Recruiting Enablement Blog



Onboarding has never been so vital

Charles Hipps November 20, 2020

In the light of the pandemic, onboarding trends are evolving as businesses become more acutely aware of its value in supporting new employees and operational effectiveness. With new recruits increasingly unable to go to an office for onboarding and inductions and the virtual world slowly becoming the new normal, the need to adapt has never been so critical.

So, how do you pivot to the new normal? There are five key trends that experts have identified to help make strides with virtual onboarding:

  1. Cover all bases that you would have done in an office to condensed timescales. Where traditionally, onboarding might have lasted for many days after an employee joins, digital technologies allow you to expedite this. Some employers have started to include onboarding during the recruitment phase itself and then reduce the day one needs on the first day. This allows inductions to be less about formalities - HR policies and procedures etc. and more about the job itself - forging internal connections, setting expectations, making sure there are check-ins instated from the go, assigning a buddy, understanding internal social media to chat with employees and so on. Quality without visibility can be measured with post-hire assessments and  follow-up sessions as and when needed.
  2. Ensure a multi-dimensional programme: First impressions count. They influence new hires and can shape the way they feel about their new employer in the longer term. Effective onboarding needs to cover three main areas in ways that make the employee appreciate what the business has to offer and how they can help the business in turn:
  • The business context (mission and vision; organisational strategy, branding, positioning and, potentially, challenges)
  • The situational context (the job; expectations, deliverables and what success looks like)
  • The cultural context (organisational values; how they are lived and the way they shape what the business does)
  1. Ensure more active involvement of senior management: Senior business leaders play a key role in inspiring new employees, while helping them to understand the overall business purpose. Ensure they meet with new recruits andactively promote the importance of onboarding.
  2. Be digital first. Modern trends show technology assumes a central role in onboarding, providing a quick and easy way to complete paperwork and reducing manual work and errors. It also provides data for reporting and gaining insights to inform process enhancements. 
  3. Gain insight: data-driven programme improvement. Ensure key metrics are being tracked, measuring impact and effectiveness. Where KPIs are used it is often to measure operational effectiveness, such as induction training completed on time - this helps to measure programme effectiveness, such as first year retention.

Increasingly companies are pivoting and being agile to respond to the realities of it being a key time to engage with employees meaningfully and that it leads to a better employee experience, a more engaged team and better results for the company.

The benefits of creating a multi-dimensional programme are rewarding for employees and company alike. When a new employee is educated, not only on their new role, but on values, strategy and how the organisation operates, they gain a more rounded understanding of the business - and that pays off as they settle in.

LinkedIn has been particularly interesting in this instance. When their hiring managers virtully “pick up” their new LinkedIn employees in the afternoon, that does not end the first day of onboarding. The end will come when new hires receive a survey on how the day went.

“Virtual onboarding is new to us,” a follow-up email says, “and we want to continue to enhance it for your fellow colleagues who are set to start in the coming weeks.” It directs new hires to a Slido survey that takes less than five minutes to complete. The survey asks them to rate various parts of the onboarding program and provides a chance for open-ended comments.

Such feedback is essential to business prosperity. It equates to better engagement, retention, and talent branding. And, as LinkedIn notes in this blog,  there’s almost nothing that will turn new hires into enthusiastic company ambassadors as much as seeing your team putting in an extra effort to make them feel welcomed and valued.

So, ask yourself - have you got the tools and strategies in place to make virtual onboarding the best it can be? From the paperwork to the welcome gifts, uniform, swag and even sorting the payroll - the more you prep before day one, the faster can get to doing what they do best and delivering you business efficiencies. The future is now - ensure you are agile enough to keep up with it!

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