Starting a new job can be daunting. Add in a global pandemic, and you could find yourself inducting a new staff member right from your very own home!
In March 2020, many employers moved quickly to respond to the growing concern around the global COVID-19 pandemic. Following advice for social distancing and the health and safety of all was paramount.
Flexible working arrangements needed urgent attention. For many, allowing staff to work from home was never anything more than an ad-hoc request. For some, it was forbidden. However, setting up employees to work from home for the duration of COVID-19 entered uncharted territory.
Employers in most sectors were forced to consider how to set up employees as remote workers full time, at least in the short term. At the time lockdown measures were introduced, Australian’s were told it could be up to 6 months before things got “back to normal”. But with no idea of how long the pandemic would last, employers faced the prospect that employees may potentially need to work from home for the long term.
Most were able to make suitable arrangements in a relatively short amount of time, enabling staff to make the transition without too much disruption to the business. But there were always going to be issues that got overlooked. While current staff may have already been familiar with company policies, processes, and technology, what about recently hired staff? What might an onboarding program look like if the employee’s first day was from their home?
Making new staff feel welcomed
Employee onboarding may look very different depending on the employer. More formal onboarding strategies might include a whole day (or more) of inductions, whereas other organisations might keep it as simple as filling in a few forms and getting straight into things.
Whatever approach your organisation uses, how do you ensure new staff have what they need at their fingertips, so they can hit the ground running? How do you provide them with points of reference, days, or even weeks, into their new job? How do you ensure onboarding is streamlined and consistent?
With staff working from a home office, there could be no morning teas where introductions would usually take place; where team members could greet their new teammate and get to know them better. You don’t want to leave new staff to fend for themselves without your support.
In our own workplace, this was a gap we had identified, for which we needed to find a solution. Usually one-on-one sessions with the CEO form the first part of day one for new staff. So to ensure this step was not left out, we had to explore new ways to conduct our onboarding.
While nothing compares to a face-to-face meeting, virtual meetings are our new norm, and we now know they’re something we should no longer fear. No matter where we are, this is one of the ways we can still have that personal interaction, and there are many different virtual meeting platforms to choose from.
Making the most of technology
At Refuel, we are always looking for ways to digitise processes, reduce paper usage, and to support remote working. All with the intention to increase efficiency.
The technology that allowed us to do our jobs away from the office already existed, and we’d already been using most of it. This assured us we were well-equipped to transition seamlessly into this new way of working. Yet, one thing we didn’t have, was a way of onboarding new staff without that face-to-face interaction.
Granted, there were things that we missed along the way during this unprecedented time. With the development of our new online staff onboarding guide, we’ve given new staff the tools they need to familiarise themselves with our processes and culture whether they start during a global pandemic, or it’s business as usual.
Onboarding doesn’t need to be a boring, tedious process (although it can be if you’re the one delivering the same message to every new staff member). Making it a more fun and interactive process can help engage your staff, as well as ensure consistency.
After revising our onboarding checklist, we decided to create a simple, yet comprehensive onboarding course. This was set up online with all the relevant links, processes, and policies, but also included short videos aimed at helping new staff members help themselves, when it wasn’t possible to show them first-hand.
This was an immediate solution to provide targeted assistance while we were working remotely that has helped our onboarding process be more streamlined and consistent, regardless of where our staff are.
It might sound like a complicated process, but it really wasn’t.
In our case, we used our existing HubSpot CMS to build the guide, using our existing copy of HubLMS, built by our friends at Sprocket Talk. Sure, we already had this software, but if we didn’t, it wouldn’t have taken long to set up.
We recorded all our videos using our webcams and built in microphones from our homes, using the video tool Personal by our partners at TwentyThree. This allowed us to easily record our face, our screens, and switch between the two.
We could then embed all the videos into our HubLMS courses and share them with our new team mates!
Looking forward, we’ve now prepared ourselves for remote employees to join our team from anywhere in the world, and impressed our new local employees too.
How we can help you
There’s no doubt working remotely does create physical distance for teams. But now many of us have had a taste of what it is like, and have seen how technology can unite remote teams, it’s only a matter of learning how and what technology can do to help us.
For instance, a website doesn’t only have to be about promoting your business, products, or services. It can be designed as a training tool for your staff, just as we have done at Refuel. Putting together such a website can be as big or small a job as you need.
To explore the ways in which technology can provide solutions for your business, book a call with our team today!