There’s no doubt that the pandemic has changed the way we work. It’s introduced new workplace settings, and employees worldwide now have the freedom to work entirely from home, their favorite coffee place, or even a beachside resort, and visit the office only occasionally or never. It was a first for most people, and workplaces all around the globe started adapting to the new norm. But how did this shift impact employee onboarding?
How The Pandemic Has Shifted Employee Onboarding
Welcoming new hires to the company has traditionally been about meeting them at the office and showing them around to help them acclimate. Now, this is rarely the case. Companies strive to find ways to onboard new employees in remote or hybrid workplace settings effectively. Let’s dive into the new work landscape and explore some effective onboarding strategies that fit your work type.
Different Types Of Work
Employers worked hard to keep their employees safe during the global health crisis and thus turned to remote working. Quite quickly, people realized that this new working method offered them a much-needed work-life balance. They started spending more time with their loved ones, catching up on their hobbies, and caring for themselves.
This, in turn, made them more productive and focused during work hours since they had more time on their hands to finish their tasks. However, remote working comes with challenges. Many people struggled to manage their time and ended up working way more than they should. Others struggled to communicate with their teams and other colleagues. Some people even had connectivity problems that they had to solve in order to work from home. Companies quickly adapted, though, and now people who work from home are much better equipped to overcome these hurdles.
Hybrid Work Model
In many respects, hybrid work is some of what’s left from the pandemic’s influence on remote work. The companies that loved the flexibility of working from home but had to meet in person occasionally established a hybrid work model where employees worked both remotely and on-site throughout their workweek. For example, employees come into the office for meetings, events, and workshops but tackle their daily tasks back home.
This way, companies reduce office space and save costs while also giving their employees the opportunity to manage their workday from wherever they like. The hard part is finding the balance between in-person collaboration and remote working. Generally, the more people understand their team’s needs and dynamics, the better they can juggle these obstacles.
Although crowded office spaces still make most people uncomfortable, many companies have allowed their employees to return to the premises, working solely from there. But working on-site hasn’t been the same since the pandemic in most cases. Many companies have ditched the idea of open-plan offices and have transformed the workplace’s layout. Employees have more personal space now, and their safety is even more of a priority.
Companies had to take various safety measures to ensure an effective back-to-office transition, like temperature checks, making hand sanitizers available, implementing cleaning and disinfection services, and/or mask-wearing. This transition didn’t come easily for everyone. Many employees negotiated to continue working from home or be hybrid. Some resigned, searching for remote jobs and other benefits that emphasized work-life balance.
After the pandemic, most employees want to put their mental and physical health first, demanding more flexible work options. This, among other factors, contributed to the rise of the Great Resignation, which I’ll cover later in this article.
What Onboarding Method Fits Your Work Type?
Successfully onboarding your remote employees was initially daunting, but as working from home became common practice, it became easier for organizations to adapt. After all, the rise of eLearning platforms during the pandemic was the ideal solution for remote onboarding.
Companies are able to create a personalized onboarding plan for each new hire, with modules and resources tailored to their role and skills.
This allows new recruits to explore the responsibilities of their positions and company policies, familiarize themselves with the culture, and even have virtual meetings with their team, managers, or the whole organization.
Additionally, webinars and virtual training sessions add an element of personal interaction to the onboarding process. New employees can engage with their peers and instructors in real-time, giving them the chance to ask questions, communicate with team members, and receive guidance for their new roles. So, even though they work remotely and may be in entirely different parts of the world, colleagues get together to learn and train on things they will all experience together.
Let’s not forget the revolution that is Virtual and Augmented Reality tools in remote onboarding. These technologies can immerse new hires in real-life scenarios and simulations regarding their roles.
Employees slip on a VR headset and virtually explore their workplace or do work-related tasks to put their knowledge into practice. AR, on the other hand, can display information right in front of them, acting as their guide when it comes to solving an issue on the job.
Hybrid Work Onboarding
Hybrid onboarding doesn’t stray too far from remote onboarding. Digital platforms can be instrumental here since they collect every vital piece of information—training material, paperwork, and even modules—in a single place that your new hires can access, whether they work from home or in the office. For example, they can continue watching a training video they’ve started at the office even if they work remotely the next day. This way, the process is consistent and efficient.
Virtual welcome sessions also allow them to meet the team or the whole company. During these meetings, new employees are introduced to their coworkers and managers so that everyone can participate, no matter their work location. So, the next time your new recruit comes to the office, they will feel more comfortable and acclimate more quickly.
Another great idea is to pair them with a seasoned employee who can act as their mentor. Encourage them to set up online sessions and then meet up in the workplace every now and then to take screens out of the equation.
On-Site Work Onboarding
When we’re talking about on-site onboarding, traditional onboarding methods usually spring to mind, but this doesn’t have to apply anymore. The pandemic has created many tech-driven opportunities that can be leveraged in the office as well. As mentioned above, in-person training sessions don’t have to be boring.
eLearning software enables you to create eye-catching lessons by implementing interactive elements like videos, graphics, and even games. In fact, gamification will make the process more engaging, motivating new employees to improve each time.
In-person training will provide your new recruits with real-time feedback that they can consider and improve their actions on the spot. You’ll probably notice that they’ll start their new role with much more confidence as long as they know what they’re good at and what needs improvement.
There’s a slight challenge, though. Traditional onboarding methods don’t always show you the training program’s effectiveness. So, how would you know if it’s successful among your new staffers? For starters, you don’t have to resort to guesswork.
Solution-based learning helps you start with a clear end goal in mind. It focuses on addressing specific issues within your organization and creating customized solutions to resolve them.
Employment Changes That Affect Onboarding
When the pandemic started, employees started quitting their jobs in masses and trying their luck elsewhere, seeking positions that offered flexibility, work-life balance, and benefits. This phenomenon was called the “Great Resignation,” and it changed the way companies hire and onboard professionals. Suddenly, there was a shortage in skills since experienced employees were leaving, and those frequent resignations caused panic that led to multiple hirings, thus multiple rushed onboarding processes.
Since there’s more competition for attracting talent, organizations have to step up their game and find innovative solutions. Right from the job ad phase, recruiters must clearly state the role’s responsibilities as well as what makes it competitive. The onboarding process has to be appealing, too. Try automating and personalizing it so new hires feel respected and more comfortable. Moreover, make sure that you continuously update your onboarding program to keep up with shifting employment needs.
The newest generation of employees, Gen Z, can be demanding regarding employment. They’re tech-savvy, having grown up just when tech and the internet flourished, as well as socially and environmentally conscious. So, they’re looking to work for companies that reflect the same values and expect technology to be part of their work experience.
Companies need to meet Gen Z’s requirements. Specifically, digital tools for onboarding are a must-have, as are mobile optimization and new technologies like VR, AR, and gamification. Additionally, your younger new hires might appreciate a personalized onboarding plan and a mentor who can guide them and give them tips.
Above all, Gen Z expects a flexible workplace with remote work opportunities and autonomy. This allows them to be productive and experiment with innovative ideas.
Talking about all of the changes in recent years that caused onboarding methods to change, one thing is clear: adaptability is key. Being able to swiftly embrace new approaches and solutions to modern problems is what makes great companies stand out. So, always be on the lookout for new technologies and listen to your employees’ innovative ideas. Investing in new ways to welcome, train, and retain your workforce is the recipe for success.
eWyse can help you onboard with ease and create the perfect new hire training program for your team. In fact, their 3C Framework gives you complete control over the creative, financial, and process-driven aspects of your development project.
Author: Christopher Pappas