• By Elmen Lamprecht, Co-Founder of 3 Degrees Tech

Are you killing your new employees with paperwork?

"I feel so inspired right now, I feel like completing three long registration forms" - said no one, ever.

Few things dampen the human spirit more than red tape. We are inspired by interpersonal contact and stimulating subjects that stir the heart and mind. Therefore, it is quite ironic that we engage new employees with soul crushing, tedious onboarding processes.

There is no denying the need for thorough administrative processes within any organization - it is a vital element of managing and control. And it is also true that the onboarding requires orientation and administration to take place. However, it is not true that the process on onboarding should be nothing more than an excruciating, mind-numbing procession of paper driven admin activities.

The challenge is to successfully complete the three tasks of onboarding - administration, orientation & education - in such a way that it keeps the new employee engaged and motivated. A survey by US based the Human Capital Institute found that 58% of organizations say their onboarding programme is still focused on processes and paperwork. From our experience in the South African market, we believe this number to be much higher locally.

The fantastic news is that by embracing new engagement technology, companies can create inspirational onboarding processes that inspires and motivates new starters while still ticking all the administrative boxes. Digitizing the process is a great start, but this is not enough.

Digitizing alone simply replaces boring paper forms with boring online forms. The answer lies in embedding your online forms within engaging technology such as virtual company tours, mobile games and virtual reality. It this way the new employee gets orientated into the business, learns about important matters such as employee benefits and complete the necessary forms without realizing it is happening.

By using virtual tours, mobile and and/or virtual reality in their onboarding process, companies experience the following benefits:

  • Provide an inspirational Employee Experience

  • Streamline the onboarding process

  • Reduce onboarding time by up to 80%

  • Improve efficiency of administrative tasks associated with onboarding

Many experts contend that the memory retention of subjects after a VR experience tends to be higher than after viewing video- or text-based learning materials. In their article in Education Psychology Review, authors James Clark and Allan Paivio [1] explain how memory is anchored and made stronger when there is increased multi-sensory and emotional input. The idea is simple: as presence - and emotional responsiveness - increases, memory retention also improves. Research from S.A. Christianson [2] concurs that the stronger an emotional reaction to a stimulus, the stronger the memory will be.

Indeed, when subjects feel presence in a VR experience, they feel like something is actually happening to them in real life, rather than simply observing. In one recent study, participants were presented with either a 360-degree VR video or a 2D video of a motorcycle ride. This was followed 48 hours later by a memory test. The results showed that the VR group performed twice as well as the video group in the memory recollection test. The researchers explained the performance differential by hypothesizing that immersive VR experiences become part of an extensive autobiographical associative network, whereas conventional video experiences remain as memories of isolated episodic events.

Move your employee onboarding processes to the next level and reap the benefits of giving them a great start to their new careers!


[1] Educational Psychology Review,