Attracting and retaining talent is tough at the best of times – and few would say these times are ideal. As COVID re-shapes how we go about our jobs, HR pros are doing their best to adapt recruitment to the requirements of social distancing.

With the job market in disarray, there are a lot of great candidates out there. But the way we woo them is changing. The realities of remote working mean the art of effective onboarding is being re-mastered.

When does the onboarding phase begin? Is it during the final interview? During orientation? Once the contract is signed? Smart employers determined to win over the best candidates start onboarding the moment an applicant gives their verbal ‘yes’.

After that, every experience and touchpoint they have with HR leaves its mark.

In this blog, we'll explain how e-signatures are helping human resources teams keep their remote hiring processes seamless, and their top candidates fully engaged — right up to the first day on the job.

Now is the time to get onboarding right

Research from Gallup in 2017 found fewer than 12% of workers thought their employer did a great job of onboarding new employees. So even before the pandemic, close to 90% of employees felt, at best, underwhelmed by what they experienced.

That's a shame because there's a strong correlation between effective onboarding, staff retention, and productivity. A study by Glassdoor found that businesses with a smooth onboarding process improved retention amongst new hires by 82 per cent — and productivity by over 70 per cent.

Hiring and onboarding are a new team member’s first experience with the company, and, as the saying goes, there’s no changing first impressions. The effort any business puts into making a stressful process less awkward is rewarded by candidates with confidence and goodwill.

This is where adding digital signatures can help. In a time when all hiring interactions are all happening electronically, e-signatures enable HR teams to sustain digital workflow, smoothing the onboarding process and starting to forge the bonds of future loyalty.

Making hiring seamless from end-to-end

Even before the pandemic struck, the world was moving inexorably toward a greater mix of remote and office working. Now that Zoom interviews and work-from-home have become embedded in working culture, shifting to all-digital HR processes has become a necessity.

According to the Harvard Business Review, disengaged applicants have started to “ghost” employers, abandoning their applications midway through the process. Losing top candidates to delays is a real risk.  

Handwritten signatures have become impractical, and they risk causing delays at the point when keeping candidates engaged matters most. Once contracts have been agreed and prepared for sign-off, digital ink is the best, fastest, cheapest, and greenest way to bring a new joiner onboard.

Whatever satisfaction we take from seeing a candidate’s cursive swirls on an employment contract, the benefits of digital signatures beat it by a country mile. 

How e-signing makes hiring seamless

In a traditional process, onboarding starts in earnest when offer letters or contracts of employment are printed and sent to candidates by post. They sign and initial the documents, then return them by post for counter-signature by the employer. After that, they're filed in a physical archive or scanned into a document management system. 

Digital signing eliminates all that and allows candidates to approve offers and contracts electronically. What once took days or even weeks can happen almost instantly. 

E-signature services are secure, reliable, compliant – and legally binding. They cut through the miscommunications, disengagement and assorted admin SNAFUs that can hold-up hiring. Some of the biggest companies in the world are already using them to streamline onboarding processes and turn offer letters into start dates.

Why e-signatures ‘just work’

They’re easier

No more waiting until a candidate is at their desk to review an offer and approve it. Employment contracts can be signed instantly anytime, anywhere, from any device. 

They’re faster

Pre-approved templates speed up the process of creating a new offer letter or contract or amending them during the negotiation phase.

Employer branding is stronger

Viewing and signing contracts online means all the elements of your employer brand identity, from fonts to colours and half-tones are displayed vibrantly. 

They speed up onboarding and strengthen retention

Digital signatures eliminate the need to scan, print, post, sign, and return physical documents. What was a time-consuming, multi-step process becomes smoother for recruiter and candidate.

They integrate easily with RMS

On-premise or in the cloud, advanced APIs allow e-signature services to be integrated easily with recruitment management systems (RMS). Digital signatures can be applied to multiple document formats like Google Docs and PDFs.

Every offer is trackable

E-signatures services like SignRequest give HR teams a snapshot view of every offer of employment sent & signed. You can follow who opened and signed an offer or contract, send automatic reminders, or prompt candidates manually to take action. 

Digital and personal: the best of both worlds

The way contracts and offer letters display can also be customised for each candidate, maintaining the personal associations we make with signatures as proof we’ve agreed to something meaningful.

Why not add digital signing to your RMS?

Most recruitment management systems were designed to manage hiring from job posting to candidate selection. After that, the onboarding phase will often shift into manual. It's the documents bit that usually stays paper-based.

Some digital onboarding tools let the candidate download the offer documents or receive them by email for printing, signature, and return.  This makes progress hard to track and timelines difficult to control. It's also an outdated use of technology which can impact perceptions of the employer; especially by younger, tech-savvy candidates.

Adding e-signature capability from SignRequest to your ATS or RMS, puts those concerns to rest. It makes your process compliant, fast, auditable, and paper-free — even at negotiation when multiple iterations of a letter or contract may need to be exchanged back and forth.

That’s why leading ATS platform Recruitee has made SignRequest an integral part of its offer to HR teams.

‘Electronic signing is an essential feature of any HR system designed to connect with and track candidates. By integrating SignRequest we’re helping our users work more smoothly,so they can handle signatures easily, inside the Recruitee interface.’

SignRequest is always looking to partner with other software vendors who specialise in systems to manage the hiring process more effectively. For any use case where the exchange of verified documents is a core requirement, SignRequest can extend functionality and make the overall offering even stronger.

Find out more on our Resellers page

Ready to give digital signatures a try? Choose one of our plans, or visit the homepage and take SignRequest for a test drive today.

Or contact us and find out more.  

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