Accenture Is Using Tech to Make Onboarding a Personal Experience

Normally I think of onboarding along two dimensions: efficiently handling the administrative work and welcoming a person onto the team so they can be effective. Onboarding, even the basic administrative work, can be hard to do, and technology can help a lot. However, I was particularly impressed with how Accenture is using HR technology (in this case SilkRoad) to move onboarding four steps forward.

Here are the four steps forward:

1. Make the administrative work fast and easy — This includes getting the necessary documents back and forth, tracking the process so that both new employee and HR know the current status, reducing the need to chase missing documents, and making sure the tools employees need to do the work are available (e.g. a place to work).

2. Enable a fast start on the job itself — Make sure new hires get the relevant background on their job and know what they need to do on day one.

3. Create a user good experience — Creating a good user experience largely flows from doing steps 1 and 2 well; on top of that a modern software interface helps create the right experience and one that is consistent with the company’s brand.

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4. Personalize the process — Accenture is a huge global firm  with different lines of business so they’ve worked to personalize the process as much as possible for each given role.

It’s great to see how onboarding can be much, much better than it usually is and the role of technology in making that possible.

What is interesting

Accenture stresses the need for their processes to match the pace of change, so the mindset is not “build a good process then move on to the next thing,” it’s “build an agile process that we can continually configure to meet changing needs.”

What is really important

  • The technology itself is not the whole answer, Accenture invests the time to create and update the processes and content to make it work for their environment.
  • If we think of onboarding as paperwork we’ll never have a great process. If we think of it as a means to quickly launch employees into an engaging and productive career, then we are on the path to creating real excitement.
  • Almost all the tech stories I’ve heard talk about going from a mess of non-standardized processes to a straightforward standard one. This story is unusual in using the configurability of tech to let different units customize and personalize the process.

David Creelman, CEO of Creelman Research, is a globally recognized thinker on people analytics and talent management. Some of his more interesting projects included:

  • Conducted workshops around the world on the practical aspects of people analytics
  • Took business leaders from Japan’s Recruit Co. on a tour of US tech companies (Recruit eventually bought for $1 billion)
  • Studied the relationship between Boards and HR (won Walker Award)
  • Spoke at the World Bank in Paris on HR reporting
  • Co-authored Lead the Work: Navigating a world beyond employment with John Boudreau and Ravin Jesuthasan. The book was endorsed by the CHROs of IBM, LinkedIn and Starbucks.
  • Worked with Dr. Wanda Wallace on “Leading when you are not the expert” which topped the “Most Popular List” on the Harvard Business Review’s blog.
  • Worked with Dr. Henry Mintzberg on peer coaching, David’s learning modules are among the most popular topics.

Currently David is helping organizations to get on-track with people analytics.

This work led to him being made a Fellow for the Centre of Evidence-based Management (Netherlands) for his contributions to the field.



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