The phrase goes – “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” and this is never more true than with a new employee’s first day with the company, particularly when you aren’t spending any physical face to face time with them.
At our recent webinar discussion, we talked about the importance of the remote recruitment & on-boarding process, needing to deliver the same excellent experience as in-person. It must bring the right people into the business, even when you’re not meeting them face-to-face. The process absolutely needs to involve ‘starters’ in the company culture, as well as help them speed through to full productivity and success in their role as quickly as possible. If this isn’t made a priority, then businesses will suffer.
You can’t underestimate the importance of overcoming the anxieties of video interviewing and remote working for the new joiner. Let’s face it, there isn’t anyone in the country who isn’t anxious at the moment, not least the job seeker – the candidate interviewing with your company, about how they perform via video interview. They might be nervous about the tech platform or how they’ll come across on camera. They might be worried about their internet connection because everyone in their house is going to be using the internet at the same time, because the whole family are at home using the internet. It’s a lonely place joining a new company if there is no “in-person” contact to show them the ropes and be their “buddy” for a few weeks, with no informal chats at the coffee machine. If they do have to come into work, they could be concerned about staying safe, especially if they have an at-risk family member.
It’s probably not a bad idea to look through the hiring cycle and reflect on those worry “touch points” for a new joiner to your business, so you can wrap your “virtual” arms around them:
Some ideas to consider:
- Look to create a training video that emulates/mirrors the in-person training/on-boarding experience, new hires would get during normal on-boarding.
- Assign more frequent hiring/senior manager check-ins for new hires in the first weeks/month & consider creating a questionnaire for new employees to share their feedback, so you can address them personally, head on and early on.
- Pull together some FAQs that new joiners often ask and collate them into a central location/hub/portal including all the policy documents and information they need on “how things work around here”, such as sick pay, appraisals, annual leave etc
- Share relevant content around working from home, expectations regarding managing work & childcare and any mental health & well-being advice & support on offer
Remember to keep your messages to the team, genuine, honest and heartfelt about the company’s processes and challenges. Everyone is dealing with huge amounts of uncertainty – everyone understands that.
We have tried really hard to make the on-boarding experience for Natalie as authentic and normal/true to life, as it would be in person. Involving her with information about our values and culture & sharing the core principles of how we treat clients and candidates. We have, above all else, tried to make it fun, down to earth and enjoyable with regular chats, catch up’s, weekly team drinks (see pic) and hang outs.
I think in the long run its probably made us closer as a team as we have seen each other “warts & all” – kids, pets & husbands in the background – seen inside each other’s houses in a way we would never have done normally (pre-covid). Barriers have been broken down and there has been a new openness and frankness with this new kind of reality that we have all been immersed in.
Jane Middleton, Trapeze HR