advo hr’s Caroline Mayoh takes a closer look at the restraints and new challenges that need to be overcome when onboarding new staff during the pandemic.
Carline Mayo, advo hr
During the pandemic and lockdown many organisations have recruited new employees. Some could now be nearing the end of their probation and yet not have interacted fully with their colleagues or actually set foot on Company premises!
For one employee James, a 31 year old who joined a fintech organisation of around 250 people. Coming into a senior sales role and leading a new area of focus for the business his role involves working with multiple different stakeholders. His view of onboarding was:
“The first week of onboarding with the new organisation was back-to-back introductory video calls with the stakeholders within the organisation, supported by a checklist of self-led learning tasks. The teambuilding exercises that would normally happen naturally (i.e. a pint at the local with the team) were replaced with virtual lunches where the organisation sent takeaways and readymade cocktails for the team!”
Whilst James felt included and integrated quickly, having had a good experience others may not have been so lucky.
On speaking to another new starter in a Financial organisation, she said “although I had introductory calls with other staff and short team meetings, I was virtually thrown in to use the IT without any training. There were problems and I had many IT issues. My role was not clear and I was expected to find my way around and interact with others without so much as an organisation chart to know who was who and what they did, apart from my team – I’ve no idea what others do”.
So ask yourself, what kind of onboarding and induction experience have your staff had?
The impression a new recruit has is long lasting and can have a big impact on the way they feel and integrate. Therefore, with the shift to remote onboarding during the pandemic and the return to work it is important that organisations consider their new recruits:
- What kind of an induction has been carried out during remote working?
- What is different or missing from those plans that would normally have happened with your usual induction process?
- How can any aspects which have been missed – now be taken into account?
For the new recruits they will also have concerns and uncertainties such as:
- Not knowing what their workplace is like inside, where things are and how things work, facilities and amenities available
- Meeting other teams and understanding about how their work fits into the whole organisation, interfacing with other colleagues and departments
- The practicalities of ways of working on Company premises as opposed to remote working
- They may not have met other new recruits and where other staff have been furloughed, they may not have been in touch with them at all!
Here is a 10-point plan to consider all of the above and also some added positive steps you can take to really support engagement of your new recruits.
- Ascertain what issues they have had, if any, especially with IT and take time to get these sorted.
- Identify any training needs to ensure they are clear on the best way to do something
- Make integration easier for them – who’s who, photos of others so faces become familiar
- Maybe provide some gifts to new employees on the first day back in work, free lunch voucher, marketing gifts, welcome message from the CEO and senior team.
- A tour of the premises etc so they feel special on their first “on site” day and feel a part of the business, giving H&S guidance, facilities and amenities information – face to face meetings with senior staff even if still socially distancing
- Ensure progress is reviewed or has been fully reviewed and they are clear about their work objectives, role and standards and expectations required
- Interaction is the best and fastest way to embed Company culture. By using buddy mentors or bringing the remote recruits together to support each other will help them integrate quicker and more effectively especially if they work in different areas – they all have a common experience in that they were all “remotely recruited and onboarded”.
- Be clear about business ways of working on Company premises if different to ways of working at home
- Give them extra time to allow for all of the above in the same way that you would have done at the start of their employment had they been on site.
- Finally, it’s better to act as though they are new than to assume they know everything!
As always if you need any help and support advohr are on hand to guide you with practical advice.