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Next Steps for Generative AI in Employee Onboarding

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Finding qualified candidates to fill open positions is just one part of a company’s talent management challenge. Staffing shortages have made it difficult to properly educate and integrate new hires, leading to an increase in onboarding issues. To make matters worse, GenZ workers appear to be having a particularly hard time learning the ropes and adjusting to the disparities between the regulations they had in college and the restrictions they have at work, maybe in part because of the epidemic.

From anecdotal evidence, it seems that GenZ workers who are just entering the workforce straight from college find working remotely the most challenging. Their inconvenient physical separation from more seasoned workers makes it difficult for them to successfully through the onboarding process.

This group of workers may benefit especially well from generative AI. The success of new hires, especially telecommuting Gen Z graduates, depends on the training and usage of these technologies, which companies should emphasize if they want to increase the quality of their staff. This month, let’s look at onboarding and generative AI.

Onboarding
For the first two weeks on the job at IBM, my anxiety levels were through the sky. Since I had started working in the financial department around quarterly closure, my duties had already been altered from what I had been led to believe they would be. The company was closing down, so no one had time to show me how to do my job or explain what I was supposed to do. I was shown to my cube and advised to observe my coworkers for the time being. For two weeks, I would arrive at work and stand about looking bewildered for eight hours until the close was over and someone could show me the ropes. Even yet, I often found that I was treated like an idiot when I failed to adhere to some unspoken custom that I had not yet been made aware of.

In accepting this position, I switched careers from human resources to finance, moved to a new city where I knew just one person, and generally felt alone and in imminent risk of being fired. Wow, those two weeks flew by! Besides, I’m not sure I would still be with the firm if I had the option to work remotely.

Having prior work experience meant I didn’t have to significantly tone down my behavior, but I saw recent college grads get fired for things they probably did on the regular back in the classroom (like asking out a classmate or overdrinking after hours at a company function) only to find out the hard way that such actions are not tolerated in the workplace. It’s become a lot worse, as seen by the high failure rate among GenZ workers.

The saving power of generative AI
Generative AI is the perfect instrument for training a new hire, provided it has received adequate instruction. It never needs a break, can handle a high volume of inquiries, and is programmed to understand and communicate the finer points of your position and organization. It may also be used to keep an eye out for inappropriate behavior by the employee or against the employee, since diversity programs often lead to a rise in racism and abuse in the workplace. The ability to properly and swiftly handle such conduct may do much to make the workplace safer for these new hires.

Generative AI has the potential to detect and regulate mental health issues including depression, substance misuse, harassing tendencies, inattention, undesirable behaviors, and mental health problems in the workplace, hence decreasing the likelihood of termination or hostile conduct.

Particularly for GenZ employees working remotely and lacking the kind of regular oversight and engagement they need to feel part of the company and be successful in it, focusing generative AI on onboarding and employee care and maintenance in general could go a long way toward optimizing productivity and reducing turnover.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, generative AI has broad applicability. Its early deployment focused mostly on displacing human call center workers with an automated system. However, we have a serious issue with how we onboard new employees, especially recent college grads, because they aren’t getting the education they need to understand how their new workplaces differ from the schools they just graduated from, let alone how to take advantage of the many services and resources available to them.

New employee onboarding is one area where generative AI might have the greatest first impact. If implemented there, it should improve the retention rate of new hires and decrease the likelihood of dismissal before their work is done.

Even though we frequently repeat the platitude that “employees are our greatest asset,” actions speak louder than words.

Rob serves as President and Principal Analyst of the Enderle Group, where he advises local and international businesses on topics such as market credibility, customer focus, new business development, technology forecasting, vendor and product selection, and the implementation of cost-free marketing strategies. Rob has been in the business world for almost 20 years, and his resume includes stints with Microsoft, HP, IBM, Dell, Toshiba, Gateway, Sony, USAA, Texas Instruments, AMD, Intel, Credit Suisse First Boston, ROLM, and Siemens, to name a few.

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