Onboarding for the ‘new normal’ workplace

Effective onboarding is the chance for your company to create a fantastic first impression with a new employee. After all, this is the person you have just spent so significant time, energy and money hiring. Thankfully, many firms have learnt lessons from the past and have shifted away from viewing onboarding just as a necessary administrative chore. HR leaders know that effective onboarding is the perfect way to energise and engage new employees from Day 1.

So what are the key items to consider when onboarding a new employee, particularly in light of the mass shift towards working from home that took place in 2020? Here are four keys to success:

1. Setting up the right resources and technology

This is about getting the basics right so that new employees can hit the ground running sooner rather than later. Some important items are:

  • A company-issued laptop, loaded with all the required software
  • Access to email, the intranet and any other databases or platforms
  • Access information for all company communications platforms that enable remote working (eg. Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams)
  • Providing useful contact details for people in HR, IT and other departments who can help answer questions and resolve issues

Another resource that new employees find incredibly useful is an employee handbook. This resource may need to be created within specific teams, but can include organisational charts (to know ‘who’s who in the zoo’) and links to useful company resources.
A further major consideration whilst onboarding remotely is ensuring the less structured aspects of the process are managed – there isn’t a watercooler!

2. Onboarding Software to streamline and automate the process

The mountains of paperwork that threaten to bury new employees can be completely streamlined using smart onboarding software. New employee workload can be reduced, and experience enhanced, by streamlining forms so that data entry is completed once, and then automatically fed into other HR systems such as payroll. Forms can then be stored in integrated document management systems.

Onboarding software can also house important documents like company policies, user agreements and onboarding training. Managers can use dashboards to easily see new employee progress towards completion of required training.

3. Giving new employees a warm welcome and introduction

According to Dave Ulrich one of the first onboarding activities to be undertaken with a new employee is introducing the company’s culture. These are the “norms, values, and unwritten rules that create the firm’s identity in the marketplace”. Sharing the company’s Mission and Value Statements can help, and also pairing the new employee with a mentor to help them navigate the firm’s cultural landscape (more on mentors below).

The delivery of company welcome packs to new employees who are working remotely has certainly gained popularity in 2020. In the absence of seeing fellow colleagues in person and getting a sense of the company, these packs have created a feeling of connection for remote workers. Often employees will share pictures of these packs on LinkedIn or other social platforms, reinforcing the reputation of the company as the sort of workplace that cares about employees.

4. Creating a network of mentors, buddies and sponsors

In a virtual environment, helping to create a network of advocates from within the company has never been more important. These are the people who can offer informal counsel to the new hire and also help them navigate the practicalities of getting work done at the company. An ideal buddy for the new employee is someone who has gone through the same onboarding process, who is friendly and eager to help and also has the knowledge to find the right person to help when issues arise. One way to fast-track learning for a new employee is to allow them to ‘shadow’ a senior team member who performs similar tasks to the ones required in the new role.

When done properly onboarding can motivate and engage a new employee from the very beginning, as well as rapidly accelerate time to productivity. HireRoad has a range of onboarding solutions to streamline and automate this important activity. Contact us to find out more.