Many organisations have continued to onboard new employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hiring new talent is costly, both financially and in terms of time. It is vital that HR teams, who are still onboarding new employees have adapted the normal process to ensure the time, effort and cost of hiring is as effective as possible. Here are 5 things HR teams can consider to manage a successful virtual onboarding experience.
Typically, new starters are interviewed face to face. This is a great opportunity to only meet, but for the candidate to see the working environment and get a sense of the company culture. Now however, new starters have only had virtual interaction with the hiring manager. To help new starters get a feel for the organisation, preboarding efforts can be made. This could include Friday evening Skype drinks with their new team, or sending information in the post about the company history, values and vision. The more touch points and interaction a new starter has before formally beginning their role, the more integrated they will feel.
2. Increase engagement
New starters often feel vulnerable starting a new role. Whether a new internal role, or someone completely new to the organisation. Up to 40% of new starters leave in the first 45 days of starting. This is extremely costly. It is key to encourage engagement virtually by providing the channels in which to do and by fostering good relationships.
The dialogue has changed in recent months from ‘what are you doing?’ to ‘how are you doing?’ Leaders are supporting their teams on a more emotional level than before as personal and professional lives have integrated. This will continue to develop as the remote and flexible working does. Onboarding a new starter into this supportive environment is key.
Making someone feel ‘part of the family’ from day one (or preferably before day 1) will help them feel connected. However, it is just important to outline expectations about ‘switching off’. As the boundary between the home and the office has disappeared, issues might arise as people may find it harder to stop working. New starters are often under a lot of pressure to perform and prove themselves quickly. Working remotely has changed productivity targets, and these need to be stipulated during the onboarding process.
Leaders maintain positive culture within the workplace. Understanding the positive working culture is incredibly important for new starters and should be prominent within the onboarding process. For example, leaders could record videos making themselves as visible as possible. Ultimately, management’s role in the onboarding process is highly important. Making time for new starters, and understanding it may be more difficult for a new starter to feel involved or part of a team is key.