Onboarding new hires look a little different now as we work in a more virtual setting. So what’s the best way to welcome them to the company? Read below for details.
The onboarding process is very important for establishing a positive bond between a new employee and their employer. In addition, helping new hires learn everything they need to know about a company’s culture, day-to-day structure, and organization.
Successful onboarding can help new hires feel at home and massively boost their productivity in both the short-term and long-term, by ensuring that they become a part of the company from day one.
A poor onboarding process – or having none at all – can be a surefire path towards high employee turnover and low worker engagement. Companies that fail to connect with their employees are wasting talent and potential. Moreover, sinking substantial resources into a working relationship that is ultimately subpar.
The recent COVID pandemic has thrown a wrench into onboarding processes everywhere. Its has left companies at a loss for how to effectively help new hires feel like they are truly part of a greater family of talented individuals and passionate workers. It’s hard to get a sense of how a company works or what kind of culture it propagates when working purely virtually.
However, that doesn’t mean onboarding is impossible in the peri-pandemic world. With adjustments to account for each crucial element of the process, companies can continue to build strong and qualitative relationships with new and existing hires and make the most of the talent they bring on board.
The Elements of the Onboarding Process
In order to make the most of the situation, it’s important to dissect the onboarding process. In doing so, figure out how to adapt each element into a remote concept that is safe, effective, and scalable during the ongoing pandemic.
Onboarding consists of incorporating a new hire into the following:
1. Culture and Social Elements
A company’s culture is entirely dependent on the people in it, and the way they engage with one another socially. This can make conveying company culture remotely very difficult. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
New hires could be introduced to a company’s culture through a welcoming gift, such a collection of notes from each existing employee. Safely bringing new hires to a satellite coworking office to interact with staff and get a sense of what people are like at their new workplace can also help new employees feel less distant to the company they’ve started working for.
Consider an early adjustment period wherein new hires are brought to a physical coworking space to work and train with mentoring employees before continuing remotely, or through other coworking locations.
2. Communication and Day-to-Day Workflow
While helping employees fit in and better understand who they’re working with, helping them work efficiently and incorporate their talents effectively is still the top priority of the onboarding process.
New hires might feel tremendously left out and confused as to how to best leverage their abilities when given as few details as possible or onboarded purely remotely.
A short face-to-face onboarding process facilitated through a safe coworking environment can help bring new hires up to speed. This allows them to begin quickly and adapt to the needs and requirements of their new position.
Aside from introducing new hires to their workflow, setting expectations for how tasks and projects are managed and completed, troubleshooting the basics, and providing detailed on-location mentoring through a safe facilitating office location like a coworking space, companies should continue to help these employees adjust to their role in the company remotely.
Examples for doing this include daily virtual mentoring sessions, and an individualized testing process to ensure that new hires have fully acclimated to their respective duties and responsibilities.
Part of enabling this involves helping new hires with acquiring and setting up all the appropriate hardware and software, walking them through the use of company communications and collaboration tools, helping them understand and properly navigate company security, and learning the basics of how to interact with company tools and information, and who to ask for more specific instructions.
3. Organization and Company Structure
While not as urgent as helping a new hire feel comfortable with their co-workers or become aware of their responsibilities and expectations, understanding how a company is structured is still part of the onboarding process. This helps new hires understand who to come to for work and department-related questions and considerations, and who to speak to when confronted with very specific issues and problems.
Once a new hire is familiar with each of these three critical elements, they have been successfully welcomed into their new work family. Ensuring the line of communication remains open at all times is very important. The onboarding process doesn’t just stop after initial orientation is done.
New hires will certainly come up with questions they might not have had initially or run into unexpected roadblocks in their first few weeks at a new position. Ensuring that the door is always open for them and their questions can help them feel welcomed and cared for, and can help speed up their integration, further improving productivity.
Addressing the Primary Challenge
Ultimately, the greatest challenge when onboarding new hires during the pandemic is distance. Virtual communication tools such as screensharing and instant messaging allows for near-seamless interaction and collaboration and can help facilitate a virtual mentoring program. But it is still no substitute for a face-to-face onboarding process.
Safe working environments outside of the main headquarters, such as a satellite office utilizing a coworking space, can help facilitate face-to-face onboarding. New hires would be provided with their own sanitized workstation and can maintain a safe distance from their co-worker(s) while still being introduced to some of the people they will primarily be working with, especially in the area.
Benefits of Coworking During the Onboarding Process
Coworking spaces have emerged as a unique solution for companies looking for safe spaces to enable remote employees to collaborate physically without violating social distancing, eliminating or mitigating many of the issues surrounding prolonged remote work. This includes the feeling of being isolated from others, and remote work-related burnout and stress.
Coworking spaces can act as satellite offices for companies who have reopened their main offices, but are only allowing a skeleton crew in their headquarters to ensure every employee maintains a safe distance and doesn’t need to share any of their physical equipment.
Via a hub-and-spoke model, companies can leverage coworking spaces to help co-workers physically collaborate in mutually near locations. This makes it a viable option for businesses with employees spread across an entire region or country.
The onboarding process is a perfect example of how companies can leverage such spaces to enable face-to-face collaboration and reap the benefits of a safe coworking environment during the pandemic.