News Article

NEW NORMAL - Remote Onboarding Is Taxing For New Hires: Here’s What Organizations Can Do Better

Posted 28th April 2021 • Written by Julia Wuench on •

The Covid-19 pandemic propelled the corporate world into full-time remote work. While onboarding (even in-person) has consistently been an area of opportunity for many companies, remote onboarding has brought new challenges both for companies and new hires.

Some potential fallbacks of virtual onboarding are:

Loss of company culture, causing ambivalence about the company, its goals, values, attitudes and practices

Lack of connection, leading to division, confusion and uncertainty of the employer’s expectations

Physical isolation and no personal relationships with colleagues

Breakdown of communication if procedures, systems and software tools aren’t implemented

These remote onboarding struggles can equate to higher employee turnover rates, which means more money spent, employee instability and wasted resources looking for new candidates. However, remote onboarding doesn’t have to be this taxing.

Here are three things employers can do to help new hires onboard remotely with ease:

1.Create clarity around company culture, mission, values, goals and future outlook 

There are many ways for colleagues to feel connected when physically apart. Creating and maintaining a clarity around workplace culture builds stronger team relationships, and generates a shared vision for achieving companywide goals. Consider the following:

Welcome a new hire with a virtual party that reflects company culture, gifting branded company merchandise or having lunch delivered to them on their first day/first week.

Distribute a who’s who list (or organizational chart) of all company colleagues and teams with their contact info, job titles and how your employee fits in.

Organize companywide virtual meetings with all departments so that your new hire can get an authentic feel for operations, procedures, his or her colleagues’ job requirements, and personalities.

Working remotely can be isolating—support mental and physical health by providing meditation, wellness, mindfulness and home workout programs. According to the CDC, healthy employees are more productive, making it a win-win situation.

2.Set Employees Up for Success Virtually and Beyond

Evaluate your current onboarding process to see how you can make it a more streamlined, virtual-friendly experience. Make your employee feel empowered in their new role by:

Providing complete access to previous and existing company projects as reference to gain a deeper understanding of company outputs.

Grant full accessibility to all office equipment they may need to work remotely (laptops, tablets, cell phones, pens, paper, etc.). Do this before their first day to make them feel welcome and ready to work.

Teach active learning in small increments to avoid overwhelming them. Get creative with interactive, hands-on learning activities, engaging videos, live training demos or even virtual reality.

Support collaborative and educational software tools to boost education, confidence, team building and accessibility. Some innovative ways to bridge the physical gap are: video conferencing software, team chat apps, cloud storage and document sharing, project management software, learning and training software

3.Build a solid & open support system:

The lack of in-person human connection and engagement can be problematic when working remotely. Like any relationship, communication is imperative. Build an unbreakable support system for your employee by:

Enforcing a mentorship program, whether it’s one designated person or a team of people that new employees can turn to for guidance.

Providing constant direct communication (particularly within the first 90 days) through frequent, scheduled virtual check-ins.

Obtaining Feedback. Ask your seasoned employees and your new employees how you can best support them. Accomplish this through an anonymous employee engagement survey.

Set clear expectations around daily, weekly and monthly performance.

We may very well see more companies moving to part or full-time remote work post-pandemic. Establishing clarity around remote onboarding now will only bolster retention, employee satisfaction and profitability in the years to come.

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