The year 2020 brought with it the COVID-19 pandemic, and as a result of it the world witnessed an en masse movement to remote work. Companies that had all along shown reluctance in going even partially remote, were now left with no option than jumping onto the bandwagon! For HR departments in charge of onboarding new hires, it was no longer possible to meet them face-to-face, show them to their desk and schedule in-person training and induction sessions. And that was how virtual onboarding went from being a “nice-to-have”, to a vital tool in ensuring new recruits felt as welcomed as they would during an in-person onboarding.
It’s all about EX!
Linkedin’s Global Talent Trends 2020 report states that one of the ways talent is hired and retained is by ensuring a great EX or Employee Experience. It is vital for companies to understand their talent more deeply and design experiences keeping their likes in mind. For a new recruit, a great EX starts with a seamless onboarding process to ensure a smooth transition into the company. Automattic, a fully remote company right from its inception, has this down pat. The newbies at the company are assigned buddies right from the day they join – helping them feel warm and included. All Automattic employees receive a welcome package (shipped to their home) once they get onboard. The package, among other things, includes an ergonomic chair, a Fitbit, and a book on leadership for women (underscoring their emphasis on fitness and a focus on diversity and inclusion).
Why digital onboarding?
A Positive Start, with Technology as the Enabler
A job change can be a difficult and stressful experience for many. The ambiguity and unfamiliarity of a new workplace could get amplified with the lack of opportunity for an in-person onboarding and face-to-face interaction. This is where a positive virtual onboarding experience turns out to be the anchor that they have been looking for! It gets them enthused about the organization they have joined and the work that they have been recruited for! Moreover, their location becomes irrelevant as long as they have Internet access and an indefatigable willingness to learn and accomplish objectives.
The Human Touch, Distance notwithstanding!
It was the Greek philosopher Aristotle who once said “Man is by nature a social animal”. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to elevated levels of loneliness and social isolation. In such a world, new employees need to feel the human connect right from the get-go. Though physical distances can strain the effort to connect with new colleagues, virtual onboarding helps with getting around that constraint. For instance, companies like Gitlab that have an all-remote culture assign welcome buddies who assist new recruits with the onboarding process to help them feel at home.
Communicating your culture during the remote onboarding helps employees adapt to the company culture without much delay and get excited about logging in for work every single day. Does your workplace celebrate and embrace differences and diversity? How are the achievements of top employees recognized? Do you provide a fun and flexible work environment? What are your core beliefs and how does that translate into the day-to-day work? Communicating your culture through your virtual onboarding process defines the employees’ onboarding experience and is what keeps them connected with and excited about the new workplace.
When employees feel supported through effective remote onboarding, they show increased commitment to the organization and are more likely to have a long-term engagement with the company. The company Digitate found that recruits who have a negative onboarding experience are twice as likely to start looking for new opportunities in the near future.
Increased role clarity and time savings
Getting employees up to speed with their work requires careful coordination and planning. Digital onboarding saves time through online document submission and online onboarding programs and training. Clarity about role, and clarity about job expectations are a lifeline for new recruits, leading to better contribution towards work. Virtual mentors could help at this juncture to ease the recruits into their work and become productive contributors. Encourage recruits to reach out to these mentors or managers if they feel lost or find themselves at sea on certain days!
Unfathomable a few years back, virtual onboarding has now become ubiquitous. Organizations that have so far followed a just-wing-it approach to virtual onboarding, must now rethink and design their onboarding process to make it a seamless, dynamic, informative, and human experience for their new recruits. Companies that do so will reap the benefits of having employees who feel supported and enthusiastic about their new jobs. HirePro’s Saas-based onboarding platform customizes the onboarding experience as per an organization’s needs, providing new recruits with a trouble-free onboarding experience. If you are interested in a demo, reach out to us 080 6656 6000 or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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