Future Manager Italy Insights

It is not the Time to abandon Onboarding, it’s Time to make it virtual

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Author: Future Manager Research Center

More than a year after the start of the pandemic and it is fair to say that the economic and political environment is confused, uncertain and still very concerned. The COVID-19 has caused employers to switch up their hiring and onboarding practices.

In this new business environment, where the office is no longer the central hub for employees to gather as one “clan”, companies need to re-invent a framework for the new talented employees recently acquired, in order to deliver their true potential. Assuming that the recruitment process is a success, the business, the line-manager, and all other employees are now faced with a serious challenge: how to onboard successfully in the era of social distancing?

A new hire can feel vulnerable, with the same anxiety that a student feels switching schools. In general, we are all onboarded in different ways; each employee of a company, at any level and of any seniority, must adapt to provide former collegues and new recruits with a sense of community, fellowship and empathy.

Under normal circumstances, a new employee comes to know and embrace the corporate culture through what we might call “natural osmosis“. This means that, working day after day on the spot, the subject will begin to absorb this culture thanks to the coexistence with the other team members. Even just a passive listening to the interactions between colleagues and a careful observation of their relationship with customers and suppliers can provide a good understanding of the nature of the company.

Providing a brilliant onboarding experience virtually can be a challenge for employers who are experimenting it for the first time. An effective onboarding program boosts productivity, engagement, and retention. Company leaders are trying to figure out how to make sure new hires felt welcomed and excited in the absence of meet-and-greets with new teammates, office tours, team meals, or face-to-face meetings.

A good onboarding program that eases the jitters and allays the concerns should be managed with attention: if in the “pre-pandemic daily life” a manager was able to make frequent stops at a new hires’ desk to check their perfomance, now, they have to stay connected with them through email, chat, and videoconferencing. This fact also leads to the need to provide new colleagues / employees with the adequate technologies.

In the light of what has been said, it is clear that the onboarding process cannot be taken superficially just because the distances have increased. Instead, all the precautions must be taken so that virtual communication is 100% effective.