Posted on 12th October 2020 by Vanessa Cole
When it comes to onboarding new staff and setting them up for success within your organisation, the seeds sown today are harvested in the future. Statistics show that as many as 54% of companies that have invested in developing their onboarding programs reported higher engagement from employees. Meanwhile, 77% of employees who received a formal process of onboarding were able to hit their performance goals.
In other words, get the onboarding process right, and you will be rewarded with a great workforce.
In recent years, however, onboarding has changed. Even before COVID-19 accelerated the move towards remote working practices, several businesses were turning to virtual onboarding as a flexible means of bringing in new members of staff across all areas of their business.
Since March, we have seen a huge influx of temp requirements for our clients, and we’ve filled over 900 temporary positions remotely across Australia in that time. Many of our clients’ offshore centres closed due to the pandemic, and so we assisted in remotely onboarding teams of up to 50, often with necessary turn-around times of 48 hours as a result of immediate changes caused by the growing health crisis.
One such temp who onboarded during the new world of work was Vanessa, who recently finished a 4-month role with one of our clients. She said, “I had a fantastic onboarding experience- even though they’re a huge, global insurer, I felt important, valued, and like I was immediately a part of the family.” A successful onboard if ever there was one!
We’re going to hear about Vanessa’s experience throughout, so let's examine creating a great virtual onboarding experience in more detail.
While in-house teams follow a relatively straightforward chain of command, remote teams might find themselves unsure of who to report to.
Providing organisation charts, full contact details and setting up virtual meetings with key personnel in the first week is imperative, but going a step further can have a big impact on how welcomed and settled a remote new-starter will feel;
“There were photo competitions, company-wide social media boards, dedicated chat groups for tech support, info support and one for gifs, memes, polls and banter. We felt safe that we would get answers quickly when we needed them, as well as feeling connected to our peers. We filled out weekly questionnaires asking how we felt and if we were getting what we needed, with the promise that issues would be addressed quickly.”
Another idea that we do at MAYDAY is to send around fun facts about our new staff member, as well as having facts about the team given to the newbie – it creates easy talking points and makes everyone become familiar and ‘real’.
Businesses change quickly, and you need to ensure that all of your onboarded personnel are on the same page. Put together a communications schedule where different leaders and important personnel regularly reach out, so that new hires are quickly brought into a feedback loop, and connection is fostered early on.
“Before my first day I received a video that was personalised to my group of new starters from the head of the department. It came across as warm, grateful for my coming on board at such a weird time [COVID-19], and made me feel like I was stepping into a world where they cared about the people.”
Use Video Regularly
To keep your organisation working in harmony, make sure that video conferencing takes place regularly during onboarding and beyond. It’s easy for someone new to feel disconnected when they’re only receiving emails (or not hearing from people at all).
Existing staff have been known to feel like a new person ‘has been here for years’ after one week, whereas the newbie will still feel new for at least 3 months. In this instance, it can be easy to forget to continue to reach out – a quick video catch-up can make a real difference.
“Video meant we still had the opportunity to meet all the important people and learn how both they and we fit into the business. We were actively encouraged to share our experiences, to make suggestions for improvement and ask for help.”
Be Prepared for Tech Issues
Your new hires probably aren’t trained tech-gurus, and they’ve never used your systems before; what was once seamlessly done by your IT team (and easily explained by you whilst sitting next to a newbie), becomes frustrating and stressful when you’re 50kms apart.
Ensure you create time and an empathetic space to help them through it, and make experts available to assist:
“Setting up at home came with the odd technical challenge but was met with clear lines of support, and when my internet couldn’t keep up with the ongoing training via Zoom, they couriered me a new internet dongle (and a second screen!) without pause.”
Make Training Fun
Absorbing a whole load of new information is difficult as it is – we all remember how well we’ve slept at the end of our first week at a new job! Pair that with taking everything in via screens, video time-delays and not having others around you to have a laugh with, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for brain-meltdown.
Work in some fun activities and screen time-out to keep everybody fresh and able to soak up all that important information you’ve taken the time to put together.
“As you can imagine, 2 weeks of all-day video sessions was a new experience for everyone, so games, brainteasers and regular breaks were the norm – as well as the odd easter egg or UberEats delivery! We felt really taken care of.”
Assign Mentors or Buddies
Perhaps the easiest way for new hires to understand the way things are done in your organisation, while also providing much needed support, is to assign mentors or buddies. Mentors can coach and assist employees in a casual and positive way, making it more likely that they will stay in the job long term, and accelerates their steps towards becoming fully-fledged staff members. Buddies can share their experience and provide peer-to-peer support, which can be a great guide as to how to perform and to see how success is measured.
For our temp Vanessa, a mentor wasn’t possible at the time, however she had some great feedback on understanding goals and her ongoing development:
“Results were really transparent within our department and the wider company, so you always knew what goals we were working towards together and the reason behind them. In one to ones, I was really impressed that my development opportunities were discussed from the get-go, even though I wasn’t a permanent staff member, and that it was acknowledged that they didn’t want to let working remotely affect my learning.”
Need advice on your remote hiring process?
Please contact us to at email@example.com find out more about how our award-winning technology can make your remote onboarding experience smooth, relevant and more personalised. Our team pride themselves on working with urgency to assist your company’s needs whilst maintaining high levels of quality and care. We look forward to speaking with you!