How To Onboard your Blue-Collar Workforce in 2021

Business: How To Onboard your Blue-Collar Workforce in 2021

Workmate Team
31 May 2021
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One way to attract and retain your blue-collar talent—while minimising the churn rate—is to implement an effective onboarding process. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, turnover during the first 18 months on the job can be as high as 50 percent*—and a seamless onboarding process can help to mitigate this. 

Beyond just fine-tuning the outreach and orientation process, it’s crucial that businesses look into an onboarding routine that can quickly orientate newcomers to their roles, while helping them integrate better into the organization. This lets them feel more connected and engaged, while reducing the frustration of having to figure things out on their own, particularly in a chaotic work environment.

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What are some ways to onboard your blue-collar workforce?

In short, the onboarding process involves introducing and integrating new workers into your company, such as the initial training sessions to familiarise workers with their roles, to even assigning a mentor. 

Most blue-collar businesses carry out the onboarding process in two ways:

Manual onboarding

Manual onboarding is defined by traditional and paper-based processes, such as using physical documents and timesheets to relay important details like work responsibilities, and to clock in or keep track of hours. Some businesses also manage their blue-collar workforce in disparate, manual approaches, such as informing them of work shift changes through WhatsApp groups, or through other informal messaging platforms.

The problems with manual onboarding processes

Information in physical onboarding documents, or even in piecemeal digital software like Excel spreadsheets and messaging platforms which are not designed for managing large workforces, can be tedious and time-consuming to update.

These processes are also usually informal, with supervisors carrying them out in their own ways. The lack of standard procedures in place can result in conflicting—and even inaccurate—information being conveyed to new workers. Not only can this impede productivity significantly among the new and existing workforce, who may be confused by the varying instructions and responsibilities, this can also cause significant stress and reduce morale among them. 

Digital onboarding

On the other hand, digital onboarding makes use of virtual documents and automated processes on specialized, online platforms, which are more seamless and intuitive than manual onboarding methods. Some even come with mobile apps, with workers able to easily access the information they need, such as onboarding documents and their contracts, on these apps.

In these instances, information is not only much easier to keep track of, but businesses can spend less time overseeing the administrative aspects of onboarding new workers. At the same time, they can also convey much needed updates—and even last-minute changes—to their entire roster in a few simple clicks.

The advantages of implementing a digital onboarding process

With digital onboarding, businesses can enhance the entire onboarding experience for new hires, and organise their workforce without relying on cumbersome paper documents. They can also:

  • Deliver key and updated information to workers quickly and keep everyone on the same page
  • Maintain full visibility over the workforce, complete with details on full-time workers and outsourced labour 
  • Manage their workforce in a single platform, even across multiple work locations
  • Receive recommendations for specific roles, with some platforms even processing performance data with an AI algorithm

To start, managers should implement a formal onboarding process to acclimate new workers: having an onboarding checklist, and setting effective onboarding goals are important first steps. Workforce management software like Workmate’s Worker Network, for instance, can also accelerate the onboarding process, allowing it to be completed as quickly as within a few minutes—and even resulting in a 99% retention rate for your workers**.

Find out more about onboarding your blue-collar workforce, while enhancing your recruitment in our paper, “The Ultimate Guide to Recruiting Blue Collar Workers in 2021”.

Or book a demo now to start managing your blue-collar workforce, click here.

* Gallup, “Why the Onboarding Experience is Key for Retention”, 

** Workmate, “Automate your workforce management with Workmate”,

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