onboard new staff

Photo by Vadym Pastukh

The Post-Pandemic Workplace: How to Onboard New Staff Effectively

Once the pandemic is behind us, and in what will be a blended work environment, what will be the best way to onboard new staff?

Due to the broad repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, employment went through fundamental upheaval in 2020. Many businesses shut down (mothballing their assets or simply moving on entirely), causing the loss (or furloughing) of many jobs. The result: throughout the world, national economies have gone into recession.

Despite all the negativity, though, some industries have been able to endure with aplomb. And now that we’re all familiar with the unique demands of operating in these times, companies are again looking to expand. Investing in growth at this point is a risk, but it’s a calculated risk — and one that might offer a huge pay off in the coming months.

It doesn’t hurt that many talented professionals struggle to find work due to the layoffs mentioned above. This reality puts businesses in strong hiring positions. That said, getting the hiring process right isn’t just about finding the best candidates. It’s also about onboarding them effectively. Fail to do onboard new staff right — under our new working conditions — and you won’t just see productivity issues. Frustrated by your failures as an employer, you’ll also see new hires leaving for greener pastures as soon as they can.

In this post, we’re going to look at some actions you can take to ensure that your onboarding process is as smooth and enjoyable as possible. As a result, you’ll bolster productivity and make new team members more likely to feel welcome and settled. Let’s get going.

Promptly Deliver Necessary Office Equipment

For reasons of security and convenience, your employees shouldn’t be using their personal laptops (they may not even own personal laptops). And they shouldn’t be asked to use their own cell phones for company business. So deliver office productivity devices as soon as you’ve confirmed new hires. After all, they may need to get used to them, particularly if they’re not tech-savvy. Giving them time to adjust will certainly help.

Keep in mind that there’s more to working from home than having the right laptop and phone, however. A good home office will have at least one external display, a USB, comfortable peripherals (mouse and keyboard in particular), and a decent office chair. So instead of waiting until someone’s been working for you for some time, ask them early on what kind of setup they’d like. Then make it happen. This proactive step is great for morale and makes the employee feel immediately valued.

Provide a Comprehensive List of Essential Resources

Every business uses various resources regularly. First, there are those it relies upon for business matters (tools, services, etc.). Most are fairly standard, such as task management tools or time-trackers (like HourStack).

Others, though, such as social media or email marketing (on the occasions that someone needs a tool such as Mailchimp), will only come up situationally. Still, the new employee must know the company login). Employers must also consider situational resources when planning post-pandemic onboarding. For instance, the massive uptick in jobs for delivery drivers means business fuel cards (the kind detailed on sites like iCompario) might also be critical additions.

Then there are those resources provided solely to help employees — the perks. Existing employees will know and appreciate many of them. Some benefits, though, won’t because they were never explicitly pointed out. This is often the case with perks added since the beginning of the pandemic, like learning resources and health and wellness programs.

To keep this process simple, maintain a list of all resources, links, and logins. Then ensure you give every new hire access as soon as possible, reducing the likelihood new employees will get stuck early on. It also ensures they can start taking advantage of the perks that will help them and make them more productive.

Introduce Each New Hire

One of the biggest problems with the remote-working era is the lack of in-person contact. Even for people who often got frustrated commuting to work and dealing with office noise, the total absence of contact with colleagues can be dispiriting (online contact is great, but it just isn’t the same). It also makes it much more challenging for new hires to get to know their teammates; –and they can feel left out of the loop in siloed or non-interactive Zoom calls.

It will take time, but when setting out to onboard new staff schedule a team meeting for every new hire. Please don’t settle for everyone getting on camera and calling it a day. Instead, have everyone explain what they do and how they like to work. These micro conversations often flag some common ground, sparking some further discussion that forms valuable bonds.

Additionally, within a couple of weeks, ensure every person in the team, department, or smaller business has at least one direct conversation with each new hire. Even if someone isn’t actually going to be working alongside that employee, they should at least know who they are and the role they play. This small investment in relationship building will increase the new employee’s comfort level and make it easier for people to collaborate in the future.

Make Expectations Clear

Lastly, be extremely clear about what you expect from every new employee. They should already know what their intended role is, of course. But they won’t be able to fulfill all their duties right away — not to the needed level, at least. It’ll take them time to get up to speed and start producing the desired results. The question, then, is: What do you need until then?

Don’t explain what you expect them to accomplish in the first month? They’ll be far more likely to worry that they’re not doing enough (or that they’re doing the wrong things). This negatively affects any new employee’s overall performance, making it a self-fulfilling concern. In essence, let them know that you don’t expect the world from them right away.

For now, all you want is them to do is produce decent work. They will get faster and better over time, of course. But you don’t need them to hit any critical deadlines or achieve anything too remarkable yet.

As you onboard new staff in a post-pandemic world of work, keep these tips in mind. New team members will appreciate your extra effort.

And you’ll benefit from higher productivity, better interpersonal relationships, and stronger retention.