Written by Kevin Fitzgerald, UK MD at Employment Hero

If you’re leading a small business or team, time is your most precious commodity.

Every minute spent navigating administrative or technical hurdles is a minute taken away from doing something else. Processes that you undertake every day might become habit or even get automated, but more infrequent tasks always seem to be the hardest. The biggest one is employee onboarding.

Not selecting a candidate. That’s the fun part – and the part you shouldn’t rush. The things you do next.

The aftermath of candidate selection shouldn’t resemble an obstacle course of administrative tasks. Yet, obtaining tax details, provisioning email addresses, acquiring necessary equipment like laptops, and integrating new hires into HR software and productivity tools all contribute to a painful onboarding process. Big firms have whole HR teams that can make this stuff seem seamless, but for most it still isn’t. These endless barriers not only sap valuable time and resources but also deter SMEs from expanding their teams when the need arises.

SMEs often find themselves caught in a Catch-22 situation: they desperately need to hire new talent to fuel growth, yet the administrative burden associated with onboarding dissuades them from doing so. The result is that opportunities for expansion are missed, and existing employees are stretched thin, leading to burnout and decreased productivity.

At Employment Hero we’re trying to fix that by moving the world towards One-Click Hiring. In the near future we want SMEs to be able to click a button named “hire” and have everything that needs doing automated from there. (We’re also trying to simplify the process of finding employees with an AI tool named SmartMatch – but that’s another story.)

Of course we can’t do that alone. We make HR and payroll software which makes onboarding easy, but the modern candidate often will need accounts to be set up in over a dozen different services, depending on the complexity of their work. They will also need keycards, potentially a phone number, and likely some training.

In the last few weeks we made a big move towards one-click hiring by integrating Google Workspaces and Microsoft 365, allowing employers to create new accounts for staffers in their productivity suites with almost a single click. These suites are used by almost every UK business so we’re glad to get them onboard.

But we know this is just the start. We’ve successfully made hiring paperless, but making it one-click is still not quite possible. Further integrations will be needed to make hiring even simpler – not just with productivity software but also with a whole range of SaaS tools, and potentially real-world provision of things like keycards, laptops, and phones.

We will need a lot of folks working together to ensure a frictionless onboarding experience for SMEs of all sizes. But it is absolutely possible. And given SMEs provide a majority of the UK private sector’s jobs, getting this process right will be essential to keeping hiring going. Hiring someone should be an exciting and celebratory process for SMEs – a sign that a small idea has turned into a growing business. In reality it remains a headache for most. Let’s change that.