The onboarding process sets the tone for a new employee’s experience with a business, welcoming the recruit to the team, acclimatising them to their role, setting expectations, and providing the resources they need to carry out their job. Effective onboarding and training have a huge influence on staff turnover, productivity, and happiness, and has a direct impact on long-term HR costs. Recruits who are successfully onboarded are more likely to be engaged in their role, work harder and more efficiently, have productive relationships with their colleagues, and stay with the company for longer.
In the age of Covid, therefore, this creates a unique challenge for HR teams. With offices closed and social distancing in place, the entire recruitment and onboarding process has had to be moved online for a lot of companies. Some employees recruited in 2020 or 2021 may have never met their colleagues and managers in person outside of phone and video meetings.
What implications does this have for onboarding new talent, and for ensuring a complete and consistent training process is in place?
Successful onboarding depends on integrating a new recruit within a team, helping them feel at home, and encouraging them to engage with company culture. Failure to do so risks the employee becoming alienated and confused, resulting in despondency, loss of productivity, and low retention. In the absence of office tours, welcome drinks, training courses, and team building days that reinforce onboarding through informal social contact, a virtual onboarding system has to be far more systematic, structured and complete in scope.
Using a mixture of guided and independent learning, shared tasks, training videos, and reading material, the recruit is progressively enrolled into company culture and the expectations of their role. At the same time, care should be taken to emphasise the human aspects of enrolment, with scheduled meetings and phone calls throughout the onboarding process, and a specified contact to speak to if the recruit needs help. This is essential with virtual onboarding, to prevent the new employee becoming overwhelmed and unsure of who to turn to for support.
Virtual onboarding has the potential to be confusing for recruits and complicated and time-consuming for HR. This can be avoided by automating the process as much as possible, an endeavour that can save time and money long-term. Many training videos, surveys, and other forms of content can be created to replace or supplement face-to-face contact; an investment that continues to deliver value with each reuse. Furthermore, by centralising your onboarding channels in a single portal, collaboration is enhanced between new hires and established staff, with all tasks automatically sent to the relevant people and teams, and keeping the whole process streamlined.
As experienced recruitment and onboarding software specialists, Blue Octopus can help you provide an excellent experience for new hires and increase productivity and staff retention. Get in touch today to find out more.
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