During the pandemic, remotely onboarding new team members turned into quite the challenge for many companies. The virtual environment undoubtedly made it difficult for hiring managers to foster a connection between their new team members and the existing team while demonstrating and communicating the company’s culture to new members in an authentic way.
Establishing strong relationships and effectively reassigning tasks and transferring knowledge are a key part of employee satisfaction. Managers who fail to bring new hires into the fold from the start risk losing the new team member after a short amount of time. The key to seeing success with hiring during and coming out of the pandemic is for organizations to focus on maintaining, and even boosting, their onboarding expectations while augmenting the training and onboarding process to suit the new company environment and new hires.
Hiring During the Pandemic
In recent months, many companies have returned their work processes to pre-pandemic levels, resulting in the expansion of teams across organizations. Although past company interns may be familiar with a company and its culture, new hires may be in an unfavorable position as they integrate into an office culture after a year apart. For companies that are remaining virtual, it is imperative for new team members to understand the environment their current team members are working in and help them to mitigate distractions. While working from home, the door is open to a plethora of interruptions, ranging from pets to family or children and much more.
On the other hand, trainings must be far more engaging than a typical presentation. Many companies have increased the number of games, trivia, and socialization periods in order to keep team members interacting constantly and remaining focused. With many experiencing Zoom fatigue, the psychological and physical reason video calls are tiring out staff members, providing breaks for them to relax and process what they have learned is essential.
Augmenting the Training Process
Of course, companies should keep the same expectations for new employees who onboard virtually, as long as they augment the training processes to assist them. Successful companies have extended the onboarding window, providing new hires with more of an opportunity to reflect, process, and research on their own terms. With pandemic regulations easing, some companies have even welcomed employees back to the office, which provides them with the chance to meet coworkers. In addition, many companies have been introducing new hires to a virtual mentor.
By connecting team members with someone who is on their team and potentially another person in the organization who is not on their team, new hires have an opportunity to ask questions and learn from others with various experiences. Mentors can provide both a wealth of experience and knowledge that is different but impactful for the new hire. Through these methods, companies have been able to provide a more rounded onboarding experience, which has sped up not only the ramp-up for new hires but also their success.
Companies must understand that office life has changed in the past year. Through transparent and honest communications, given far in advance to aid the team in adapting to any required policies, organizations can implement changes to better fit their new work processes. These policies should be enacted in a way that embraces new hires and returning staff as they come back to the workforce. While some companies have gone back to a full office schedule, others have remained remote or moved to a hybrid model. Adapting processes to account for the transition back to the office is vital. Companies should provide all in-person meetings or trainings in a recorded element or livestream them for those who cannot attend.
Successful companies also incorporate virtual aspects of their culture for team members who may not have returned to the office, such as happy hours or other special events. Of course, it is also important to remember that planning the office layout should account for the comfort levels of those working in that space. This may include buying individually packaged food that can be left in the common spaces to ensure there is control over the spread of germs and socially distanced desks for those who would like to be in office but wish to remain comfortable in their own personal space. Lastly, all organizations should consistently and properly clean the office or shared spaces.
In many companies, the fully remote workforce has not skipped a beat, as productivity and results match or, in some cases, have beaten pre-pandemic levels. As teams continue to grow and new hires are welcomed into organizations, their training is paramount to the future of the company. Whether it be virtual or in person, there are many steps organizations can take to ensure their employees are given the proper resources to succeed.
Elizabeth Brockey is the Chief Customer Officer at Simpli.fi.