The coronavirus has wreaked havoc on employers and employees alike — as well as the onboarding process — ever since it began.
Nevertheless, as 2021 has played out, many employers have begun to move toward finding a new sense of normalcy. This often includes adjusting to some combination of remote, hybrid, and in-person work requirements.
If you’re trying to oversee a new system as you rehire new employees, you may want to try some new onboarding strategies.
Here are a few tips to help streamline your onboarding process in a post-covid work environment.
1. Simplify Your Tech Introduction
The modern onboarding process is riddled with technology. This can be overwhelming for new hires as you introduce them to your company’s particular tech stack.
That’s why one of the easiest ways to smooth the onboarding process is to address your tech. Start by assessing what pieces of tech new employees need to understand. This will vary depending on the hybrid, remote, or in-person nature of your current work environment.
Once you’ve considered what your new hires need to know, look for ways to present that information to them in a simple, accessible format.
For instance, payroll service providers like OnPay offer customizable payroll and HR tools. This lets your employees enter information that is automatically added into your system without complex back-and-forth interactions.
By using solutions like these, you can tailor your onboarding and accounting activities to be as effective as possible. This can clear the runway to focus on the onboarding training and activities that really matter.
2. Centralize Your Information
Another way tech can gum up the gears in your onboarding process is by creating convoluted layers of information housed in different third-party applications.
For example, if you’re a remote operation, you may need a new hire to fill out paperwork for payroll. They’ll also need to create an account on Slack, set up a Zoom profile, sign up for a workflow platform like Asana, the list goes on and on. And that doesn’t even begin to touch company-specific programs.
After a while, this can become confusing for everyone involved. The problem is, many companies need all of these pieces of tech to keep their operation running smoothly.
One way to address this is by creating a centralized location where you can house a cloud-based employee handbook. This can be something as simple as a Google Doc linking out to various other instructional documents and videos that you pull together on your own.
It can also be a more comprehensive online employee handbook. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) offers both a free template as well as a purchasable customized handbook for HR reps.
Again, needs will vary. But centralizing your onboarding resources is key, especially in an evolving work environment.
3. Focus on Engagement
Alright, so far we’ve attacked the tech side of things. Automating and streamlining workflows is a great way to smooth things out when your onboarding process feels hectic.
But you don’t want to stop there.
You also want to consider the more nuanced aspects of onboarding, like engagement. It’s important to train and empower managers to engage with their new team members no matter what environment they’re working in.
You can do this in multiple ways. For instance, it’s important to train management to practice active listening even in an online format. This is challenging, but Inc. recommends a few active listening tips, such as:
- Dig in beyond superficial statements if a colleague or employee sounds uncertain;
- Paraphrase and repeat information to ensure it’s understood;
- Keep the conversation about others and not about yourself;
- Listen inclusively, checking against unintentional bias as you listen to your team;
- Be okay with silence as new hires take time to soak in information and form questions.
Along with training in active listening, have clear communication protocols in place. Choose official channels for various interactions, such as a Slack channel or group email. That way, there will be no question of how to reach out when an employer and a new employee alike need to communicate.
4. Prioritize Onboarding
Finally, remember to continue to prioritize your onboarding process over the long haul. Onboarding is an ever-refining activity at this point. Tech is evolving, as are work environments.
Don’t create a static onboarding scenario that will atrophy over time. Instead, adopt a continuous learning approach to your onboarding activities.
The social intelligence experts at TRACOM Group define continuous learning as “a concept in professional development where your employees are given the opportunity to learn simultaneously while they work.”
The goal is to help your team perpetually acquire new abilities, knowledge, and skills as they go along. Apply this to your onboarding process as much as any other area of your business.
If you can automate and simplify your tech stack, encourage active listening and healthy communication, and maintain a continuous learning approach, you can smooth out your onboarding approach. In addition, new hires will feel comfortable, will be well-informed, and will be able to operate effectively in their new work environment — even if that environment is a bit unstable at the moment.