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5 Tips For Onboarding New Staff Remotely During Covid-19

We have been incredibly fortunate that our people have been able to continue working during the COVID-19 lockdown, only now from home. We are even more fortunate to be in a position where we are still hiring. Not only is this great for us business, but good for those who are now looking for employment. 

Like anything else, recruitment and onboarding new staff comes with its challenges, only now our biggest challenge is managing the entire process remotely and during a period of lockdown.

Over the past month, we have onboarded a handful of new staff, and have learned a few things along the way. So as Head of Recruitment, I wanted to share a few thoughts on how to make this as smooth a process as possible.

TIP #1

Start Engaging Early & Set-Up Frequent Communication

As soon as the contract is signed, get your new starters engaged and excited about starting their new role. This can be easily achieved by connecting them with their new team and drip-feeding information they will find useful prior to day one.

Welcome emails from managers and team members is a great place to start, or even invite your new starters to virtual meetings and standup if possible.

Have interesting company, service, or product reading material? Send it through. You want to make it as easy as possible for new starters to navigate their new work environment from home.

Tip #2

Make Sure Everything Is Ready & Set Up For Day One

It doesn’t sound exciting but making sure your new starter has all of their IT equipment and permissions set up correctly to start working remotely on day one is critical.

Not only do you want to look professional (remote or not) but troubleshooting remotely can be a bit of a headache. And we want to limit these headaches as best we can.

We’ve found shipping all relevant IT equipment to our new starters well in advance to really help here. We also set up a decent amount of time with our IT department to proactively deal with any queries they have around using our technology.

TIP #3

Be Mindful Of How You Communicate

It’s hard enough starting a new job and trying to impress at the best of times, but doing it remotely adds another layer of difficulty. So be mindful of how you’re communicating: think about your tone, frequency, and medium.

Video conferencing is a great tool to do this, as is the role of a “dedicated buddy” to help them get the information they need and answer any questions.

Also, remember that communication goes both ways and requires you to not just talk but listen. Find out how they’re doing and ask if there is anything else we could do to make the process easier.

TIP #4

Be Clear With Your Expectations

As with any new hire, it’s important that everyone is on the same page.

This can be a little harder when you’re not all in the same office, so it’s important to clearly communicate your new hire’s responsibilities, explain company values, team objectives, time frames, and processes for employee reviews.

Ensuring that new employees have a clear understanding of what’s expected from them sets a solid foundation. This can ease stress and promote a smoother onboarding process.

TIP #5

Be Flexible, Adaptable & Empathetic

We hire a diverse range of people, who of course are experiencing varying situations. Whether they are a recent graduate new to the industry, or trying to navigate home-life during the pandemic… Know that remote onboarding is probably new to everyone and different for each person. So be flexible to each situation.

There are a lot of things you can do on top of the more structured training inductions – online quizzes, eLearning, anonymous meeting polls and questions, and more. We’ve even developed an online game to help new starters understand our agile processes. Pretty clever!

Ultimately we all want to get our new starters up to speed as quickly and efficiently as possible without overwhelming them. Adapting to each individual situation will help immensely here.

Our current situation is one that no one was really prepared for, with many businesses needing to review their processes and systems. We’ve certainly had to be innovative but we’re also happy to say that we will be continuing to use many of these tactics long after the lockdown is lifted.

Hope this has helped or at least given you a few ideas on how to help your new starters be onboarded remotely.

Stay safe.

Brendan Hughes
Head of Recruitment