Hiring during Coronavirus Pandemic ~ A guide to Virtual Onboarding

I am witnessing many of my clients, who have hired employees prior to the outbreak, continue as planned with their onboarding.  Some have pushed start dates, a few have put hiring projects on hold. Many have been working on very creative ways for these new employees, whose start dates fell after the pandemic was announced, to start their jobs in remote capacity.  This takes planning and organization. Creating an effective virtual hiring process now will keep your new employees engaged and informed and ultimately retained if you set it up correctly.

A few things to keep in mind as you consider what will work best for your business:

  1. Share documentation in advance
  2. Schedule Communication
  3. Leverage Technology
  4. Mimic your companies work culture & style in this virtual setting
  5. Set up Remote Work, Flex Schedules & Working from Home Policies in advance

Share Documentation:  Be sure to send out all documents and resources required in advance, include payroll & benefits forms.   Provide new employees with the company’s employee contact lists so they have an easy way of getting a hold of colleagues and collaborators. Order and ship all required hardware (laptop, phone etc.) prepare all sign-ins for required software applications, drives, group chats – set up user names, accounts, emails and passwords and add in to what is shipped or couriered to new employees prior to start. A smart move is to get them set up with VPN & remote access a few days prior to start to allow them to familiarize with system and avoid their first day being spent getting set up – result is a smoother day 1.

Schedule Communication: Prior to start date, set up a call or video chat to ensure they have what they need. Set up expectations for your new hires to create accountability. Conduct all training via video conferencing as a group. Consider hosting a virtual welcome party with existing team members to welcome and integrate new employees to the team – add lunch; (Many options exist to send a meal on their first day of work – a nice touch).  Set new hires up with a mentor, not their boss, to help them feel connected to the group. Perhaps the Friday prior to start date,  you can provide your new hire with a full schedule for day 1 with a 2 week plan of meetings which you set up virtually for them including virtual tours, team meetings etc.  That first day will make your new hire feel so welcomed and so connected!

Leverage Technology:  So many choices- by now your company will have picked their preferred method of video conferencing and sharing documentation online. Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet (formerly Google Hangouts),  GoToMeeting, SharePoint, Google Docs and on and on. Use them and get the new hires set up right away. Create group chats by function/project/task or teams. WhatsApp is a great option, I’m new to it but getting more acquainted to its usefulness daily.

Bring your work culture, dynamics into this virtual setting:  It is very true that every company has a personality. I am fortunate to work with very diverse industries all of which have something unique and special that defines their companies’ culture. I have seen some incredible cultures emerge; employee-centric, collaborative, progressive, connected– not hard to sell these companies to prospective employees.  Whatever makes you unique, be sure to pull that in, make it feel personal, your remote employees would prefer to be working alongside of you and may be concerned about feeling out of the loop or unconnected.  Get creative and have fun, they will thank you for it!

Set up policies to support Remote productivity: Let’s face it, work from home and virtual onboarding are a solution to a very complex problem we are all in the process of championing. It will likely change how we work for good and maybe that will be a good thing.  We shall see. In the meantime, well written policies will take out the grey and make it very black and white on how work is to be conducted and what the rules of engagement are.  Set up your best practices in advance, ask for feedback from the team when creating these policies, delegate to internal team members or find a qualified HR consultant who can help you draft them.

It has been recently announced by some of the big automotive players that a North American return to work is scheduled for May 4th.  This feels like a good sign although we will be cautious no doubt. There is hiring happening, in some cases high volume for many of the essential services which keep our economy afloat right now.

Recruiting Concepts Inc. would be very happy to help find your special talent and help get them onboarded with care.  Please reach out for an introductory conversation to learn more about how we can support your business.  Until then, we wish you well.