The world of work has changed over the decades. It is no longer ruled by greedy, despotic employers and the relationship between employees and the employers is more partnership-based these days.

Talent shortages can be witnessed in many industries and professions. A report by Korn Ferry points out that although news headlines might say that robots will take over our jobs, in fact by 2030 up to 85 million jobs might remain unfilled due to talent shortages. This would translate into $8.5 trillion of unrealized annual revenues.

Finding the perfect fit is still extremely difficult and this is why employers need to do their best to keep talent with them. Not surprisingly, the retention starts with day 1. But what happens with newcomers who join remote teams?

Remote Work Is Here to Stay

We’re receiving many signals that the pandemic crisis might soon become much more controllable. We’ve learned about preventing COVID-19 from spreading, and the vaccine is on its way to the market. We may soon be able to go back to our pre-pandemic daily routines without limits. 

But will we? The time of remote work has proven that industries such as finance or technology can maintain the same levels of productivity or even increase them. Silicon Valley giants, such as Facebook, plan to allow some employees to continue working remotely while also taking into consideration the factual place of living. After all, earning Bay Area salary and living in cheap areas of Detroit would create leverage for the employee, and also an unnecessary cost for the employer at the same time.

Even if most businesses won’t turn to 100% remote work, they are likely to introduce hybrid workforce models that allow work from home (or anywhere in the world) partially. Supposing that the pandemic is gone, working outside the office is here to stay. Businesses must 

embrace it as a regular part of their operations and not a temporary reaction to the new situation.

This means that the managers and HR teams need to design onboarding processes that suit workers of both types.

Why Do You Need an Onboarding Process?

In general, companies tend to think about introducing onboarding processes as they grow bigger. Bigger teams are harder to self-manage, at least not without set frameworks, and when everyone’s busy as a bee, newcomers might struggle to find their way in a new position.

Starting on the right foot is crucial. A study mentioned by the Society for Human Resource Management state that as much as 69% of employees are more likely to stay for over 3 years with a company if they experienced great onboarding.”

Well-cared employees at the onboarding stage are also much more productive since day 1–the same study suggests that their outcomes might be even 50% greater. What’s more, 54% of companies with systemized onboarding programs report higher employee engagement.

Such numbers can’t be overlooked, and they all lead to one conclusion– take care of the employees when they join your company, provide them with everything they need to do their job, and… watch as they stay with you for longer and simply work better.

On the other hand, there are costs of poor onboarding. Data cited by Contract Recruiter says that it takes up to 8 months for a new employee to start producing at their full capacity, and the average cost of replacing an employee is between 16 and 20 percent of that employee’s salary. According to SHRM’s Human Benchmarking Report, it takes on average 42 days to fill the position with a new hire.

A mismatch between the company and an employee starts with poor onboarding and leads to increased costs and lower productivity.

What Leads to Better Productivity and Retention?

Since we know the results, you might want to know what exact onboarding qualities lead to them. There might be a few.

The first is just showing around, focusing on both the social and work side. Introducing a new colleague to the team, showing him where’s the coffee machine, water dispenser and chill room makes him feel more comfortable in the new environment. That also applies to the standards of the teams–what tools are used, what are the processes, etc. and provides a newcomer with the resources to do their job.

The social part of onboarding is also critical to make teamwork happen. Short chit-chats and informal talks between team members might feel unnecessary, but they set the tone of the whole conversation, build the chemistry between team members, and most importantly tell you who you can go to if you need anything.

After all, work is an important part of an adult’s social life and––apart from other factors–whether we like our team or not is one of the key considerations for staying with a certain company. Healthy relationships move the work forward and contribute to higher productivity.

This is exactly why it’s so important to not only create an environment to work in but also to take care of the whole company culture. It all starts with proper onboarding standards.

How To Design Effective Onboarding Experience?

There is a reason why HR consulting firms exist and make money. Managing human resources is hard and crafting a correct onboarding is not an easy task. However, there are some general best practices that you might want to follow.

Some of the best practices mentioned by HR Partner team are:

  • Communicate to your new employees before their first day–so you can do the paperwork and let them know what to expect
  • Check-in after the first week–regular 1:1 meetings are a great way to retain new employees
  • Pair new hires with onboarding buddies–a tour with a peer gives a new perspective, builds relationships, and allows creates space for questions which you wouldn’t ask your manager
  • Offer employees a welcome kit–send the employee a package of all the relevant info on the company, people, policies, and whatever feels relevant. You can also go further and offer an onboarding box with some gifts and swag.
  • Introduce new hires to everyone–break the barrier and shorten the distance. This also applies to executives.

What to Focus on with Remote Workers?

Remote workers feel less connected to their teams, and this is what a standardized onboarding experience can change for the better. Following the mentioned best practices is not only a great idea for those staying at the offices but also when working from home or other places in the world.

For example, you could create routines for online team, 1:1 meetings, overcommunicate and show that you care–this shortens the distance and can make a group of people sitting around the globe an actual team.

A welcome box sent to the employee’s address is also a great way to make the first impression more memorable. You could also send them a SANI bottle to show that you care about their health during these times. The possibilities are endless–just choose whatever suits your style and shows that a new hire means much to the company. 

And what if you’ve chosen hybrid workforce models? Don’t forget about the new hires and schedule your work, so that the teams with newcomers are stationary. Also make sure that the employees are safe and supply the office with hand sanitizers.

Dec 3, 2020
Employee Wellbeing

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