Is Your Onboarding Process Bogging Down Your Progress?

Every business needs processes for how they do things. Processes ensure consistency, quality, equality and accuracy amongst other things and these things are important. But a process which is pretty seamless when you’re all together in the office can become clunky and unwieldy when the team is remote.

Do you ever stop and think about the impact this has on the task at hand. For example,  your ability to move projects forward at pace, to deadline and within budget or the impact on the people involved ie motivation, frustrations, collaboration or mistakes?

One of the most critical processes to get right in this regard, in my view, is the recruitment and onboarding process. Applying & being interviewed for a new role is daunting enough, but it’s a very different experience when it’s all done online. In the virtual world, you don’t have the same context that a face to face interview in an office will give you. Worrying about whether the video conferencing technology will work or what impression your kitchen will give the person on the other side of the call are all unhelpful distractions. They have sadly, been the way of life for the last year or more.

Many businesses are now thinking about a “Hybrid Working” approach post COVID which is, essentially, some time in the office and some time working remotely. Different businesses will be thinking about this differently, dependent on their needs, the type of work they do and how they want to use their office space in the future.

If the new model is hybrid and your new starter may be onboarding remotely, then it can sometimes be even more tricky:

  • Systems not talking to each other
  • Having to work simple things out for yourself because there isn’t someone obvious to ask
  • New systems to learn & people forget you’re not familiar with them
  • Multiple forms asking the same questions
  • Days of 1:1 video calls with key stakeholders, often without context
  • Not meeting your manager or your team in person
  • Not having a desk or office to call “home”
  • Missing out on those more informal chats by the coffee machine or in the lunch queue
  • Not knowing who does what in HR, lots of contacts to deal with
  • No-one to ask those silly 1st day questions

I have worked with a number of individuals recently who have started new roles during the last year. They talk about closing their company laptop and logging off on a Friday afternoon from their kitchen table having left the business. Fast forward to Monday and the shiny new laptop arrives by courier, they logon to the new company network from the same kitchen table, dial into their first video conference call with their new manager or team and try to make an impact. It’s really tough and can undermine confidence.

We underestimate the importance of the little things which help someone feel like they belong to a new company. Things which are missing when you’re working remotely.

With COVID restrictions lifting further in the UK, now is the time to start thinking about your processes and how to make them fit for the new world we’re all working in. Ask yourself what works and what’s clunky and needs reviewing?

Here are my 10 top tips to help from an onboarding perspective:

  • Send a welcome pack to their home with some branded goodies and a handwritten note from their manager – notebook, mousemat, mug, pen etc
  • Assign new starters a buddy and make sure they have a scheduled call on their first day
  • Send a welcome note to the team on their first day introducing them and welcoming them to the team & the business.
  • Ensure new starters have 1 point of contact in HR and in IT (nothing worse than your new laptop not working on day 1 and not knowing who to call).
  • Schedule some time with new starters to talk through how to navigate intranet, networks, key documents etc.
  • Make sure the first day isn’t just filling in forms and setting up profiles on company systems.
  • Ensure you plot breaks into the first few days as it could feel like an overload of video conferencing calls and new people.
  • Make sure their manager checks in every day to answer questions.
  • Schedule some informal time with the team to get to know people – team lunch.
  • Ask your new starter how they like to work and what they need from you.

It’s fantastic to see businesses recruiting again but a poor onboarding experience could fundamentally damage the perspective your new starter has of the business they have joined. Process is vital in business but I’d encourage you to review those processes which are hindering progress, those which slow you down and cause frustration.

Now is the time to seek feedback and to re-invent them so they work for the new world you are now operating in.

If this is an area where you’d like some support, please contact me for a discovery call as to how we could support you.

Lindsay Wright

Link Engagement

9th July 2021

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