The UK started 2021 by going into a third lockdown. Once again people were asked to work from home and for some companies, recruitment may be put on hold. However, with the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out accelerating and offering businesses hope for the future, hiring could soon be back on the agenda.
New research from Reedi recently predicted that 2021 will be a year of positive movement in the UK labour market with 82% of jobseekers saying they are hopeful they will find a new job in 2021.
The trend of remote working is also likely to continue long after the Covid crisis ends. Global Workplace Analytics estimates that 25-30% of the workforce will be working-from-home multiple days a week by the end of 2021ii.
Employers will need to adapt their recruitment processes to reflect these changes, which includes onboarding new recruits virtually. Providing a good onboarding experience not only will get a new recruit off to a flying start, it could improve their engagement, job satisfaction, and retention rates. Onboarding software company, Click Boarding in the USA suggests that 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboardingiii.
To implement an effective remote onboarding process during lockdown and beyond, companies need to develop a specific onboarding programme using online collaboration tools, supported by adequate documents and materials and a great communication programme.
Here are five tips for a good remote onboarding experience in 2021:
- Start Onboarding Early
Send new starters information about the company culture and projects they will be working on before they join. This will give them the opportunity to analyse the information and feel more prepared on day one.
- Promote Communication
Ensure new employees get their IT set up quickly so that they have access to the digital workplace (company intranet, messaging apps, video conferencing software, and other apps and tools). This is essential for them to get familiar with the flow of the team more quickly.
- Create a Sense of Belonging
New remote employees can easily feel isolated and like they do not really belong to a team. Check in with them regularly and let them know where to turn for feedback or to ask any questions. Providing them with supporting materials too is very important to encourage them to collaborate with other team members and build the team spirit.
Also, promoting virtual meetups, such as online coffee breaks will help them bond. Finally, assigning them with a mentor or creating a “buddy” system will have a positive effect on their morale and their performance as well.
- Provide an Individualised Onboarding Plan
New hires expect concrete goals and the opportunity to regularly interact with their manager. Providing new employees with strong support during the onboarding process helps them feel more motivated and productive. This requires continuous support and a clear, tailored plan detailing what is expected from the new employee in terms of performance goals during a certain period (first month, first quarter, etc).
- Leverage Online Tools
Having robust digital processes is essential to keep companies working efficiently. Remote work and remote onboarding require the use of online tools, whether to manage the necessary forms and documents each new hire will have to complete or to communicate on the day-today. There are online tools for every department and to execute every type of tasks. Make sure your company’s toolkit is equipped with the right tools to make your business thrive.
As the UK moves through the COVID-19 crisis it’s going to be even more essential that businesses nurture their talent as they try to recover. Having a great onboarding experience is the first step in doing this and sets the tone from the offset.
With remote working likely to continue, having the option to continue offering virtual onboarding can give companies more flexibility to welcome new recruits no matter where they are based.