Lord Fairfax Community College Improves Day-1 Productivity with SilkRoad Onboarding

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SilkRoad Results

  • One automated onboarding process that virtually eliminated paperwork and bottlenecks, and shortened the timeline by 70%
  • A software solution customized for varied employee classifications and adaptable when processes change
  • Self-service branded portals that engage new hires with personalized experience and enable productivity on day one
  • Full transparency that allows HR and others to see in current status on onboarding workflows in minutes


  1. Transition from a manual process to a single, automated onboarding solution.
  2. Provide customized, consistent onboarding experiences across six employee classifications and three campuses.
  3. Easily adapt the onboarding workflow as the process evolves.
  4. Minimize missed paperwork that often delays start dates and first paychecks, frustrating new hires.
  5. Free up academic and business leaders to spend less time on paperwork and more time focused on core responsibilities.
  6. Gain data and insights to identify process improvement opportunities. 

Onboarding Delays and Frustrations

An hour west of Washington D.C., Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC) serves residents of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley and Piedmont regions. The institution includes three campuses, 18,000 students, and nearly 1,000 employees. “We’ve received multiple recognitions for being a great place to work,” says Karen Foreman, MSHRM, the college’s Director of Human Resources. “That helps us attract talented people.” Onboarding processes needed to deliver on that experience. When Foreman joined the institution, onboarding was little more than a 30-page packet of forms and materials. While HR had a checklist and timeline for forms completion, most often individual follow-up was required. “With all the back and forth, new employee start times and even their first paychecks were often delayed,” says Foreman. “It was time-consuming, distracting, and frustrating for everyone, especially the new employees.” Her first step was to design complete onboarding processes to accommodate six employee classifications. Then they sought a tool that could make it all real. “As soon as we saw the SilkRoad demo, we knew it was exactly what we needed,” she says.

Employees don’t spend their first days signing a hundred things. They can start working with colleagues on day one. That makes a positive first impression
– Karen Foreman, MSHRM, Director of Human Resources

SilkRoad Turns Things Around

“It’s a night-and-day difference,” says JoAnn Ellwood, MBA. “Today onboarding is usually wrapped up in three days. In a couple instances, we’ve completed everything in less than 24 hours.” Each new employee receives a personalized onboarding experience via SilkRoad’s online portal. Everything is right there keyed to the individual and the job classification. On-time forms completion rate has increased from just 40 percent to 89 percent. And Ellwood says it’s still improving.

Accountability Makes A Difference

In addition timely onboarding, SilkRoad brought accountability into the process. “Every morning, I can see exactly where we are in the process for each new hire,” Ellwood explains. “I can spot problems and address them immediately.” I-9 reports also used to be a particular struggle for the HR team. “Now we have an I-9 dashboard and we’re one hundred percent on time with those forms,” says Ellwood. SilkRoad includes rich reporting. One example is the Assigned Promptness report, which shows LFCC’s HR team which employees and departments are on time and which are behind schedule for each assigned onboarding task.

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