The World is pretty strange right now, isn’t it? We understand that businesses are still adapting to the new ‘normal’ even as we move into May still in lockdown. As we’ve said many times, we don’t have all the answers, but we will try to share our knowledge and advice as best we can to support you during these challenging times.
One tricky situation that is coming up frequently from business owners we speak to is how to on-board new staff remotely. How do you make a new starter feel part of the organisation and its culture whilst sitting in their spare bedroom and not in the office? How do you ensure they feel involved in the team and goals of the business when you can’t physically show them around the office and introduce them to their new colleagues?
We’ve pulled together some tips to try and make the on-boarding process as easy as possible!
Face to face chats
Remember, whilst the rest of your team may understand your tone of emails and messages, your new starter might not! It’s important to see them face to face, albeit virtually, to build a relationship. Invite them to an informal chat on their first morning, grab a coffee and have a discussion about their role, the team and the business.
Be sure to schedule a group call with the rest of your team, too. That way, the new member can get to meet them and put faces to names! During the first week, make sure you schedule regular video calls with them to see how they’re getting on and what support they need. Obviously, schedule these during their contracted hours – not when they’re relaxing!
Get them a buddy
Discuss with your team about who might be able to buddy-up with the new starter during the start of their induction. In the office, there’s usually somebody who can point out where the loos are or how the tea and coffee system works. In lockdown, there are still informal things you want to know about the office, so a buddy is perfect for this. Ask the buddy to set up some video calls and coffee breaks with the new starter to make sure they’re getting on ok.
Make sure there’s plenty to read
Depending on the role of the person starting, try to gather some electronic copies of the company’s marketing materials, videos and information about processes. If you have any client success stories, or employee case studies these will also provide a useful insight into your organisation, the career progression opportunities available and client satisfaction. Ask them to spend a day reading your website and blog, getting to speed with the company and its culture.
Of course, we’re all working from home, but it’s important to remember that we’re doing so during a very stressful and unprecedented time. That goes for all of us! But, for your new starter it’s even more surreal. Imagine starting a job from the spare bedroom! It’s not normal, and it will need some adapting from all of you to make it work.
Set clear expectations
Give deadlines and guidance for when you need tasks completing, whilst being mindful of the above point! Your new starter will want to impress you and hit the ground running, so ensure they have enough to do and a reasonable time to do it in.
Remember to also remind them to take regular breaks from their desk, get out for their daily exercise and encourage them to pick up the phone or log onto the webcam to ask for help and support.
Why not make a Friday afternoon chat a social? Tell everybody to log off their work emails at 4pm and get a drink (alcoholic or not – that’s up to you!) and hold a team quiz or competition. It’ll sign off the week nicely and bring out the non-work side of people.
We know it’s tough right now, and we’re right here with you. Our teams are all working from home and we’re managing well. If you can think of anything else you want to ask or some quiz tips (have you joined us for our virtual quiz yet?) then drop us a line on 0114 321 1873 or firstname.lastname@example.org.