Onboarding: Adapting to a New Normal

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A Path Forward

While many companies have been forced to furlough, lay off, or terminate staff, there are plenty that are facing surging demand and hiring new staff. Still others are simply looking to satisfy their typical staffing needs. A key strategic decision for businesses is whether to hold off on onboarding new hires during the pandemic or to try to find a way to onboard remotely.

Uncertainty over the duration of stay-at-home orders and other disruptive measures aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 is shifting business mind-sets. Many businesses are seeing the need to transition from viewing the current situation as a temporary storm to weather, during which some priorities and activities are simply put on hold. Others are seeing the current situation as the new normal—at least for several weeks or even months.

If this truly is the new normal, even for a few more months, businesses simply can’t continue to keep their operations on pause. In competitive business environments, top companies will find ways to keep moving forward. Those that choose to sit on their heels while the pandemic blows over may find themselves scrambling to play catch-up with competitors that found ways to be creative and agile.

Moving forward includes moving forward with staffing needs.

The Challenges of Remote Onboarding

 Obviously, there are challenges with onboarding new staff remotely, but it’s far from impossible. Here, we’ll discuss some considerations for onboarding from a distance, including input from some industry experts.

First, let’s consider some of the major challenges of remote onboarding.

Personal interaction. Let’s get this obvious one out of the way first. We all understand that it’s generally preferable for a new hire to get the first impression of his or her workplace, colleagues, and boss in person. But because this simply is not possible in many situations, it’s a challenge that must be overcome.

Supervision and “open door” policy. Depending on the level of independence expected of new hires, managers often want to walk over to check on how they are doing or let new hires pop into their office with questions and concerns. Again, in many cases, this will not be possible and must be addressed.

Equipment use. Companies probably assume those they are hiring have some of the basic equipment needed for life in a professional setting—computer, monitor, telephone, etc. In remote settings, not everyone has access to the same quality of equipment. This issue can be compounded by the fact that different industries may require specialized tools and applications.

Martha Delehanty is Commvault’s new chief people officer (CPO) and is focused on the needs and expansion of Commvault’s employee recruitment, retention, and professional development. Delehanty joined Commvault in the midst of the pandemic herself. Since joining the company, she has taken on the onboarding of 19 new staff members.

“Readily accessible gear for new starters and all the set up that entails has been challenging,” she says. “Due to supply chain challenges of other vendors, personal computers weren’t readily available so it took getting creative on how one can leverage their own computers and infrastructure safely and securely.”

Despite these challenges, though, business leaders facing the new normal are coming up with innovative solutions for moving forward.

Finding Innovative Solutions

As the old saying goes, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” That’s exactly what HR and training and development professionals are doing as they seek innovative ways to bring new employees on board during the pandemic. Here are some of the best practices they’re implementing to help them move forward.

Extra attention to the personal element. More than ever before, the process of supporting new staff needs to take their individual situations into account. “Think of the whole person, not just the one doing their job for the company,” says Delehanty. “Help with the wellness and mental support, all of which might include global meditation sessions, virtual gym workouts, and of course the social elements people have come to love such as virtual happy hours or milestone celebrations.” Read more here…

Source: HR Daily Advisor

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