Question – how do companies ensure their new joiners feel valued and part of the company from day 1, whilst working remotely?
Answer – with creativity!
Seriously, on-boarding plays a huge part of a company’s branding and employee engagement, but sadly this is often overlooked. Add remote working into the mix and you often have a recipe for disaster, but some simple changes can make all the difference and result in a positive experience.
Once a company has decided who to recruit and the candidate has accepted the offer, often the new employee receives no further communication until the actual joining date. This can result in a negative impression and affect the on-boarding experience. Remember, on-boarding starts from the moment the employee signs on the dotted line and it is not just filling in the multiple forms to enable employment!
Initial communication should be made via email and ideally from the line manager, a ‘buddy’ from the team and also HR. Simple actions of sending welcome emails and what to expect on the first day go a long way of promoting an overall positive experience.
In the current climate, and respecting the social distancing rules, you now could meet your candidate face-to-face and there is no better ice breaker than coffee! The line manager should organise a meet up with the candidate and the buddy and have a relaxed and informal conversation – what to expect during the first day, week, month etc and what support is in place to ensure they succeed. Get to know them and allow them to get to know you too!
Maintain contact as the joining date approaches, forward emails with company information and updates are great ways to introduce individuals to the company culture.
Although lockdown has eased, many organisations are still operating remotely, and this means big changes when on-boarding new colleagues. So, the first day arrives and it is via remote working. The key items are going to be business tools, laptop, mobile phone etc – have these sent to the individual’s home the day before and arrange a call with the local IT team to get everything set up. Ensure they connect via the system for video as it will be their most used tool and provide a short tutorial if required. Make sure they can connect to their email too!
Next is the social interaction that usually occurs when someone joins the company, action this via video conferencing – pull together pre-recorded welcomes from the MD, Head of Department, and a couple of other departments the individual will be working with. Follow this up with emails highlighting the key points and providing contact details and where to go for further information. And organise next steps meetings as required. Do not expect the new joiner to do this – it promotes a positive image of on-boarding!
Organise a virtual get together with the team, asking each individual to explain their role, and provide a piece of information about themselves, e.g. keen runner etc. Again, follow this up with an email, detailing the various roles, how they can support the new joiner, as well as their contact details.
All important is a one-to-one with the line manager – allow plenty of time as a lot of information needs to be covered. Work through the on=boarding process, outlining the agenda for the next month, whom they’ll be virtually introduced too, training they will undertake, short and long term goals, setting up weekly or more frequent one-to-one meetings and make sure you answer any questions they may have. Remember this is an intense day and good solid groundwork will set the scene for future success.
Ensure you provide information on understanding the company, its history, processes, and procedures, whom to go to for support outside of the department. These items can be covered by HR, Finance and Admin – again by video. But do remember how much information is being presented – the individual needs to take time to digest and process the details – so take your time, do not try to cram everything into the first day!
On-boarding is an ongoing process and can take up to 6 months before you see a person starting to fully understand the company set up, culture and their responsibilities within it.
Whilst the above steps are simple, they are effective – give it a go!
For help and to discuss your specific questions – contact Jenny@alexandra-hr.co.uk