Onboarding Considerations During COVID

Dec 03, 2020

Onboarding during COVID

According to the Microsoft whitepaper Building resilience & maintaining innovation in a hybrid world. “82% of leaders reported that teammates were at least equally as productive as before. So the widespread concerns of companies regarding lost productivity due to work from home were utterly unfounded. However, what is true is that employees do feel a sense of detachment from their colleagues and their company while working from home.

Colleagues: An essential part of the workplace

This isn’t just because they are sitting at home staring at a screen alone. It’s because they are missing their colleagues. Their work buddies whom they joked with and had non-work-related discussions with on a day-to-day basis. They can no longer walk over to a familiar face and share good news or talk about a burning issue. Online discussion channels don’t have the same feeling as being face-to-face with a trusted old friend or mentor. Some of us can feel lonely after a week or two of working from home, even if we have our trusted pet to keep us company.

Hiring During Covid-19

And such feelings can be significantly increased if you were a recent hire. Even more so if you were someone hired during Covid-19(yikes!). More experienced employees have a better understanding of the culture of the company. Here are a few examples of things an organization can’t explain:

  1. Does the company value figuring out everything yourself or encourages you to benefit from the experience of others?
  2. How approachable is management?
  3. How helpful is HR?
  4. How much do the senior team members work to support the junior members?
  5. What does work/life balance look like to this organization?

Many questions like this really can’t be put into a policy document. The C- level executives and Human Resource Department effectively build a reputation. They act out what the company is, even if everything isn’t written down on paper. What they expect from each employee, in terms of behaviors and practices, is acted out.

For example, how does HR want team leaders to give feedback to employees? And so on. In light of the above, and the unprecedented need to work from home for most employees, company policies and culture must be made extremely clear to each employee. One can’t just hope for employees to learn it as they go because there is no longer an office. No longer does that new employee have the luxury of an office lunch where he/she can talk to fellow team members and find out about each of these little details.

PeopleSpace believes in the age of COVID; employees need to have the right tools for the job. So while they adjust to the new normal and try to figure out company culture. One of the smartest things organizations can do is cater a home work-station package to their needs. Maybe they don’t need a second screen? Perhaps they need a new chair or desk. Perhaps they should come to the office for a couple of days to feel for the office environment if their local government allows. Another consideration is providing an online mentor to help them adjust to the new company's culture.

Here are some thoughts that can help with the process:

  1. Focus on the job description and role clarity.
  2. Engage new hires before their start date.
  3. Recreate face to face interactions.
  4. Provide a mentor.
  5. Overcommunicate and overengage.
  6. Find creative ways to introduce company culture - team greetings.
  7. Facilitate intentional onboarding.
  8. Provide the right tools to make them feel comfortable.

Onboarding Package

Companies have realized that working from home may have a lot of new challenges and we can help be creative with the solutions. PeopleSpace believes that giving employees autonomy can increase their motivation and help them feel a part of the company culture and cause. This can quickly be established by allowing them to choose their office hardware and providing them a mentor. PeopleSpace has many economical options, like office desks, risers, chairs, and monitor arms for different screens. That can truly make a new employee feel appreciated and valued.

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