Employee Onboarding Process: A Guide to the New Normal

Remote employee onboarding process
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Overview

With economies fighting a rather unfamiliar battle with a global pandemic and businesses having to take some drastic measures to stay afloat, 2020 has not been a very good year thus far for anyone, really.

From several businesses shutting shop to others having to let go of much of their workforce, the world has yet to wake up from COVID-19. 

And whether conventional (as we have known it) wisdom will still be relevant on the other side of this or not is a whole other discussion. A lot of learning awaits us and even more innovation.

With such uncertainty looming over us thus, where are the concepts that are fundamental to modern businesses – such as employee onboarding – will we reimagine them to suit the new normal? How should businesses approach employee onboarding post-coronavirus? Let’s explore all of this and a little more.

Getting the Basics Right

Employee onboarding isn’t the hottest topic in the world – at least not yet. However, some companies have been ahead of the game and have been remotely hiring, onboarding, and training new employees for some time. This might not be the trend globally, but new hires need a well-thought-out onboarding process more now than ever. 

Hiring new employees while unemployment rises globally can feel odd. Your new hires might be nervous about the long-term security of their jobs. It is only natural for them to desire assurance that the company is doing well and their career is in safe hands. This is where a slightly upgraded version of the conventional employee onboarding process comes into play. 

You want to make sure that you go beyond the usual scope of the onboarding process, which includes informing them of their joining dates, obtaining the necessary devices for them, completing all HR formalities, educating them on your company, handling introductions, etc. At times, you will face valid questions, such as:

  • Will I be fired without an explanation?
  • Is the company doing well or will there be a mass lay off?

Be transparent with new hires and assure them that they have nothing to worry about. My tip: include a personalized message from the founder in your onboarding package that welcomes them to the family. A small gesture of solidarity goes a long way in making new hires feel more engaged and confident about their decision.

Meeting the Future Head-On

What, then, is a smart employee onboarding strategy? In my experience, it means rethinking traditional ways and finding new approaches and processes. Not coming up with completely different answers – just improving on the old ones.

Here are some key aspects to consider now that a “remote workforce” is rapidly becoming the norm.

Businesswoman making notes during a remote employee onboarding process
  • How to make remote onboarding effective despite all the variables involved
  • How to measure the success of remote onboarding efforts
  • How to “personalize” remote onboardings
  • What will the stages be for remote onboarding?
  • How much is too much? Where do you draw the line?

These are some basic pointers for creating a solid onboarding plan for tomorrow’s workplaces. Your company’s response to these questions lays the foundation for a successful employee onboarding process.

Immediate Roadblocks to Overcome

The biggest hurdle for all organizations is getting the leadership’s buy-in on the employee onboarding process. Budget cuts may tempt management to withhold onboarding-related expenses for now. This, however, jeopardizes the company by potentially killing employee productivity. 

To start with, trim the fat from your  onboarding process. Focus more on accommodating people and their sensitivities and less on welcome kits and swag. Now is a great time to take a thorough look at what really makes new hires happy.

The second challenge: stay people-focused. Don’t get carried away with things like laptop logistics, email sequences, and buddy programs. Understand that onboarding is so much more than all of that. The processes are similar across most modern businesses, but what stands out is your ability to connect on a human-level. Treat every new employee as a friend, and not as a “human resource.” There is a lot of company culture that comes into play right from the onboarding process, and what better time to get someone initiated into your culture with that than their first day?

From Onboarding to Training

Often companies do a fabulous job onboarding new hires, but fail to have procedures for training. Insufficient training throttles performance! The only way to keep your employees happy and performing consistently well is to provide training at regular intervals and in a format that is efficient.

Traditional training is next to impossible now with the remote workforce, and virtual learning faces the same obstacles as classroom training: poor retention levels. One way to overcome this is to invest in a digital adoption platform that provides contextual, on-demand training while also supporting your onboarding process. 

With remote onboarding and training becoming more commonplace, companies have no choice but to invest in technology. Relieving employees from having to perform redundant tasks empowers them. And empowered employees perform better. 

See? It’s not so hard.

Mohd Azam

Mohd Azam

Mohd Azam is the Sr. Marketing Manager at Apty. When he is not busy ideating, you’ll find him playing one of these- chess, pool, or the guitar. An ardent start-up and tech geek, Azam is a big fan of all things relating to marketing.

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