Streamlining employee onboarding: Microsoft’s response to the Great Reshuffle

This post has been republished via RSS; it originally appeared at: Microsoft Security Blog.

In 2021, workers everywhere reevaluated their professional and personal choices, leading to what became known as the Great Resignation. In 2022, a new trend that many are calling the Great Reshuffle has emerged, with 43 percent of the workforce saying they’re very likely to consider changing jobs or exiting their industry altogether in the coming year.1

As our 2022 Work Trend Index, Great Expectations: Making Hybrid Work Work, revealed, employees have a new “worth it” equation and are voting with their feet.2 As a result, employees are onboarding and offboarding more frequently. The constant flow of tasks, starting with applying for a job and navigating the first few days of employment, leaves much room for error, thus increasing stress for HR, IT, and each new employee.

Given that 73 percent of employees want to keep their work options flexible, more than three-quarters of Chief Human Resource Officers (CHROs) plan to preserve the newer hybrid work options available today and accommodate the flexibility that existing and prospective employees desire.3 Unfortunately, the complexity and cost of both onboarding and offboarding employees have increased in our new hybrid reality.

The 2022 Work Trend Index surveyed more than 31,000 people in 31 countries and found that 53 percent of people are likely to consider transitioning to hybrid work in the year ahead.

Workforce feedback and statistical studies reveal two challenges specific to credentialing:

  1. The rising cost and frustration of employee onboarding.
  2. Increased security risks of employee offboarding.

The rising costs and frustration of employee onboarding

The typical multistep process of the new hire onboarding journey became even more convoluted during the pandemic with the rise of both hybrid and fully remote work. As a result, managing the details of recruiting, interviewing, and hiring has become increasingly challenging, leading to a sharp rise in costs.

Organizations struggle with navigating the start of the employee journey for both in-person and remote workers in the most efficient and secure way possible. For example, the chart in Figure 1 summarizes the findings of a private study Microsoft conducted in 2021 to understand who’s involved in tasks associated with identity verification for new employees. Responses from 3,000 organizations show that HR and IT split these tasks almost evenly and that across the 14 industries surveyed, onboarding accounts for an astounding 14 to 31 percent of all ID verification spending.

Graph showing ID verification spend across multiple industries with finance spending leading all other industries. The K-12 education industry spends the least.

In fact, 69 percent of employees are more likely to stay with a company if they experience great onboarding.4

Traditionally, HR teams have relied on physical documents—such as a driver’s license, birth certificate, or passport—and in-person communications to verify a new employee’s identity and credentials, a semi-manual process that can cause frustrating onboarding delays, flagging a potential concern given more remote, in-person, and hybrid options available in a competitive labor market. The modern workforce expects a more automated experience that’s also more secure. In fact, 82 percent of study participants wish there was a better way to perform verification.

Fortunately, recent advances in technology are making it possible to digitize identity information in a way that’s portable and privacy-respecting for the user, while helping businesses streamline their verification processes. This new technology, called verifiable credentials, is based on a decentralized identity approach and allows organizations to verify an individual’s credentials, such as employment or education. For the background check process, employers can confirm a new hire’s identity information digitally and within seconds from an authoritative source. The business can then issue an employee ID as a verifiable credential, which the employee can store in their digital wallet and use to access other resources that require employment confirmation, such as benefits enrollment or equipment purchases.

Although these modernization efforts must still align with government regulations that require physical inspection of original documents, they have the potential to significantly transform the employee’s onboarding experience and their first days on the job, making it easier for them to access the resources they need to be immediately productive in their new role.

Microsoft Entra Verified ID will help streamline the process of credential attestation, reducing frustration and delays that HR, IT, and new employees currently experience. The chart in Figure 2 illustrates a transformed onboarding journey, and how HR and IT manage both pre-onboarding (blue) and onboarding (green) to ensure the process runs smoothly for the employee.

Verifiable credentials help streamline the onboarding process. This chart shows how easy it can be to securely onboard a new employee using Microsoft Verified ID.

As we all know, first impressions matter. By simplifying and expediting the onboarding experience, using verifiable credentials can help create a positive first impression that helps make employees feel good about joining an organization, rather than second-guessing their decision.

Increased risks of employee offboarding

When an employee leaves an organization, their access credentials—along with their access permissions—should be wiped clean to prevent valuable company information from walking out the door with them. Using modern identity governance tools such as verifiable credentials, IT can select one box to decommission a departing employee’s access to the organization’s digital assets. If HR tools are integrated with identity systems, then any changes HR makes in their systems automatically perpetuate to other IT systems, and vice versa.

The offboarding governance process may include revoking any employer-issued verifiable credentials used to grant access to organizational programs, such as employee discounts, or employee-only resources. Verifiable credentials also give employees a new level of control over their personal information. They can revoke permissions they’ve given their former employer to access verifiable credentials that share educational history, government-issued identity numbers, and other sensitive data. And with the introduction of Microsoft Entra Verified ID, it’s now possible to allow individuals, organizations, and devices to decide what information they share with whom, and to take it back if necessary.

The benefits of using verifiable credentials

According to the 2021 Employee Experience Survey Highlights, organizations that provide digitally transformed experiences are nearly three times more likely to report higher productivity than their industry peers, and 90 percent more likely to report lower annual turnover.5

Using verifiable credentials creates tangible benefits for HR and IT departments and the employees they support:

  • Faster, easier, and less expensive processes. HR can start replacing some paper-based or in-person identity or credential verification processes to reduce onboarding time and get new hires productive sooner. IT can easily integrate verifiable credentials into existing systems without writing any custom code. 
  • Compliance with ever-changing global privacy regulations. IT can implement decentralized identity solutions based on open standards that allow HR to verify an employee’s skills, certifications, education, and career history in a privacy-respecting manner.
  • A better employee experience that strengthens recruiting and retention. Today’s employees expect easy, convenient, and contactless digital experiences that protect their privacy. Verifiable credentials provide a secure way for individuals to share their personal information with their employers and revoke access when they leave.

Avanade, a leading professional services and technology provider, is using Microsoft Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) verified ID to streamline credentialing processes and facilitate collaboration among employees, vendors, and clients.

Navigating the path ahead

The Great Reshuffle is the living, evolving proof that organizations need to pay closer attention to the employee experience. HR and IT business leaders must therefore respond to employee expectations for flexibility, safety, security, and support for their overall wellbeing. This response must start with a smoother onboarding process, in which verifiable credentials can significantly simplify and streamline.

Learn more about how Microsoft and verified ID can help your organization navigate the Great Reshuffle.

Read more information on the solution and open standards initiative with decentralized identities.

To learn more about Microsoft Security solutions, visit our website. Bookmark the Security blog to keep up with our expert coverage on security matters. Also, follow us at @MSFTSecurity for the latest news and updates on cybersecurity.

12022 Work Trend Index: Annual Report, Microsoft. March 16, 2022.

2Great Expectations: Making Hybrid Work Work, Work Trend Index 2022, Microsoft.

3The Next Great Disruption Is Hybrid Work – Are We Ready?, Work Trend Index 2021, Microsoft. March 22, 2021.

4Don’t Underestimate the importance of good onboarding, SHRM. 2017.

52021 Employee Experience Survey, WTW. July 20, 2021.

The post Streamlining employee onboarding: Microsoft’s response to the Great Reshuffle appeared first on Microsoft Security Blog.

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