Recruiting During Coronavirus: Part 3 – Virtual Onboarding

Apr 28, 2020
| Jeff DeModna, VP of Recruiting Services

Onboarding has never been a more important part of the hiring process as it is today. As company culture continues to highlight why a new generation of employees are accepting new positions, it is crucial to win the onboarding process. An efficient onboarding experience has been proven to reduce turnover and improve the rate in which a new hire is up and running.

The pending new hire is looking for guidance and reassurance. Current news is daunting surrounding employment, and there is a natural concern for them to question when their job is going to start and what the status of the company will be when they join. Be direct and transparent, but also be empathetic. They chose your company for a reason. The way your leadership and HR management teams handle this, and any difficult situation moving forward, will be something any employee, especially a new one, will carry with them throughout their career.

Follow the steps below to ensure that your digital onboarding program is efficient, giving your new hire an experience that excites them to start their future with your company.

Utilizing Video Conferencing for Meetings

In our last blog, we discussed how a candidate’s virtual interview can give you the same benefits as a traditional in-person interview. On the same note, at Extensis, we have utilized video conferencing almost exclusively during the coronavirus pandemic. It has allowed our teams to stay engaged, connected and productive. A video conference makes the conversation much more personal, and in many cases, much more effective. Tools like Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams and even FaceTime allow for a much deeper experience than what a phone call would bring.

A Remote Outlook on HR Onboarding

As HR functions become technology-based and creative in nature, there are still a few basic onboarding needs that are required to get the new employee ready:

Make a Checklist
Collecting the correct new hire paperwork is always the first step of the process. Create a checklist identifying which paperwork is needed and when. Utilize Extensis HRCloud to see which documents are required and utilize the Guides & Tools Section in Extensis Recruiting Cloud as a template to create your own checklist.

Utilize HR Technology
Gathering documents can be done over the phone. With software options such as Docusign, Adobe Signature and E-Sign the candidate can make their employment official from anywhere. With apps such as GeniusScan and TurboScan, they can send them over as a PDF. Keep in mind, with some documents coming through different devices, critical components can get missed, so be sure to create a document library to house these items.

Submit Critical Documents for Remote Review
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, many states have implemented stay-at-home orders, forcing employers and HR management teams to adopt new digital onboarding practices for submitting new hire documents. Typically, the I9 form needs to be submitted manually. However, the federal government gave the green light for the I9 forms to be sent in remotely.

Ensure Your New Hire Is Equipped for Their Position
Nothing is more frustrating for a new hire than arriving on the first day and not having their workstation prepared. This is the case digitally as well. With there being more options every day, it seems that every employee needs a license and a login for at least a dozen different systems. Make sure you’re well prepared before their first sign in.

Let Helpdesk Know Immediately – Make sure the people controlling the tools are aware there is a new hire starting. During this pandemic, the Helpdesk members possibly could be remote as well, so make sure they have the proper amount of time to get the new hire started. Remember deliveries could be slower at this time, so again, be patient and understand the current climate, and most importantly, give everyone ample time to do their jobs.

Confirm with new hire a week before the start date - Make sure they have the knowledge what is required of them. A basic checklist for the new hire should include: adequate WiFi service, printer access, and a quiet and effective workstation for their position. Do not wait until the first day to make sure the new hire has what they need.

Send a list of systems used – An employer shouldn’t expect a new employee to be fully trained on every system they use. However, by providing the candidate a list of these systems, they can research them, possibly watch a demo and arrive on day 1 with a general understanding of what they will be using every day.

Communications – The line of communication between the interview and start date is often a part of the process that gets lost in the shuffle. Proactive communication and time management will determine whether or not the new hire will arrive prepared and enthusiastic or uneasy and nervous.

If the coronavirus has caused you to delay a start date, how you communicate is even more critical. Here are some best practices to follow when communicating with a pending new hire:
  • Consistency – Have a schedule on when to reach out to the pending hire. Make sure to have contact with them at least once a week.
  • Welcome Letter – A note from a department head or executive level employee can really be a confidence boost to a New Hire
  • Share Articles – Send over different articles or company announcements to keep them up to date and in the loop.
  • Team Effort – Have the team they will be joining connect with the new hire. Utilize LinkedIn or another professional social media platform to interact. Build company culture from the get-go by encouraging your team to connect with the new hire, rather than just the hiring manager.

New Hire 1st Day

The first day is a huge step in your new employee’s career. They are launching the next phase of their life and with that comes a mix of excitement and nerves. Make them feel at home by following these steps:
  • Virtual Coffee – Start the day with a virtual coffee meeting. A quick 15-minute introductory meeting to introduce your new hire to the team can go a long way. While we can’t meet in the break room right now, allowing the new hire to get acquainted with the team is still a vital first step in their career and can boost team morale.
  • Virtual Tour – If the person introducing the new hire is in the office, then use the time to give them a virtual tour. Show your workspace and share best practices about working remotely.
  • Team Lunch  - Make sure to get the team together for a digital lunch just as if you were in the office. Tools like Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Google Hangouts are perfect for this.  Use this time to get to know the new hire on a personal level by playing ice breaker games and informal introductions.
  • Buddy System  - Assign someone on the team as this person’s go-to for any questions, big or small. The over-the-cube mentality is lost, and sometimes, it can be lonely when working from home. Connecting with at least 1 person ready and willing to help you succeed can relieve a lot of pressure.

For more information regarding Recruiting During Coronavirus, check out Part 1 (Handling the Immediate Needs) and Part 2 (Virtual Interviewing). Keep an eye out for Recruiting During Corona – Part 4 – Virtual Training coming soon. Are you ready to recruit new talent during these uncertain times? Contact us today to streamline your HR management and outsourced recruiting services.