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How Many Emails Do You Really Need for Effective Onboarding?

Kristen Buchanan

If there’s one thing that unites us all in today’s modern world, it’s emails. Most of us are trying to keep up with the constant stream of emails, or completely avoid them altogether.

Email struggles apply to just about every realm in the working world, but they have an important impact on the workflow for the onboarding process. When a company brings on a new employee, there are lots of logistics to coordinate, and most of that coordination occurs through email. The hiring team, HR, the manager, and the new hire will exchange emails covering everything from the new hire’s background and role to the details surrounding the new hire’s workspace setup.

And all of that emailing adds up.

Rather than a consolidated process, it’s common for a manager to receive one email for each detail to be handled. In fact, we’ve worked with clients who get an average of 13 emails about a new hire before that new employee even arrives for their first day.

If managers are getting overwhelmed by emails coordinating just one employee, imagine their frustration when 10 or even 20 employees are hired at once!

Thirteen emails are simply too many for one new hire. There’s a better way to prep managers and new hires without saturating their inboxes.

Using a system that already exists can help you migrate away from the emails and shift into a workflow around onboarding.

Most companies have a ticketing system (like Jira) that they use for service desks, help desks, and also just bug tracking and feature requests. Some of the onboarding emails can also be incorporated into a ticketing program. Using a ticketing program for onboarding keeps details out of the email inbox so they can actually be dealt with rather than getting lost in the shuffle — or worse — ignored due to overwhelm.

If your HRIS has a tracking tool in it, you can use that too. Try using your HRIS to rack the new hire’s progress, both pre-hire and post-start date, all the way through 90 days or even up through their first year. Using a system that already exists can help you migrate away from the emails and shift into a workflow around onboarding.

Emails will always be a part of onboarding, but using a system outside of the inbox can help make email more efficient. Instead of getting 13 different emails, a manager might get one email that reminds them to kick off the process with the 90-day plan or to fill out the form necessary to make sure the new hire is set up with a desk, appropriate software, a laptop, and anything else they’ll need on their first day.

By this point your managers will be receiving fewer emails…but what about the new hire?

If your managers are getting inundated with emails, it’s likely that your new hires are, too. Overwhelming your employees with information can cause them to feel lost or confused early in the onboarding process, so take the time to learn how your company is communicating with new hires right from the start.

You usually can’t put a new hire into a workflow using their non-company email, but you can still monitor how many emails are making their way to that address. Try running a process evaluation and a swim lane evaluation to figure out how many emails your new hires are getting, and who sends those emails to new hires.

Once you understand where those emails are coming from you can work to consolidate that information and make it more readable and accessible to the new hire.

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