If you had asked me a year ago if working from home or flexible working would become typical across recruitment and indeed all industries, my answer of no would likely not surprise you.
Many organisations have a tried and tested strategy of onboarding employees, which relies on on-site or face to face engagement. We were one of these businesses.
Having increased our headcount by 300% in the last year, with 90% of all onboarding being remote, we have faced some challenges that I am sure many businesses have experienced. It’s been a steep learning curve and one that we’ve enjoyed figuring out, with our employees.
We wanted to share our most successful initiatives and best practices with you, to help your organisation achieve the same success we have experienced.
Here’s how we found the right balance (eventually) to make remote onboarding an enjoyable experience where our employees felt connected with our purpose, values and our people, from the start.
You’ll also hear from our employees themselves on their experience.
As a technology recruitment business, we value the benefits that technology has delivered to help make the onboarding experience a positive one. But there is still room for the more tangible traditional methods to complement your employees’ journey.
In our experience, pre-boarding is the first and most important area to invest your time for the best results.
It’s likely that your employees are only starting a month after you’ve signed the contracts. That means you have a four-week window to engage your newest team member.
Here’s a couple of ideas where you can leverage this important touch point to maximum effect.
“With the consistent contact from both Matt and Chris and the eagerness they shared in meeting in the period of time between signing my contract and starting, made me feel at ease and that I was joining a business that was completely committed to nurturing and developing me. Not only as a recruitment consultant but as a person too.”
Employee engagement starts with empathy and compassion.
We take for granted the benefit of communication when your colleagues are sitting next to you. It is your responsibility as leaders to ensure that your people are listened to, supported, motivated and inspired.
Everyone’s home working situation is different. It’s important that you understand how people can be affected in different ways by their environment.
“Remote onboarding was a completely new process for me so having that regular point of contact with my new managers and colleagues was essential in making me feel part of the team from day one. What really made the difference for me was having the flexibility to come into the office when I felt it was safe to do so and having a brand-new office to look forward to when we returned!”
Company culture is far more than compensation. It’s an area that can be neglected by organisations as they grapple with the challenges on remote onboarding. For us, company culture underpins everything we do. It’s a shared passion amongst our employees to empower people in technology to inspire innovation and create positive change.
Our collective purpose keeps us working together and focused. Our values are our blueprint for how we engage with each other, and our customers. They are constantly reinforced through action by our incredible team. We’ve had some amazing feedback from clients and candidates demonstrating how our teams live by these shared guiding principles.
Company culture plays a big part in our onboarding experience, all the way back to the interview stage. We recruit people and teams who believe in what we’re aiming to achieve as a business and are inspired by our values. This provides provide clarity of purpose and behaviour, consistently, from the start.
“Our company culture is exceptional as it allows me to come to work with a huge smile on my face due to the bubbly office atmosphere and be proud to represent Devonshire Hayes”.
Remote or flexible working is fast becoming the mainstream approach and businesses must work hard to avoid new and remote team members feeling disengaged and disconnected from the team.
Online interactions can quickly lead to a sense of not-fitting-in, where new employee feels as if they have been left to flounder without efficient induction training or personal team introductions.
Making remote onboarding a positive and exciting experience that engages your employees is a balancing act that takes practice, planning and process.
At Devonshire Hayes, we’re lucky to have our team back together, in person, and we’re loving every minute of it. It is our successful onboarding that that made the transition back to being in the office part-time, such a smooth one.
Good luck with your new employees.
Co-founder – Devonshire Hayes