A remote possibility

Remote working has become the new normal, not an exception. What remains a big challenge is to hire new talent and effectively integrate them with the organization when everyone is working virtually. Effective onboarding plays a crucial role in employee retention, and while onboarding new employees in a remote working environment is not a completely new challenge, it continues to be one of the difficult ones.

Many organizations traditionally leverage a standardized onboarding framework, which takes every new hire through the same process. Oftentimes, the individual feels additional pressure to align with the organizational identity, instead of feeling at liberty to be their authentic self. One study concluded that employees experiencing an individual-focused orientation were 32% less likely to leave in the first six months.

A common challenge for new hires during onboarding is experiencing an information overload. Organizations tend to share a ton of data with new hires early on. Information needs to be organized with the goal of offering clarity to the individual, on-demand. Organizations also need to think of the best delivery vehicle for different types of details. Some topics are best covered by an expert, instead of an online document library.

Building familiarity with the organizational culture and values is an important aspect of the onboarding investment. New hires are constantly looking at signs and examples of organizational culture, and coupling new hires with tenured employees works well for cultural awareness. The effectiveness of such engagement is dependent on creating a safe and open environment for dialogue between the two individuals.

Creating and maintaining a clarity around workplace culture builds stronger team relationships, and generates a shared vision for achieving companywide goals. These include welcoming a new hire with a virtual party that reflects company culture, gifting branded company merchandise or having lunch delivered to them on their first day/first week, distributing a who’s who list (or organizational chart) of all company colleagues and teams with their contact info, job titles and companywide virtual meetings with all departments.

Each new employee needs to feel connected within the organization, not just with their immediate colleagues, for a healthy longevity of the association. Build an unbreakable support system for your employee by enforcing a mentorship program, providing constant direct communication through frequent, scheduled virtual check-ins and asking your seasoned employees and your new employees how you can best support them and set clear expectations around daily, weekly and monthly performance.

It is important to make your employee feel empowered in their new role by providing complete access to previous and existing company projects as reference, granting full accessibility to all the office equipment they may need to work remotely and teaching in small increments to avoid overwhelming them. Get creative with interactive, hands-on learning activities, engaging videos, live training demos or even virtual reality.

With everyone remote, it is much easier to bring your executives in front of all new hires, on a regular basis, and allow Q&A sessions and the chance to get to know every exec. Putting some fun into the process is also important. Have the team record welcome videos on their phones to share with a new team member, set up team chat groups, or incorporate game-based elements, including games, activities, competitions, points, badges and rewards.

The key to maintaining engagement is to create variety and offer a range of options. Happy hours are great for some, but not for all. With a little planning and some online shopping, you can deliver materials to people’s homes and bring them together to learn, create and have fun. There are also many new platforms popping up, such as virtual escape rooms, and companies that will organize an event and ship all the supplies to save you the trouble.

Glow’s role

Here at Glow, we have embraced an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) with some automated onboarding features, which allows candidates to painlessly and seamlessly join the organization. We have a rigorous selection procedure which includes intensive screening to make sure the candidate is a good fit for the client’s requirements.

After a successful interview and upon securing hiring authorization, a detailed background verification is done to make sure that the candidate doesn’t have any criminal records. Once this is done, HR sends out an onboarding package, which the candidate can complete online in an hour. If any additional virtual training is required, HR will address and schedule that training, so that the candidate may start work, as scheduled.

Automation helps our talent acquisition process greatly, and having an ATS with some automation features genuinely helps to simplify the process, especially in tracking candidates, and securing electronic signatures. However, there is still much required of the recruiter, in making sure that things move along towards placing the candidate.

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