Online onboarding in practice
In an article for “The Atlantic” written in 2017, Jerry Useem cites the history of IBM. Considered to be one of the pioneers of remote work (with 40% of employees from 173 countries not working in the office at all in 2009), the corporation “asked employees to return to desks” three years ago. The example of the American giant in the field of IT services shows that developing an effective model of work from home is a challenge for both the employees and the employer.
Research results are often contradictory: some show that remote employees spend more time on tasks than those working in an office, but they do them better; others – that it is more efficient to work in the office. Meanwhile, as noted by Useem, the secret lies in, among others, the post held. Remote work is especially good for people who directly contact clients (e.g. sales) or, on the contrary, their occupation does not require interaction with others (e.g. editing). This doesn’t mean that in other cases home working will be less effective, but that it may require different organization, especially when it comes to effective cooperation in a group. It is important to ensure efficient communication, which may vary depending on needs. In situations where it is helpful to receive non-verbal signals, it’s a good idea to introduce online conferences. In other cases, it may be better to simply use standard email exchange.
Off to a good start
According to last year’s Glassdoor report, as many as 69% of employees declared their willingness to stay in the company for the next three years if they were satisfied with onboarding. To make online onboarding in line with expectations, it’s worth taking care of the fundamental basics.
- During onboarding, a new employee has on average 54 tasks to complete, such as completing documentation and equipment configuration (Sapling report, 2019). It’s good to reduce their number by preparing login details, access passwords, etc.
- Make the newbie familiar with the company’s intranet. If your organization uses Slack, Microsoft Teams or Zoom, check if there’s a need to have communication training in these systems – a new employee may not necessarily be proficient at using them.
- In the welcome e-mail it is worth including useful links, referring e.g. to intranet, calendar, information about ongoing projects, trainings or possible benefits.
- Online training should not last longer than an hour – research shows that the preferred length of webinars is 30-45 minutes, as after this time it becomes more and more difficult to focus and keep attention. Have a summary at the end of each training session, and share your impressions on a regular basis: what works and what could be improved.
- Finally, according to specialists, onboarding should last from 30 to 90 days. Meanwhile, according to a report by the Human Capital Institute (HCI), most companies complete this process after the first week, which causes confusion and discouragement.
Remote onboarding is particularly attractive for Millennials who are discouraged by the long recruitment process and the lack of introductory training.
Building online relationships
– We are exposed to additional stress when we start a new job. Unknown environment, people, responsibilities … We want to get to know the structures in the best, most efficient and fastest way, get to know the teams and their competences – points out Marta Fabiś, who at the beginning of April took up the position of a new business manager a Skivak. – At the beginning when I found out that I was going to do my work remotely, I was terrified. How could I get to know the company, its spirit, competences and people, while being unable to participate in the everyday life I knew so well? How to show off and prove myself in a structure that I have no chance to observe every day? How to find out who is who and what their functions are in such a large team? Will this way of getting to know the group help me build lasting relationships? The number of questions and doubts was growing …
That is why during online onboarding, regular contacts (including with the management) and their interactivity, i.e. the ability to ask questions and clarify doubts, are so important. – Thanks to the management and HR, but also each individual employee, all these fears disappeared as quickly as they appeared. The fact of moving everything into the online world didn’t harm my chances, and perhaps even helped quickly acquire knowledge about the company. The presentation with the strategy, goals, key competences, and even the arrangement of desks and people sitting at them, which was developed and presented during the video chat, made me feel like I was a part of it all. Subsequent calls and video chats with team members allowed me to put the previously learned names to faces, learn about the roles in the team and establish relationships. I was surprised by the fact that I didn’t have too many problems regarding this situation that at first seemed impossible to overcome. Remote work turned out to be as efficient as in the office, and sometimes even more… Sometimes, you miss the office hurly-burly and the possibility of drinking coffee together, but there’s a solution to it. After all, we can turn on the video – Marta sums up with a smile.