On boarding Newbies in the New Normal

Author: Bella

Categorised as: Market Info


On boarding is the first official impression a new hires gets of a company and typically conducted over a series of face-to-face meetings. This can include one-to-one meetings with HR, direct managers, and members of the leadership team, as well as group meetings with various teams in the organisation. Within the current climate, under the New Zealand Pandemic lockdown levels, is your business ready to adopt virtual on boarding?

If you’re continuing with hiring plans right now and will be heavily reliant on technology for the on boarding process, here are some key steps to take to develop and implement a successful virtual on boarding process.
The average new hire has 54 activities to complete during their on boarding experience. The sheer number of activities could slow down an employee’s ramp-up period, which could make it tough for them to learn necessary skills and tasks related to their jobs. Remember, if an on boarding program hampers the employee’s ability to perform their job, it will likely cause stress, anxiety, and self-doubt. That’s a sure recipe for early turnover.

While information sharing and engagement are certainly important, it’s important to balance it against the employee’s personal motivations, learning behaviours, and professional development goals. Be realistic and streamline the number of activities so that the on boarding process puts them on the path to long-term satisfaction and engagement. Use online tools, including scheduling software, internal communications platforms and videoconferencing tools to make sure the important on boarding meetings happen virtually. But more importantly, keep the meetings as focused, engaged, and productive as possible. Keep dialogue open in order to solicit questions and feedback.

Studies have found that up to 20% of all new hires actually resign within the first 45 days of their role. And when the on boarding process is conducted virtually, it’s even more critical to get the experience right.
One way to do this is to educate managers on the importance of scheduling time for one-to-one meetings with their direct reports. It could make a huge difference in the success of on boarding programs. In fact, it’s no secret that one-on-one time with their direct manager is the most important aspect of any pre-boarding or on boarding process.

Unfortunately, in the current climate this can be easily overlooked because HR assumes that managers/leaders already know this. But leadership styles vary. HR needs to involve and educate team managers and the broader leadership team into the essential components of successful on boarding. Education and knowledge sharing needs to flow openly and effectively between both sides.

It doesn’t even matter that these one-to-one meetings now have to occur virtually. Many global and national teams already rely on video for one-to-one and team meetings/standups. The key is to use the right technology solutions to automate and optimize the process so one-to-one meetings can be set up quickly, the right people can participate, the right knowledge is shared and necessary action items come out as a result.

When employees are physically distanced from their team members, direct managers, colleagues and leadership, it can be easy to isolate and disengage with others. This is especially true for newly hired employees who haven’t had the chance to experience the company’s culture and develop buddies/relationships for support.

But this is where digital tools and social networks carry tremendous power in their abilities to bring communities of dispersed and remote employees together.
I’m seeing it first hand in our own company right now. We have scheduled catch ups twice weekly via Zoom to chat about what’s been happening in our bubble and general social stuff, then we get down to business, allocate projects and set the next meeting time, that way we have small goals to achieve before meeting again. This keeps us focused and connected and yes, we’re also being responsible to our team members to keep our promises.

These examples are further proof that companies should lean into the socially collaborative nature of digital tools at a time when employee engagement and retention could dip significantly.
Digital can be vital to the success of on boarding programs for all remote workers.


Article by Roz Grant – Senior Consultant at Crescent Consulting