Romancing the New Hire: How Blue Cross Blue Shield Alabama Attracts, Retains and Stays Connected with Workers Through Automated Onboarding

Posted: 06/01/2011

Blue Cross Blue Shield Alabama (BCBS AL) has 4,000 associates in five states, with over 32 locations. Because this leading insurance provider is also a Medicare contractor, they have to satisfy strict government hiring requirements – including demonstrating that positions can be filled months before a new-hire reports for their first day.

Keeping New-Hires Connected to BCBS AL – or "Romancing the New-Hire"

"Staying connected to new-hires was just one of the business drivers that led us to evaluate online onboarding. Between the time a candidate accepts the position and Day 1, we acclimate them to our culture, and provide them with the resources they needed to complete their processing during preboarding. This means that our recruiters and HR staff can focus more on making face-to-face orientations about what it means to work here versus filling out forms," explained Michele Adamson, Benefits Administration Manager, BCBS, AL.

Other business drivers for online onboarding included:

  • Attracting and retaining technically savvy applicants through use of next-generation technology.
  • Getting applicants up-to-speed quickly and provisioned faster, making Day 1 more productive.
  • More efficient use of HR resources – including elimination of forms printing, mailing, data entry, and manual updates.

Providing a Service

"Prior to implementing automated onboarding, we were spending over $10,000 annually on printing and mailing, in addition to reprinting forms and handbooks every time a policy or benefit changed. There were countless hours devoted to managing all these forms and reviews, not to mention hours spent tracking down information missing from new-hires. And onsite orientations turned into ‘deer in the headlights.’ Fresh candidates eager to get to work wilted from endless forms completion and routine questions that are now answered before they even get onsite. We really needed a better way of managing this," added Adamson.

Extending the "Honeymoon Phase

Beyond automating forms, automated onboarding issues email alerts to let stakeholders know when intervention was needed, and easy-to-use dashboards provide status on all tours. eAcknowledgements and eVerify ensure that there is 100 percent compliance with all company, state and federal regulations.

BCBS AL also wanted to make the first day comfortable for the new-hire by providing a map to the orientation, a First Day agenda for meetings – including photos of BCBS AL employees who would be conducting the meetings – and information about what new-hires can expect to gain from Day 1 and beyond.

"Think back to your first day of work. It was a little intimidating not knowing where you were going, where you should park, or how you could access the building – not to mention all the new people! Our goal was to use online onboarding to also make that experience a lot more productive and fun – and to create the site we would want to have for our first day. As a result, we’ve been able to not just romance the new-hire, but extend the honeymoon phase well past Day One," added Adamson.

Other advantages new-hires realize with automated onboarding include:

  • On-site benefits reviews – which used to take half a day – have been reduced to 60 minutes.
  • Face-to-face orientations are more productive.
  • Access to the onboarding system from any computer, 24/7.
  • More productive Day One and beyond.
Posted: 06/01/2011


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