Even during these challenging times, many companies are still hiring. With many working from home this is not an easy process and businesses should have the ability to remotely welcome more than one employee at a time through a standardised, months-long onboarding process. Since onboarding is an introduction to a company’s culture, businesses should use onboarding to help employees develop healthy work habits.Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and corresponding economic downturn, around 60% of companies hired at least one new employee since the pandemic began.
Onboarding new hires in the age of remote work requires creativity and planning. This has seen the use of remote technology and requires welcoming multiple new teammates at once, establishing healthy work habits, and following a standardised, long-term onboarding plan.
Businesses can use a strong onboarding plan to effectively welcome and train new hires despite the remote work environment.
- 46% of businesses who have hired during COVID-19 onboarded 10 or more new employees, indicating that companies should be prepared to welcome multiple new workers to their team at one time.
- Only 3% of companies expect more than one-third of their workforce to leave the company in the next year. This suggests that standardized onboarding ensures teammates of different experience levels work together effectively and reduces turnover.
- 61% of companies expect new hires to stay at their company for 2 or more years, so onboarding should be a months-long process.
- 37% of businesses say work-life imbalance is likely to cause employees to leave their company, suggesting that businesses benefit when they use onboarding to make sure employees have healthy work habits.
So here are some tips on how to make your onboarding process more effective.
1. Prepare to Onboard Multiple Employees at Once
Companies should expect to remotely onboard more than one employee at a time to maximize efficiency and meet hiring demands.
Of the companies who have hired new employees since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, close to half (46%) have hired 10 or more employees.
To prepare for such hiring demand, companies should have the capability to onboard multiple teammates at once.
Onboarding groups of employees was a common practice for many companies before the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses can execute similarly when onboarding a group of employees virtually.
- Giving new hires a few different start dates to choose from.
- Sending new hires an email one week before their chosen start date with company details and the itinerary for the first week of work.
- Send new employees company gear and equipment through the mail around the time of onboarding.
- Host a day-long Zoom meeting on employees’ first day to discuss everything from company goals to DotcomDollar’s diversity initiatives.
- Instead of using email, use video chat tools to have conversations with new hires that feel as if they are taking place face-to-face.
With creativity and strong onboarding principles, companies can effectively and efficiently onboard groups of new hires.
2. Standardise Employee Onboarding
Employees have various degrees of experience. Standardised onboarding will help make business teams cohesive and effective.
Only 3% of HR professionals expect more than one-third of their employees to leave the company in the next year. Companies will probably onboard most of their new hires into teams with experienced workers.
A standardised onboarding process can help employees with different levels of experience and from different generations engage with a common company culture.
One effective tool is creating an “Onboarding Academy” where new recruits have a standardized onboarding process that includes:
- Group meetings with different departments
- An “onboarding buddy” who checks in on the employee’s progress.
- Question and answer sessions with the company founders
- Advice on company etiquette and best practices
This should shorten the onboarding time, improve employee performance, and contribute to a higher employee retention.
Other companies typically onboard employees individually and use HR technology to standardize the experience for workers.
This way, employees from HR to accounting to management know what they need to do to bring a new teammate up to speed.
Standardised and documented employee onboarding is an effective strategy to ensure that all employees understand and respect the broader company.
3. Develop a Long-Term Onboarding Process
When hiring, companies should plan for onboarding to be a gradual, lengthy process.
More than six in ten HR professionals (61%) say that an average employee stays at their company for two years or longer.
In comparison, 20% of HR professionals expect employees to stay at a company for one to two years; only 19% anticipate employees’ tenure to be one year or less.
If companies anticipate their employees will spend years on the payroll, having a months-long onboarding process makes sense.
Some companies develop a one year-long onboarding process, where employees are able to understand:
- What they need to know to perform their role: Employees should fully understand their duties and responsibilities. They should also be fully trained on how to use different tools and technology to accomplish their tasks.
- How to live the company’s values: Employee mentors reinforce company policies and norms such as treating other employees with respect and demonstrating commitment to diversity and inclusion.
- Accountability, boundaries, and resources: What are employees’ core expectations? When is an appropriate time to send an email or schedule a meeting or reach out to a colleague offline? Where can employees go for help and whom should they ask questions? Gradual onboarding should eventually answer most of these common early-in-the-role questions.
- How to build professional relationships: Employees with strong internal relationships will likely feel less isolated and more connected to the company’s mission. Helping a new employee organize coffee chats or happy hours can help them meet their colleagues.
Broad, long-term onboarding goals can be good benchmarks, but companies may want to create an onboarding plan with specific weekly targets, which could include:
- Week 1: New hires spend time reading past reviews.
- Week 2: Loda teaches testers about the business model, audience, and standard operating procedures.
- Week 3: Testers practice creating a review with products they already own.
- Week 4: Managers assess the practice reviews and provide feedback about what was done well and what can be improved.
- Weeks 5 to 8: Testers advance to writing reviews about new shoes. By week 8, testers usually have enough confidence to work autonomously.
- Weeks 9 to 12: Testers work autonomously but have regular check-ups. Managers flag any persistent issues and approve when employees roll off the onboarding phase.
Companies with long-term onboarding processes help ensure their employees will succeed.
4. Emphasise Healthy Work Habits During Remote Onboarding
Successful employees have healthy work habits, so companies should emphasize appropriate work-life balance when onboarding new employees.
More than one-third of HR professionals (37%) say that work-life imbalance is likely to cause employees to leave their company in the next year.
Experts say it is important to highlight the importance of work-life balance, especially in a remote work environment.
Developing a standard, reasonable, well-defined workday is important if employees are to succeed when working remotely.
Companies can mandate onboarding employees work between specific working hours. This way, employees understand that they are expected to work specific hours per day and develop the discipline and focus required to complete their work. After completing onboarding employees can then be granted the flexibility to determine their own work hours.
Companies should emphasise other behaviours that demonstrate employee wellness, such as taking vacation and time off. Mostly, businesses should be aware that new employees will make judgments about the company’s work-life culture during onboarding.
Promoting a healthy work-life balance during onboarding is not meaningful if employees are teased or harassed for:
- Taking all their vacation days
- Asking for time to take children to appointments
- Going for a walk at lunch
- Failing to answer work communications overnight or outside of standard business hours
A culture of authentic, healthy work habits is difficult to fake. By stressing the importance of work-life balance, companies reveal a positive business culture to new employees.
Meet Hiring Trends by Onboarding Employees Remotely
Businesses must have creative, thoughtful plans to onboard new employees when their workforce is largely remote.
Virtual onboarding has its challenges but can be effective if businesses follow 4 remote onboarding tips:
- Be ready to onboard more than one employee at a time.
- Develop a standardised onboarding process.
- Plan for an employee’s onboarding to last for months, not weeks.
- Use onboarding to help employees develop healthy, sustainable work habits.
As hiring increases, companies can leverage remote onboarding to keep their business growing and profitable.