Here's How to Achieve Employee & Contractor Onboarding at Scale

Tina Eaton
July 10, 2018
minuto de lectura
Employee & Contractor Onboarding at Scale
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Nuevo aspecto, ¡el mismo gran producto! HelloSign ahora es Dropbox Sign.

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If you’ve ever been tasked with, or even shared a department with someone who has been tasked with, hiring a large number of remote contractors or employees all at once—you know it can get really messy, really quickly.

First, there are the logistics of how you’re going to handle applications. If you don’t want to rely on slow and unreliable snail mail (which, trust us, you don’t), then you’ll have to get applicants to fill them out digitally. And already, you’ve run into an issue: Figuring out the best way to distribute tens, hundreds, or even thousands of sensitive digital documents to a large group of people running an even larger variety of operating systems on an even larger variety of devices.  

If you’re still with me, somehow you were able to work through that predicament and have received at least some completed applications (The attrition is real!). Now you’re on to the task of entering all that data into one or more systems on your end.

Right about now is a good time to cross your fingers and hope each applicant has provided the correct contact information so you can get in touch when someone inevitably puts their phone number instead of their social security number or gets their address wrong by a single digit.

Don’t think that happens? I see you haven’t worked in HR long. But I digress.

Next up, distributing all the right legal documents to the contractors or employees you’ve chosen to hire. And yes, you really do need to distribute them. That is, unless you enjoy receiving out-of-date forms that, no matter how painstakingly they’ve been filled out, will have to be scrapped—setting that person’s hiring process back several days.

Now it’s time to sink or swim. Perhaps not literally, but definitely digitally.

A wave of contracts, NDAs, 1099s, W-9s, proof on insurance forms, and more has just crashed over your desk. You’ve either got to get it all organized—and securely—or drown in it.

Whatever you do, don’t even think about the acronym “I-R-S.”

Wash, rinse, and rack up overtime ad infinitum.

If this is the process your HR department has to go through to hire several, or heck even one employee or contractor, it’s no wonder your growth isn’t happening as quickly as you’d like!

But that’s not to say it can’t.

Apptopia recently reported that Lyft grew its number of daily active drivers in the U.S. and Canada from about 100,000 in May 2017 to almost 614,000 in February 2018.

In well under a year, they gained over 10 percent market share and added over 500,000 contractors—skyrocketing them closer than ever to Uber’s numbers.

How? By implementing digital HR automation software to achieve employee and contractor onboarding effectively and quickly.

So, it is possible for onboarding not only to to keep up with but actually account for massive scaling. But will the benefits truly be worth the cost and effort? And who’s going to help you get it done?

How to Use HR Automation to Achieve Employee & Contractor Onboarding at Scale

The demand for flexible contractors is growing right along with the popularity of the gig economy. Along with that, a strong market means the competition for talent is stiff. Job hopping is paying off for employees and contractors—but not for you.

The Society for Human Resource Management found employers typically spend the equivalent of six to nine months of an employee’s pay just to find and train their replacement.

But let’s explore something that ties HR automation to your business objectives a little more tangibly—ROI.

According to a white paper by talent acquisition software company iCIMS, turnover is three times higher in new hires who are onboarded manually versus those who go through HR automation to be onboarded.

Assuming industry-standard turnover rates and costs as well as a salary of $50,000 with benefits, onboarding new hires manually can cost over $102,000 per year.

But HR automation can shrink the cost of onboarding by over 80 percent to just over $22,000 per year.

For those keeping score at home—that’s an ROI of nearly $80,000, or nearly two whole salaries, in the first year of HR automation alone.

The attrition rate and cost of manually onboarding full-time employees alone makes an investment in HR automation absolutely worth it—but it’s still just as vital in any organization that relies on independent contractors as well.

Even though contractors likely spend less time in the office or with your company as a whole, they’re just as instrumental in its success. And in cases where you’re onboarding a whole lot of them all at once, it would seem they might be even more crucial to your success than your incumbent staff at that moment.

In Deloitte’s Core beliefs and culture Chairman’s survey, 83 percent of executives and 84 percent of employees named engaged and motivated staff as the leading factor in a company’s success.

How does that engaged and motivated staff gets that way? They understand the company’s objectives, align with its culture, and understand their role in its success.

And how can you possibly instill all of these lessons into a big group of contractors all at once and still get them to work in a timely fashion? With automated onboarding.

Onboarding is the second-most impactful HR practice after recruiting. And the time that your staff has to implement it flawlessly is short and getting shorter with every new hire.

When replacing an employee can cost anywhere from 16 to 213 percent of their pay, it literally pays to implement HR automation so you’re able to provide solid onboarding at scale and precisely when and where it’s needed.

Who to Trust with Your Onboarding Automation

It would be hard to overstate the necessity for seamless onboarding in modern enterprise.

It introduces new hires to the history, values, and culture upon which your business was founded.

It gives you a chance to show them that there’s no other organization in the world where there talents would be appreciated and celebrated the way they are here.

It sets the stage for the way they will interact with your customers and their colleagues—and whether they’ll be doing so for years to come or just a few months.

Onboarding can be a growth engine for your organization. Tend to it and it will provide the power to scale to amazing heights. Let it stagnate and rust and your growth will likely do the same.

As such, the importance of who you choose to trust to help you automate your all-important onboarding process is also hard to overstate.

Instacart chose Dropbox Forms, and it has made all the difference.

Case Study: Instacart Fuels Rapid Growth with Dropbox Forms HR Automation for Onboarding

What is Dropbox Forms?

Dropbox Forms is the newest addition to the Dropbox Sign family. Dropbox Fax eliminated the need for fax machines, Dropbox Sign empowered companies to go paperless, and now Dropbox Forms takes our innovations another step further by empowering companies to digitize and simplify even the most complex workflows.

Dropbox Forms takes any series of documents and stitches them together with code to transforms them into a single, intelligent flow. Hundreds of pages are distilled into a short series of smart data fields. Human error and repetitive data entry are eliminated with conditional logic, data validation, and a mapping feature that makes sure that data goes right where you need it.

Any service with an accessible API (payment collection, weather data, location search, background checks, whatever!) can be plugged in so you can complete your entire workflow in one go. And our security is always bank-level and AWS-backed.

With a mobile-friendly design, you and your clients no longer have to strain your eyes or your patience—no matter what device you’re using or how complex the workflow.

We built Dropbox Forms to fill a gap in the market that would help make our users more awesome. And we’re proud to say Instacart has certainly become more awesome since our collaboration.

How did Dropbox Forms Help Instacart with HR Automation for Onboarding?

Leading on-demand grocery marketplace Instacart has more than ten thousand Personal Shoppers selecting, packing, and delivering groceries at any given time.

Even though their onboarding process was digital from the get-go, at that scale it still had plenty of pain points that were stunting their growth.

“Under the old system, there was considerable friction in the sign-up and onboarding process,” an Instacart representative said. “We were losing qualified service providers before they’d even shopped their first order. Something had to change.”

Less than 40 percent of applicants were able to complete their paperwork in under an hour. Attrition was high and customers were starting to ask questions. Digitized documents alone weren’t going to cut it if Instacart wanted to scale.

That’s when Dropbox Forms stepped in to help them develop a holistic, mobile-first workflow that accelerated contract completion by nearly 300 percent. Duplicate data entry was eliminated and multiple PDFs were condensed to a series of mobile-friendly fields and buttons that took no time at all to complete.

Internally, implementing Dropbox Forms’ HR automation solution in the onboarding workflow saved the Instacart team more than 50 hours every single week. Data was funneled to exactly where it was needed and real-time form verification meant HR personnel spent less time correcting errors.

After collaborating with Dropbox Forms, Instacart is well on their way to their goal of reaching 80 percent of U.S. households by the end of 2018.

How To Use Dropbox Forms to Automate and Scale Onboarding in Your Organization

Inefficient workflows still plague a variety of industries and businesses.

Bad user experience on mobile devices leads to low completion rates. PDFs lock away important information. “Dumb” forms aren’t able to catch human errors in real time.

All of these issues lead to high remediation rates and perpetuate the never-ending need for redundant data entry—two costs that companies can gladly cut with HR automation.

While Dropbox Forms is an intelligent and versatile solution for document workflows when it comes to everything from new patient intake to leasing and buying property, where it really helps businesses scale is with new hire onboarding.

If you aren’t using HR automation, it’s likely your onboarding workflows could be more efficient.

We’re willing to bet your hiring manager has their hands way too full with filling out, tracking down, and correcting new hire paperwork.

At the same time, the new hires themselves are spending hours—probably over the course of several days—completing redundant forms when they could instead be forming those important bonds and impressions that will set them up for success in the future.

Use Dropbox Forms to remove the grunt work and wasted time from both sides of the equation.


Instead of  of printing, filling out, scanning, and manually re-entering new hire information into a database; you can implement Dropbox Forms to condensed onboarding paperwork to a few fields and clicks.

Your new hire simply enters the relevant information as they’re guided through the experience. Any information they entered into a field will auto-fill in matching fields, so there’s no redundancies like there are with traditional forms. Simultaneously, this data flows directly to the database HR has indicated so they can access and share it as needed without circulating hard-to-use and non-secure PDFs.

We created Dropbox Forms to make our customers more awesome. And we think providing easy-to-use HR automation software to companies to shrink onboarding costs by over 80 percent is pretty dang awesome.

We truly believe it’s a game changer whether you need to hire one or one thousand full-time, part-time, or contracted employees. And so do our happy clients.

If you’re ready to see if Dropbox Forms is the one you trust to skyrocket your growth with large-scale employee and contractor onboarding, set up a demo now.

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