Covid-19

How to on board new starters remotely

Covid-19 is affecting all of us in many different ways and we are all having to adapt to new ways of working. Many of our clients are still recruiting, but are facing challenges around how they can still onboard their new employees whilst they are working from home.

Not all companies can press pause on their recruiting plans right now and for some sectors, hiring new talent is still key to the success and growth of their businesses.  Many technology businesses have remote teams and they have been leading the way on virtual working for many years, what can we learn from the likes of Google and Amazon where sitting next to your colleague would be a new experience for many as sitting in front of a screen is the norm.

Onboarding is the first impression of a business and is usually conducted through face to face meeting with your line manager and learning and development team, it’s your chance to meet the various teams you will be working with and start shadowing your colleagues.  So the question is “how can you do this remotely?”

We have created some tips on how you can onboard remote workers to ensure they feel engaged in the business from day one.

USE TECHNOLOGY

Many clients first step is to issue laptops – sounds obvious, but is important. There are also many technologies such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other video conferencing platforms that you can use to communicate remotely. 

When conducting onboarding video calls, be as confident and natural, as you would if you were face-to-face, in order to make a new employee feel relaxed. Don’ hide behind a screen or let others hide.

Support and train your managers on how to use technology and how to have a virtual introduction and regular “one to ones” with their new recruit.  Make time every day to speak to your new team member, including them in company updates and knowledge sharing.

Schedule calls for your new employee with all the members of their team, encourage video conferencing for this rather than hiding behind emails so they get to meet in person.

STREAMLINE ACTIVITIES

Streamline the activities that your new recruit will take on. This can be seen as a phased start and an introduction to the business.  If they are not able to perform their whole job from day one, what can they do to add value to the team and the business?

BUDDY UP

Assign them with a buddy to work alongside during their probationary period. Instead of thinking of them as two people, they will become one, listening and learning in video conferencing calls.

ENGAGE digitally

Adopt digital tools that enable new employees to chat to other members of the business. Tools such as slack are great for sharing information and Zoom is great not just for meetings but also for creating social communities, such as virtual coffee mornings or Friday afternoon pub quizzes at the end of the week.

INTERNAL PROCESSES

Ensure your internal processes are in order, where are your shared documents kept, are they easily accessible and up to date?  Do you have an intranet? At Pure, we use Jostle which is an intranet platform designed to connect and engage employees inside of an organisation.  It allows offers social sharing and gives our team space to “shout out” each other whether that is saying Happy Birthday or saying thank you.

As much as we and many other organisations can share advice, we know that it helps to hear how organisations are putting this into practice.

Patrice Love, Vice President of People and Organisation Development, shared with us, some of the ways that Gyroscope Therapeutics Ltd in Stevenage are onboarding their new employees:

  • We have created a virtual onboarding team, which is made up of different members of the business, including HR, facilities and the Line Manager of the new employee. This ensures the new starter meets a range of people from the business and has points of contact and knows where to go to get help, i.e. if their laptop is not working.
  • We make sure we have their technology ready for when they start and that our IT team supports them.
  • HR is still delivering the welcome to the company part of the induction process, explaining who’s who, how things work around here, how we are paid and an overview of our business.
  • To welcome people to the business we send out a welcome gift to their home, which arrives on their first day with an electronic card.
  • All company-wide updates are being conducted via zoom to ensure we are communicating to everyone and keeping everyone connected to the vision and plans for the business.
  • We are also creating social activities such as coffee mornings and 4pm drinks. We even have a leaving party taking place on zoom. The key is keep communicating and to ensure connectivity for everyone.

The coronavirus has accelerated how we are using remote technology and for many businesses, we are all still learning and getting to grips with working from home with our children and pets for company. However, this provides us with an opportunity to reassess how our businesses can operate and this may create our new and more efficient ways of working into the future.

If you would like to find out more about how we could support you and your organisation with your onboarding, contact your local Pure office. 

Written by

Caroline Batchelor

Caroline joined Pure in 2002 at the beginning of our journey. As Director, Caroline is co-manager of the Cambridge office as well as leading the Human Resources team. A graduate from Manchester University, Caroline started her recruitment career in 1999 within the HR, Professional Office Support and the Accountancy sectors.