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Onboarding has significantly evolved, since many organisations, if not most, have adopted some sort of hybrid work environment. As a result, onboarding must be tailored in a way that optimises the outcome for the employer, as well as fully support and enhance the experience for the new employee.
Onboarding is much more than getting someone up to speed with the role. It is now more critical than ever to ensure that new employees are immersed in getting to grips with the organisation’s culture, vision and values. It is also important to make sure they understand the team dynamics, learn how best to build internal relationships and work collaboratively in a hybrid working environment, ensuring they have effective support whilst familiarising themselves with processes.
A good onboarding process means:
This serves to give someone a great first impression and personalised approach and will foster an early trust that is essential in the new relationship.
IT equipment, phones and access to the required IT systems or databases. Agreement to policies such as; data protection, security, or compliance. A recorded video tour of the office can really make a difference when someone arrives at the office for the first time.
Share information about the dress code, access cards, lunch time facilities and access to showers, disabled toilets, or prayer rooms. Sign-post to health and safety policies and evacuation procedures.
Not only is it a legal requirement, but it also ensures that the new employee has an appropriate work area set up and minimises the likelihood of work-related health issues and prevents health and safety risks arising. It will also promote productivity and a sense of an employer who genuinely cares about their well-being.
This will help the new starter understand their role in the wider context of the organisation and give insight into the roles that other people have. It starts the process of forging strong relationships that will help with collaboration in the future and builds a sense of community. You could consider a new starter ‘buddy’ scheme, which is particularly effective when the ‘buddy’ is from another team or department and is someone who can mentor them through the early weeks and serve as a sounding board when they need some advice or have any questions.
This is essential to giving insight into who, how, when and why an organisation uses various communication tools and platforms. Working in a hybrid working environment means that we are exposed to numerous online communication tools, and it can be a minefield to navigate, so sharing some guidelines from the outset can help considerably with someone feeling comfortable and having a ‘voice’ early on.
Take the time to introduce and explain the customised applications and systems you use, e.g. Teams, Zoom, Slack, Skedda, Office 365, CRM’s etc.
New employees are often easy targets for online phishing and other advanced methods of fraudulent activity and data breaches. The cost (financially and emotionally) can be significant to both the employer and employee. Ensure that you provide practical and effective cybersecurity awareness training as early as possible in the induction period.
It is no longer the case that we have colleagues sat around us every day for answers to those quick questions. Giving new starters access to easy-to-use and accessible guides and manuals will speed up their learning and confidence. A handbook that has been updated to reflect the hybrid working environment is essential and will give the employee access to policies and other important information.
Ensure they know where to access any additional support or resources, such as an Employee Assistance Programme, Mental Health First Aid access and other relevant committees or steering groups.
This should be a combination of allowing time to take in all the induction and onboarding materials, as well as spending time on ‘getting to know’ the organisation and the people in it. It is useful to communicate clear and realistic role-based outcomes expected and meet with the new starter regularly to ensure that they are on track and have regular opportunities to ask questions and receive feedback.
Getting this wrong can really undermine a great onboarding process. Ensure that processes are set up internally to check and send invites and do consider the new starters working pattern as the schedule may need to be altered where relevant or feasible.
Have a good mix of online and in-person training, employees can easily become disengaged if all training is done online. Limit recorded training to shorter sessions and follow these up with Q&A's where possible. Arrange office team days and shadowing sessions and try to include some in-person 1 – 1’s if feasible.
All managers should be fully on board with prioritising this for any new employee. It will ensure that early signs of under-performance, training needs or a lack of confidence is identified, and the relevant support or resources can be provided to support the employee. It also serves as an opportunity to gain feedback from them and share constructive and positive feedback too, which will keep up momentum and help with positive engagement and giving the new employee a sense of belonging.
This period should have been enough time for the employee to settle in and start evidencing their ability to do the role with a positive attitude to learning and contributing to the team, as well as embracing and sharing the values and vision of the organisation.
And lastly, don’t forget that temporary workers, trustees and volunteers all need an effective onboarding process too.
For further recruitment advice visit our Resources & Support Hub or contact our specialist team on 020 7198 6000.