Welcoming New Employees During COVID-19

23 Apr 2021

.A recent article from the New York Times said that major companies are targeting July 2021 for their employees to return to their offices. Companies such as Twitter, Microsoft and Facebook announced that their employees would continue to work remotely due to rising concerns from the global Coronavirus outbreak.

The general feeling over this is a mixed bag. For the past few months, many industries have had to adjust their strategies and approaches to accommodate a work from model. In that time, teams found their groove – or new normal so to speak – in order to operate efficiently in a different environment. However, there are also still some things remote work cannot replace. The most crucial one is being able to interact face-to-face with fellow employees. This also means onboarding new employees who may not have the chance to meet their co-workers in real time.

A Virtual Onboarding

Onboarding new employees during a global pandemic is not as uncommon as some may realise. To survive in this new normal, companies need to rethink what team collaboration is all about. Adopting to these are unusual circumstances helps companies stay competitive. To do this properly, however, requires also remembering a few things and considering some new approaches.

Setting Clear Expectations

Whether remotely or in-office, it’s important to always create clear expectations for new employees. This is especially crucial when onboarding someone to be part of a larger team. It allows them to assess their abilities and how to best ensure their team operates like a well-oiled machine. Setting expectations enables companies to see who are an exceptional fits with their capabilities. 

Recreating Real Time Interactions

Communication and engagement are vital to remote work. By staying in consistent reach, companies can foster an inclusive experience for every new person onboarded. This inclusivity  will make them feel like they already belong, even before they officially join the company. Going the extra mile to make new hires as comfortable and familiar as possible is important, especially when working remotely.

Onboarding someone new is about establishing a professional, yet comfortable environment. New employees, along with the rest of the team, should feel as if they are interacting in an office and in real time. Recall that this is one of the main things newly on boarded employees will miss out on. Imagine being swamped with new names and processes on your first day at work, but happening remotely. It will be a challenge putting faces to these names, making video calls very vital. This will make things easier for everyone and won’t make them feel out of place when people get together again.

Exemplify Your Company Culture

A company’s cultivated culture is what sets them apart from others. It may also be a key reason why people are interested in joining any particular company. Promoting company culture means better employee engagement and stronger retention. However, the current remote working environment makes it challenging to exemplify this.

Office huddles are a great way to introduce your office culture.

There should be unique ways to virtually present company culture to all those being onboarded. Whether this means virtual calls, catch-ups or monthly huddles, it gives them a great opportunity to see your company culture and how everyone interacts. 

Overcoming the Challenges of Remote Onboarding

The onus of onboarding should not solely rest on the new employees. Company veterans and its managers should also do their part to ensure they feel welcome and are part of a greater community at large. This means evaluating what the current onboarding plan looks like and making adjustments to fit this current new normal. Managers should also be empowered enough to be confident in their leadership skills to oversee any process or issue that may arise. Avoid also assuming that traditional methods of onboarding are still the only way to do it. If this global pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that innovation and adapting to the remote environment are what will help them stay competitive.

A Combined Team Effort

Make no mistake: virtually onboarding new employees is a challenging task. Much like the shift to remote work for companies, successful implementation does not come with issues that were not there before. Teams need to have the right tools at their disposal and create the best virtual onboarding practices they can follow.

Times are certainly challenging for many as they may not be fortunate enough to apply for skilled roles remotely. That’s why it is vital to ensure those who become part of your team are welcomed right. As more people turn to remote work this year, having the right, adaptable onboarding strategies also opens several new opportunities.