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Home > Interviewing > How to nail the contactless onboarding experience

How to nail the contactless onboarding experience

(this article is in partnership with TalentKraft)

If you have aced the contactless candidate experience, and attracted a team of top talent to join you, you will next need to nail the contactless onboarding experience. An effective onboarding experience increases the chance that a candidate envisions a long-term future with the company. The first 90 days are crucial. The current pandemic has however put a halt on activities traditionally considered important to any onboarding experience. We can’t meet new hires, we can’t give a tour of the office, we can’t have introduction meetings in the office, and we can’t schedule after work drinks. At least not physically. As we move into the new future of work, characterised by “remote” and “contactless”, we are being forced to reconsider our traditional hiring processes. The world of work will forever be altered by Covid-19, and the only way you can win over candidates is to embrace the contactless.

So, how can you ensure a successful onboarding experience when you are unable to meet the candidate face to face? We have compiled a comprehensive overview of the key elements you need in effort to nail the contactless onboarding experience, drawing on real-world cases.

It is common knowledge that most new hires are typically nervous during the first few weeks of work. New hires often wonder if they have understood their role properly, if they have grasped each task and responsibility included in their position, and more often than not, they ask themselves two essential questions: 

  1. Should I be doing more? 
  2. What is my position within the team? 

To reassure the new hires, it is important that they feel supported every step of the way during the first few weeks, and that they are shown how they can succeed and grow in their new positions. 

In the digital era of contactless hiring and remote working, the nervousness felt by new hires during the onboarding process has not diminished. To the contrary, it has very likely increased. It is hard to deliver a good onboarding process virtually, but it is certainly possible. While it may be more demanding, there are multiple initiatives you can easily implement to ensure you are giving new hires the very best start.

Give a virtual tour of the office

One important onboarding step is introducing new hires to the workplace. With all the available video conferencing technology we have today, a virtual tour of the office should be easy to arrange (assuming some people are still working in the office!), and should remain a step in the contactless onboarding process. Arrange a virtual tour via Zoom or Skype, and simply use the camera on your phone or computer to give new hires a glimpse of the office. 

If you are onboarding a new remote worker, we recommend focusing on introducing them to the team, rather than the physical space. For instance, make employees wave and introduce themselves and their role during the virtual tour. This will help new, remote hires “put a face” to the names appearing in emails, and in company chat rooms. An office tour with real-time introductions will make new hires and remote workers feel more connected to the company and workplace. 

Buddy System – Basic, but important! 

Perhaps the standard go-to for most companies, the Buddy System has been around for years and has supported hundreds of thousands, if not millions of new hires. Starting a new job can be overwhelming and stressful. Designating a workplace Buddy to each new hire can help mitigate the stress of “being new”. New hires can ask and get answers to all their questions, and their Buddy can share information, tips and tricks about the company and office, and introduce new hires to their colleagues and company culture. 

We recommend each new hire and their assigned Buddy schedule at least one virtual lunch, and one virtual informal chat each week during the first two weeks. Perhaps the Buddy can tell the story of his/her first months with the firm, how they were onboarded, and what they wondered about. Furthermore, we also recommend that buddies become connected via messenger or whatsapp, so that new hires feel more personally connected to their buddy. 

Assigning workplace Buddies is a proven way to give to new hires a positive experience while they transition into their new roles and work environments. But, we advise you to be careful when selecting a Buddy for new hires. Before you select and appoint Buddies, make sure they have the time, energy and motivation to take on the responsibility of onboarding a new hire. If matched with the wrong Buddy, a new hire can quickly become overwhelmed or made to feel unsupported. 

Always have measures in place to address this potential problem – either an anonymous online reporting system, or a HR representative that is available for new hires to report incidents during their first months. It is important for companies to have processes in place to catch and correct any new hire’s unfortunate experiences, as such experiences most likely will affect their long-term loyalty.

Engage with, and reassure your new hires!

We recommend managers schedule weekly virtual meetings with new hires. Go through weekly tasks and goals with new hires to ensure that they are confident in their roles. By helping new hires understand their responsibilities thoroughly, you get candidates that are assured in their roles and comfortable in their position. No matter what, it is important you ensure that each new hire understands how their role fits within/ has a place within the landscape of the enterprise. 

Communicating with new hires and remote workers on a regular basis helps candidates feel visible, and that they are not just another cog in the machine. It is just as important that you pay attention to and celebrate new hires’ accomplishments as they progress in their positions. Recognition and appreciation of a job well done goes a long way to build loyalty, and ongoing employee recognition is a surefire way to increase long term retention of new hires. 

There are many ways to recognise employees for their accomplishments virtually. For instance, you can either praise them individually via video conferencing, or extend a simple acknowledgement during a virtual team meeting, or write a short shoutout about their performance in the employee newsletter. Depending on the achievement, you can also order a small gift, for instance flowers, or a brownie, to be delivered to their door.  

Immerse the candidate in the company culture

There are numerous ways new hires can become familiar with your company’s culture. Mobilise your entire team if need be, and set up various activities to ensure that each new hire gets the opportunity to get to know their colleagues.

Plan weekly or monthly whole-team activities 

Could be a quiz, could be lunch, could be virtual office drinks, could be weekly training sessions or even planning an Amazing Race! Simple activities such as virtual weekly lunches can help new hires feel connected to the team, and by extension, feel that they contribute value. Regular activities will allow new hires to build relationships with colleagues from other teams and departments, and help them stay informed about company-wide efforts. 

Above all else: Plan activities that spark collaboration and excitement! Do your utmost to keep new hires active, thriving and happy. 

The Amazing Race – TalentKraft edition

In an effort to engage and get to know the new interns, the leaders of TalentKraft – Eugene & Zanyu – planned an Amazing Race competition for the entire team. This is a challenging time to start with a new company, but TalentKraft has done what it can to ensure that the onboarding process, though contactless, went as smoothly as possible. Through the power of Zoom and Google Earth, the team was able to ‘travel’ to various exotic locations to find clues and solve puzzles over two hours of intense collaboration. 

Interested in a virtual amazing race with your team? Contact us to hear more! 

BBC coffee roulette – Definitely worth trying! 

In 2015, the BBC HR team implemented a virtual roulette system across all business functions. Every month, the wheel would go round, and an employee would be placed with a random colleague. The pair would have to go offsite for an hour at least during the work day, and discuss how work is impacting their lifestyle and personal goals. The BBC have since integrated this system into their interview process . After the first round of interviews, selected candidates start the second round of interviews with a 15 min ‘chat’ either over Zoom or WhatsApp with current BBC employees. In the chat, they share their thoughts on how working at the BBC has challenged, aided, and ultimately progressed their lifestyle. This helps attract the right kinds of applicants to choose the BBC!

Our final advice is to try and maintain the activities you would arrange with any physical hire. Onboarding activities are vital to ensure a successful onboarding process, both virtually and physically. With a pinch of creativity mixed with all the available technology we have working for us today, any physical activity can be transferred to the virtual realm. 

(this article is in partnership with TalentKraft)

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