The effective onboarding of a new hire will help to shape their career, support their continued development and also enable the new hire to make a positive contribution to the overall success of the company much sooner. Onboarding is a multifaceted process and there are many factors to consider. It is challenging when the new hire is based in the same office, but when you need to onboard a new hire virtually the challenges are multiplied.
The current situation has led to organisations needing to pivot quickly and digitise the entire onboarding process.
The important aspect is the new hire feels welcome and understands what is expected from them on day one. They feel set up for success! Further down the line, the results of this can be seen in increased employee engagement, productivity and retention.
We have complied a list of thoughts to consider when onboarding employees virtually.
Engaging with the new hire between offer, acceptance and their first day is imperative. This involves having a strong pre-onboarding process, so the employee feels excited to start their new role and most importantly welcomed and part of the team all before they open their first email. Some examples of pre-onboarding activities include:
The onboarding process is an opportunity to immerse the new hire in the company’s culture and values. It is integral that companies communicate their culture and values at the beginning of the onboarding cycle, starting with the interview process. This sets the standard of the company’s, culture and can be the driving factor as to whether a candidate chooses your company. The onboarding process and any induction should further embed this message and demonstrate to the new hire how these values are put into practice through behaviours, rewards and benefits. An article written by Brett Gleeson for forbes.com suggests that employees who believe in the company culture, have shared values and work well with managers and team mates demonstrated high job performance and were more likely to stay with the company.
Whilst it is important for the new hire to understand the company’s culture, policies and procedures, onboarding should not stop there. Studies have found that approximately 20% of employee turnover happens within the first 45 days. Further to this notion, Isaac Lueng from enboarder.com suggests that one of the reasons why a new hire might leave is due to a lack of understanding of their role. How can this be mitigated? Managers should create 30, 60 and 90 days plans for their new hires. By having a formalised document on what the new hire needs to achieve at each touchpoint everyone involved in the onboarding process understands what is expected. Perhaps even more critical than that, is the new hire will rely on these plans and opportunity for learning and development to structure their day to day activities. It will also aid in them understanding what they need to achieve to be successful.
Starting a new job is a daunting experience for anyone, especially when you don’t know anyone. It is crucial that during the onboarding process there are opportunities for the new hire to be integrated into the team. Whether this be a welcome lunch with their immediate team, a formal introduction to key business partners or participating in virtual companywide networking events using a video platform. Ensuring that the new hire has opportunities to get to know people within their first few months can help build relationships.
All of the above activities are just a few elements of a structured and robust onboarding process. So, what is the significance of all these elements? Research conducted by our parent company Allegis Group in their report Staying in Front: An Inside Look at the Changing Dynamics of Talent Acquisition found that a quality onboarding experience helps to facilitate time to productivity as high-performing talent functions report that it takes on average six weeks for a new hire to become productive compared to nine weeks for other organisations”. Effective onboarding helps to ensure this investment is given the value it deserves.
Whether your new hire is starting in the office or working remotely effort invested up front on the onboarding process will help to yield a successful, engaged employee in the long term.