Seamless online staff inductions during COVID-19 – and beyond
COVID-19 changed the face of working life forever by forcing so many of us to work remotely, from home in order to stop the spread of coronavirus. And though not every business will want to – or be able to – continue to allow staff to work from home regularly when it’s all over, many companies will never go back to mandatory on-site work.
This new work culture means that companies big and small in all corners of the globe must rethink their approaches to onboarding staff and the whole induction processes and adding an online element – or taking the process of induction entirely online.
Why online inductions make sense
Induction is the first real peek into a company’s processes that most employees experience after they are hired. It provides the foundation for how they interact with your company and provides a first impression for how they do everything. And we know from much research that unhappy or unconnected workplaces can cause too many employees to leave their positions within the first six months of a new job.
So, how to ensure your new employees stay past probation? It’s all about the induction.
A well-planned induction provides consistent information and, by putting your induction online, it’s no longer up to individual managers to remember all the details they need to share with new employees. Every new employee receives the same information, in the same tone and in an unbiased manner authorised by the company!
The result is that the initial few weeks tend to go much more smoothly for new employees, all of whom are inducted in the same manner and have access to the same message. This is crucial, especially during the global COVID crisis where many new employees have only ever contacted their new employer via Zoom!
In the absence of the ability to go into an office and meet people face-to-face, the only option employers have is to ensure their online inductions are as thorough and helpful as possible.
So, where to start?
Your online induction should provide a clear place to start for employees working from home
Before anything else happens, new employees must know how their online induction process will work while they’re working from home. Once you’ve set up your inductions in your InductForWork dashboard, the system will automatically sending an email with the details of their induction to new employees, allowing them to prepare for their first day at your company, even if only remotely.
Be sure to include in your induction details of any technology they will need to get started, such as passwords to online portals they may need to use as well as if and when they will receive a company computer.
Additionally, it is vital that new employees access the appropriate online systems during induction. Connecting to systems remotely is essential to working from home, especially during COVID-19, and having everything set up so the new employee does not need to wait for access supplies a positive first impression of your company and allows them to start working quickly and efficiently.
Be sure to include links to the appropriate forms and benefits information
Employment forms such as a tax declaration form are an expected part of any employee’s first week. Include a module in your inductions called forms, where all the forms necessary to start – and get paid – are included.
Organise for your new employee to Zoom in with your human resources personnel or their manager to answer any questions they may have about the forms if need be, but setting up the process on your dashboard will ensure you, as an employer, are compliant with any legal requirements, but will also give peace of mind to your employee.
This is an easy way to ensure new employees are comfortable and know that the company is still on top of vital onboarding and induction processes, even though employees are working remotely and may never have physically met anyone in the company or even have physically been to the company.
Introduce people in small groups
Before COVID-19, new employees would receive office tours and meet their co-workers face to face. While working from home, this crucial process needs modification but can still be done online. Unfortunately, video calls are not quite the same as meeting in person, and it’s easy for new employees to become overwhelmed trying to meet everyone at once at, say, a big welcome morning team.
The solution to this is to set up smaller groups with shorter calls. Breaks between heavier rounds of paperwork and job instruction are a great option. Have established team members choose a time to have a cup of tea and meet the new person before adding this to the induction schedule. Usually, groups of three to five are a good choice.
Establish feedback and support
Online inductions provide a fantastic way to onboard new staff, especially those working remotely, but onboarding those working from home is a delicate process, so it’s important to put support in place during this period. New employees working from home, especially during a pandemic, can feel isolated and, generally, don’t know anyone in the company beyond their team or manager. Try assigning mentors and make sure contact information of those mentors is readily available. During his critical onboarding period, introduce feedback methods that can be done remotely, either via video call, phone or email, that way new employees who may have started working for your company during this COVID pandemic will feel supported while working for your company even though they’ve never stepped foot inside it!