How to onboard your staff virtually
When the lockdowns and restrictions were announced back in March 2020, nobody envisaged them still being ongoing nearly a year later.
In that time, although many businesses have been closed or unable to trade, for others recruitment and selection has continued. However, this has not been in the usual style – as for many it has been done remotely and with staff who have been based at home since the start of their employment instead of receiving a “normal” induction in the office.
One question that employers are focussing on at the moment is how they can make sure staff receive a proper induction when they are not working alongside their peers.
There are many elements to consider, with the main ones detailed below:
- Technology – there are many platforms which are now being widely used for a range of meetings, interviews and induction sessions. These include Zoom, Skype and Teams. Although using technology for meetings does not create the same atmosphere as working face to face, many companies have found benefits including saving time, and more efficient processes. One big advantage of technology is that individuals can join meetings regardless of their location, which has opened up geographical working areas wider than would have previously been possible.
- Paperwork and Processes – it is important to make sure your processes are in place to ensure you still collate the necessary paperwork, documentation and records that you would if you were not working remotely. Requirements around Right to Work checks, ID, and fair selection processes still need to be evidenced even when staff are not office based.
- Culture – one of the benefits of staff being in the office for their induction is understanding the psychological contract of an organisation – this means they understand the culture, values and areas which are not written down in general terms and condition and are learned through interaction with colleagues and experiencing how the organisation works. When onboarding virtually it is important that new employees still receive a thorough induction, and are introduced to other colleagues, areas and their managers.
- Management support – when working remotely, it is easy to miss “signs” that would normally be picked up when working together in person. For example, if staff were struggling with workload, missing deadlines or unhappy, this is more likely to be seen when interacting with someone every day and seeing body language than on a phone call or ad-hoc catch ups. Managers should ensure appropriate support is provided and regular discussions and contact takes place.
- Reviews and assessments – reviewing performance and probation can be even more difficult when staff are all based remotely. Notes should be kept of interactions and discussions, and if there are concerns with performance these should be raised on a regular, timely basis so that appropriate support can be identified and provided.
- Equipment and IT – it is essential to ensure that relevant IT and equipment are in place ready for your new employee to start so they are ready to commence work without any unexpected delays from their first day of employment.
- Wellbeing and mental health support – in these times, many more individuals are experiencing mental ill health than at any other time. Homeworking, although for many works well, can cause a number of issues including isolation, juggling childcare and school closures, experiencing ill health and bereavement, or working long, unsociable hours and suffering burnout. You should ensure that through regular catch ups and line management dialogue you are able to identify any emerging issues and provide the appropriate support.
Although recruitment, selection and induction/onboarding are very different in the current climate, that does not mean they are less successful or effective. The most important action you can take is to review your processes and ensure that these are adapted in a way which allows you to continue to achieve your objectives whilst prioritising the health and safety of your staff, customers and contacts during these unprecedented times.
If you require any support please call us on 01206 700 690 and we will be happy to help