Like many businesses, we've adapted to new ways of working as a result of the global health crisis. One thing that hasn't changed though is our dedication to helping other businesses and adding value wherever possible. Partnering with companies that have hired during the pandemic, we've compiled a list of key considerations whilst onboarding new team members remotely.
The onboarding process is a key area of work that has had to change significantly due to the global pandemic. With everyone working from home, how can we make sure our new employees still feel like they’re part of the team?
If done well, it ensures the creation of an engaged, motivated and driven new hire with a strong affiliation to brand values and wider company goals. If conducted poorly however, it can result in not only a disengaged new addition, but also have a significant negative impact on your existing team.
Key considerations for a new joiner
With the new working landscape, comes new factors which need to be considered for new recruits:
- How do we onboard new joiners as effectively as possible when they are unable to come into the office?
- How do we make them feel part of the team?
- How do we ensure they are entrenched in our company values and feel passionately about what we are trying to achieve?
- How do we reduce anxiety around joining a new business in unusual circumstances?
Now that everyone is working from their living rooms, how do you ensure a smooth, ‘one-team approach’ to make a new starter feel welcomed and settled? In ‘normal’ circumstances, various teams contribute to the successful onboarding of a new starter: Talent Acquisition/Recruitment, HR, IT, Hiring Managers. These different elements of onboarding all need to work seamlessly together, even from different locations.
To counter this, there need to be clear processes in place. Make sure all different teams know what is expected from them, and know how to tailor their approach to the current situation. Many of our customers have developed their own internal workflow using live, online documents that can be viewed and edited by all parties. Beginning this document as early as possible (e.g. from the point of offer) and continuing it right through to probation, will ensure all necessary milestones are reached and recorded accurately.
As well as collaboratively documenting and recording processes, regular and scheduled communication (both between your teams and with your new employee) is vital. Your new starter is going to be understandably nervous, and regular communication can help to alleviate worries and set expectations. For example, a scheduled call the week before the new employee starts can prepare them for what they will cover in their first week on the job.
During the new starter’s first few weeks, regular feedback sessions are key. Any new recruit needs to gauge how they’re doing and how they’re fitting in with the way your company works. This is even more important when you’re not physically with each other. Detailed performance reviews with clear goals, and recognising achievements at every available opportunity, will both help to motivate your new starter and put their worries at ease.
Communication isn’t just a one way street. Try out an engagement survey during their first few weeks, which can provide valuable feedback on how the onboarding process can be improved both for your current new starter, and for your next recruit. We’re all having to adapt quickly to business changes, and this is a great opportunity to refine processes for the future of remote working.
We’ve all experienced technical issues when we’ve started a new job. From struggling to log into various systems, to not even having a laptop, IT issues are an infamous onboarding hurdle, which is often only emphasized when onboarding remotely.
As well as ensuring laptops are couriered and log in details are accurately delivered, an IT induction should be included on the first day. Not only does this mean the individual is introduced to another area of the business quickly, it also helps to relieve any anxiety around what they need to do when the inevitable tech problems arise. If your team is very tech dependent, it might be worth giving your new starter an IT ‘buddy’ or point of contact, so they know who to turn to if any problems come up.
Getting to know the company
Getting to know the company, its various business sectors and values, is a key part of the onboarding process. Before they join, give your new starter a schedule of what their first week will look like, including all the different people and teams they’ll be virtually meeting.
This could include HR/IT inductions, to quickly introduce your new employee to key areas of the business who they’ll probably work with on a daily basis. It could also extend to short video introductions with key stakeholders and the new team. In the absence of the usual office tour and meet and greet in the kitchen, this has proven to be incredibly useful in ensuring new joiners feel part of a team culture and engaged within their new business.
Virtual information is definitely your friend when it comes remote working. Consider creating an online hub with all the useful info needed for a new starter. This could include org charts, useful contacts, building info and virtual tours, webinars, videos on how to use tech (i.e. Teams). You may find that this ends up being useful for some of the older members of the team as well.
Short videos form the senior leadership team and other staff can all contribute to ensuring a new joiner feels entrenched in the businesses culture without needing to come into the office.
Getting to know the team
For many people, the team you work with is the best part of your job, so don’t let your new starter miss out on this. You can still recreate a social team atmosphere remotely. Try virtual welcome drinks, or team socials such as quizzes or bingo – anything that will help your new starter feel involved not just on a work level, but on a social level.
Assigning a buddy for your new starter in the first few weeks, can also help to give them a point of contact who isn’t necessarily their direct line manager. This can help to demonstrate a friendly team atmosphere, and might make it easier for them to reach out if they need help or support.
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