The coronavirus pandemic has affected U.S. workplaces unlike anything else in modern times. Businesses have closed, employees have lost their jobs and, for most of those still employed, their workplace has moved to their home. The shift to remote work has had a rippling effect on many HR functions and processes such as onboarding. The days of new hires spending their first day in new employee orientation may be gone forever, and HR must find innovative ways to educate new hires on their new workplaces and make them feel welcomed and ready to join their new company. Here are some best practices to help you successfully onboard new employees now and post-COVID-19.
Video conferencing has become the primary vehicle enabling employees to see each other face-to-face and collaborate on work projects from a safe distance. This virtual tool can also be used to engage new hires, disseminate information and make introductions in a social and meaningful way. Even if employees continue to work virtually for the foreseeable future, the day will likely come when most will be back at the office at least part of the time. It’s important for your new hires to see your office space and how it operates. A virtual walkthrough or tour can be a fun and creative way for new hires to see their new office space. If some employees are in your office, introduce them in the video tour. If it isn’t possible to create a new video, use an old one from pre-COVID-19 days so the new hire can still see co-workers in action.
Equip With And Train On Technology
Be prompt in sending your new hire hardware, software and instructional manuals in plenty of time for them to be set up before their first day. Schedule a virtual meeting with tech support to assist with set-up, testing connections and troubleshooting. Schedule training on file-sharing applications and cloud backup software such as Google Drive and Dropbox. Ensure the new hire understands computer security protocol such as how to lock their laptop, install anti-virus software and use passwords and data encryption tools to protect their devices and company information.
Thoroughly Explain Communication Tools
Once your new hire is up and running with necessary remote office equipment and training, schedule a video call to explain the various communication tools your organization uses including company email, group messaging tools, video conferencing, etc. Explain when different platforms are used and for what purpose.
Set Performance Expectations
It is essential remote employees understand their job duties and performance expectations before their first day. The new hire’s manager should schedule a video call prior to the new hire’s start date to review her job description and short and long-term objectives. They should agree on a time for weekly one-on-one meetings to discuss upcoming projects and deadlines, progress and challenges.
Help with HR Paperwork
Remote employees still have to complete payroll forms, complete the Form I-9, enroll in benefits, review the employee handbook and understand timekeeping procedures. HR should provide the new hire with all necessary onboarding paperwork and the employee handbook and schedule a video call to review all and answer questions before the employee’s start date.
Set Up Virtual And In-Person Meetings With Team Members
If your office is all remote with no one working onsite, during the new hire’s first few days, schedule virtual meetings with other team members, her manager, direct reports and employees from other departments with whom she will be closely working. If you have some employees in the office, arrange for the new hire to work onsite during her first week. Establishing connections with co-workers early on will be essential in the days and months to come and goes a long way towards making the employee feel welcomed and comfortable in her decision to work for you.
Connect With Smart HR
This may seem like a lot of virtual meetings, but communication is key and you’d rather provide too much contact and information than leave the new hire guessing. A Smart HR consultant can review the way in which you’ve been onboarding employees during COVID-19, listen to any challenges you’ve faced and recommend solutions and streamlined processes that ensure your new hires are well-equipped and excited to hit the ground running on their first day. Call today at (703) 952-3177.