Despite the current COVID-19 crisis, work goes on; and new employees need onboarding. Much (or all for some employees) can be done remotely. Here are some tips to ensure remote onboarding is effective and engaging:
- Have a flexible time frame for onboarding. As soon as someone accepts the job offer, set up a buddy/mentor for the new hire and schedule training sessions, realizing that it might not be possible for everyone to complete every module in one sitting. In addition to a company overview and specifics on their department, be sure to include pandemic-related information about worker safety protocols, healthcare benefits and sick leave, etc. Make new employees feel safe from day one. Plan ongoing orientation and training; and make sure the new person has a way to ask questions and receive prompt answers.
- Create a collaboration between HR and IT to create training programs that are both informative and easy to access and complete. Pre-test everything to identify possible glitches or problems. Make sure the new hire has the tools to participate in online training. Have a person or team responsible for problem-solving and technical support available. Consider collaborating on a company app that can be used for training.
- Involve CEOs and other leaders. Particularly for jobs starting during the pandemic, provide regular videotaped or live messages from the CEO and other key leaders for new hires to view. By communicating on a regular basis, leaders send the message that they care about employees; and this gives new hires more confidence about their safety and security as they begin their new position. These messages should be as inspiring and empowering as much as possible, but they also should be transparent about how the pandemic is affecting the company.