A Team Software Inc company


London - November 2018
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Sometimes a really useful word enters our industry’s vocabulary to describe a common process. A recent such word in cleaning is ‘onboarding’. The dictionary definition is “the action or process of integrating a new employee into an organisation”, although in cleaning it is mainly associated with the administrative process of creating a new employee record from the many pieces of information needed to confirm him or her as a fully vetted and ‘good-to-go’ operative.

Onboarding has grown in significance
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Onboarding used to go under the name of ‘new starter checklist’, a simple form filling process. Lately, however, a combination of security and welfare concerns, combined with an increasingly strict Right To Work environment, has turned that process into a more complex affair, where copies of supporting documentation and photographs are obtained and collated in what can become a lengthy, ‘live’ process that needs to be controlled and managed. Like London buses, new staff don’t normally arrive at steady intervals, but all together as part of new contract mobilisations, with the area manager usually playing a big part in gathering the different elements of information. Quite often these may appear in dribs and drabs, and as they do so the individual documents or pieces of data must then be scanned or rekeyed by other departments into their own systems - HR, Payroll, Admin, Training. Certain stages will require sign-off. Then at the end of it all, the employee needs to receive a contract of employment with the details of their hours, pay rates, holiday entitlement, etc. Sounds a bit of a nightmare? Well in a company where staff turnover is relatively low, it would be difficult, but as we know cleaning isn’t like that. So, what can be done to make this process more straightforward?

Using ‘intelligent forms’ to streamline and control onboarding

It won’t surprise you to hear that there is a software-related solution to the drawn-out paper trail of onboarding. That solution is the ‘intelligent’ form, or Advanced Form as we call it at Templa. Advanced Forms, when used in conjunction with an integrated workflow solution, can not only speed up your onboarding process, but also manage subsequent changes to employee details, as well as take care of that great bugbear in cleaning admin, the holiday request.

Five labour-saving features of Advanced Forms

Advanced Forms have five very important and timesaving features:

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  1. As well as being an electronic document, they can also be user-defined, in other words you can design them to capture whatever information you need for your company’s specific onboarding process. Drop downs can be used to complete a field where there is a set choice of values, e.g. nationality, ethnicity.
  2. They can be completed by an operations manager on his or her mobile device whilst in the company of a new employee on site, where their photograph can be added, multiple documents photographed and attached and the form can be electronically signed. When next online, the document will be synchronised back to the company server.
  3. Once there, forms enter your software’s workflow system, where they move from one department to another. Data can be checked and added to, whilst an automated instruction will alert the next person in the chain when a form is ready for them to work on.
  4. Once the contents have been finally ‘signed off’, for example by the HR Manager, a simple click of a button will transfer the data in each field of the form, including the photographs, to its rightful home in the database – static data to Payroll, photos to HR, hours worked and rates to Contract Admin, etc., etc. Where the data in a field is invalid or duplicates something already on the system, such as a NI number or bank details, the user is alerted, forcing a correction.
  5. By adding the company’s standard employment T&Cs, the final version of the form can be turned into an employee contract and emailed to the employee as a pdf or printed and posted.
How does this help in practical terms?
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Intelligent forms are well-suited to any chain-like process where a significant volume of information needs to be gathered out in the field, added to and reviewed by different staff, authorised and finally stored as a new or amended record.

That’s why they are so useful in the process of creating new staff records (onboarding), changing the detail of an employee’s record (e.g. when their hours are amended) and submitting holiday requests that will update their holiday planner. Other areas where they could just as easily be used are for Health and Safety purposes to create and update risk assessments or in the creation of a new client contract record itself.

Responding to a client’s specific need for electronic forms
Regular Cleaning Services of Lewisham

By 2018, Regular Cleaning Services of Lewisham had already been running their key business processes with TemplaCMS for six years, but were keen to digitalise the staff onboarding process. Unable to find a solution on the market that would allow them either to design their own forms or integrate with TemplaCMS, Templa worked with Julian Lingham, FD at Regular, to design the Advanced Forms module that is now available to all Templa clients.

Streamlining the mobilisation process
DOC Cleaning Services of Bishops Stortford

Keen to eliminate unnecessary paperwork, DOC Cleaning of Bishops Stortford now also mobilise new contracts using the Advanced Forms and Workflow modules of TemplaCMS. For DOC, a new contract can typically bring with it 30 new staff working across several sites – for example a portfolio of multi-tenanted offices. Taking advantage of user-defined fields, the company designed its own forms to capture the data needed for each stage of the start-up process. As Jamie Bull of DOC Cleaning says, “The benefits of the system can be summed up in two words – speed and accuracy. We don’t have to wait days for forms to arrive and the data is entered only once. In one fell swoop, and with the minimum of processing, we can create a new employee or a new client record.”