How an Employee Onboarding Chatbot Helps New Hires Reach Productivity Quicker and Feel Welcomed

How an Employee Onboarding Chatbot Helps New Hires Reach Productivity Quicker and Feel Welcomed

Happy and productive employees are the goal of every onboarding program. How can chatbots improve the onboarding of new employees? In this article, you will learn how AI-powered chatbots can help new employees feel welcomed and confident, and reduce the time it takes for them to achieve their goals in their new job.

Table of Contents

Key Take Aways

  • In times of skill shortage, quiet quitting, and increased job turnover bringing new hires up to speed quickly increases employee productivity and retention.
  • Effective employee onboarding is more than just basic orientation. It focuses on building human relationships and providing personal support to help new employees fit into the workplace culture.
  • Onboarding bots can complete tasks, answer frequent questions, or explain and refresh essential business knowledge.
  • A chatbot for employee onboarding training can efficiently deliver personalized, bite-sized content, enhancing knowledge retention and engagement. This approach is time-efficient, adaptable, and can be integrated into daily workflows.
  • With the power of AI you create microlearning modules in an instant and translate them with the push of a button. Also, it lets you provide a tutor-like experience and analyze employee feedback.
  • Check out eggheads if you’re interested in a chatbot for onboarding and employee onboarding AI.
an employee onboarding chatbot can complement the onboarding experience - in addition to the human parts of onboarding
An AI chatbot helps with digital employee onboarding. With eggheads, you can provide a chatbot that actively shares information, gathers feedback, and responds to questions. Image: created using Midjourney.

As soon as the ink on the contract has dried, excitement for the first day at the new job begins to grow. Starting a new job can be daunting for the former candidates and their new employers alike. New hires wonder, how they’ll fit in the new unfamiliar environment. Leaving an old job means leaving behind what they know. But with a new position come unknown challenges and opportunities.

Managers on the other hand are curious if the new team member will live up to the impression made during the job interview. To welcome new team members organizations run onboarding programs. It is a crucial and resource-intensive process that helps integrate new hires into their roles and the company.

The True and Hidden Costs of Ineffective Employee Onboarding

Onboarding is a key step in an employee’s journey. And an expensive one for businesses. They invest in their employer brand to stand out in the job market and attract talented candidates. Many hours of labor and external costs are additionally generated during the whole recruiting process.

Therefore, by the time someone starts their new job, there’s already significant pressure and expectations to ensure a smooth and successful integration.

However, a Gallup study reveals that only 12% of employees strongly agree that their company’s onboarding experience was great (source).

Even employers acknowledge the need for better onboarding: Due to a US study, 47% of polled organizations reported their onboarding programs were not successful in retaining new hires (source).​

On top, another study from LinkedIn highlights the trend of higher job turnover. It spotted a trend of more employees leaving jobs within their first year, more so than in previous years (source).

Losing skilled employees so quickly is damaging especially in rapidly growing organizations where it’s crucial to get new employees up to speed quickly. With a shortage of skilled workers and the trend of quiet quitting, the importance of good onboarding is very clear.

A robust onboarding program is linked to a multitude of benefits, such as increased trust, higher productivity, improved company-wide communication, a strengthened employee sense of belonging and commitment, heightened employee engagement, job satisfaction, retention, and improved understanding of company policies among employees.

Indeed, it’s an impressive list of benefits well worth pursuing when onboarding new employees.

Hybrid Onboarding Combines Digital and Personal

Onboarding is an experience that consists of many different parts. All are intended to set new employees up for success and make them fully part of the team and productive. Typically this includes employee training, networking, and tasks.

To construct an effective onboarding program, several overarching goals should be prioritized and adapted to fit a company’s unique needs and culture:

  • Make the new employee feel confident in their role and job performance.
  • Provide clear job descriptions and expectations, along with measurable and achievable performance metrics.
  • Facilitate social ease and acceptance by peers.
  • Understanding the company’s goals, values, and unique approach.
  • Create a sense of belonging and commitment

These broad goals for an employee onboarding program suggest that while certain aspects of this process can be digitized, others are better suited for human involvement. Let’s examine how these two approaches play together in hybrid onboarding.

The Parts for Humans

Employee Onboarding involves more than just welcome gestures like flowers on the desk or filling out paperwork. These are the easy parts. The real challenge is helping new employees become part of the workplace culture. While technology like onboarding chatbots is useful, it’s crucial to build meaningful human relationships.

New hires need support, inclusion, respect, candid feedback, and mentoring from their colleagues and managers. These are key aspects of onboarding that are difficult to digitize and require a more personal touch. Let’s now look at the components of your employee onboarding program where humans can play their uniqueness.

The First Day

Creating a welcoming environment on the first day is essential for new hires. This includes a well-planned day with formal introductions to the team, a comprehensive office tour, and making sure their workstation is set up. This is usually considered as orientation and sometimes confused with onboarding.

The first day at the new job.

Manager Guidance

Managers of new joiners should actively help new employees during their onboarding. They should regularly check in with them to offer support and feedback. After 30, 60, and 90 days, they should review the new employees’ performance and fit with the team. It’s up to managers to facilitate social integration through team lunches or collaborative projects. Also, to schedule meet and greets with key team members and leadership.

Mentorship and Buddy System

Assign mentors or buddies for smoother integration and regular check-ins by HR or supervisors. This can partially be done with a chatbot too that serves as an onboarding buddy. More about that later.

Traditional Classroom Training

New hires already possess the necessary skills and experience for their roles, which is why they were hired. However, training in specialized skills and company-specific knowledge is essential. Some of this training can be done digitally, including using chatbots, as we’ll discuss later. But for comprehensive training, particularly in practical skills, soft skills, or using machinery and devices, traditional classroom training is still valuable. It also adds a human touch to employee onboarding training.

Cultural Acclimation

If the employee is relocating, especially internationally, offering support in terms of understanding the local culture, finding housing, or navigating local amenities can be immensely helpful. This might include providing a local guide or mentor who can assist with the acclimation process.

Health and Wellness Programs

Introducing new hires to health and wellness programs or resources demonstrates a commitment to their overall well-being. This can include access to mental health resources, fitness programs, or wellness seminars.

The Parts for an Employee Onboarding Chatbot

Besides the before mentioned face-to-face parts of welcoming new employees, using digital tools for virtual onboarding can greatly improve the experience, especially when employees work remotely, in a hybrid or decentralized work setting. You can delegate many tasks of the virtual part of the onboarding process to AI-powered Chatbots.

An AI-Chatbot is software that employees can talk or chat with. Generally speaking, it helps by completing tasks, answering questions, or getting useful business information across. This comes in handy in the onboarding process, where an employee onboarding chatbot can maximize efficiency by automating certain tasks. This lets HR and managers concentrate on important parts of employee engagement and frees up professionals to focus on other areas.

This is where AI-Chatbots can help in employee onboarding:

1. Actions and Processes

If a chatbot is connected with other tools a company uses, new hires can interact with it to trigger actions and processes. For example, the chatbot collects personal information from the new employees and fills it in certain databases like the HRMIS.

HR chatbots for employee onboarding can also guide new employees through the completion of necessary paperwork, such as tax forms, benefits enrollment, and the signing of company policies. A chatbot can also track the completion of these tasks, alerting HR if things don’t move forward.

If a chatbot is connected to the organisation’s calendar it can assist in scheduling various onboarding activities, such as orientation sessions or meetings with key team members.

2. Employee Onboarding Training

Starting a new job includes learning a lot. This involves many things starting with the company strategy, the positioning in the market, its values and offerings in the marketplace, and continues with compulsory knowledge around IT Security or compliance.

There’s a real risk of cognitive overload. That’s why a blended learning approach combining different traditional and digital formats ensures that employees remember what they’ve learned when they need it. We’ll later dive deeper into chatbots for employee onboarding training.

3. Answering Questions

No matter what employee onboarding training strategy is used, it’s common for employees to forget some information. A chatbot, when fed with the relevant company knowledge, can provide quick answers to questions in the moment of need.

Picture this scenario: New hires may have been briefed about company policies but might not recall them when needed. That’s when a chatbot can quickly supply the correct information.

Employing an AI-powered chatbot to handle frequently asked questions reduces the workload on HR staff for routine inquiries. This allows HR more time to nurture engagement and emotional connections with employees. The aim isn’t to replace the human element in onboarding, but to enhance it.

Using a Chatbot for Employee Onboarding Training

Onboarding and employee onboarding training are different aspects of the new hire process. Onboarding is a wider experience that helps new employees get used to their work environment and the company culture. On the other hand, employee onboarding training is more about providing new joiners with the skills, knowledge, and information they need to do their job effectively.

Combined, these processes enable a smooth transition for new hires into their roles and workplace.

State-of-the-art employee onboarding training applies a blended learning approach with a mix of classroom sessions and online training. In digital learning, chatbots are rapidly gaining ground. For more insights, we suggest reading our article about chatbots for employee training.

These chatbots facilitate a type of learning that’s as simple and engaging as chatting with a friend or coworker. This interactive approach is also known as conversational microlearning (learn more about it here)

Like every type of microlearning chatbots have their strengths and weaknesses. While chat-based training can be great for introducing company culture, values and basic procedures or product features, some complex tasks might still require in-depth training be it online with a traditional e-learning or even a classroom sessions.

These are very good reasons to add a chatbot to your employee onboarding training:

Help Employees Remember and Apply

A new hire onboarding bot can mitigate the most notable risk in employee onboarding training: information overload. Typically, at the start of a new job, there is just too much information to squeeze into a brain. More than it can actually absorb.

Stuffing too much knowledge in training is ineffective as employees tend to forget about 80 percent of what they heard within a week. What’s the point in training if knowledge doesn’t stick and get applied? That’s just a waste of time and resources.

Instead of overwhelming new hires with too much information at once, a chat-based microlearning approach breaks down the essential knowledge into digestible parts. The chatbot drip feeds small chunks of knowledge in short bursts over time. This establishes a culture of continuous learning and makes it easier for new employees to remember and apply what they learn.

Interacting with a chatbot is as if every employee had their onboarding buddy at their side that allows them to learn at their own pace, focusing on bite-sized pieces of content that are easier to understand and remember. This significantly improves knowledge retention and engagement from day one.

Make it Short and Easy

Another benefit of microlearning in employee onboarding training: it’s brief, to the point, and mobile-first (not only). As it only takes a couple of minutes to complete it fits in the tight schedules of new hires and can be done whenever and wherever they have a spare moment.

As indicated by researchers, one of the advantages of a chatbot for employee onboarding training is the simplification of learning and the [time] reduction of this process” (Casilio et al., 2020 p. 5). If you’re interested in a scientific review of chatbots for employee training, please check our dedicated article.

By breaking down complex information into smaller chunks, microlearning can help new employees learn the ropes and become productive members of the team more quickly.

Make it Personalized

Chatbots excel at providing a personalized learning experience. For example, if you use eggheads for your employee onboarding training, they can deliver essential business knowledge in a conversational way that adapts to employees. Chatbots can ask open-ended questions and provide personalized feedback. This helps employees understand and correct their mistakes in real-time. This immediate reinforcement aids in faster learning and adaptation.

Personalization makes the training more relevant for each staff member, which keeps them more engaged and helps them remember what they’ve learned. This is important for changing behavior and improving performance.

Provide a Safe Environment for Practice

Another advantage of using an AI-powered chatbot is its ability to create simulations and role-play scenarios. An HR Onboarding chatbot can ask open-ended questions that encourage participants to respond in their own words. This is an engaging way to convey company culture and practice behaviors in a safe setting.

Additionally, you can simulate interactions with colleagues or clients to evaluate knowledge and practice soft skills. This approach introduces new hires to the company culture through real examples and experiences.

Create Training Content in no Time with AI

Let’s not forget the time and resources of HR, L&D professionals, and subject matter experts in employee onboarding training. Their resources are also restrained.

With an AI-powered Microlearning solution like eggheads AI does the heavy lifting of content creation for you. You just need to paste existing resources into the backend and within seconds you have a first draft ready that you can check, polish, and publish.

When you can create training content quickly, you can easily make more of it and customize the chat-based microlearning sessions for specific roles. One-size-fits-all training is no longer the way to go, and this flexibility allows you to provide more targeted and effective onboarding experiences that better address the diverse needs of new hires.

If it’s a part of your company culture, you can also provide your coworkers with access to eggheads so they can create their own chat-based learning materials. It’s straightforward and doesn’t require outside help or specialized training, especially when you use AI to transform existing content into interactive quizzes, assessments, or tutorials.

This way, you can empower your team to contribute to the learning process with a peer learning approach. And with the click of a button, the microlearning modules are translated in different languages for a global rollout.

Scale Consistently

Regardless of the number of new employees or their locations, they all get the same level of training. This guarantees a consistent onboarding experience, which is essential for everyone to understand company policies, culture, and expectations in the same way. An onboarding bot can be easily adjusted to handle any number of new hires, making it a flexible tool suitable for organizations of all sizes.

Integate into Daily Workflow

The best experience for employees is to access a chatbot in the tools they already use. Creating a new silo for example with a dedicated smartphone app leads to lower engagement. Integrating a chatbot into the flow of work is possible with a chatbot tool like eggheads.

You either share the chatbots via link in your existing channels and platforms like the LMS, LXP or the HRMIS. Or with the dedicated Microsoft Teams App called the egghead you can even reach employees where they collaborate and communicate day in and day out.

When new hires start at your organization, they often have a fresh perspective and a natural curiosity to learn about their role and how to contribute to success. An employee onboarding chatbot helps these newcomers get acquainted with company policies, tools, and culture.

Chat-based training not only reduces the time it takes to get up to speed but also empowers employees to take responsibility for their roles early on.

Get Feedback and Improve with a Chatbot for Onboarding

HR onboarding chatbots make it easy for new hires to get the business knowledge they need. But they’re not just for teaching, they’re also good at listening.

While monitoring and helping new hires is mostly done by humans, a chatbot built with eggheads can test and assess the new employees’ knowledge. It quizzes them on topics from their onboarding training. You can see their answers to make data-driven decisions about the new hires’ progress and how to enhance their onboarding experience.

Understanding the mood and experience of new joiners is crucial for a successful onboarding program. HR chatbots for employee onboarding can ask for feedback, using either specific questions to guide responses or open-ended ones to hear employees’ thoughts in their own words.

The chatbot can regularly check in and ask new employees to comment on different parts of their onboarding. This information can be collected and examined with the help of AI to keep improving the process. If required, employees even remain anonymous.

It’s important to have ongoing feedback and open communication. Encourage new employees to express their opinions. Set up and manage new employee engagement campaigns, automated feedback surveys, and regular check-ins.

eggheads’ ability to analyze aggregated user data and track individual participation forms a feedback loop. This lets HR monitor how employees are interacting with the learning modules and how well the onboarding process works. The insights gained can be used to constantly tweak and enhance the content and methods, making sure they stay effective and relevant.

Quicker Time-to-Productivity with AI-driven Onboarding

Successful onboarding doesn’t end after the first day. Onboarding is essential for integrating new employees into an organization, ensuring they feel welcomed and prepared for their jobs, and contributing to the organization’s mission, vision, and values.

eggheads’ personalized approach ensures that new hires are engaged and well-prepared, reducing the likelihood of early departure and enabling them to contribute to the company’s goals more quickly.

Chatbot for Offboarding

When a business and its employees part ways, it’s important to leave a good impression. As the saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression, but the last one is what sticks.

If you care about welcoming new employees, you should also focus on saying goodbye properly. Similar to the initial phase of the employee lifecycle, a chatbot for offboarding can accomplish tasks, get feedback and respond to user queries.

Bonus: How long should onboarding take?

When can new hires be considered onboarded, integrated, and productive employees? It’s recommendable to not just focus on initial training but also on long-term engagement, skill development, and cultural assimilation.

To help new employees gradually reach their best performance, a phased approach with a strong emphasis on the first 90 days focuses on the following: In the first 30 days, new hires learn about the company and their job. The next 30 days, they start using more and more of what they’ve learned in their work. In the last 30 days, they begin to contribute more and work on their own.

However, some employees might progress faster while others need more time in certain phases. So tailoring the onboarding process to individual profiles and job requirements is important.

Talking about long-term career goals and plans for development already during onboarding helps employees feel involved from the start. It is a strategic move that gives them a clear vision of their future at the company.

Extending the perspective on onboarding up to 365 days goes far beyond initial job training and basic integration. The extended onboarding timeline is a progressive strategy. It acknowledges that reaching optimal performance is a gradual process. Getting to know coworkers better just takes time. It helps to build deeper relationships and form strong internal networks. Also, it takes time to fully understand and become a part of the company’s culture, to truly represent its values and beliefs, which is essential for effective teamwork and long-term success.

It also offers chances for employees to develop advanced skills and get specialized training. This helps employees understand not just their own job, but also how their work fits into the larger industry.

Furthermore, this period includes ongoing performance management and feedback, allowing new hires to adjust and align their performance with the company’s expectations.

AI-enhanced microlearning allows you to quickly and efficiently share, review, and test knowledge, making sure it is remembered effectively.

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