How to adapt your onboarding strategy for a remote working environment

21 February 2021

Workforce Management

The pandemic has forced businesses to adapt their onboarding strategies to overcome new workplace challenges. With social distancing minimising face-to-face contact, and more people changing occupation than in pre-pandemic years, this has presented a number of obstacles for HR professionals.

Fortunately, there are ways to carry out the onboarding process remotely and make sure that your new staffs' needs are being met despite the distance. In this guide, we'll let you know how to do just that.

The typical employee onboarding process

Prior to COVID, the employee onboarding process would look very different to today's processes. Typically, onboarding a new employee would involve:

  • Setting up the new employee's desk, computer and other resources
  • Preparing the team for the new employee
  • Scheduling meet and greets with the team
  • An office or workplace tour
  • Assigning a mentor or main point-of-contact
  • Employee training and development
  • Regular check-ins

Onboarding strategies are likely to differ between different workplaces, and some may have more components. However, from this, it's clear to see where challenges may arise when onboarding new employees remotely.

How will remote working affect your employee onboarding strategy & what can you do about it?

Lack of face-to-face contact is likely to have a significant impact on the way you onboard new hires. With everything from meetings, office tours and staff introductions taking place virtually, it's important to ensure that your new employees feel adequately prepared for the role despite the distance.

As a HR professional, it's only natural to want to do everything you can to make sure your new starters feel at home at your organisation. Whilst COVID has presented a number of new obstacles, this also presents opportunities for you to go above and beyond for your team.

Creating a comfortable workspace

One of the main challenges that employers face when onboarding new starters, is making sure that their remote-working environment is just as comfortable as their office environment.

Whilst working from home, some employees may have to deal with:

  • Wi-Fi connection issues
  • Other technology issues
  • Childcare
  • Noise disruption
  • Lack of proper office equipment e.g. multiple screens, office chairs, desks etc.

This means that you'll need to make the necessary provisions to ensure that your new starters have everything they need to carry out their job effectively, whilst working from home. This includes:

  • Providing the necessary equipment e.g. laptops, screens and desks
  • Offering flexible working hours so that staff can keep up with other commitments e.g. childcare
  • Making the office COVID-secure, in case the new starter can't work from home effectively

Team introductions

It's no secret that virtual team introductions are more complicated to navigate when compared to face-to-face introductions.

You'll need to schedule them in advance and ensure that everyone can meet at the same time. Technological issues and background noise can also make the experience feel less natural than a face-to-face conversation.

Despite this, virtual team introductions are a great way to make your new employees feel at ease, and feel comfortable talking to all team-members when needed.

It may be beneficial to schedule smaller group meetings so that they are less overwhelmed and get the opportunity to speak to their colleagues more closely.

Learning and development

Virtual training and development is another obstacle that you could come across in your onboarding process. When there is distance involved, it can be difficult to explain processes fully.

This may leave new staff feeling unsure about their role, however, there are ways that you can overcome this to ensure the training process runs as smoothly as possible. For example:

  • Training via video call
  • Opening up a dialogue with your new starter so that they can ask any questions
  • Assigning a virtual training buddy or mentor to help with tasks

The benefits of the virtual onboarding process

Whilst the pandemic is only temporary and working life will eventually resume as normal, adopting a virtual onboarding strategy can provide a number of benefits for your organisation, including:

  • Reduced costs
  • Providing the opportunity for ongoing training and coaching
  • Greater workplace inclusivity

With the help of SD Worx automated onboarding software, this process can run just as smoothly as an in-person onboarding strategy. Get in touch today to learn more about how our HR software can help you.

 

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