Improving Employee Onboarding Process Via Lean Six Sigma

LSS in the Service Industry
Learn how we helped a leading call center service provider improve its employee onboarding process.
Improving Employee Onboarding Process Via Lean Six Sigma
LSS in the Service Industry
Learn how we helped a leading call center service provider improve its employee onboarding process.

Call Center Project Overview




Outsourced Call Center


Six Sigma increase of 1.05

Tools Used

Six Sigma DMAIC


Fifteen months

Project Charter

Problem Statement

A leading call center service provider found that less than 30% of all their new hires had immediate access to the items they needed to begin training or performing their jobs. This was resulting in frequent management complaints and presumed dissatisfaction on the part of new hires in addition to lost revenue due to delayed productivity.

The majority of new hires were without access to the parking facility, the building, the computer and telephone systems, and job related and corporate software applications

Project Charter

Business Case

This outsourced call center was serious about improving satisfaction for their new hires and welcoming them into a professional and orderly environment. Without one, they faced the risk of increased turnover and unsuccessful employees.

Project Charter

Project Goal

The on-boarding project goal was to increase the percentage of new hires that had immediate access to all items they needed to begin training or performing their job on their first day of work to 95%. This would, in turn, decrease the management complaints and increase new hire satisfaction.

Project Charter

Project Team

A multidisciplinary project team was selected to improve the new hire process. The team consisted of representatives from IT, human resources, finance, and the help-desk. The project Y was inadequate access to necessary items for new hires to begin training or performing their jobs.

Chosen Methodology

The team selected the DMAIC process as their improvement method. A Six Sigma DMAIC project is defined as a project that eliminates a chronic problem that is causing customer dissatisfaction, defects, costs of poor quality, or other deficiencies in performance.


Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control

Project Charter

Estimated Cost of Poor Quality (COPQ)

The company estimated that by reducing:

  • New hire entry time by HR staff from 10 minutes to 3 minutes per hire; they could save $834/year.
  • New hire payroll/timekeeping set-up by 15 minutes per new hire; they could save $4,125/year.
  • Trainer and/or hiring manager time to track down and/or troubleshoot issues by 30 minutes, they could save $8,250/year.
  • Double entry, they could save $2,383/year.
  • The time it takes to collect missing information, they could save $7,150.
  • The time to correct errors in the IT related set-up, they could save $5,362.
  • The manual workarounds, they could save $5, 958/year.
  • Turnover by 1 percentage point, they could save $45,600.

Total Annual Soft Dollar Savings = $79,662.

Quick Fixes During Define

The company decided to implement the following quick fixes during the Define phase of DMAIC:

  • They created a new hire “Day One E-mail” which provided instructions for the employee’s first day. This was sent to new hires a few days prior to their start date.
  • They instructed candidates to enter their names as they appeared on their social security cards.
  • They standardized all start dates as Mondays for all locations.
  • They created a “New Hire Spreadsheet” in HR for use on the first day of new hire training.
  • They changed the vendor they used to conduct criminal background checks to reduce response time and eliminate delays.

Current Process Capability

The team studied their current process maps and found issues with:

Parking Access

  • Often requests were never submitted from the hiring manager.
  • Procedures were not understood by parties involved.
  • When hiring managers did get the new employee’s parking access, they often did not communicate this with the new hires.

New Hire Information

  • Often the information collected on new hires was inaccurate and/or missing data (typos or transposed numbers). This caused added delay and wait times for responses.
  • There was a bottleneck in the process when new hire volumes were high.

Emails to HR, IT, and Accounting

  • Often the emails were not providing critical information and were inaccurate about transfers and the part-time/full-time status of the jobs.
  • If the new hire start date was adjusted, there was no email communication to update departments.
  • It was a manual process to email the Accounting department with new hire pay information.

Adding employees to the New Hire Spreadsheet

  • This was a manual process and often caused a bottleneck in the system.
  • There were many opportunities for error.

Sending Day One E-mails to New Hires

  • There was nothing to prompt departments to get this done.
  • The e-mail was known to go directly into the new hire’s spam folder.

Confidentiality of Drug Screens

  • Drug screen results were being faxed to the corporate fax which violated confidentiality agreements.
  • Often the distribution of these faxed results was being delayed or incorrectly routed.
  • If there were questionable results, it was taking up to one week for additional screening activities
Cause and Effect

What was contributing to the issues?

Utilizing a Cause and Effect Diagram, the team identified some of the major factors that were contributing to new hires being without access and information on their first day. They included:


Probable root causes included the number of new hires and new systems.


Probable root causes included material shipment delays and items being placed on back order.


Probable root causes included who specifically were the team leaders, the HR recruiters, and the HR administrators during the new hire process. Other factors included the Payroll Manager, the position itself, the temp employee or agency, the IT department, and/or the finance department. ▪


Probable root causes included a limited staff in payroll, IT, and HR.


Probable root causes included when a new hire accepted their offer and if it coincided with a payroll, a HR professional’s vacation, or was too close to their start date. Another factor was requests sent to the help-desk on Fridays were not processed until Monday.


Probable root causes included the help-desk process, the type of new hire position, program procedures, and automated email.

Quick Fixes During Measure

The team implemented the following quick fixes during the Measure phase of DMAIC:

  • They revised the “New Hire Checklist for Hiring Managers” with details for help-desk communication.
  • HR took over the entry of each new hire’s birth date, emergency contact, spousal information, gender, race, and personal information instead of passing it onto payroll to complete.
  • They created an ETN (employee transaction notice) with a section to capture new hire data on one form vs. three

Vital Few Xs

The team tested a number of theories that they believed were contributing to new hires being without adequate access. They discovered that the Vital Few Xs were:

  • The team
  • Help Desk prioritization
  • Location of new hire

Quick Fixes During Analyze

The company implemented the following quick fixes during the Analyze phase of DMAIC:

They streamlined the Helpdesk Onboarding Process and were able to reduce turnaround time from 7 days to 2 days.

They eliminated the “per new hire” custom email to IT staff and decided to only send a standard monthly new hire report. Implementation and Control – In order to remedy the Vital Few Xs, the team came up with the following strategies:

  • They standardized and simplified the team process to eliminate variation.
  • They ensured the help desk tickets were completed for all new hires prior to their start dates.
  • They ensured a complete set-up for each new hire no matter where they were located.
  • They trained all hiring managers on new processes and procedures.
  • They documented standard software access profiles by job title.
  • They documented standard building and key card access profiles by job title.
  • They created and distributed new hire access packets and took new hire photos on day one.
  • They implemented auto notices to hiring managers to initiate the onboarding process.
  • They created an online information gathering questionnaire for new hires to complete.
  • They create an online survey of new hires to confirm that access and set-up was completed accurately.

Quick Fixes During Improve

The company implemented the following quick fixes during the Improve phase of DMAIC:

  • They asked the hiring managers to confirm names, email addresses, addresses, and phone numbers during the new hire offer.
  • They set up desktop fax capabilities for HR staff to receive drug screen results at their desktop.
  • They deactivated the parking ramp arm from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Mondays.
  • They added the hiring manager’s name to new hire emails and copied the hiring manager.


Working with Juran, this outsourced call service company was able to successfully exceed their goal of increasing the percentage of new hires that had immediate access to all items to 95%. This translated to a 1.05 sigma shift.

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