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May 19 2020

How To Onboard New Hires During COVID19

The global COVID19 pandemic has changed the way businesses hire and onboard team members and leaders. The entire recruitment process has been forced to adapt and utilise technology in various ways. From video interviews to virtual assessments, things that were once completed in person have had to move online. 

With each country across the globe practising slightly different lockdown and social distancing measures, the one common factor is that the internet is key to keeping businesses running. Most countries have been encouraged to adopt a remote workforce, but what happens when a new recruit is needed? 

Getting a new employee up and running with their role virtually might seem like a difficult task, but we’re sharing our top tips and advice for onboarding leaders during COVID19. 

The Fundamentals Stay The Same

Management and HR teams should bear in mind that the fundamentals of the onboarding process should stay the same. New employees must understand how their role fits into the company and the bigger picture. When they can’t physically meet and get to know their team members, communication with new recruits is more crucial than ever. Focus on how everyone is going to communicate effectively without being in the same office.

Remember that new staff members often have a lot of questions and need support and guidance, and this shouldn’t be forgotten because they are working remotely. Face to face onboarding processes generally includes training sessions, a mentor system and regular check-ins. Keep this structure and ideology for remote onboarding and communicate the full onboarding plan to everyone involved.

Be Flexible With Onboarding Time Frames

If one thing is sure at the moment, it’s that things can change quickly, and businesses need to adapt and remain flexible. The same goes for an onboarding process. Make a plan for how new hires will be onboarded and what will be happening and when. However, be prepared for it to change sometimes. 

Onboarding in a normal situation can be a lengthy process, and adding in the complications of remote working may make the process longer. It will take more time for a new leader to truly get to know the ins and outs of a business when they are working from home. 

Focus on making sure they know the company culture, procedures, products and resources. The first two or three weeks of the process are critical for setting a new hire up for success, so make sure there is a detailed plan in place. Without the luxury of face to face meetings, schedule in plenty of video conferences and catch-ups so they feel well connected.

Be Properly Prepared

The onboarding process begins before the new hire actually starts working, and it is vital that everything is in place and ready for them. Make sure HR and IT departments work together to have everything set up and ready to go on their first day. 

A new employee will get a bad impression if their first days are spent troubleshooting their new equipment with the IT team. Get all the technology they need in place and tested, and deliver any hardware they need in advance. Consider what systems they will need access to and set up accounts and logins for them in advance.

Legal and regulatory requirements also need to be considered carefully. Prepare employment contracts and legal documents with plenty of time, as it might be necessary for them to print, scan and post them. 

A nice touch and way to make the companies personality shine through is to send a little gift with their hardware delivery to welcome them to the business. Consider a branded mug, headphones or something relevant to the industry, alongside a friendly personal message from their new manager or CEO. It will help new hires to feel welcomed and valued right from the start.

Set Clear Objectives And Progress Reviews

Joining a new company can be overwhelming on its own, but remote working for those who aren’t used to it can be even more of a challenge. Working from home is a skill that takes time to adopt. Staying motivated and on track when working from home is often a struggle. 

To keep new hires focused, set them clear objectives from day one. Not only will this help them to know where to focus their time, but it will also give them purpose right from the start. Setting objectives will mean they feel like they a contributing and having an impact on the wider organisation. 

In addition to setting out both long and short term goals for new employees, it is essential to properly monitor and review their progress. Try to have weekly one to one video meetings with all new recruits. During this time, discuss their priorities, projects, expectations and give them the chance to give their feedback as well. 

It is likely they will be doing a lot of training with different people and systems. Make sure to touch base after each training session to find out how it went and if they are happy with everything. 

Immerse Them In Company Culture

When new recruits aren’t spending time in the business with current employees, immersing them in the company culture can be challenging. However, it is one of the most important aspects of joining a business. Particularly if the new recruit is in a position of leadership or management, understanding the existing company culture is vital for success. 

Be very clear with the work processes and how culture influences the decision making and strategies of the business. Schedule in frequent video calls with different team members, especially in the early days of the onboarding process. Even if these calls aren’t always project or work-related, they are essential for socialising and immersing new hires with the team. 

 

Social interactions are the fastest and most effective way of embedding company culture, and just because everyone is working remotely doesn’t mean they have to stop. Don’t be afraid of giving your new recruits plenty of informal chat sessions with team members. This way, new employees will truly get to grips with their new team and new company. 

 

 

 

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