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Onboarding new employees during Covid-19

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies have transitioned to a remote workforce. That means companies moving forward with hiring plans will most likely onboard new employees virtually. 

Certain fundamentals of onboarding should remain the same, according to Sally Stetson, principal and co-founder of executive search firm Salveson Stetson Group.

Employees still need to understand how their role fits into the bigger picture, but it is also a matter of ensuring a company can communicate effectively even when no one is in the same office. 

Companies are in need of fresh and innovative ways to train and onboard new employees as they begin to work online. Here are four ways it can be done:

1. Get your processes in order

Before you get any new employees on board, it is important to make sure your processes are organised. Making sure the documentation for everything is up to date is critical, and even more so when you’re onboarding remotely.

Additionally, having employee equipment, software, and email accounts delivered and set up ahead of their start date is key.

2. Make face-to-virtual-face introductions

Working from home can mean employees are isolated, as they will not be gathering at the office kitchen for a chat. It is important to ensure that they meet other colleagues, as this won’t be happening organically. 

“You can solve this by scheduling getting-to-know-you calls for every new hire with key people in the organisation they are not working with directly,” said Nowinski. “This helps put a human connection behind the names people see in Slack and emails.”

3. Encourage digital engagement 

Working remotely can be an isolating experience especially when you don’t already know your colleagues. According to Renato Profico, CEO of Doodle, it’s critical to ensure that digital onboarding is engaging.

“When employees are physically distanced from their team members and managers, it can be easy for them to isolate themselves and disengage with others,” he said. “This is especially true for new hires who haven’t had the chance to experience the company’s culture quite yet.”

Employees should be offered digital tools to help make the transition smoother. You can also try and keep activities and meetings focused and engaging as possible.

4. Integrate new technology

It is time to think outside the box and use new technology for training and onboarding can help employers scale the process across various locations. Platforms such as Skype, Zoom, Microsoft teams, have all seen an increase in their use during this pandemic by employees and employers in order to keep in touch.

Final Thoughts

The key is to make the distinction between onboarding experienced business people vs. rookies to the business world.

With the rookies, you should start the onboarding process because you can use this ‘distance downtime’ to lay in all your HR policy learning, product knowledge, and industry knowledge online, leaving only your culture and processes for when the world is back on its axis.

For your more tenured new hires, you can focus on culture and processes online, and just coach to your differentiators relative to their last job elsewhere.

While we don’t know how long this pandemic will last, the best thing we can all do is be prepared. Whether you’re onboarding new hires or training existing staff, these tips can help Companies to manage this effectively.

If you need help and advice on this topic, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0113 350 4030 or at hello@scesolicitors.co.uk.

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SCE Solicitors is a boutique employment law and litigation practice based in Leeds which advises clients nationwide. Please note that the information in this blog is to provide information of general interest in a summary manner and should not be construed as individual legal advice. Readers should consult with SCE Solicitors or other professional counsel before acting on the information contained here.

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