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How To Improve Onboarding During The Pandemic

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The pandemic has been disruptive in a way that’s taken us all by surprise. Lockdowns and economic woes have all but crushed what were – profitable sectors like travel and hospitality, and many businesses have failed to come through it.

Workers are dealing with job losses and financial uncertainty, and the fear of catching Coronavirus. Overall, 2020 has been a year we want to forget.

However, thankfully there has been a lot happening online. In recent months one notable activity has become a rising star for many companies, online purchases.

People love to shop, and so if they can not go to the store, the store comes to them – albeit via their laptop or device in the safety of their home.

Online shopping and the peripheral service and manufacturing sectors that keep it going, including parcel delivery, have seen massive growth and with it the need to hire more workers.

Hiring staff during a pandemic is challenging insofar as it’s done remotely, and for many businesses, it’s a step too far. If your business is less online and more face-to-face, then conducting interviews and onboarding virtually is unnatural.

Immediate changes need to occur to both your recruitment and onboarding processes. With no time to lose, let’s look at what you can do to improve how you introduce new staff to your business.

Remote Working

Even with vaccines on the horizon, remote working is the new norm, so we might also get used to it. The large open-plan office may soon be replaced with satellite offices in areas where most staff reside.

The scaled-down workplaces aka urban office will accommodate staff who wish to work away from home for a part of the week. However, don’t expect this to expand back to what it used to be – all employees in the same workplace full time.

The opportunity with the decentralized office environment is, workers can interact and socialize in person with colleagues and management for part of the week.

Lockdowns forced everyone who could to work from home, and now there’s no going back. It’s almost impossible to get staff back in the workplace full time.

Systems, Tech and Content

Managing remote workers requires a cohesion of content, paperwork and processes. Systems and technology are a business’s best friends. Use new technologies and work on your content.

If you’ve not had great content, this is your starting point. The content and onboarding process can ensure new staff feel secure, confident, and part of the team, but it can also assist existing staff with their needs while they are not in the office.

What we do know from research is onboarding can increase employee retention by over 80% and with it boost productivity despite your staff remote working.

Remote team building

It’s straightforward for employees to feel siloed right now, yet they know we’re living in unprecedented times that require outside-the-box thinking.

Connecting everyone in some way is vital. Use online communities and buddy up new staff, so they have someone with experience of the business and ideally the job to turn to when they need assistance or support.

Introduce more leaders who will follow up and check in with workers via collaboration software like Microsoft teams.

Plus, the social calendar has never looked so bare for most of us, so companies can step up and assist by connecting their people with outdoor events and activities.

Outdoor events

Social distancing can be managed, and being outdoors is the best way to meet up and get some real face time. It may be that your business gets involved with a charity, and staff can take time off work to ‘do good in the hood’.

There’s also the opportunity to bring together different teams. While marketing and engineering might not have much reason to talk every day, they need to harmonize efforts for its good. Use online systems like video chat to come together digitally.

Focus on Resources

Never has the company manual been more important.

Make sure your FAQs are up to date, and your staff can access manuals, company information on everything from internet etiquette to cybersecurity best practices.

Online cybersecurity statistics confirm hackers are enjoying the unusual circumstances, and they are infiltrating company databases via devices and other unsecured gateways.

Your onboarding must-have online resources for digital security practices and how-to guides for using WiFi, VPNs, password managers, antivirus software, and managing software updates and downloads.

Your staff need to know how to keep their identity safe online and your business will benefit from online security-conscious staff.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

In summary, there are so many areas of concern with staff working remotely. Communication is essential on so many levels for existing and new hires, and it needs to begin well before the start date.

Your new hires need to feel like they belong, and there’s no better way for that to happen than by your business to be as communicative as possible.

Provide support. Connect them with colleagues and potential mentors so that they feel welcome.

Have empathy and imagine what you would need to know to get started and do a great job.

Onboarding is a big task, and more so now we’re working remotely. Follow these strategies to make sure your people can hit the ground running.

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