In spite of high unemployment numbers, companies are hiring during the pandemic. That good news presents a new challenge for hiring managers and their hires alike: how to make sure the onboarding process — which in many cases now must be handled online — goes as smoothly and successfully as possible.
As Amy Marcum, a senior human resource specialist with Insperity, notes, every company is dealing with the hiring process differently depending on how the pandemic has impacted their businesses.
“Some have had little disruption to daily work, while others are busier than ever … and for the businesses that have had to ramp up, hiring at a rapid pace can be a challenge,” Marcum says. “The current business landscape has forced employers to reevaluate how they identify talent and onboard new hires as quickly and effectively as possible.”
Some things, she points out, haven’t changed.
“The primary objectives of hiring and onboarding remain the same in spite of the health crisis and the shift to a remote workplace,” Marcum says. “These include the same online recruitment strategies used in the past, and after hiring, an overview of the new employee’s role, how they fit into the company, as well as an outline of the corporate culture and values.”
The biggest difference is not being able to meet face-to-face before and even after a hiring decision has been made — and that, says Marcum, might never change.
“The new method of remote hiring, which may be here to stay, places increased importance on a unified approach between human resources and IT departments,” she explains. “Company management and team members should also understand their role in the process and how they are expected to help new employees adjust remotely.”
So, what’s a manager to do?
The first step: Schedule a group videoconference to introduce the new employee to the team and give him or her the opportunity to ask questions, Marcum advises.
Once those basics are covered, Marcum recommends arranging individual video calls between peers, which can help establish connections between co-workers as long as in-person meetings and office gatherings are off the table.
“Virtual happy hours, coffee breaks and lunches can help demonstrate company culture and build camaraderie while working remotely,” she adds.
Managers also should be flexible with schedules, taking the time constraints virtual onboarding brings into account.
“The remote onboarding process may take longer than usual, so employers should allow for more time and adjust their typical training criteria as needed,” Marcum says. “New hires who started in the traditional office environment before the COVID-19 outbreak had more first-hand opportunities to learn about the business, their position, the culture and their team. Without experiencing this typical workplace environment, it could take longer for new hires to adjust and feel comfortable in their role.”
Involving established employees in the process also can move the onboarding process along.
“These programs allow new hires to openly ask pertinent and more mundane questions that come up in the first few weeks,” she says.
They also can help identify problems with and lead to improvements in the virtual hiring and onboarding process.
“It is helpful if employers survey other recently hired employees to learn what worked well in their onboarding experience and what may need to be tweaked,” Marcum concludes.
(Article written by Kathleen Furore)