4 Remote Onboarding Best Practices to Consider in the New Normal
Over the last 7 or so months, organizations have had to adapt to the new normal brought on by COVID-19. Social distancing guidelines forced recruiters and hiring managers to adopt a fully digital hiring process, and the same goes for managers and HR professionals tasked with onboarding remote new hires. Despite the high unemployment rate, survey findings from The Manifest reveal that 6 in 10 companies have hired a new employee since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as the economy ebbs and flows alongside the rising COVID cases, it is apparent that remote hiring and onboarding may be here to stay for another year or so! The Manifest’s survey findings conclude that for successful remote hiring and onboarding, firms must welcome multiple new hires at once; establish healthy work habits; and follow a standardized, long-term onboarding plan. “Businesses can use a strong onboarding plan to effectively welcome and train new hires despite the remote work environment,” says Seamus Roddy, Content Writer and Marketer for The Manifest. Based on The Manifest’s findings, Roddy shares four ways you can hire and onboard in a remote environment.
Onboarding en Masse There are certain roles that are in high demand in the COVID era, and for these roles, recruiters are having to mass hire candidates at lightning speed; digital, remote onboarding will be the ticket to getting these workers on track quickly. According to The Manifest, 46% of businesses that have hired during COVID-19 and onboarded 10 or more new employees indicate that companies should be prepared to welcome multiple new workers to their team at one time. Due to social distancing guidelines, onboarding groups of workers seems inconceivable in the COVID era. But one of the beauties about remote technology is that it gives you the ability to onboard multiple new hires at once. While virtual onboarding may be more efficient and less time-consuming, one of the downfalls is that it can feel impersonable. Instead, use video chat tools to have conversations with new hires that feel as if they are taking place face-to-face, suggests William Taylor, senior career adviser at VelvetJobs.
Standardize the Process The Manifest’s research reveals that only 3% of companies expect more than one-third of their workforce to leave the company in the next year. “This suggests that standardized onboarding ensures teammates of different experience levels work together effectively and reduces turnover,” says Roddy. “Standardized and documented employee onboarding is an effective strategy to ensure that all employees understand and respect the broader company,” Roddy adds. Additionally, if you want a truly standardized process, consider using onboarding software. This technology allows everyone from HR to accounting to management know what he or she needs to do to bring a new teammate up to speed.
Make It Long Term Turnover was a major issue before the pandemic hit, but employers are still preparing for the worst. According to The Manifest data, 61% of companies expect new hires to stay at their company for 2 or more years, which means “onboarding should be a months-long process,” says Roddy. “If companies anticipate their employees will spend years on the payroll, having a months-long onboarding process makes sense.” “Onboarding should be a gradual process because we spend money to acquire talent, and we want to retain it,” said J.P. Brousseau, CEO of Phone Loops. “Ensuring that new hires’ first year is productive, efficient, and positive helps us reduce turnover.”
Emphasize Healthy Work Habits The data show that 37% of businesses say work/life imbalance is likely to cause employees to leave their company. Roddy suggests that businesses benefit when they use onboarding to make sure employees have healthy work habits. “Successful employees have healthy work habits, so companies should emphasize appropriate work-life balance when onboarding new employees,” he adds. Roddy also says that most employees will make their judgments about the company during their onboarding experience, which means this is the most crucial time for a company to explain how it supports its workers’ health and safety. During your onboarding process, make sure to emphasize flexible working arrangements, wellness benefits, sick leave policies, home-office stipends, and anything else that will ensure your new hires leave onboarding feeling welcomed and safe. Depending on how you were onboarding during the pandemic, nothing may have changed, but for those who are new to remote hiring and onboarding, keep these best practices in mind during the “new normal.”
8 Guidelines for Training New Employees Get Your New Hires off on the Right Foot By: F. John Reh
Managing new employees takes time, patience, and a lot of communication. You need to train them on the specific procedures at your company, what is expected of them, how they will be evaluated, and how to avoid common mistakes. You also have to remember that all individuals learn at different rates and in different ways. While the task can seem overwhelming, with the right kind of focus, the rewards can be great, for both you and the new employee. Listen to Their Ideas Even as you train new employees on how things should be done, don't forget to listen to their ideas about how to do things differently. By listening to them, you encourage creativity and innovation. You also demonstrate that you value them as individuals and as contributors, and in the process may get ideas from them that would actually improve the department. New employees are in a unique position to bring fresh eyes to a situation since they aren't yet bogged down in "business as usual." You don't have to accept their ideas for changes, but you do need to listen to them. Don't Neglect Your Senior Employees Employees that have been with the organization for a while are a valuable resource. You need to be sensitive to the needs of your experienced team members. Introducing a new employee into the mix has much the same effect as bringing a new baby home does on older children. While new employees will place demands on your time, make sure you don't neglect the rest of your team. Enlist Mentors Another way to make sure that the senior members of your team continue to feel valued is to nominate them to serve as mentors to assist with training new hires. This also reduces the amount of your time you have to spend training new employees and fosters a sense of camaraderie and a team spirit. Set Realistic Goals You need to set specific goals for new employees and communicate those goals clearly. Just make sure that the goals you set are realistic. If you rush it or are too aggressive with your goals, employees will end up backtracking later and attempting to figure things out that they should have learned during training. Start by taking a detailed assessment of their experience and skill level so that you can set a realistic pace. Provide Frequent Feedback This is key. New employees especially need frequent feedback because you want to correct any mistakes before they become bad habits. Besides, if employees are making mistakes it will become increasingly difficult for them to learn related tasks. Be sure to keep your feedback positive and focus on the behavior, not the employee. Don't Play Favorites Managers always need to be fair and treat employees the same, but this is especially important when working with a new employee on your team. Showing favoritism always results in employees vying for your attention and breeds competitiveness among team members. And, although you'll have a different relationship with the more senior members of the team, don't let that make you unfair with all of your other employees. Focus on Team Building As you train and develop a new employee, you also want to help them become part of the team. Make sure their schedule includes time to interact with others. Beyond the mentoring you offer, provide opportunities for people from both groups (senior-level employees and newbies) to work together. Give all new employees ample notice of upcoming team events and explain beforehand the parameters of the event and how they can participate. Reward and Celebrate Individual and Team Success As your new employees become better trained and more productive, they will begin to meet the goals you have set for them. Be sure to celebrate those successes at the same time that you increase their goals. As they begin to contribute more and more to the overall results of the team, be sure to recognize and celebrate the improved performance of the entire team, including the work of its senior members.