue-collar workers, therefore, is strong. However, this is also the part of the workforce that is infamous for its high attrition rate. Making the first impression is crucial, which can be achieved with a smooth onboarding experience. This is not something blue-collar workers are used to. Only 12% of organisations have effective onboarding mechanisms for frontline workers, even when it can lead to a 50% increase in employee retention.

What are some common mistakes that Indian businesses make in onboarding such workers? Let’s take a look.

Mistake #1: Depending on Traditional Paper-Based Instructions

Organisations still rely on paper-based standard operating procedures, which are hard-to-update, complex and text-heavy, impersonal, and difficult to store and track. Moreover, it leads to huge waste of paper, resources and time. Poor instructions can lead to loss of productivity, disengagement, and safety and compliance issues.

On the other hand, an adaptive and customisable system can help companies push the right instructions to specific employees across multiple regions, sites, and hubs, exactly when they need it, and in various regional languages. These instructions can be updated as and when needed with minimal effort, and also can be made visual to explain complex topics. Such a system can also ensure bulk onboarding across locations.

This ensures that a new hire is fully integrated, and properly understands the culture and ethics of the organisation. With lesser administrative tasks and paperwork, they can assimilate more information with ease, leading to a proper understanding of safety and compliance protocols.

This greatly contributes to reducing stress for employees. They will be at ease related to working conditions, procedures, reporting, and other things, when instructions are relayed in their native tongue. 

Mistake #2: Not Providing a Digital Structured Onboarding Process

Automated interactive forms and AI-driven onboarding can help in seamless document generation and record-keeping, enabling companies to onboard workers remotely and in large numbers.

A digital onboarding process where workers are able to self-register, generate and download signed offer letters, auto-generate government compliance documents like PF and ESI adds to an enhanced experience with the company. On the one hand, it provides new hires access to all resources and information at their fingertips, for which they previously would have to approach the HR department.

On the other hand, for companies, it helps to avoid an arbitrary and haphazard documentation process. Here, every stakeholder has access to employee data, which helps in monitoring workers and improving processes, where needed. This data can also be accessible to other integrated systems, such as payroll management.

Mistake #3: No Tracking or Analytics

When companies move beyond the realm of paper-based onboarding processes, they can gain access to an interesting and crucial world of analytics. With a digital onboarding process, companies can gather essential and real-time data, such as employee demographics and attrition rates, on a single dashboard. They can track the onboarding funnel status in real-time.

With the right digital solution, it is easier streamline onboarding across vendors, skills, hubs, geographies, and departments. Companies can use the data for continuous improvement and optimisation of processes and policies. The system can be adapted to the requirements of individual sites, ensuring scalability and transparency.

Mistake #4: Not Paying Attention to Compliance 

The Indian blue-collar industry is guided by many state-specific and central government laws. Companies need to adhere to industry best practises and standards regarding quality control, labour work hours, workplace safety, and employee benefits.

The current onboarding practises do not take such things into account, which can lead to penalties and even reputation damage. A digital platform with in-built compliance mechanisms across processes and employee touchpoints can ease adhering to regulations and laws for companies.

Mistake #5: No Follow-Up After Onboarding

It is necessary to have a structured process to get feedback from new hires. Gaining feedback about the employee’s onboarding experience can enable successful transition, while helping companies understand how to make workers feel valued and an integral part of the organisation. This builds engagement and loyalty, which can then minimise attrition.

When done right, onboarding can ensure long-term commitment from the blue-collar workforce, ensuring high productivity and better employee retention. It can lead to greater transparency, fewer errors, and resource optimisation for companies.