Agata S.A. has digitized its onboarding processes with the Productive24 platform. We spoke with Sebastian Harupa – Deputy IT Director and Magdalena Krawczyk – Senior HR Projects Specialist at Agata S.A. about how the project affected the functioning of the organization.
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Małgorzata Rząd-Poźniak, Productive24: Two years ago, you decided to digitize your onboarding processes. Can you tell me, what was the most important for Agata S.A. at that time? What results did you want to achieve?
Sebastian Harupa, Agata S.A: For the past few years we have been constantly developing onboarding processes in Agata S.A. Due to the high amount of our employees as well as active recruitment processes, the effective onboarding of new hires is vital for us. It is not only crucial for our general efficiency, but also – what’s even more important – the convenience of our new employees during this process. About two years ago, we decided that our next step in developing our onboarding processes was their digitization and transferring them to a dedicated IT tool. The reason for that was primarily the desire to streamline the handling of processes and make them as smooth as possible. We also wanted to gain the ability to manage them centrally and to plan and monitor them easily.
Of course, specific requirements were also determined for this project. The primary one was that the software should reflect the way, new hires are onboarded in accordance with previously established logic. We didn’t really want to change formerly developed and proven internal practices, thus the new tool had to reflect them, taking into account organizational structure and relationships between various positions.
Magdalena Krawczyk, Agata S.A: Exactly, this is what was very important for us. I would like to add that if it comes to new employees, once they’ve started a new role in Agata S.A. we want them to be able to learn the most significant information about our internal processes, procedures, and services easily and in a standardized way. We assumed that improving the quality of onboarding would translate into higher retention in the next stages of employment, especially right after the onboarding period. It was important for us that the effort put into the training – both by Agata’s managers and the employees themselves – was not “wasted” and that at the end of the process, each of the newly hired people felt confident in their position and wanted to continue working with us.
Why HRM Productive24?
Małgorzata Rząd-Poźniak: What factors influenced your choice of the Productive24 platform to digitize employee onboarding?
Sebastian Harupa: Before making a decision, we did very deep market research. Above all, Productive24 stood out from other solutions mainly because of its flexible technology. We positioned the platform as a solution that falls somewhere between a typical SaaS system (software as a service – editor’s note) and a bespoke solution created from scratch. Out-of-the-box solutions by their very design impose certain limitations, while custom systems can be difficult to design, time-consuming to build, and costly to implement and maintain.
Productive24 combines the best features of both approaches. On the one hand, it is a ready-made platform that offers a solid structure and foundation for building secure IT applications, while at the same time, it does not force us to use only ready-made, rigid components. In other words, Productive24 eliminates the most demanding stage of system development and allows you to customize and develop functions according to your unique needs. Thus, the platform enabled us to realize our basic premise: it was not us who had to adapt to the system, it was the system that adapted to us.
Digital employee onboarding and time saving
Małgorzata Rząd-Poźniak: What benefits have you noticed in your organization since the implementation of the Productive24 platform?
Sebastian Harupa: Obviously, the digitalization of onboarding has brought about certain improvements. Firstly, it allowed us to standardize the process for individual positions. Productive24 has contributed to the improvement of the entire onboarding process, especially on Agata’s showroom staff side, i.e. buddies and new hires’ direct supervisors. What we noticed almost immediately was a definite time-saving.
According to our estimates, after moving onboarding to Productive24, we optimized its performance by up to 65%. Most of the activities that previously had to be done manually have been automated. The process itself is therefore much more efficient and less time-consuming to manage. A particular indicator proving the legitimacy of digitization is the reduction in the average labor intensity of handling the process on the showroom employees’ side by as much as 1.4 FTE. This means that they have gained more time to carry out their daily duties, so they can focus on increasing sales or improving customer service.
Magdalena Krawczyk: From my point of view, an important element was the change in the way of educating new hires during their onboarding. The onboarding materials have been organized, and the content is presented in an attractive way. An employee can easily find himself in these materials. The process includes providing the essential information for the position, in an appropriate, well-planned order. The systematized flow of information positively influences the quality of the entire process and better prepares employees in terms of content. Thus, when an employee is starting a new role after the implementation period, he or she is better oriented in tasks and more confident in performing them.
We have also noticed that such a comprehensive form of onboarding increases employee satisfaction. It affects the wellbeing at work, especially during the very first days. What’s more, the results of the survey conducted among managers and directors show that 95% of respondents rate both the usability of the platform and access to knowledge during the onboarding as good or very good. The onboarding conducted with the aid of the Productive24 platform allows us to not only manage and share knowledge about the company in the right way but also to monitor the entire process. We see how employees are progressing, we can verify what they have learned and help them during hard times. Keeping an eye on it helps us effectively shape the development of a new employee in the organization.
Onboarding plan tailored to the organization
Małgorzata Rząd-Poźniak: Can you tell us a little more about what the employee onboarding in Agata S.A. look like, and what are the steps? Do you take any special measures to make sure the process is personalized and tailored to the individual needs and skills of new hires?
Sebastian Harupa: Onboarding processes have been entirely moved to Productive24. In practice, this means that as soon as the data of the newly hired employee is entered into our HR & Payroll system, they are automatically integrated into the onboarding platform. Sending this data informs the system that a new onboarding process has to be initiated. The onboarding paths for each position are designed according to our requirements, which means that they contain the various information and teaching materials necessary to start a new role. Thus, depending on the occupied position, the system right at the very beginning assigns a buddy and automatically generates the appropriate process for the employee. Onboarding can follow general requirements, or it can be tailored to the specialist requirements of the position.
Magdalena Krawczyk: If it comes to the scope of knowledge, the training that the employees undergo during their first days covers a wide range of topics. At the beginning, they are given an onboarding plan and some general information about the company. Then, depending on the occupied position, dedicated job training begins, i.e., customer service, materials science, product training, HR training, etc. We adapt the content to the position so that the employees can find as much information as possible about their tasks in the system – without involving superiors. Moreover, employees can always return to this data at any time using the knowledge base. It creates the additional space necessary for effective knowledge management in the organization.
How to measure the employee onboarding process?
Małgorzata Rząd-Poźniak: How do you monitor the effectiveness of carried onboarding programs?
Sebastian Harupa: The ability to monitor the onboarding processes was a particularly important function for us. We are committed to preparing employees for their jobs in the best possible way, so the information from the analysis is a significant source of data for us.
It not only allows us to choose the right form of support during employee onboarding but also to continuously improve the entire process. The analytical and reporting tools at Productive24 help to control the progress of onboarding processes in real-time. Thus, we can make sure that no task is left unfinished, that deadlines are met, and that work is performed reliably.
Magdalena Krawczyk: Besides monitoring the progress of onboarding, we also check the level of knowledge of new hires. For this purpose, we use a tool for conducting tests and quizzes. There are many possibilities for verifying the acquired knowledge, and the tool can be parameterized according to needs. Each test or quiz depending on the selected form is adapted to the position and stage, at which it appears, and it can test a chosen range of knowledge. This process is fully automated, thanks to which the role of new hires’ supervisor may be limited to a supervisory function only.
In addition, we have assumed that if we want our onboarding processes to be properly structured and to be helpful to our employees, they have to provide us with feedback. Thus, after completing the training we invite them to fill out a post-onboarding survey to look at the whole process from their perspective. Of course, we want this evaluation to be possibly the best, as we know that having a positive experience at the beginning translates into better work quality later on. Therefore, constructive feedback helps us to improve the onboarding process.
Welcoming new employees is just the beginning!
Małgorzata Rząd-Poźniak: What are your long-term plans for using a platform? Are you planning to expand it in the near future?
Sebastian Harupa: We are constantly developing it, for example by increasing the amount of teaching materials or the number of onboarding processes. We also request new functions on an ongoing basis, and the Productive24 business analysts create solutions tailored to our needs. Further system development depends on the needs of the organization, whereas thanks to the flexibility of this technology we are not afraid of potential changes, functions expansion, or creating entire processes from scratch. We know that practically any of our scenarios can be mapped in Productive24.
Magdalena Krawczyk: An interesting topic we are currently working on or frankly speaking we are about to finalize with the Productive24 team (currently during the testing phase), is an application dedicated to employee development built according to our needs. It contains all training courses offered by the company and automates the process of organizing and conducting them. A major organizational improvement will certainly be the implementation of a notification system to notify selected employees about new training courses available to them. After completing the course, the software will also automatically create a certificate and provide a detailed report.
Those responsible for L&D at Agata S.A. will also be able to regularly monitor training needs in specific areas, as well as the development progress of individual employees. For those who have already undergone digital onboarding, it will still be the same application, but with a richer functionality. Thus, the problems of user education or their resistance towards using the system will be eliminated, because the tool is already familiar to them. In managing employee development in such a large organization as Agata S.A., Productive24’s flexibility works very well.
Małgorzata Rząd-Poźniak: Sounds interesting! Thank you very much for the interview and I wish you all the best!
Magdalena Krawczyk, Sebastian Harupa: Thank you too!