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COVID-19 has made the integration and training of new hires difficult. Here are some of the best practices to help the process go faster. While the coronavirus pandemic caused massive disruptions to the nation’s workforce, several businesses have actually expanded hiring to meet changing market demand digitally onboard. For these organizations, adding a new employee to a company that works entirely remotely poses new and special challenges. New employees need to be speeded up quickly to see what their day-to-day job duties are, to get acquainted with the culture of the business, and to learn the new skills required for their role, all through a computer screen and without the benefit of typical in-person orientation and on-boarding.

As the global pandemic of COVID-19 continues to overthrow the conventional workplace, with the CDC encouraging workers to work remotely as far as possible, the digital workplace is becoming a new reality – especially for those in the technology industry. There is a broad variety of interactive technologies, from video conferencing sites to collaboration applications, to help make the change possible. But while it may be one thing to move current workers from a physical to a digital office, businesses need to turn their attention to another hurdle: how to prepare new staff for a remote office during COVID-19. The business needs fresh and creative ways to train and recruit new hires when they start working online. To make the virtual onboarding process simpler for employers and workers alike, adopt these steps to seamlessly incorporate new hires into the company that combines a technological and tactile approach.

1. Focus on job description and clarity of role: Focus on defining specific responsibilities for each open position before making any hiring decisions. In addition, Lantz suggested the development of specific goals as to your desired outcome for each employee’s first 12 months of employment. This will ensure that the hiring managers know what core skills an employee wants to look for. This helps the recruitment team to ensure that the applicants you are hiring align with the culture and have the skills needed to get the job done.

2. Overcoming the challenges of remote onboarding: Switching to a remote workforce can be difficult, and virtually onboarding new workers are no exception. Ensure that your staff has the right remote resources at their disposal for effective implementation, and educate your recruiting team on new technologies and virtual onboarding best practices. Companies during the pandemic must enhance their recruiting and on-board capabilities by using remote resources, tracking their recruiting and onboarding processes with accuracy, and educating their recruiters and hiring managers on best practices in relation to remote hiring and on-boarding.

3. Engage new hires before their start date: Employers should be deliberate and willing to create an inclusive and engaging experience for each new hire even before they officially join your company. Go the extra mile to make new hires feel like they are already part of your company, particularly when you recruit remotely.

3. Recreate face-to-face engagement: Think of what you would usually do when you board a potential recruit in person and find a way to do it remotely. When you’re on a new hire, it’s important to build a professional, relaxed atmosphere that makes you (and your staff) feel like you’re interacting in an office setting, face to face. For example, Lantz suggests having every video chat meeting in a quiet area with a suitable context and a professional outfit. 

4. Over Communicate and overcommit: When you are remotely onboard new workers, it is extremely important that you over-communicate and over-engage with them build a sense of belonging. Employers should be prepared with a strategic on-board system that can be easily transferred to a remote environment and clearly communicated to new remote employees.

5. Find ways to incorporate the culture of your business: Company culture is a key component of increasing employee engagement and retention. However, it can be difficult for new recruits to get a true understanding of the culture of the company when they operate solely in a remote area. Think of creative ways to digitally show your company culture and get your new recruits interested in the process. Whether it’s virtual lunches, team competitions, online games, or virtual happy hours, engage your new employees in activities that reflect the community of your organization, and get your team to connect. 

6. Facilitate intentional boarding: Intentional boarding is crucial, particularly at a time when everyone is working from home. It is important that you follow a strategic on-board plan to ensure that every new hire is getting the most out of their training and introductory time.

7. Conduct of technical training sessions: Set aside time for intensive training sessions with the new hire company. While a new recruit can bring their own skillset and experience, there is no guarantee that this employee will be well versed in using your company’s remote work set-up and technological tools. Technical training sessions are also an opportunity to communicate through video and start developing a relationship with the team and the managers. It is all very well to implement services and tools to workers, but teaching them to use them efficiently is a real goal. New tech can be daunting, so take the time to develop the confidence of an employee. It will help you in the long run if the onboard preparation is as rigorous as possible.

8. Check-In Schedule: Set up regular check-ins during their first few weeks of work. Establish a room for inquiries, preparation, and creation of relationships. New hires want to feel like they are part of the family. In a typical office environment, it is convenient to have lunch together or go for a fast coffee to catch up. Do not forget about these experiences just because they’re interactive. Think of fun ways to incorporate recruits into existing teams and facilitate a degree of personal conversation before driving into meetings. Tech-savvy businesses like InVision have launched weekly sessions with little to no schedules, simply so that workers can hop in and socialize. It helps if you make a deliberate effort to get to know your new co-workers.

Digitally onboard Employees
Overcoming the challenges of remote on boarding

What to avoid when remotely hiring and onboarding employees 

Here listed the top four things every employer should avoid when virtually onboarding new employees: 

  • Avoid assuming the way you used to hire and on-board is the only right way. Innovate and create a new onboarding strategy to fit a remote environment. 
  • Avoid assuming your current managers know how to interview and onboard using remote tools. Avoid delaying hiring and onboarding – the time to strike is now. 

Training and on-board strategies for new workers during the coronavirus outbreak

The business needs fresh and creative ways to train and recruit new hires when they start working online. Here are four ways, according to the experts, that it can be done:

1. Have the processes correct in order: Before you bring any new hires onboard, it’s important to make sure that your processes are coordinated. Making sure that all the paperwork is up-to-date is important, and even more so when you’re on board with remote staff. 

2. Make face-to-face introductions: Since work-from-home means that workers will be shuffling over to their homemade coffee maker – may be in pajamas – instead of meeting in the office break room, it is crucial to ensure that they meet other colleagues, as this is not going to happen organically. 

3. Integrate emerging technologies like AR: It’s time to think beyond the box, and using innovative technologies like Augmented Reality (AR) for training and on-boarding will help employees scale the process through multiple locations. AR can be used to update manuals and tutorials and upload new content that can also save time and money.

4. Encouraging digital participation: Working remotely can be an insulating experience – especially if you don’t already know your colleagues. It is important to ensure that digital onboarding is engaging. When workers are physically distanced from their teammates and supervisors, it can be easy for them to separate themselves and disengage from others.  This is particularly true of new employees who have not yet had a chance to experience the culture of the business. 

Overcoming the challenges of remote on boarding 

Switching to a remote workforce can be difficult, and virtually onboarding new workers is no exception. Ensure that your staff has the right remote resources at their disposal for effective implementation, and educate your recruiting team on new technologies and virtual onboarding best practices. Companies during the pandemic must enhance their recruiting and on-board capabilities by using remote resources, tracking their recruiting and on-boarding processes with accuracy, and educating their recruiters and hiring managers on best practices in relation to remote hiring and on-boarding.


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