For many companies hiring in a pandemic has been a steep learning curve, especially when managing a remote workforce. Issues have arisen and been overcome. Joe in IT has gotten remote servers to a standard that would let one of the team comfortably work from space and Deirdre in HR has choreographed the most effective hand gesture to let someone know that they’re on mute.
Hiring may have been put on hold or slowed but now companies have found their footing and are ready to grow out their remote teams. Company policies have been updated, health measures have been put in place but what needs to be changed in the onboarding process?
I have had the opportunity to discuss this in depth with my clients and these following three areas have been the most crucial to focus on when adapting your onboarding process to employees that will exist only through your laptop screen for the start of your working relationship.
Aside from the obvious updates to interviewing methods such as changing from face-to-face to Video calls, there are some key changes to be made in the questions you ask candidates. Working remotely from the start of a job requires some very key competencies such as good time management, the ability to work autonomously or technical ability to effectively use various softwares used for remote work management.
Key soft skills have always been something that we have been sure to identify when sourcing candidates. Each company and their culture have key soft skills around attitude and work styles that are uniquely suited to them. With the advent of mass remote working this list of required soft skills that can’t be measured by years or figures has grown.
Working with a recruitment agency allows us to identify these soft skills in our initial chat and having it as a box on our checklist for our screening process. This means that with any candidates that you speak to, you can already be confident that they are a great fit for both the company’s culture and for a remote work set up.
Feedback received from candidates placed in new companies in the past few months has been a bit of a mixed bag. Typically they are on a video team meeting within their first few days and receive a very warm welcome from their new team. Managers check in regularly and HR ensure that they are fully versed on their new company’s culture.
Where there has been room for improvement has been with getting to know team members on a more personal basis. Virtual drinks have been hugely popular in recent months but for a new starter, it can be much more overwhelming than meeting for drinks in a pub. Virtual sessions limit one person to speaking at a time and doesn’t allow smaller groups to form to avoid the conversation dominated by a select few.
To ensure your new starter has a chance to form relationships with their new team members you can organise regular one-on-one check ins with each member of their team. While many companies have utilised a buddy system, this only gives the new employee a chance to become close with one member of the team. By ensuring that each member of the team puts some time aside to chat you can be sure that your new team member can feel comfortable approaching any member of their new work buddies.
Starting your new job that you’ve worked hard to get offered is a very exciting time. Your first day marks a new chapter of your life. Getting up from bed, ready to flip over the first page of this chapter can lose some of its excitement when the first page lands you at your laptop in your all too familiar kitchen…
For this reason it’s essential to have your new employee feel as a part of your company from the very start even though they’ve only seen the office in photos. Starter packs should be full of branded swag to decorate their home office and for them to wear and become a proper representative of the company.
While most swag is limited to this initial starter pack it can be a great idea to have designated items of clothes or branded mugs at hand to send as a recognition of achievements or milestones in their onboarding process. While it may seem slightly superficial to assign that much value to these items they have proven to establish a firm connection between an employee and their company and encourages a sense of loyalty vital for retention.
Your onboarding strategy is an ongoing process and will see changes and updates over time based on results and feedback but the above three additions are timeless for remote or temporarily remote joiners.
Here at TalentHub, we have updated our intensive screening process to accommodate for the new needs of hiring managers. With a bespoke plan for all of our clients from headhunting and onboarding, all the way to coaching and retention plans we ensure that the best quality candidates are sourced, secured and supported throughout our partnership with our clients.
For an informal chat on insights into remote onboarding or employee retention don’t hesitate to give Stephen Reed a ring on 085 144 8449 or send an email on email@example.com.
Author: Stephen Reed
Stephen Reed takes the lead as one of our top performing Digital Recruitment Consultants. Stephen has been an absolute powerhouse since joining TalentHub two years ago in helping candidates achieve their career goals and by helping Clients achieve a winning hiring experience.